by: Orlando City SC Updated:
Orlando City SC (15-4-6, 51 points) fell to the Richmond Kickers 2-0 (15-1-9, 54 points) Wednesday night at City Stadium, with the Kickers capturing the 2013 USL PRO Regular Season Championship in the win. Despite multiple efforts on goal, the Lions were unable to convert- finishing second in the league table with one game remaining in the regular season.
Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo made key saves in the early portions of the match, including a diving block to deflect an early strike by Midfielder Joseph Ngwenya. Ngwenya was found in stride by Forward Brian Ownby in the 7th minute, with the goalkeeper scooping up not one but two shots on goal to keep the score sheet clean at 0-0.
Despite key saves early on, a Richmond goal come in the 24th minute- with Matthew Delicate finding the back of the net after Ngwenya rounded the right-hand corner. Delicate found himself in the right position inside the box, with the forward blasting home a strike to give the Kickers a 1-0 lead.
Delicate struck again just five minutes later, with William Yomby on the assist. The midfielder chipped his attempt up and over Gallardo, putting Orlando in a 2-0 hold just 30 minutes into the match.
Orlando made multiple adjustments in the locker room, including three substitutes that included Freddie Braun, Christian Duke and Long Tan. The new entries not only proved to be fresh legs for Adrian Heath’s side, but a more offensive formation led to Orlando City creating more chances in the second half.
One of the first true chances for the Lions occurred in the 60th minute, when Richmond Kickers Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra took down sub Long Tan inside the box- awarding Orlando a penalty attempt. Midifelder Kevin Molino had a bit too much on the attempt, with his shot skying over the crossbar and out of danger.
The Lions continued to mount pressure throughout the rest of the second half, with attempts coming close, but not in, the back of the net. Shots by Freddie Braun and Dennis Chin continued to keep the Richmond backline on their heels, but the home team held strong – not allowing the Lions to convert in the second half to capture the 2-0 victory and Regular Season Championship.
The loss means Orlando will finish second in the USL PRO table, holding home field advantage in the league quarter and semifinals. Playoffs begin on Saturday, August 24, at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Tickets are on sale now, starting at just $15. The opponent is still TBD.
The Lions wrap up the regular season with a match this Saturday, August 17, against the Charlotte Eagles. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST, with gates opening an hour beforehand.
For more information on the upcoming home finale and playoffs, please visit OrlandoCitySoccer.com.