U20s: Recapping the beginning of the season
Catching you up on all the U20s action so farThe Orlando City U20s are off to a strong start in USL Super 20s league play. At 3-2-0, the Lions sit in second place in the Southeast Division behind Tampa Bay United. Here's a look at how the season has gone so far.
Orlando City U20s 3:1 VSI Tampa Flames
In their first match of the season, the Orlando City Soccer Club U20 squad achieved an impressive victory over the VSI Tampa Flames. Both Kejoun Benjamin and Ricardo King would find the back of the net for City, with King scoring twice. The Flames would try to come back and equalize multiple times but were only fortunate enough gain a lone goal. The final scoreline would be 3-1.
Orlando City U20s 2:3 IMG Bradenton Soccer Academy
The Orlando City Soccer Club U20s were dealt their first loss of the season in a tough match with IMG Bradenton. Midfielder Rik Ruddick would open the scoring in the 31st minute after a brilliant cross from his teammate, Patrick Moore.
Justin O’Connor would level the scoreline five minutes later after he wrong-sided the Orlando U20 keeper, Thomas Cerda. O’Connor would strike again only one minute later for IMG, bringing the score from 1-0 to 1-2 within 70 seconds.
IMG grabbed their final goal shortly after the start of the second half in the 48th minute. Due to some wicked wind, the goal would come directly from a corner taken by Carter Dorton. Ricardo King cut the Lions deficit to one just two minutes later, but that was all the scoring the U20s could muster.
Orlando City U20s 2:0 Ocala Stampede
In the blazing Florida heat, the Orlando City U20s topped the Ocala Stampede 2-0. After a scoreless first half, things got going in the second. Ricardo King netted his fourth goal of the season to start the scoring for the Lions in the 48th minute. Kejoun Benjamin provided the assist.
City would strike again not twenty minutes through Phillip Shehan. After an excellent cross by Benjamin, Shehan fired a rocket directly at the Ocala keeper from the top of the 18. Fortunately for City, the shot was deflected by a defender, and found itself in the back of the net.
Orlando City U20s 1:2 Tampa Bay United
With new additions Evan Greenbaum, and Sean Gossman, City looked to start a winning streak and test their new guns against the their I-4 rivals. As they have in every match this season, the Lions struck first. Unfortunately for City, they could not hold the lead.
Just after the half hour mark, Midfielder Phillip Shehan sent a cracker of a shot toward the Tampa net on a free kick outside the Tampa penalty area, Though his shot was off target, it found an unmarked Patrick Moore. He drilled the ball into the upper 90 to give the Lions the lead.
Despite being down 1-0 for the majority of the match, Tampa Bay United’s continued to fight, turning the final 15 minutes into a thrill-ride. In the 76th minute, United’s Daniel Barboto would receive excellent service from Russel Giglio. Barboto charged down the pitch, letting lose a cannon of a shot. Despite an excellent full-stretch effort, Orlando’s U20 keeper Orman Kimbrough was unable to save the low flying rocket.
Tampa would steal two points away from the young Lions with another goal in the 88th minute. From almost the same location as their first goal, Nathan Enos would send another home for United. Enos blasted a shot into the upper 90, giving Kimbrough little chance to stop the game-winner. Despite a furious push to the finish, the Lions feel to 2-2-0 on the season.
Orlando City U20s 1:0 Ocala Stampede
After a heart-wrenching loss to Tampa Bay United only one day before, Orlando City Soccer Club’s U20 squad took their frustrations out on Ocala Stampede. Right from the whistle the Lions were out to pounce on the the Stampede.
In only the second minute of the first half frontman Kejoun Bejamin nearly put the Orlando ahead. Bejamin, who has already hit net for the U20 side this season, was able to cut off a pass and shift into overdrive, sprinting down field and getting a shot off. His shot rang off of the crossbar, but it was a clear-cut sign the Lions meant business.
Solid play by the defense was key for the Orlando squad with an impressive half by Orlando City’s Rik Ruddick seemingly all over the field and stopping several Ocala attacks.
In the 74th minute, Ruddick proved himself an offensive hero as well, netting the game-winner. After a perfectly-placed corner kick by Patrick Moore, Ruddick connected with the ball in such a way that would make Robin Van Persie proud. The Lions held on to shut out Ocala for the second time this season.
Save for a quick jaunt up to Ocala to face Deportivo Ocala next Sunday, the U20s will remain at home for the rest of June. You can catch their next match at Windemere Prep on Saturday, June 23, at 11 a.m. Click here for the full U20s schedule.