Match Preview: 7.25.2012 vs. Wilmington Hammerheads
Lions out for revenge on Wilmington on WednesdayORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City Soccer Club looks to avenge their only loss of the season as the Lions tackle the challenging Wilmington Hammerheads at the Florida Citrus Bowl on Wednesday night. The Hammerheads remain the only team to have defeated Orlando City in USL PRO play, having won the June 2 match in Wilmington 3-1. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Lions come into the match confident, having won their last four matches, including last week’s thrilling 2-1 victory over rival Charleston. In that match, City scored goals in the 90th minute and the second minute of stoppage time to come from behind for the victory. Prior to the Charleston win, the Lions won back-to-back 4-0 contests over Los Angeles and Rochester.
Since the June 2 match between the two clubs, Orlando has a record of 7-0-2, and has scored 21 goals while allowing just five. By contrast, Wilmington is 5-3-2, and has scored 14 times and allowed 11. All five of the Hammerheads wins in that span have come at home, while all three of their losses have come on the road. Given that the match is being played in Orlando, the trend favors the Lions in Wednesday’s matchup.
Orlando and Wilmington have met once at the Citrus Bowl already this season. The Lions opened the 2012 home schedule with a 4-1 thumping of the Hammerheads in front of over 8,400 fans. The match was a sign of things to come for Orlando, as this year’s squad has already surpassed the team goal-scoring total from last season of 36 with five games remaining. City has scored 39 goals already this season. A win on Wednesday will also pull the Lions even with last season’s win total, 15, with four games left to surpass it.
Tomorrow’s match will have little effect on Orlando’s playoff positioning as the Lions hold an 11 point lead on first place in the USL PRO table, and can clinch the regular season championship by beating the Charleston Battery on Friday, regardless of Wednesday’s result. For the Hammerheads, this match is crucial as a bad string of form could see them fall out of the playoff picture entirely. While they sit in fourth place at the moment, all of the teams below them with a likely shot at the playoffs hold at least one game in hand on the Hammerheads.
Wednesday’s match marks the return of Jean Alexandre to Orlando. The on-loan striker is now in his third stint with the Lions this season, and will be with the club through the playoffs. His physical presence up top will give Orlando a different look, something the Hammerheads did not see in their last encounter with City.
At the game, Orlando City will be collecting donations of gently used soccer equipment for Powerhouse International Sports Harvest. The equipment will be distributed throughout the world to underprivileged children.
For tickets to Wednesday’s match, call 855-ORL-CITY or email email@example.com. The match will be broadcast on USLNation.com and on the radio on 740 AM The Game. For more information visit www.orlandocitysoccer.com today.
Player to Watch - Jean Alexandre:
Though his time with the Lions has been short, just four games, his impact cannot be overstated. The Lions have won every match in which Alexandre has featured, and have outscored opponents 9-1 in that span. Alexandre himself has scored twice, and assisted on another goal.
Alexandre’s presence on the pitch changes the makeup of the team in multiple ways. In addition to his scoring ability, his physicality and penchant for tracking back to receive the ball bring a new dimension to the defense. Whether he is paired with the speedy Dennis Chin or the crafty Matt Luzunaris, Alexandre is sure to draw attention and create opportunities for his strike partner.