Lions ground Eagles 3-1 on Molino Hat Trick

ORLANDO – Kevin Molino is in danger of taking Dom Dwyer’s catchphrase of He Scores When He Wants. Not that Lions fans would have broken hearts over such a development. The MLS roster member from Trinidad and Tobago scored a hat trick as Orlando City SC defeated the Charlotte Eagles 3-1 Wednesday night in a rematch of the 2013 USL Pro Championship game.

With this performance, Molino now has 8 goals this season and leads USL Pro soccer in goals scored with over half a season still to play and Orlando City SC is 9 points clear of the second place LA Galaxy II on the USL Pro Soccer Table.

Much like the last meeting between these two teams, there were plenty of offensive fireworks, several spectacular saves and another hat trick from an Orlando player.

Never the one to let success get to our heads, Head Coach Adrian Heath remarked, “Some of our attacking play was outstanding tonight, But I’m a little bit concerned because I thought that we gave a few too many chances to the opposition.”

One of these chances came at the 35th minute when Orlando City SC’s defense seemed to stall for a moment resulting in a quick misdirect from Charlotte that came hard right at the goal causing Miguel Gallardo to launch to punch the ball out of danger.

The good news though was that the Lions were creating chances of their own and finishing them as well.

The scoring opened when Brian Burke blasted a shot from the top of the box on the right that was saved by Charlotte keeper Brock Duckworth, but the rebound came right to Molino who hammered it through the back of the net for the first goal of the night.

The second goal came when Adama Mbengue played a cross from the left that the Charlotte defense parried right into the feet of Molino who took a few steps and fired through traffic for the brace.

Possession was matched pretty evenly and though they trailed by 2 at the half, Charlotte had several chances that were stopped with excellent saves by Miguel Gallardo for Orlando.

The second half was more of the same with Molino getting his third goal in the 77th minute off a spectacular cross from Mikey Lopez. Much like the championship game though Charlotte didn’t go down without a fight, depriving Miguel Gallardo of a clean sheet when Guiseppe Gentile squeezed a shot into the goal in the 80th minute.

Orlando City SC has now been undefeated through 11 consecutive games in USL Pro play. This is 3 off the team record of 14 consecutive games without a loss which was achieved in 2012.

Orlando City SC now faces Italian giant AS Roma in a friendly this Friday before getting another opportunity to hammer the Tampa Bay Rowdies next Wednesday.

Team                         1    2    Final
Orlando City SC        2    1    3
Charlotte Eagles       0    1    1

Scoring Summary:
ORL- Kevin Molino (unassisted) 11’
ORL- Kevin Molino (unassisted) 31’
ORL- Kevin Molino (unassisted) 77’
CHA- Guiseppe Gentile (unassisted) 80’

Lineups/Substitutions:
Orlando City SC- GK Miguel Gallardo, D Luke Boden, Tommy Redding, Brad Rusin (Tyler Turner 78’), Bryan Burke, M Darwin Ceren, Yordany Alvarez, Adama Mbengue (Mikey Lopez 76’), Brian Span (Anthony Pulis 62’), Kevin Molino, F Dennis Chin (Corey Hertzog 41’)

Charlotte Eagles- GK Brock Duckworth, D Matt Gold, Bilal Duckett, Ben Newnam, JJ Greer (Richard Dixon 69’), M Fred Sekyere, Drew Yates, Juan Guzman, F Zak Boggs, Jorge Herrera (Tyrone Hall 69’), Wells Thompson

Penalty Summary:
CHA- Bilal Duckeet (Yellow Card) 56’

Match Facts:
Time of Match: 7:30 p.m. EST
Weather: — Clear