Big Weekend For Soccer In Orlando

Filed under: Orlando City Soccer,Vacation Tips |

It’s a big weekend for soccer here in Orlando as Saturday sees Orlando City kick off against the Rochester Rhinos in one of the most important matches of the season.  Major playoff implications surround tomorrow’s match with the Rhinos, as a win would all but guarantee home-field advantage throughout the USL PRO playoffs for Orlando.  On Sunday, Orlando City plays the first match of the 2011 Premier League Challenge against Bolton Wanderers and of course, that follows hot on the heels of the Women’s World Cup Final from Germany where the USA take on Japan.

It’s been a great first season for Orlando City as they have stormed the American league of the USL Pro League but this weekend will really test the team and by Sunday evening we’ll really know how far this club can go in the short term.  The Lions and the Rhinos have already played each other twice this season, both times in Rochester and  Orlando leads the season series 1-0-1, taking four of a possible six points in Rochester.  Both games were tough defensive battles, with just one goal being scored in the two matches combined and we can expect another hard-fought match, as both sides are very well aware of the stakes the game carries.

“This coming game Saturday is the most important out of the remaining four,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath.  “I have great respect for their coach [Bob] Lilley; he will have his team come out fighting this weekend. It we beat Rochester we will essentially lock up the league. Only four games away.”

Orlando will be without key defender Rob Valentino for the Rochester match, as well as the next league match against Charleston.  Valentino has been suspended two additional games for his red card against Dayton on July 8.  Fortunately for the Lions, they also receive a boost in new forward Matt Luzunaris.  The former UCF Knight joined the club today on loan from San Jose Earthquakes in Major League Soccer.

Saturday’s match will be broadcast nationally on FOX Soccer Channel.  Kenn Tomasch, the voice of USL PRO, will have the call with Jason Arnold providing commentary from the sidelines.  Kickoff is set for 6:30 pm.

Following Saturday’s league game, the Lions face off against their first ever English Premier League side, Bolton Wanderers.  Bolton have been training in Orlando all week as part of their preseason tour of North America and on Thursday night, they lost 1-0 to FC Tampa Bay. Bolton will be looking to avenge that defeat and Orlando may just catch the backlash as Owen Coyle’s men look to show the ability that has made them a decent mid level team in the EPL.

The short turnaround between games presents a challenge for the Lions,however, but it is a challenge with which they are quite familiar.  Orlando is 5-1-0 in the second match of a two game set that featured 48 hours or less.  Valentino will be able to play as the game isn’t a USL PRO league match.  Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.

Close on the heels of this weekends matches is another friendly against English Premier League side Newcastle United on July 23rd.  Tickets for the match are still available and start at just $25.  For more information, call 855-ORL- CITY today!

Proposed Line-up v Rochester (unofficial):

GK: Miguel Gallardo

DF: Erik Ustruck, Lawrence Olum, Kieron Bernard, Jack Traynor

MF: Jamie Watson, Yordany Alvarez, Luke Boden, Lewis Neal

FW: Matt Luzunaris, Max Griffin


Sean Kelley, Demar Stewart, Mechack Jerome, Kevin Molino, Charlie Campbell, Dennis Chin, Devorn Jorsling

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