Orlando City SC (10-2-2, 32 points) fell to the visiting Richmond Kickers (8-0-5, 29 points) 2-0 Saturday night at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl. The loss tightens the top of the league table, with the Lions holding a one-point advantage heading into the second half of the USL PRO season.
“I didn’t think we looked sharp tonight,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I think if we would’ve scored first, it (the goal) would’ve given us something to hang on to. I knew it would be a very difficult task for us against Richmond.“
Richmond, who came into Orlando playing only two road matches in the 2013 regular season, kept up with the Lions in the early parts of the first half. Early chances by Richmond Strikers Michael Seaton and Brian Ownby were saved by team captain and Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo to keep the score line clean early on.
Orlando, who was without leading-scorer Dom Dwyer due to the recall by Major League Soccer (MLS) affiliate Sporting Kansas City, responded with attacks of their own- including combination plays between Forwards Dennis Chin and Jamie Watson. Near chances for the duo occurred as the first 45 wore on, only for through-balls and crosses in to be slightly off in scoring opportunities. Despite the late pressure, Orlando went into the locker room tied with Richmond at 0-0.
The back-and-forth affair between the two clubs persisted though the beginning of the second half. Richmond, who came into the match allowing a league-low nine goals on the season, broke through in the 57th minute with a strike by Michael Seaton. The striker got behind the Orlando backline- blasting his shot past Gallardo in the lower-left corner of the net for the 1-0 Richmond lead.
After a few Orlando counters, Richmond struck again in the 78th minute behind a Bryan Ownby bicycle kick just inside the 18-yard box. The conversion gave the visiting Kickers a 2-0 lead, cementing the win and three points.
Saturday night’s loss ended Orlando’s regular season home-unbeaten streak of 25 games, which was a league record. The club’s last loss at home occurred in June of 2011 to Antigua Barracuda.
The Lions continue USL PRO play with their next two matches occurring on the road, facing the Wilmington Hammerheads on July 3 and then the Charleston Battery on July 5. Orlando previously topped the Hammerheads 4-1 at home on May 25, with four different Lions scoring in the win. The Lions and Battery have yet to meet in 2013.
For more information on the upcoming games and ticket information for Orlando’s next home match July 11, visit Orlandocitysoccer.com.