Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lions beat Rowdies in first-leg of I-4 Derby

(Photo: Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice)
By Mike Gramajo 

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — There’s no stopping Orlando City, and you can add derbies to that list of accomplishments. 

Goals from Adama Mbengue, Dennis Chin and Brian Span lifted Orlando City SC to a 3-0 victory over rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday night during the first leg of the I-4 Derby at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in front of 4,027 fans. 

"I thought we were awful from minute 1 to minute 90,” Orlando head coach Adrian Heath told reporters. “As a group, I think it's probably the worst we played in a long time. Nobody wanted to do the dirty work, nobody wanted to roll the sleeves up. I can still play like that, I’m 53, I can still play running forward. 

“I don’t care about the result, I wanted to win. Anything that’s important to our supporters is important enough for me and it should be for our players, but I’m not watching that every week.” 

The Lions opened up the scoreboard in the 27th minute after Brian Span found Mbengue in the left flank, who then rifled in a shot toward the bottom right corner. OCSC doubled the lead right before halftime when Span’s shot deflected of Rowdies goalkeeper Ryan Thompson, finding Chin to bury the rebound. 

Span capped the victory late into stoppage-time after he was able to breakaway from the Rowdies back line, putting the ball behind second-half substitute goalkeeper Cody Mizell. 

Despite the two-goal lead in the first half, the Lions outshot the Rowdies 7-4. Orlando goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo was credited for three saves for the entire match, as the Lions finished outshooting the Rowdies 12-7 for the total. 

Heath decided to play most of his current starters in the first half, opting to play a less-experience side during the second half. 

OCSC are riding a four-game winning streak and look to remain atop the USL PRO standings on Sunday when they host the Oklahoma City Energy. 

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