Wilmington, NC. – In its final season as members of USL PRO, Orlando City SC (18-4-5, 59 points) claimed a third Regular Season Championship on Wednesday night after drawing the Wilmington Hammerheads (8-7-11, 35 points) 0-0 at Legion Stadium.
Heading into the match, the league-leaders needed a single point to clinch a first place berth in the league standings and home field advantage for the playoffs.
After the game, Head Coach Adrian Heath commented on Orlando’s title win saying, “I’m absolutely delighted, for not just the players, but also for the front office and everyone associated with the Club. It’s been a monumental season, and despite everything going on in the background this year, the players remained focused to win the title seven points clear with one game remaining. It speaks volumes for everyone associated with the organization.”
Wilmington provided the first chance of the match in the 11th minute when a long ball over the Lions’ defense found Cody Arnoux, who managed to create space and hit an effort from inside the area. But Lions’ Goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski was in perfect position to make the save. Woszczynski would go on to register his second consecutive scoreless match for the Lions.
Orlando quickly responded with a quality strike on target in the 15th minute of play when Midfielder Adama Mbengue connected well with Kevin Molino’s ball into the box. Shortly afterward, Mbengue was once again involved in another dangerous attacking play for City, forcing Stuver to make a difficult save after cutting inside past two defenders.
As the half progressed, Orlando’s timely attacks continued when Kevin Molino produced his first chance of the night toward the end of the first 45. In the 37th minute, Molino skillfully controlled Quinn’s pass with his chest to evade a defender before firing a shot that skipped just past the near-post.
After a defensive and scoreless first half, Orlando opened the second period with two early chances in the 48th minute.
Mbengue’s dangerous shot at the Hammerheads’ goal earned a corner for the Lions, leading to a cross into the box from Burke that found Quinn on the back-post. His volley was rifled directly at Stuver.
The Hammerheads came close to countering in the 55th minute, however, when Mark-Anthony Kaye ventured into the box, pulling his strike inches past the post.
Midway through the second half, Mbengue shot a powerful blast at Wilmington’s goal that caused difficulties for Stuver. Following Mbengue’s chance, Brian Span, who came on as substitute in the 61st minute, turned deep inside the box and hit another strike at Stuver, whose crucial point-blank save kept the score-line level.
Stuver continued to come up big for the Hammerheads in the final moments of the match, denying a curling strike from Dennis Chin who did well to create space inside the area. As the game approached the final whistle, Orlando focused on time management, keeping possession to preserve the 0-0 draw and secure the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup.
Team 1 2 Final
Orlando City SC 0 0 0
Wilmington Hammerheads 0 0 0
Orlando City SC – GK Carl Woszczynski, D Rafael Ramos, Tommy Redding, Rob Valentino, Bryan Burke (Justin Clark 77’), M Estrela, Aodhan Quinn (Brian Span 61’), Harrison Heath, Adama Mbengue, Kevin Molino, F Giuseppe Gentile (Dennis Chin 68’)
Wilmington Hammerheads – GK Brad Stuver, D Tom Parratt, Ross Tomaselli, Drew Ruggles, Paul Nicholson, M Christian Davidson, Brian Ackley, Troy Cole, Corben Bone, Mark-Anthony Kaye, F Cody Arnoux
Disciplinary Summary: n/a
Time of Match: 7:30 p.m. EST
September 3, 2014