Key Matches This Weekend For Lions
Major playoff implications on Saturday make way for the first English Premier League friendly on Sunday
Courtesy of Orlando City S.C.
ORLANDO – On Saturday, Orlando City kicks off against the Rochester Rhinos in one of the most important matches of the season. Major playoff implications surround tomorrow’s match with the Rhinos, as a win would all but guarantee home-field advantage throughout the USL PRO playoffs for Orlando. The next day, Orlando City plays the first match of the 2011 Premier League Challenge against Bolton Wanderers.
The Lions and Rhinos have already played each other twice this season, both times in Rochester. Orlando leads the season series 1-0-1, taking four of a possible six points in Rochester. Still, both games were tough defensive battles, with just one goal being scored in the two matches combined. The Lions are expecting another hard-fought match, and are well aware of the stakes the game carries.
“This coming game Saturday is the most important out of the remaining four,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I have great respect for their coach [Bob] Lilley; he will have his team come out fighting this weekend. It we beat Rochester we will essentially lock up the league. Only four games away.”
Orlando will be without key defender Rob Valentino for the Rochester match, as well as the next league match against Charleston. Valentino has been suspended two additional games for his red card against Dayton on July 8. Fortunately for the Lions, they also receive a boost in new forward Matt Luzunaris. The former UCF Knight joined the club today on loan from San Jose Earthquakes in Major League Soccer.
Saturday’s match will be broadcast nationally on FOX Soccer Channel. Kenn Tomasch, the voice of USL PRO, will have the call with Jason Arnold providing commentary from the sidelines. Kickoff is set for 6:30 pm.
Following Saturday’s league game, the Lions face off against their first ever English Premier League side, Bolton Wanderers. The Wanderers have been training in Orlando all week as part of their preseason tour of North America. On Thursday night, Bolton fell 1-0 to FC Tampa Bay. The Lions look to be the next American club to knock off one of England’s finest.
The short turnaround between games presents a challenge for the Lions, but it is a challenge with which they are quite familiar. Orlando is 5-1-0 in the second match of a two game set that featured 48 hours or less. Because the match is not a USL PRO league match, Valentino will be available to play. The Bolton match will be broadcast on USL Live, the USL’s free online video service. To catch the game, visit www.usllive.com. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
Close on the heels of these matches is a friendly against English Premier League side Newcastle United on July 23rd. Tickets for the match are still available and start at just $25. For more information, call 855-ORL- CITY today!
Proposed Line-up (unofficial):
GK: Miguel Gallardo
DF: Erik Ustruck, Lawrence Olum, Kieron Bernard, Jack Traynor
MF: Jamie Watson, Yordany Alvarez, Luke Boden, Lewis Neal
FW: Matt Luzunaris, Max Griffin
Sean Kelley, Demar Stewart, Mechack Jerome, Kevin Molino, Charlie Campbell, Dennis Chin, Devorn Jorsling
#BoltonWeek: Orlando City vs. Bolton Wanderers, July 17 @ 7:30 pm at the Citrus Bowl
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