Orlando City SC (8-1-2, 26 points) defeated the visiting Wilmington Hammerheads (2-5-0, 6 points) 4-1 Saturday night at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Sporting Kansas City loanee and Forward Dom Dywer tied the USL PRO single season scoring record with a first-half strike, moving him to 13 goals on the year.
“I think we scored good goals this evening and played well in pockets,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “But I thought we were too loose in possession and our desire to keep a clean sheet was poor. It might sound blasé because we won 4-1 but I know we can always play better.”
» IMAGE GALLERY: Orlando City vs. Wilmington Hammerheads
Orlando took to their possession-oriented style of play at the game’s start, feeding multiple attacks by the Lions’ frontline that nearly resulted in early goals. The first chance for Orlando came from Midfielder Kevin Molino in the 10th minute, whose shot was parried by Wilmington Goalkeeper Troy Hernandez into the path of league-leading scorer Dom Dwyer. Dwyer, who came into the game having scored an already franchise-record 12 goals, had his low-liner go just wide of the post and out of play.
Orlando kept pressuring the visiting Wilmington side, with it paying off in the 25th minute. After a handball was called on Hammerheads Defender Uriah Bentick just outside the box, Midfielder Jamie Watson and Dwyer lined up to take the attempt just outside the 18-yard box. The Cuckfield, England, native proceeded to take the attempt – rocketing his shot into the top corner for the 1-0 advantage. The goal tied Dwyer for most goals scored in USL PRO regular-season history with 13, originally set by Jhonny Artega of FC New York in 2011.
The Lions capitalized one more time before the halftime whistle blew, this time with Watson on the scoring end. A give-and-go from Winger Bryan Burke in the 39th minute inside the 18 found a waiting Watson, who scored- giving Orlando the 2-0 lead going into half.
Six minutes into the second half, Orlando scored their third of the match behind a zinger from Burke. Midfielder James O’Connor split the Wilmington defense in the 51st minute, finding Burke on the edge of the box. The former Kitsap Puma (PDL) star fired his shot into the roof of the net for the 3-0 lead.
The Hammerheads took a bite into the Orlando lead in the 69th minute, with Midfielder Paul Nicholson converting a deflection past Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo to cut the deficit to two. Orlando responded just before the end of the match, with a goal from Rob Valentino giving the Lions a comfortable 4-1 advantage.
The Lions enter into the third round of the US Open Cup Tuesday, May 28, in Orlando, Fla., against Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Colorado Rapids at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Tuesday’s game marks the first time Orlando has hosted an MLS team at home in the knockout tournament, with the Lions traveling to opponent’s venues in the third round of the past two seasons. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.