Orlando City’s 100th match in USL PRO was one that was never in doubt from the opening whistle. Riding stellar performances from midfielders Kevin Molino and Giuseppe Gentile, the Lion’s easily defeated Dayton 7-0 at home in Orlando.
Playing in front of a sparse Labor Day weekend crowd on an field with football lines painted on, there’s no doubt that fans and players alike must be looking forward to their brand new downtown stadium scheduled to open for the 2016 MLS season. However, the soccer itself left nothing to be desired.
Guiseppe Gentile hit the side netting within 90 seconds, and it wasn’t long until USL PRO golden boot leader Kevin Molino netted his 17th of the season in the 6th minute. He went on to score two more, earning his second hat-trick of the year.
The game was all but out of reach before the halftime whistle after Gentile scored to make the match 2-0 in the 38th. The former Chicago Fire man was a big contributor on the night, assisting on Molino’s first and firing the shot which led to Molino’s 3rd goal.
However, Molino was the clear MVP. In addition to scoring three, he was credited with two assists as well. Did I mention he only played 62 minutes?
Midfielder Austin Da Luz added two more goals, and Adama Mbengue added another to make seven total. The dominant performance allowed head coach Adrian Heath to use all five substitutes fairly early in the match, resting some key players for some important upcoming matches and the playoffs.
Perhaps more important, the victory almost certainly clinches the regular season USL PRO title for Orlando. They’re six points clear of Sacramento Republic FC, and both teams have two matches remaining. The first tie breaker is head to head results, and the two teams only fixture this season ended in a draw. However, the 2nd tiebreaker is goal differential. Currently +31 and+21 respectively, we would have to see some outlandishly lopsided results over the final two matches for Sacramento to overtake Orlando.
Orlando next take on the Wilmington Hammerheads on September 3rd in Wilmington, and then end the regular season at home against the 3rd place Richmond Kickers.
While good results will certainly be welcome, the goal now for Orlando will be making sure their top players are both well rested and in top form going into the playoffs. While one could certainly say that there are bigger and better things on the horizon for this club (MLS 2015!), you get the distinct impression that the USL PRO championship is very important to the players and coaches alike.
ORL – Kevin Molino (Giuseppe Gentile) 6’
ORL – Giuseppe Gentile (Unassisted) 38’
ORL – Kevin Molino (Unassisted) 40’
ORL – Austin da Luz (Kevin Molino) 49’
ORL – Kevin Molino (Unassisted) 58’
ORL – Adama Mbengue (Kevin Molino) 60’
ORL – Austin da Luz (Rafael Ramos) 69’
Orlando City SC – GK Carl Woszczysnki, D Tommy Redding, Rafael Ramos, Bitielo Jean-Jacques (Bryan Burke 67’), Rob Valentino (Justin Clark) 62’, M Adama Mbengue (Aodhan Quinn 70’), Austin da Luz, Darwin Cerén, Kevin Molino (Harrison Heath) 62’, Estrela, F Giuseppe Gentile (Dennis Chin 81’)
Dayton Dutch Lions – GK Matt Williams, D Ross Freidman (Irakli Khutsidze 41’), Shintaro Harada, Matt Weit, Taylor Bowlin, M Sebastien Thuriere, Karamba Janneh, Christian Camacho, F David Clemens, Cameron Vickers, Joe Broekhuizen
DAY- Ross Friedman (Yellow Card) 21’