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In its first home game since July 8, Orlando City SC scored three second-half goals to earn a 3-1 win over the New England Revolution, putting the teams level in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Two goals from Kevin Molino and one from Cyle Larin’s helped the Lions extend their home-unbeaten streak to 17 games.
“Obviously very, very happy. I think the week of work that the players and staff have put in was excellent. One of the best weeks I’ve ever been involved with. To see that work culminate in a really strong performance makes me extremely happy,” Head Coach Jason Kreis (pictured above) said. “It’s really rewarding as a coach to be working on something and spending a lot of energy to try and convey that message to the players to see it start to take shape in the game.”
Kreis made several changes to the lineup in his first game as head coach. Playing a similar system to Adrian Heath’s preferred 4-2-3-1 but a little more compact, Kreis started Hadji Barry on the right flank after an impressive mid-week performance against EPL’s Stoke City. Servando Carrasco and Antonio Nocerino were preferred as the defensive midfield pairing but the noticeable absence at the start of the game was the omission of Brek Shea.
Barry started the game brightly with some decent runs but it was his loss of control far too easily that led to the opening goal of the game for New England. Receiving a throw in on the edge of his opponents 18 yard box, Barry took a loose touch and was disposed. New England stormed up the field and Kei Kamara (pictured above in red) streaked away from the chasing defenders to coolly finish past Joe Bendik on his near post.
The loss of the goal seemed to knock some confidence out of Orlando and the Revolution then played some neat football that might have led to a second goal if some attacking composure had been shown. Towards the end of the first half, Orlando regained some confidence and put extensive pressure on the New England goal but couldn’t break through before the half time break.
Just one minute into the second half the home side corrected matters. Larin and Molino played a clever one-two on the left side of the box before the Canadian striker ripped a left-footed shot into the far post, beating goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth for his team-leading 11th goal of the season and his third consecutive game with a goal.
Molino then put the Lions ahead in the 64th minute when Shea, who had come on at half time for Barry, made a strong run to the end line before chipping the ball into the six-yard box. Molino appeared from nowhere to firmly plant the ball into the back of the net.
The Lions the rounded off a fine evening in the 83rd minute after an extended passing sequence between Boden, Kaká and Molino. Boden flicked it to Kaká, who passed it up to Molino charging into the box. The Trinidadian applied a neat finish for his ninth goal of the season to send the 27,768 purple clad fans in attendance into a frenzy and earn Orlando City its first three-goal half of the season.
The Lions return to action on Sunday, July 7, against the Seattle Sounders. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Camping World Stadium.
Tickets to all City home matches are available at OrlandoCitySC.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY.
Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Luke Boden, David Mateos, Seb Hines, Kevin Alston, M Servando Carrasco, Kevin Molino, Antonio Nocerino (Cristian Higuita 78’), Hadji Barry (Brek Shea 46’), F Kaká (Darwin Cerén 84’), Cyle Larin
Substitutes Not Used: GK Earl Edwards Jr., D José Aja, M Júlio Baptista, F Carlos Rivas
New England Revolution – GK Bobby Shuttleworth, D Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, Je-Vaughn Watson, London Woodberry, M Scott Caldwell (Charlie Davies 75’), Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Chris Tierney (Gershon Koffie 62’), Teal Bunbury (Diego Fagúndez 69’), F Kei Kamara
Substitutes Not Used: GK Brad Knighton, D Darrius Barnes, M Zachary Herivaux, Diago Kobayashi
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com