Orlando City’s inaugural preseason invitational tournament came to a close Wednesday night with a rousing performance by the Lions, defeating the New England Revolution 6-2.
“I thought the performance was excellent,” said head coach James O’Connor after the game. “I thought the movement was very good. I think we can be very pleased. Quite a number of the players had a really strong performance.”
Orlando started the game running out a mixed lineup of veterans, a few fringe starters, young players, and academy players, while New England mainly played their starters.
The Lions took some time within the game to find cohesiveness and build into the game, but finally found the breakthrough just at the half-hour mark. A penalty was called after a Cristian Higuita cross was handled in the box by a Revs defender and midfielder Uri Rosell fired the ensuing penalty in, easily beating goalkeeper Matt Turner.
Just three minutes later, Orlando doubled the lead, once again thanks to Rosell. His cross into the box was turned in to the Revs net by New England defender Brandon Bye, making it 2-0 just before halftime.
Coming back out for the second half, Orlando pushed the pedal down hard, scoring three quick goals within the first six minutes of the second half.
It started when homegrown product Benji Michel laid off a ball to Cam Lindley, who made a perfect cross-field pass to Josue Colmán, who settled the ball, took a touch and curled a shot inside the far post to make it 3-0.
Then just two minutes later, Rosell slipped a ball in for Santiago Patiño and the rookie put the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper Turner to make it 4-0. Two minutes after that, Colmán got in on a breakaway and found a pass across the face of goal to Cristian Higuita in the minute to make it it 5-0.
Orlando would add one more through another penalty after Michel was taken down on the run and Dillon Powers stepped up and buried it, though Turner did get his gloves on it.
The Revolution would score two goals in the final 10 minutes of the game, thanks to Teal Bunbury, but the result was already certain by that time, as Orlando took home their first trophy of the season with their two tournament wins.
“There are so many positives that we’ll be able to draw upon, which is really encouraging,” O’Connor said. “The movement, the understanding of space was excellent. There are quite a few things we can be pleased about but again, it’s preseason. For us, it’s fantastic to have the level of performance, considering we’ve changed out the whole 11. To get that level of performance is excellent.”
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