Orlando City Set to Host USL PRO Final

Lions will play Charlotte Eagles for the championship
by Danny Morales   |   Monday, September 02, 2013

Purple Pride – column on Orlando City SC (OCSC) & the Orlando & Central Florida area soccer scene.

ORLANDO – Dennis Chin scored a goal and assisted another as Orlando City defeated the Charleston Battery 3-2 on Friday in front of an announced attendance of 8,912 at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Citrus Bowl, clinching the Lions 2nd USL PRO finals appearance in 3 seasons.

The Lions will host the Charlotte Eagles in the final after the Eagles upset the top-seeded Richmond Kickers 2-1 in Saturday’s semifinal. 

“We’ll move on and let’s try to win next week,” said Orlando City manager Adrian Heath when asked if making it to the final rectifies last season’s early departure from the playoffs. “I’ve still not forgot Wilmington last year.”

Orlando City will return to championship game after being bounced from the playoffs in the 2nd round last season by the Wilmington Hammerheads. 

The Lions got on the scoreboard early against Charleston when Long Tan scored his 3rd goal of the postseason, thanks to an assist from Dennis Chin in the 5th minute of play. Orlando quickly added another goal a minute later when Adama Mbengue put one in the back of the net off of an assist from Erik Ustruck.

Chin extended Orlando City’s lead to 3-0 in the 19th minute when he scored his 2nd goal of these playoffs after an Mbengue header bounced off of the crossbar and landed at Chin’s feet for the finish.

Charleston scored their 1st goal of the game in the 33th minute when Michael Azira put the ball in the back of the net after some miscommunication between Orlando City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and his defenders, cutting Orlando’s lead to 3-1.

“A game that was won was put back into their hands by our own stupidity,” said Heath following the game. “That’s what happened.”

The Lions went into the locker room at halftime leading Charleston 3-1, while outshooting the Battery 7-2 during the opening 45 minutes.

The Battery cut Orlando City’s lead to 3-2 in the 60th minute when Amadou Sanatng scored his 1st goal of the postseason for Charleston.

“I thought we played outstanding for the 1st 40 minutes whatever it was, 30 minutes,” said Heath about his club’s performance. “And then we gave a terrible goal away. … The reason I’m so angry is the fact that this game is done. And we’ve given them an opportunity to get back in it.”

With the Lions up 3-2 in the 74th minute of the game, Tan was given a yellow card for diving when it looked like he was taken down in the box for a penalty. Immediately following Tan’s booking, he and Charleston defender Colin Falvey were both given straight red cards leaving both teams with 10 players for the final 16 minutes plus stoppage time.

“Tan shouldn’t get involved but it’s a clear penalty,” said Heath of the play in the box that resulted in two red cards. “It’s a stonewall penalty, so the incident should have been cleared up within 2 seconds… give him the penalty and we all stay on, they keep 11, we keep 11 on.”

Orlando City held on to the 3-2 lead and came away with the win that guarantees them a spot in the USL PRO championship game. The Lions finished the game outshooting the Battery 11-10, while Orlando took 9 corner kicks to Charleston’s 3.

Due to the red card the Lions will be without Tan for next weekend’s championship game, while also having to play without midfielder Kevin Molino, who is on international duty, and Jamie Watson, who remains injured.

Orlando City President Phil Rawlins did say on Twitter that Orlando City has appealed Tan’s red card to the USL Pro.

NEXT UP: September 7 - Orlando City vs. Charlotte Eagles, Fifth Third Bank Field at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla. 7:30 p.m. EST, USL Nation.


Valencia College
Club Domestic:
Orlando City
Club Foreign:
Real Madrid
Former athlete turned journalist who remembers the days of the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny, Danny now writes Orlando City news while chronicling the clubs move to become an MLS franchise.