If Adrian Heath was mad after Orlando City SC’s 1-0 loss to the Rochester Rhinos a couple of weeks ago, I can’t even begin to imagine what he’s thinking tonight.
On the road in Pennsylvania for the first of a back-to-back series with the Harrisburg City Islander, Orlando City suffered their second loss of the season, and second straight on the road. It was the case of too little, too late, as the Lions rallied for a couple of goals late in the match, but still fell to the Islanders, 3-2, on Saturday night at Skyline Sports Complex in Harrisburg, PA.
Orlando started the match well, doing what they do best in holding possession and building up dangerous attacks. Dennis Chin and Kevin Molino were in the middle of the action early.
Molino nearly put Orlando on the board in the 15th minute, getting into a one-on-one position with the goalkeeper, firing off a shot that was somehow saved by a giving Harrisburg ‘keeper.
About five minutes later, Harrisburg drew a free-kick at the top of the penalty area. Robbie Derschang put the Islanders up 1-0 with a nicely taken free-kick goal just out of reach for the outstretched Miguel Gallardo, placing the ball to the top right corner of the goal.
From around the time of the near Molino goal, Orlando City started slacking in their possession play, and everything started to get a little sloppy.
Brad Rusin escaped a yellow card, at least, when he took down a Harrisburg player in the box in the 28th minute, forcing the ref to award the Islanders a penalty kick. With Rusin not getting any type of punishment for a play that probably warranted a card, Derschang stepped up and slotted home the penalty to put the Lions in a 2-0 hole.
Molino came very close to scoring for the second time, just minutes before the halftime break, sending a shot towards the goal that was deflected just wide of the far post, leading to an Orlando City corner.
Heath’s probable shouting at halftime didn’t seem to have much effect on Orlando out of the gate, as they continued to look like the weaker side.
Just after the start of the half, nor even two minutes in, Adama Mbengue — playing left back with Luke Boden serving a one-game yellow card suspension — brought down an Islanders attacker in the box, giving Harrisburg another penalty kick. Thankfully, the shot was sent high over the crossbar.
Harrisburg still found their third goal, though, less than six minutes later when Yann Ekra found Antonie Hoppenot on the breakaway as he redeemed his missed penalty shot with a goal that made it a 3-0 game.
Orlando City didn’t go down without a fight, though.
The Lions started building up play again late in the match, and finally found the back of the net in the 79th minute. Justin Clark, who had a couple of bad giveaways in the final third of Orlando’s side of the field, received a cross into the box from Austin da Lua, who picked up a yellow for something early in the second half. Clark headed the cross back into the middle of the box, finding Molino, who headed it home for his 14th goal of the season.
Giuseppe Gentile made it a one-goal game about six minutes later, slotting the ball home for his first goal with Orlando City after bringing in a cross from Mbengue.
Orlando continued to pressure and fight on as the final minutes went on, but weren’t able to find the all important tying goal.
The Lions will have a chance to get their revenge just seven days from now, when Orlando City returns home to host the Islanders next Saturday at ESPN Wide World of Sports.