Regular Season Repeat And we thought they were good the first season. Orlando City Soccer Club looked as dominant as it ever has in cruising to its second consecutive regular season championship with a 4-0 pasting of the Charleston Battery on Friday night. Miguel Gallardo recorded his eighth shutout of the season behind another smothering defensive effort, and Matt Luzunaris nodded in his league-leading ninth goal only to have Dennis Chin record a late brace and move back atop the scoring charts. What’s been most impressive about the Lions’ incredible run of form this season is the different ways they’ve won. While Orlando City dominated Friday’s game from kickoff, they needed two gritty stoppage time goals to beat the Battery in Charleston. This team is never satisfied with anything but three points and that’s a big reason why the Lions have won 15 of their 21 USL Pro matches this season.
Next Step With the regular season title in the bag, Orlando City will turn its attention to the playoffs and a second straight USL Pro Championship. It will be interesting to see how opponents play the Lions in the playoffs. Will they play us head-to-head like the Battery did on Friday night or play nine guys behind the ball like Wilmington did on Wednesday? Based on the results of those two matches, we’d expect them to lean toward the latter. But that kind of defend-and-counter strategy has also backfired. Just ask the Rochester Rhinos, whose ultra-defensive approach resulted in a 4-0 blasting by the Lions a couple weeks back.
Where Was Everyone? That might have been the smallest crowd we’ve seen at the Citrus Bowl since the Lions came to Orlando. We get it, of course. With Stoke City playing the following night, a lot of fans probably stayed home on Friday in favor of seeing the higher-profile team play on Saturday. While we can’t really blame them, if we were to choose between catching one of those two matches, we would have gone to the Lions-Battery fixture hands down. After all, the 4,700 Lions fans who did turn out got to see the Lions hoist their third trophy and we’ll take that over seeing Peter Crouch any day of the week.