Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – Orlando City SC extended its USL PRO unbeaten streak to 14 matches at ESPN Wide World of Sports on Wednesday night with a 4-1 win over the Orange County Blues.
Orlando City and Orange County both had a slow start to the match in the first ten minutes, as the two sides attempted to adjust to the wet conditions, due to the torrential downpour that took place prior to kick-off.
In the 11th minute, Adama Mbengue nearly opened up the scoring with a low driven effort across the box that skipped just past the far-post. Just one minute later, Mbengue was once again involved when Kevin Molino connected with the Senegalese midfielder for a one-two inside the area, before blasting a powerful left-footed effort towards the near-post.
In the 25th minute, Molino created space for himself and blasted a powerful effort from the edge of the area, forcing Goalkeeper Josh Ford, Seattle Sounders Loanee, to make a nervous save.
The Orange County Blues provided the first goal of the match in the 37th minute, after capitalizing on the counter. After a City corner kick, Ford did well to quickly throw the ball to Seattle Sounders Loanee, Sean Okoli.
With only two City players in the defensive third, the powerful striker ventured on a 40 yard run before rolling the ball into space for Midfielder Jiovanni Santana, who placed his final effort past Gallardo to give the California based side the 1-0 lead. The goal marked Santana’s second of his professional career.
Nevertheless, Orlando wouldn’t spend much time trailing as Striker Corey Hertzog leveled the score-line in stoppage time. Hertzog’s was able to force his way to the near post and get on the end of a driven cross from Ceren before re-directing it into the back of the net.
Adrian Heath’s half-time rally seemed to provide the spark needed for Lions, as Orlando scored within the first four minutes of the second half when Bryan Burke played a well-placed ball to da Luz, who was unmarked in the box. Da Luz’s header went directly between the goalkeeper’s legs, giving City a well-deserved 2-1 advantage.
In the 54th minute, da Luz was left unmarked once again but nodded his header wide of the target.
As the half progressed, City continued to put Ford under pressure and fire away at the Blues’ goal, resulting in two additional goals towards the end of the second 45. The two final goals of the match were provided by Brad Rusin, marking his first league goals in purple and white. In the 78th minute, Mbengue found Rusin on the back-post from a corner, and the imposing defender placed a comfortable header back across the goal.
Less than ten minutes later, Rusin’s found himself in a fortuitous position when Tyler Turner’s header from a corner found Rusin, who had an easy tap in from less than two yards away in the 87th minute.
City’s efficient attacking play slightly overshadowed the increased intensity on the defensive end, as Miguel Gallardo faced zero shots in the second half.
The 4-1 win moves Orlandos’ unbeaten streak to 14, tying the Club’s all-time record for consecutive matches without a loss. City’s next two matches will take place outside of league play.
Blues next match is in North Carolina versus the Charlotte Eagles. The last time the two met was in Irvine on May 8th, where the Eagles earned a 2-0 victory over the Blues with goals from Drew Yates and Ben Newnam. Charlotte currently sports a 3-7-1 record, with 13 points on the season. Veteran Jorge Herrera leads the Eagles with four goals on the season.
Watch Orange County versus Charlotte Eagles live on youtube at youtube.com/charlotteeaglessc.