Orlando City Extend Lead at Top of League

Filed under: Orlando City Soccer |

Orlando City extended it’s lead in the American Division of the USL Pro league last night with a 0-0 draw against lowly opposition Dayton Dutch Lions. In something of an unremarkable match, four red cards were shown by match referee Carlos Sandaval who simply lost control of the game.

The game started out as something of a physical battle as both teams committed fouls that the referee and his assistants failed to spot. Naturally this set a rod for the officials own back as players became frustrated and continued to commit silly, but in no way cynical fouls.

Surprisingly Dayton, who were bottom of the national division at the start of the game, started the brighter of the two teams. It wasn’t until the 30 minute mark that Orlando started to impose as they created several half chances that, in all reality, rarely threatened their opponents.  The half ended scoreless, but Orlando appeared to have momentum.

Dayton came out of the second half swinging, much like the first half. After testing keeper Miguel Gallardo early, Orlando returned fire. Everything changed for both sides when Michael Tetteh, on loan with City from Seattle Sounders FC (MLS), picked up his second yellow card of the game after 52 minutes.  Dayton’s advantage was short lived as George Davis IV brought down Erik Ustruck with a cumbersome challenge that looked worse than it was. The straight red card made it 10 a side, spurring another wave of Orlando attacks.

The Lions again came close, when substitute Dennis Chin (on for Max Griffin) nearly put Orlando ahead in the 84th minute but his shot hit the side netting. As the match entered stoppage time, the physical nature of the match reached its peak. Rob Valentino was shown straight red for an alleged high elbow that only the referee could have seen and that lead to a Dayton free kick. As the Dutch Lions set up their opportunity, an squabble broke out among the players and it ultimately resulted with Marvin van der Pluijm, who had only picked up a yellow two minutes before, being sent off for arguing with the match official. Comical.

The ensuing free kick sailed over the cross bar and that was the final action of a competitive game as both sides claimed a point.  The Lions, though, have no time to dwell on missed opportunities as after the game they immediately traveled on the team bus to Charleston for tonight’s game. It’s a tough schedule for the Lions but they’ll have fond memories of their last clash with their American Division rivals as the last time they squared off was in the US Open Cup two weeks ago, with the Lions outlasting the Battery 1-0.

Orlando will be without their hero from the match, Rob Valentino, as he will serve his red card suspension while Michael Tetteh’s loan from Seattle will also end a game early due to his red card suspension. Kickoff in Charleston is set for 7:00 pm and the match will be broadcast on USLLive.com.

Orlando then get a few days off before they take on top of the National League rivals Rochester Rhinos on 16th July and the following day sees City taking on English Premier League club Bolton Wanderers at the Citrus Bowl.  July 23rd caps off the EPL series when Orlando City squares off against legendary English side Newcastle United again at the Citrus Bowl.

Tickets start at just $25. Call 855-ORL-CITY for more information.

Final Score: Orlando City 0  Dayton Dutch Lions 0

Attendance:  4,594

Orlando City Line-up GK: Miguel Gallardo D: Erik Ustruck, Kieron Bernard, Rob Valentino, Michael Tetteh M: Kevin Molino (77’ – Jack Traynor), Lawrence Olum, Yordany Alvarez, Lewis Neal F: Max Griffin (72’ – Dennis Chin), Jamie Watson

More photo’s appear here and here’s some video of an interview with Adrian Heath before the game.

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