Peoria, AZ. – Orlando City SC (7-0-3, 24 points) extended its unbeaten streak in 2014 with a 1-0 victory over Arizona United SC (3-3-1, 10 points) on Saturday night at Peoria Stadium. The win is Orlando’s tenth in a row, keeping the Lions in first place in USL PRO and six points clear of LA Galaxy II who lost 2-1 to Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night.
Tonight’s match marked the first meeting between United and City, who both sit in the top half of the USL PRO table. After suffering a 4-0 loss to Oklahoma Energy in its opening USL PRO match, Arizona has gone unbeaten in four out of its last five league matches and, as a result, are in seventh place in USL PRO.
Nevertheless, the defending USL PRO champions got off to a swift start when Adama Mbengue played a dangerous ball into the box in the 8th minute of play. Arizona United Defender Tyler Ruthven made a good effort to clear the danger away but accidentally clipped it over his own goalkeeper and into the back of the net, gifting City a quick 1-0 lead.
The early goal would prove to be the only bright spot for Orlando City in the first half, as Arizona were the better side for the remainder of the first half. United had a few opportunities to capitalize in the first 45, but a lack of clinical finishing saw the Lions hold on to the 1-0 lead.
Arizona’s best chance of the half came in the 38th minute when Brandon Swartzendruber hit a driven effort to the near-post. Fortunately for City, Gallardo was in a good position and pushed it wide for a corner.
Gallardo, who has been in quality form all season, anchored a City defense that included Tommy Redding and Bryan Burke for the first time this season. Both Burke and Redding have been recovering from injuries and made their first appearance for Orlando this season in the Lions’ 4-1 win over the Ocala Stampede in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night.
Despite being only 17 years old, Redding looked calm and composed in his first USL PRO match, as the club’s first ever homegrown signing continues to prepare for MLS in 2015.
To begin the second half, Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath brought on Corey Hertzog for Dennis Chin and the striker nearly doubled City’s lead shortly after entering. In the 51st minute, Hertzog got in behind the backline and went by the ‘keeper but had his final effort cleared off the line by United’s defense.
Less than 15 minutes later, Hertzog managed to find the back of the net but was ruled off-side by the assistant referee, as Orlando continued to struggle to find its rhythm.
Fortunately for the Lions, United’s inability to capitalize on key chances allowed the visitors to maintain the 1-0 advantage through 90 minutes and secure all three points in Arizona.
City’s next match will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports on May 21 against the Charlotte Eagles. Wednesday’s match will mark the first time the two clubs have played each other since the thrilling 2013 USL PRO match which saw Orlando claim a 7-4 victory and its second USL PRO post-season title.
Team 1 2 Final
Orlando City SC 1 0 1
Arizona United SC 0 0 0
ORL- Tyler Ruthven (Own goal) 8’
Orlando City SC- GK Miguel Gallardo, D Bradford Rusin, Tommy Redding, Bryan Burke, Luke Boden, M Adama Mbengue, Yordany Alvarez, Darwin Ceren, Brian Span (Mikey Lopez 76’), Kevin Molino, F Dennis Chin (Corey Hertzog 46’)
Arizona United SC- GK Evan Newton, D Scott Morrison, Daniel Antunez, Bryan Gallego, Tyler Ruthven, M Joey Dillon, Paolo DelPiccolo, Bradlee Baladez, Kadeem Dacres, F Brandon Swartzendruber, Schillo Tshuma
Tommy Redding (Yellow Card) 42’
Joey Dillon (Yellow Card) 43’
Mikey Lopez (Yellow Card) 82’
Time of Match: 10:00 p.m. EST
Weather: — Clear