ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando City fell to Fluminense FC 4-3 Saturday night in front of 11,127 fans at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl, an international friendly club record for attendance. The mark was previously set back in July of 2011 against the English Premier League’s Newcastle United with 10,889.
“It was great for some of our younger players to play against them (Fluminense),” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “On the whole, I’m pleased with the evening.”
Saturday’s opponent, Fluminense FC, competes in Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A- the top level of Brazilian soccer. This year they are also one of the sides representing Brazil in the prestigious Libertadores of American Cup, making a great mid-season opponent for the Lions.
» IMAGE GALLERY: Orlando City hosts Brazil's Fluminense FC
Orlando got on the scoreboard first, with league-leading scorer Dom Dwyer slotting his own give-and-go past Fluminense FC Ricardo Berna to give Orlando the 1-0 lead. In the 19th minute, Dwyer played a ball past a Fluminense defender, sprinting past the backline and finding space to convert a low roller to give Orlando a one-goal advantage.
Fluminense equalized in the final minutes of the first half, with a well-placed cross by Carlinhos finding Gum inside the 18-yard box- who whipped in a header to equalize the match at 1-1 in the 40th minute.
The Brazilian champs added a second goal at the beginning of the second half, with Ryner slotting in a score after Rafael found him in stride in the 47th minute. The striker put Orlando City Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo out of position, finding the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.
Two more goals were added by the Brazilian Champs in the second half, including individual strikes outside the 18 by Rafael and Samuel to put Fluminense up 4-1.
Orlando didn’t go into the night quietly, with two quick scores by the Lions in the 78th and 80th minutes cutting the lead down to one. Midfielder Adama Mbengue was involved with both scores, slotting home a goal after Jonathan Mendoza found the Senegal native in space while whipping a cross just two minutes later that eventually found the head of Jean Alexandre for the score. Despite the late attack, Fluminense held strong and came out on top with the 4-3 win.
The squad now turns their attention toward Wednesday night’s US Open Cup quarterfinal in Bridgeview, Ill., against Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Chicago Fire. Kickoff for the game is set for 8:30 p.m. EST. The Lions advanced past MLS affiliate Sporting Kansas City 1-0 in the last round of US Open Cup play, with an early score by Forward Long Tan giving Orlando the lead and win. The win marked the club’s first-ever win over Sporting KC and advancement to the quarterfinal round of the US Open Cup. If the Lions advance past Chicago, Orlando will host the semifinals on Wednesday, August 7, at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Orlando previously topped MLS’ Colorado Rapids 3-1 at the Citrus Bowl and the PDL’s Ocala Stampede in the second and third rounds of the knockout tournament.
The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is the oldest on-going national soccer competition in the United States and is open to United States Soccer Federation (USSF) affiliated teams. This year marks the centennial edition of the tournament. This year’s field consisted of 68 teams, the largest field in US Open Cup history.