Dominant Display Saturday’s 4-0 win over Rochester was probably the Orlando City Soccer Club’s most complete performance since arriving in Orlando. It was the Lions’ second 4-0 victory of the week after they pasted Los Angeles on Sunday. While Orlando was just as dominant in L.A., the win over Rochester was even more impressive given that the Rhinos held the second-best record in the USL prior to kickoff. But the game hardly looked like a battle of the league’s top two teams as Orlando City controlled the game completely from start to finish. The Lions were as confident on the ball as we’ve seen all season, hogging possession and attacking the Rochester defense with aplomb.
Impressive Depth Orlando City manager Adrian Heath really has an embarrassment of riches at this point. The Lions have talent and depth at every position on the field. New signee Rodrigo Lopez looks like a perfect fit for Heath’s pass-happy, attack-minded brand of football. In fact, it’s hard to believe Orlando signed the former MLS player from a PDL squad, especially after seeing his Panenka-style penalty against Rochester. While he’s still pretty raw, Adama Mbengue looks like he’s going to develop into a special player. Even now, his combination of pace, size and skill is causing all sorts of problems for opposing defenses. And the Lions are really on a whole different level with Matt Luzunaris and Rob Valentino – two of the league’s elite players – back in the lineup. The Lions will need every bit of that depth as they head into their most grueling stretch of the season, playing three games in four days against USL heavyweights Wilmington and Charleston and EPL sister squad Stoke City.
Pulling Away The win over Rochester moves Orlando City 10 points clear of second-place Charleston at the top of the USL Pro table with six games to play. While tough road tests against Charleston, Harrisburg and Rochester remain, it’s hard to imagine that the Lions won’t wrap up their second consecutive regular season title as well as home-field advantage in the playoffs. At this point, Charleston is the only team with a legitimate shot at catching Orlando City. The Battery have a game in hand and could close the gap with wins over Orlando in their upcoming matches. With the way the Lions are playing right now though, God bless ‘em.