Orlando City begins playoff run Saturday against Charleston Battery
Lions face familiar foe in Charleston Battery for playoff opener
Courtesy of Orlando City S.C.
ORLANDO – The Orlando City Lions already hold the USL PRO regular season title, but the season isn’t over yet. On Saturday, City clashes with Charleston once again in the opening round of the 2011 USL PRO Playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm at the Citrus Bowl.
At this point, Orlando and Charleston should be quite familiar with each other. The two squads have squared off four times already this season – three regular season matches and one U.S. Open Cup match. Orlando holds the clear advantage in the series, winning three of the four, and outscoring the Battery by a combined 4-2 in the four games. Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath isn’t expecting any surprises in tomorrow’s match.
“For both teams, it will be a shock if anything happens that we aren’t both aware of,” said Heath. “I think we’ll have to play better than we have to beat them again.”
The Lions and Battery last met just two weeks ago in a two-game series in Orlando. City won both games, the second of which clinched the regular season championship for the Lions. Jamie Watson scored twice for Orlando, kick starting his run of five goals in nine days. Orlando will be relying on Watson to continue his torrid form up top to emerge victorious.
Both teams come into the match riding high off a big win, but Charleston has a little more to prove. Their two losses to City two weeks ago nearly knocked them out of the playoffs entirely. The Battery needed a 4-3 victory over Charlotte in their final game to squeak in to the American Division’s fourth spot. Expect the Battery to be looking for revenge, as the Lions were also the team that handed Charleston their first ever loss to a non-MLS side in the U.S. Open Cup.
The Lions know full well what is at stake, and have already looked past last week’s 4-0 victory in the regular season finale, except in terms of making improvements.
“I think the most important thing we have to do is discount the score line,” said Heath. “I thought our first half performance was as bad as it’s been all season. I said to the players our season will be over if we play Saturday the way we did in the first half. That performance won’t be good enough.”
Do not expect the Lions to make many changes to their game plan. With a league-best 15 wins, City is confident in their ability to control the game and play their way.
“I know what we do well and what we don’t do well,” said Heath. “I’m just going to concentrate making sure we play with the energy we need, that tactically we play the way we have all season, technically the way we control the ball. If we can do that, and put away the chances we have, we have enough to win the game.”
Tickets for this historic match are still available and start at just $12. To order tickets, call 855-ORL-CITY (855-675-2489). Tickets will also be available at the Citrus Bowl box office beginning at 4 pm on Saturday. For more information, visit www.orlandocitysoccer.com today.
Proposed Line-up (unofficial):
GK: Miguel Gallardo
DF: Erik Ustruck, Rob Valentino, Kieron Bernard, Jack Traynor
MF: Kevin Molino, Yordany Alvarez, Lawrence Olum, Lewis Neal
FW: Jamie Watson, Max Griffin
Sean Kelley, Mechack Jerome, Wes Allen, Luke Boden, Charlie Campbell, Devorn Jorsling, Dennis Chin
USL PRO Regular Season Champions
#RedCity - Paint the City RED for the Playoffs!
Next Match: 8/20 vs. Charleston Battery - 7:30 pm - Citrus Bowl
Director of Communications
1201 S. Orlando Ave, Suite 202
Winter Park, FL 32789