Match Recap: College Friendlies - Orlando City vs. UCF
Jerome Mechack's stunning free kick strike, Adama Mbenge's first City goal highlight the mid-afternoon friendly at UCFTeam 1 2 Final
Orlando City 1 2 3
University of Central Florida 0 0 0
OC – Jerome Mechack 1(unassisted - free kick) 45
OC - Max Griffin 2 (Adama Mbenge 1) 47
OC - Adama Mbenge 1 (unassisted) 74
Miguel Gallardo (Sean Kelley 46), Jerome Mechack, Rob Valentino (Justin Clark 58), Wes Allen (Kyle Davies 58), Luke Boden (Kieron Bernard 72), Ian Fuller (Oumar Diakhite 72), James O’Connor, Charlie Campbell (Nick Sowers 58), John Rooney (Dennis Chin 58), Adama Mbenge, Max Griffin (Erik Ustruck 72)
ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando City continued their winning ways in the preseason, defeating the UCF Knights at the UCF Soccer and Track Stadium 3-0. Jerome Mechack, Max Griffin, and Adama Mbenge each scored for the Lions.
City controlled the overwhelming majority of possession in the first half. For the opening 20 minutes, the Lions had several opportunities but could not quite find the back of the net, seeing close chances go just wide on multiple occasions.
Despite wave after wave of Orlando attacks, UCF’s back line stood firm, and eventually opened up opportunities to counter. Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo made key saves in the 18th and 21st minutes to keep the score sheet clean for City.
Right before halftime, Griffin was taken down 30 yards outside the box as he was running on a breakaway toward goal. Jerome Mechack lined up to take the free kick. He hit a high, dipping shot over the wall, and struck the underside of the crossbar. Mechack put enough spin on the ball that it carried swiftly into the back of the net. Seconds later, City headed to the locker room up 1-0.
“We keep on improving and will continue to improve,” said Heath. “I told the team at halftime that we needed to capitalize more on the final third.”
The Lions did just that, as Griffin and Orlando continued to pressure the Knights’ defense at the start of the second half. In the 47th minute, Griffin blasted a low shot from close range into goal putting City up 2-0.
“Coach said we needed to come out with an early second half goal,” Griffin said. “I had a great opportunity to put us up even more and when the chance came, giving us the 2-0 lead.”
Adama Mbenge added the third goal for Orlando in the 74th minute, coming off a deflected pass from forward Dennis Chin. In a scrum around the goal, Mbenge found the ball on the left side of the post with no one in front of him, putting in his first goal of the preseason.
The 3-0 win ties the largest margin of victory for Orlando during the preseason, with the other 3-0 victory coming against Stetson a week ago.
Orlando concludes their preseason play Saturday against the University of South Florida, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. The match will be played in Tampa on the USF campus.