Orlando, FL – On the final night of the 2016 preseason, Orlando City put on a clinic of set-pieces scoring 4 goals off headers by defender Seb Hines and adding 2 by Darwin Ceren and Pedro Ribeiro. One the weaker parts of the Lions’ offense last year was a lack of production in the set-piece game and as of now, that concern appears to be full addressed. After the match, Coach Adrian Hearth remarked, “The quality of the ball was great tonight. There were large players in the box which played to our advantage. We had a lot of practice in the set pieces in the off season. We wanted to change our styles from last season because we didn’t score enough of set pieces last year.”
Though the end result was spectacular, it looked like the momentum was going the other direction in the early moments. The contest opened poorly for the Lions when the Tricolor struck first on an expertly delivered ball to Zé Roberto who pushed it past Joe Bendik for a 1-0 lead in the first minute. Orlando didn’t respond until the 12th minute on a perfectly placed fall away header by Hines from the back post off a Kaka corner kick.
Orlando had multiple chances in the first frame and practically camped out on the Bahia side of the field but where unable to capitalize on a variety of gold-plated opportunities. Cyle Larin sent one point blank shot into the stands. Bahia goalkeeper Marcelo Lomba also had several other incredible saves on attempts by Kaka and Larin. Not to be lost in all of this, the return of Kevin Molino who was making perfect decisions and excellent feeds to the captain and the 2015 Rookie of the Year. Nevertheless, the scoreline was still 1-1 at the half.
Heath made no changes to the line-up for the second half and the Lions came alive, punishing Bahia with corner kick after corner kick that all somehow managed to find Seb Hine’s head at the right moment. His last goal came off a Kaka free kick that he sent flying into the back of the far side of the net resulting in an Are You Not Entertained Gladiator pose by the defender.
The score line was finished off with Darwin Ceren and Pedro Ribeiro making quick work of lazy giveaways by the Bahia defense in the closing minutes of the match.
Regarding his Haul, Hines elaborated afterwards: “I was attacking any ball that was in the box. To score four is something I’m very proud of. I couldn’t believe I had the opportunity. Working on the head set piece has been really important and it has really paid off.”
Orlando City Week 1 Notes:
The Lions next play Real Salt Lake in the MLS season opener Sunday at 2pm and the club is actively campaigning to Fill the Bowl again like the inaugural game last year. Currently they have sold 43,000 tickets and look to be on pace to equal that record. The team is offering a ticket to the MLS opener in season ticket packages for OCB and the NWSL Orlando Pride.