End of an Era as Orlando City Bow Out of USL PRO

Filed under: Orlando City Soccer |

Orlando City Soccer vs. Harrisburg City Islanders, USL PRO Play Off, 13 September 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

Orlando City Soccer has played it’s last game as a USL PRO affiliated club. Surprisingly losing 1-0 to Harrisburg City Islanders at home in the quarter final of the USL PRO play offs, it wasn’t the closing ceremony all involved at the club envisaged.

It would be easy to talk about a poor performance and where things went wrong during the game but it would be wrong to dwell on this final disappointment particularly when the players, coach and staff have given so much over the last four years.

39 players have represented the club since it was formed in 2011 and three USL PRO titles and two Championships later, the club now leaves to join Major League Soccer. Everyone at the club can be proud of that record and it was something a disappointed Head Coach Adrian Heath reflected on after the game:

“It’s sad that the record-breaking season has come to an end with that type of performance, but that’s football and that’s the way it is. This might be the last time that a lot of these guys will be together, and that’s the tough part. The guys that have been here for a few years have given unbelievable service to this football club. I’m privileged to have been their coach for four years” Heath said.

The game itself was an anti-climax. It started well as both sides created half chances but the decisive moment came in the 39th as Islanders forward Anthony Hoppenhot found himself clear on the edge of the box and he beat Carl Woszczynski in the Lions goal with a well executed shot to the upper right corner of the net.

Moments later Adama Mbengue was brought down in the Harrisburg box but the referee waved play on and the teams went into the half time break with the Islanders maintaining their 1-0 lead.

Orlando City Soccer vs. Harrisburg City Islanders, USL PRO Play Off, 13 September 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)Orlando City Soccer vs. Harrisburg City Islanders, USL PRO Play Off, 13 September 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

Orlando opened the second half with attacking intent. Estrela shot high and wide in the 55th minute, Corey Hertzog saw his effort blocked in the 66th minute, Dennis Chin (pictured above left) headed just wide in the 78th minute and Adama Mbengue saw his goal bound shot deflected for a corner in the 80th minute.

With time winding down, the Lions continued to push forward in a dramatic close to the match.

Frustration began to build on both sides and in a moment of madness in a highly competitive match, Harrisburg midfielder Robbie Derschang was sent off for a reckless challenge on Mbengue. With Orlando City holding a one-man advantage, the Lions pressed into Harrisburg’s half, searching for a game-tying goal to send the match into extra time.

The Islanders were resolute and they managed to hold off the mounting pressure from Orlando. In the end, they deserved their win as they were the more composed side. They now go on to meet Richmond Kickers in the semi final after the Kickers disposed of Charleston Battery 2-1 at City Stadium. In the other quarter finals, Sacaramento Republic beat Wilmington Hammerheads 4-1 and LA Galaxy II beat Rochester Rhinos 2-1.


Orlando City SC – GK Carl Woszczynski, D Tommy Redding, Bryan Burke (Tyler Turner 68’), Luke Boden, Rob Valentino, M Adama Mbengue, Harrison Heath (Anthony Pulis 68’), Kevin Molino, Estrela, Brian Span (Dennis Chin 58’), F Corey Hertzog (Giuseppe Gentile 72’)

Harrisburg City Islanders – GK Nick Noble, D Neil Shaffer, Coady Andrews, Matt Bahner, M Yann Ekra, Jose Barril, Jamiel Hardware (Morgan Langley 65’), Robbie Derschang, F Jimmy McLaughlin (Danny DiPrima 78’), Antione Hoppenhot (Colin Zizzi 88’)

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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