Orlando City thrashes Tampa Bay in US Open Cup as U23’s Beat Charleston Battery

Filed under: Orlando City Soccer,Tampa Bay Rowdies |

Orlando City Soccer vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies, Orlando, Florida - 28 May 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

The third round of the U.S. Open Cup marked a monumental night for Orlando City on Wednesday, as both Orlando City SC and the Orlando City U23s advanced into the fourth round of the oldest soccer competition in the United States, with wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery respectively.

After a 2-2 score-line at the end of 90 minutes, the U23s defied all odds and claimed its second-ever victory in the Open Cup in thrilling fashion, defeating the Charleston Battery after 14 rounds of penalty kicks. The young Lions will now advance on to the fourth round to face the Portland Timbers on June 17th.

Orlando City Soccer first team, meanwhile, handed a hiding to Tampa Bay Rowdies and now extend their winning streak to five consecutive victories against the NASL side.

It was impossible not to feel somewhat sorry for those fans who had traveled all the way from Tampa for this fixture on a Wednesday night. They deserved far better than watching their team go 4-0 down within 40 minutes as the game really was men against boys.

City’s confidence in its ability to defeat the Rowdies was quite evident, as Orlando were in complete control of the ball all night and looked destined to find the back of the net almost every time they went forward.

“First and foremost, I thought that it was an outstanding display from minute one to minute 90,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath after the 4-1 win. “Our counter-attacking and possession football was absolutely magnificent. I didn’t see the four goals coming, but I know that when we play this way that we’re difficult to stop.”

After knocking on the doorstep on several occasions in the first ten minutes, Lions midfielder Kevin Molino provided the first goal of the match in the 11th minute with a clinical finish.

Molino was able to find space in behind the defence as teammate Austin da Luz drifted inside and attracted the defense’s attention. This allowed the Trinidadian to run on to the end of a precisely floated ball from Tyler Turner and lob it over Tampa Goalkeeper Cody Mizell to open the scoring.

Despite scoring early in the match, Orlando were in no mood to sit back and protect the 1-0 lead, as the Lions continued to attack its I-4 rivals relentlessly. As a result, City would find the back of the net three more times before the end of the half.

In the 22nd minute Orlando extended its lead when a defensive mix up allowed Austin da Luz, who was returning from injury after a months absence,to slot home from six yards. Four minutes later things from bad to worse for Tampa as Adama Mbengue blasted home from a Luke Boden pass to make it 3-0.

Orlando City Soccer vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies, Orlando, Florida - 28 May 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

Molino then added a fourth and his tenth goal of the season in all competitions,  in the 41st minute of the match as he carved through the Rowdies’ defense and fired home from a tight angle.

Orlando were threatening a rout but just moments before half time Tampa managed to pull a goal back as Blake Wagner cut inside and curled a fine effort over Miquel Gallardo into the far post. Half Time : 4-1

Tampa made two changes during the break, bringing on forwards Brian Shriver and Casey Townsend for Christophe Lallet and Lucky Mkosana and this seemed to give them a little more confidence in holding the ball higher up the pitch. Orlando still looked dangerous in attack and only some fine saves from Rowdies keeper Cody Mizell kept the scoreline looking somewhat respectable.

Orlando City Soccer vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies, Orlando, Florida - 28 May 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

Mbengue had two prime opportunities in the 53rd and 61st minute, but a miss over the bar and a great save from Mizell prevented any further damage. Darwin Ceren (pictured above) also found himself in a good position to score his first goal since the pre-season Disney Pro Soccer Classic but the keeper did well in closing the space down and the chance went begging.

The teams then played out the last ten minutes without showing any real attacking intent. Tampa’s frustration with the night’s events began to show though as Shane Hill was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Molino in the 87th minute.

The Lions now advance on to the fourth round of the Open Cup for the second consecutive year and will face the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.

The fourth round match will take place in Commence City, Colo., at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. MT on June 17 while the U23s will take on MLS side, Portland Timbers at Providence Park on June 17. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m PT

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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