Orlando City 3 Tampa Bay Rowdies 2

Filed under: Orlando City Soccer,Tampa Bay Rowdies |

An entertaining match at the Florida Citrus Bowl in the inaugural “I-4 Derby” saw Orlando City take the spoils with a 3-2 defeat of rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Forward Amani Walker (pictured below) put the Rowdies ahead in the 18th minute after he intercepted a sloppy pass from the Lions defense. The newcomer picked up his first goal since arriving at the Rowdies as he slipped the ball past Orlando’s goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo.

Orlando created several good first half chances but it wasn’t until the second half that they finally found the net. The Lions first goal came in the 49th minute after Tampa Bay was unable to clear a corner kick and forward Jamie Watson (pictured above) capitalized to level things up. In the 58th minute the Orlando fans then had further cause to celebrate as midfielder James O’Conner blasted home from outside the 18-yard box. It was all Orlando at this point and they seemed able to carve open the Tampa defence at will. It was no surprise when the third goal came in the 70th minute, as midfielder Jean Alexandre (pictured below) chipped the ball over Rowdies goalkeeper Andrew Fontein to further extend the lead.

5 minutes later, the Rowdies managed to cut the lead in half as a superb free kick by midfielder Luke Mulholland (pictured below) beat the flailing Gallardo dive. It could prove to be a crucial goal and only time will tell as the second leg will be settled by penalties if the Rowdies win by one goal in the return match that will take place in St. Petersburg on 30th March. Judging from the entertainment on offer in this game, it should prove to be another great game and we’ll be there to  report back on who can lay claim to being the top team in Florida.

More photos at FloridaLeisurePhotography.com


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