Orlando City Soccer In Action Tomorrow Night!

Filed under: Orlando City Soccer,Orlando Events |

Orlando City Soccer Club meets the Harrisburg City Islanders for the first time since last season’s enthralling championship game tomorrow night, Friday, June 22, at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.  A big crowd is expected as the Lions look to repeat their 2011 success against the City Islanders and stretch their current winning streak to three games.

The story of Orlando City’s last meeting with Harrisburg is well known to locals at this point but for those who need a refresher click here to see what happened. Ultimately it was a Devorn Jorsling penalty kick that won the shootout and gave the Lions a championship in its first franchise season.  Since that point, Orlando has maintained their winning ways.  Sitting at 9-1-2, the Lions have the best record in USL PRO at the halfway point of the season, and are actually ahead of where they were at midseason in 2011. Impressive.

Harrisburg, on the other hand,  has had an up-and-down season in 2012.  At 4-2-4, the City Islanders sit just outside of the playoffs in seventh position.  Their somewhat average performance in league play is buoyed by their impressive run in the US Open Cup as  Harrisburg is one of three USL PRO clubs still alive in the nation’s oldest soccer competition.  They’ve defeated two MLS clubs on the road to the quarterfinals, and have done so in dramatic fashion.  Next up for Harrisburg is a clash with the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday.  The question therefore remains whether or not Harrisburg will be focused more on the Lions, or their impeding quarterfinals match.

On the playing side, the Orlando attack looks to be bolstered this week by the return of Max Griffin.  Griffin had looked to be in form before a hamstring injury forced him to miss the last four league matches and with the resurgence of Matt Luzunaris, who scored on his last outing against Antigua (pictured above), City now look to have a potent attack.

The Lions have also added a new player to the roster as  U23s player Adama Mbengue has joined the pro club and subject to USSF approval, he will be available to play on Friday.  The Senegalese international spent the entire preseason with the pro side, and impressed many with his play during the Disney Pro Soccer Classic so he’ll prove to be a more than useful asset as the team look to maintain their lead at the top of the table.

The Lion defence also gets a boost this week as 2011 Defender of the Year Rob Valentino returned to training this week, and is expected to be available.  Fortunately for Orlando, he may not be needed as in the last two weeks, Orlando City’s two other center backs, Kyle Davies and Kieron Bernard, were named to the USL PRO Team of the Week.

Two players definitely missing from the City line-up this week are midfield stalwart James O’Connor and on loan forward Jean Alexandre.  O’Connor is in Europe to finalize his UEFA Pro Coaching License while Alexandre’s loan expired forcing him to return to San Jose.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m tomorrow night and tickets are available from the Orlando City ticket office either online at www.OrlandoCitySoccer.com or at the Citrus Bowl.

More photos from Orlando’s last game vs. Antigua are at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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