Orlando City Lions defeat Oklahoma City Energy 3-1 to remain unbeaten in USL PRO
Lake Buena Vista, Fla.- Continuing their winning ways, Orlando City SC (5-0-2, 17 points) defeated Oklahoma City Energy FC (2-4-0, 6 points) 3-1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Sunday night. The win marks the fifth straight for City, as the Lions remain unbeaten in USL PRO.
Head Coach Adrian Heath was heavily critical of his side earlier this week, despite the Lions securing a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies of NASL in the opening match of the I-4 Derby presented by United World Soccer.
Directly after the Rowdies match, the English manager stressed that the result wasn’t enough and demanded a better performance from his side.
Although City didn’t quite get off to the quick start that Heath liked, the Lions settled in nicely as the first half progressed.
“I’m pleased with the performance,” said Heath after the 3-1 win. “They’ve worked hard and responded to a lot of the things that we’ve been talking about. There are a few areas of our game that are still worrying me but I thought that we did more than enough to win the game.”
The majority of the first-half featured both sides exchanging opportunities, with neither side able to breakthrough until Orlando’s first Major League Soccer (MLS) signing Kevin Molino created two quality chances towards the end of the first-half.
In the 32nd minute, Molino received the ball on the right-hand side and floated a lovely ball in the area to Dennis Chin, who out-jumped the OKC center-halves to nod the ball past his former teammate, Jon Kempin.
Chin’s finish was the final product of an efficient counter-attack, as City only needed three passes to find the back of the net.
Less than two minutes later, Molino would get free on the right side again, after a poor giveaway from the Energy, and played a driven ball across the six-yard box for former Real Salt Lake City Midfielder Yordany Alvarez who had a comfortable finish for the second goal of the match.
The consecutive assists puts Molino’s tally at four for the season, as the midfielder inches closer to the club record, which stands at seven in one season.
Despite the Lions’ strong play, OKC also managed to create dangerous chances themselves, and came close to converting on multiple occasions.
The majority of the Energy’s looks at the City goal came from set-pieces that forced two tough saves from Gallardo and a goal-line clearance from Adama Mbengue.
However, OKC would pull one back in the 41st minute when Philip Lund scored from 12 yards away. The goal was the result of a dangerous ball that was played into the box and redirected by Midfielder Steve Perry to Lund, who fired it passed Gallardo.
To begin the second half, Orlando City would find the score-sheet much more quickly when Chin outran the Energy defense to score his fourth goal in the past five USL PRO matches.
The speedy striker went on a forty yard run with the ball before slotting home the final goal of the match in the 47th minute.
The Lions will now begin preparing for an upcoming two game road-trip, that includes back-to-back matches against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (5/9) and the Rochester Rhinos (5/10).
Both matches will be live streamed via the Riverhounds’ and Rhinos’ YouTube channels.
For more information, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com.