Orlando City tops Saint Louis in preseason finale

It was the team’s preseason finale, but it was also the first time they took the field at Orlando City Stadium.

First half goals from Ricardo Kaka and Cyle Larin lifted Orlando City past Saint Louis FC 3-1 on Saturday during a friendly scrimmage at the club’s downtown stadium.

“This was a positive step for us, especially coming out of last weekend’s results,” said Orlando City coach Jason Kreis.

Kaka gave the Lions the early lead after scoring off a freekick he drew in the fifth minute. Larin doubled the lead for Orlando in the 25th minute after Carlos Rivas played a cross to the canadian international. Rivas notched a second assist minutes later after playing a curling pass to Larin to triple the lead in the 35th minute.

With the game heading to a close, Saint Louis got on the scoresheet when Milan Petosevic scored off a free kick in the 88th minute.

Kreis praised the striker duo of Larin and Rivas shortly after the game. After a slow start from the pair this preseason, both players got a rhythm going, which formulated to Orlando’s two of three goals.

“Tonight they really looked for each other,” said Kreis. “Tonight they both were extremely dangerous, got themselves in really good positions for us, and we’ll continue to do that. We made it pretty clear, we’re looking to play two strikers this year, we’re hopeful that could put some defenders, some defensive teams into a little bit of a tough spot.”


Cyle Larin pressuring Saint Louis goalkeeper Devala Gorrick. Larin scored two goals on Saturday to secure Orlando the victory (Bryce Brimhall / Orlando Soccer Journal). 

Larin also showed some positivity on his brewing partnership with Rivas, saying it’s only going to take time for them to develop into a more lethal attack force.

“It was our last preseason game, but it took time to get used to how he plays,” said Larin. “I think it’s good. We’re playing together, and I think next week we’ll be better.”

Kreis deployed Tony Rocha at left back, but that was shortly lived when the former Orlando City B standout picked up an injury in the second half. PC Giro enter the game shortly after for Rocha.

According to a team source, Rocha picked up a quad injury, and will be evaluated on Sunday to determine a timeline in his return. The injury only adds to the series of knocks Orlando’s outback players have sustained this season.

Kevin Alston and Rafael Ramos both suffered from hamstring injuries this preseason, and are expected to miss the team’s season opener.

Orlando City hosts New York City FC in the regular season opener on March 5 at Orlando City Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.

(Photos by Bryce Brimhall / Orlando Soccer Journal) 


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