Orlando City Step Up Title Challenge

Filed under: Orlando City Soccer,Orlando Events |

Fresh from an astonishing last minute win in Charleston last Thursday that sealed a play off place, Orlando City looks at taking another step towards wrapping up the USLPRO title for the second season running at the Citrus Bowl tonight.

Matt Luzunaris and Ian Fuller scored the goals in stoppage time to turn what looked a certain defeat into a win with an extraordinary finish last week and tonight the Lions will be looking for another three points that will take them closer to successive titles. Orlando, currently on 46 points and eleven points clear of second placed Rochester Rhinos, will be looking to avenge their only loss of the season so far as they face Wilmington Hammerheads.  The Hammerheads, with 29 points, remain the only team to have defeated Orlando City in USL PRO play, having won the June 2 match in Wilmington 3-1.

The Lions will come into the match in confident mood, having won their last four matches, two of them by 4-0 scorelines against Los Angeles and Rochester.  Wilmington, however, will be looking to rectify a poor season away from home that has so far seen them gain just one win.

The clubs have met once at the Citrus Bowl already during the season and it was Orlando who won 4-1 in front of over 8,400 fans.  The match was a sign of things to come for Orlando, as this year’s squad has already surpassed the team goal-scoring total from last season of 36 with five games remaining.  City has scored 39 goals this season and a win tonight will pull the Lions even with last season’s win total, 15, with four games of the regular season left to go!

Although three points tonight are important, Orlando can clinch the regular season championship by beating Charleston Battery on Friday regardless of tonight’s result. If they can do that, they will go into their international friendly game against English Premier League opposition Stoke City on Saturday in a great frame of mind. Last season they beat Newcastle United with a confident and collected display of attacking football and Orlando’s fans will be looking to add yet another top level scalp to their growing collection.

It’s a busy week for the Lions and some squad rotation can certainly be expected with the run of three games in four days. On that note, City will be delighted to welcome the return of Jean Alexandre (pictured above right) for this evenings fixture.  The on-loan striker is now in his third stint with the Lions this season, and will now be with the club through to the playoffs.  His physical presence leading the attack will give Orlando a different look and with Dennis Chin and Matt Luzanaris in good goal scoring form it’s hard to see anything but an Orlando win tonight.

Kick off is at 7.30pm and tickets are still available by calling in at the Florida Citrus Bowl ticket office prior to the game.


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