There’s so much to be done before the Orlando City Soccer Club even steps foot on the pitch as a Major League Soccer participant at the start of the 2015 season. Among the many obstacles to navigate is the MLS Expansion Draft on Dec. 10 as Orlando City joins New York City FC in each selecting 10 players from those made available by current clubs.
Orlando City currently has just 10 players under contract for 2015 after defender Luke Boden and midfielder Harrison Heath finalized contracts with the club on Monday. Boden has spent the past four seasons with the Lions while Heath joined Orlando City near the end of the 2014 USL PRO season.
The Orlando City Soccer Club played its final USL PRO regular season game Saturday, winning 1-0 over Richmond on a goal by Kevin Molino in the 23rd minute.
The win improves the Lions to 45-4-10 all-time in league matches at home, setting them up in good position for a run at their third championship in four years with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Orlando City Soccer Club midfielder Kevin Molino added three more goals to his USL-PRO leading total Sunday in a 7-0 thrashing of the Dayton Dutch Lions at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The hat trick is the second of the year for Molino and gives him 19 goals on the season.
When Molino collected himself for the post game presser he made it a point to dedicate his three-goal effort to Yordany Alvarez, who after suffering an injury during a game June 7 was forced to retire from the sport last week. The disarming comments made by Molino about his teammate were a change of pace from the typical answers he’s given to questions in the past.
As Molino knows, the games must go on. With just two regular season games remaining the Lions are in position to wrap up the regular season title and earn home field advantage throughout the postseason.
I talked to Orlando City Soccer Club’s Kevin Molino and a couple of his teammates who’ve played alongside him over the past four years for a feature on the midfielder for the Orlando Sentinel.
Molino, who set a new USL PRO single-season record for goals scored last Saturday, is one of five current players looking to wrap up their third title in four years with the Lions when the playoffs open next month.
As much as I’ve already written about Molino this season, it turns out there was even more to be expressed. Not all of the quotes I gathered from Molino, Orlando City coach Adrian Heath, goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and defender Rob Valentino could fit into the story. So I’ve provided them below. Enjoy.
The Orlando City Soccer Club secured a home playoff game in the opening round of the USL PRO postseason on Saturday and extended their home winning streak to 17 matches in a 3-1 win over Harrisburg City.
Kevin Molino notched his 15th goal of the season in the win, tying the league’s single-season mark set a year ago by Orlando City loanee Dom Dwyer and Jose Angulo of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
After going scoreless in back-to-back matches for the first time in the four-year history of the Orlando City Soccer Club, the Lions returned to form Saturday by dismantling the visiting Charlotte Eagles 4-1.
Orlando City improved to 7-0-2 all-time against Charlotte by way of a 21-8 advantage in goals. The Lions (15-1-4) now own a 16-match unbeaten streak at home.
Kevin Molino scored twice on Saturday to raise his goal total on the season to 13 through 19 matches. Dennis Chin scored his sixth goal of the year and defender Tyler Turner scored his first professional goal early in the first half.
While the Orlando City Soccer Club has been preparing for its move to MLS by pursuing global stars such as the recently acquired Kaka and potential transfer Robinho, the club’s first MLS signee is having a breakout season in USL PRO.
Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino hasn’t had a lot of time to ponder what the 2015 roster might look like while helping the Lions (14-0-4, 46 points) remain unbeaten by way of an offensive explosion unlike any in his career.
“As a player that’s already signed for MLS [in Orlando] you always wonder who will come in and who you’ll be playing with next year,” Molino said. “It’s great to see that a couple big names want to come here. It shows we’ve been doing some good over the past couple years.”
Entering Sunday’s match at Rochester, Molino leads the league in points (29) and assists (7) and ranks third in goals scored with 11 in 17 appearances.
It’s been a week of transition for the Orlando City Soccer Club and its most loyal of fans, the two recognized supporter groups that gather at one end of the stadium each match and lead the crowd in passionate chants.
Last night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney the club implemented stiffer guidelines as they look to adhere to a more formal code of conduct for fans before moving up to Major League Soccer next year.
It was a move that was forced upon the club after Orlando City fans brought embarrassment to the brand last Sunday during a road match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, where four fans were arrested and many others ejected from the stadium.
The World Cup is just around the corner, and the preparation for some countries has shaken up the Orlando City Soccer Club’s roster.
The Lions went into Saturday’s match against the Montreal Impact Reserves riding an unbeaten streak of 12 games, but were without three key contributors due to national team obligations.
I talked to Orlando City coach Adrian Heath about how the club would handle those losses and also asked him his thoughts about English Premier League midfielder Brek Shea, who spent a little more than a week recently training with the team.
What a busy month it’s been for the Orlando City Soccer Club. The Lions took part in nine matches throughout the month of May and although they came away with great results, there’s been plenty of wear and tear along the way.
Despite falling to one of Italy’s best clubs in a friendly a couple weeks ago, Orlando City remains unbeaten in USL PRO through 12 matches after getting a win over Charleston on Saturday. Just a few days earlier they advanced to the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by way of a win over Tampa Bay.
On Wednesday the Orlando City Soccer Club hosted the Charlotte Eagles in a rematch of last season’s USL PRO championship game. Kevin Molino made the most of the rematch as he finished the night with three goals to keep Orlando City unbeaten 11 matches into the season.
Last year the USL PRO’s Orlando City Soccer Club advanced to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup before losing to Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire in the round of eight. The Lions got an early start on matching their deep run of 2013 on Wednesday by scoring a 4-1 win over the USL Premier Development League’s Ocala Stampede in the second round.
Orlando City will play its next five matches at home beginning May 21. The defending champion Lions are currently unbeaten on the season and atop the league table with a 6-0-3 (21 points) record. The last time Orlando City was at home they won their fifth in a row against the Oklahoma City Energy on May 4.
I also took a look at how Orlando City fans are preparing for the 2015 MLS season now that the team announced it would have to wait a little longer than expected to move into their new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando.