ORLANDO, Fla. - Behind 87th and 90th minute goals by Jamie Watson and Dom Dwyer, Orlando City (10-1-2, 32 points) topped visiting Antigua Barracuda FC (0-10-0, 0 points) 2-0 Sunday night at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl. The win marked the 25th consecutive regular season home match without defeat, dating back to June of 2011.
The Lions controlled possession early on, with the team adjusting to a lineup that featured 10 different starters from Friday night’s 2-0 win over the visiting Phoenix FC. Players including Defenders Justin Clark and Brian Fekete, along with former Orlando City U23s defensive stalwart Oumar Diakhite, made their first starts of the 2013 season- getting valuable minutes under their belts against Antigua.
Early chances by Midfielders Adama Mbengue and Assistant Coach/Midfielder Ian Fuller loosened up the Antigua backline toward the middle of the first half, with the Lions gaining more chances as the match went on. Mbengue and Fuller both had attempts ring off the right-hand post, coming dangerously close to the back of the net. The chances continued to mount for Orlando, but despite the increased pressure the clubs went into halftime tied 0-0.
League-leading scorer Dom Dwyer, Forward Long Tan and Midfielder Jamie Watson came in after the break to give the Lions a spark up front, looking to get by the Antigua backline. After chipping away and earning continued chances, Orlando finally got their chance with three minutes left to play in regulation.
Former Portland Timber Midfielder Freddie Braun was making a turn in the 18-yard box in the 86th minute, only for Barracuda Defender Dublin George to trip Braun- awarding Orlando the penalty. Watson converted in the bottom-left corner past Goalkeeper Molvin James, putting the Lions up 1-0. The penalty conversion marked the second straight game in which Watson converted an attempt and his seventh goal of the season.
The Lions weren’t done, with Watson finding Dwyer on a well-played ball past the Antigua defense, with the striker scoring his 15th of the season in the 90th. The conversion extended Dwyer’s single-season record of goals in a USL PRO season, which he broke on Friday in the team’s win over Phoenix.
Goalkeeper Jon Kempin, who saw his first regular season start since an April 19th match against the LA Blues, played the full 90 minutes Sunday night behind a steady Orlando backline. The 0-0 draw was the Kansas native’s first shutout in purple colors since coming on loan at the beginning of the season.
Tonight’s win marked the 25th consecutive match the Lions have been undefeated in USL PRO regular season play at home, dating back to the team’s inaugural season in June of 2011 (Antigua). The Lions are 7-0-0 at home in 2013, scoring 25 goals while only allowing six at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Head Coach Adrian Heath looked past the three points after the match, saying the team needs to improve and was not impressed with the club’s play.
“We were pathetic,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I feel sorry for the supporters who came out and watched that performance. I’ve learned an awful lot about a lot of people today.”
Orlando enters into the fourth round of the US Open Cup this Wednesday, June 12, in Kansas City, Kansas, against Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Sporting Kansas City. The Lions topped the Colorado Rapids 3-1 on May 28 at the Florida Citrus Bowl, marking the first time in franchise history the club has beaten an MLS club in the US Open Cup. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. EST.
The four players on loan from SKC, including Dom Dwyer, Jon Kempin, Christian Duke and Yann Songo’o, will be unavailable for selection on Wednesday. For more information on Wednesday’s match, visit Orlandocitysoccer.com.