ORLANDO – At the very start, there was a white sheet being waved from the stands inside the Florida Citrus Bowl, but in this case it was hardly a symbolic waving of the white flag.
Defeat, to be sure, was not what the fans had in mind when they raised the flag that contained the image of none other than the Star Trek character Mr. Spock, and below it, one simple word: Logical.
What was perfectly logical to those fans, of course, was their devotion to Orlando City Soccer Club. On Tuesday evening, the city’s soccer team rewarded that faith by defeating the visiting Colorado Rapids in what had been a highly anticipated match. This marked the third round of U.S. Open Cup play at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Citrus Bowl.
“At the end of the game, the score is 1 for the Rapids, and three for your Orlando Lions,” the announcer broadcast over the loudspeaker to the crowd, which cheered its hearty approval.
As the fans waved purple “Iron Lion” flags to show their support, the Orlando Lions proved to be in good form early on, scoring its first goal within the first four minutes of the game, when 24-year-old keeper Bryan Burke demonstrated his skills at a good swift kick. It would take another 12 minutes before the next goal was scored, this time by Colorado.
Then Lions Forward Dom Dwyer notched two goals in the second half. That brought the Lions to the team’s first win over an MLS club in US Open Cup play. It also advanced Orlando to the 4th round of competition.
About 47 minutes into the game, Dwyer, 22, scored another win for the team. Using their OC GamesDay app, which is available to download, the crowd was asked to take out their Iphones and vote for their Man of the Match. With just a few minutes left in the 90-minute matchup, it was announced that Dwyer had won that honor.
The team’s head coach, Adrian Heath, noted after the game that “I think just before and during the second half we were far and away the better team. I thought we were worthy winners and it would have been a travesty if we didn’t take home the win.”
The win is the first time the Lions have advanced to the 4th round of competition.
Even Mother Nature cooperated, teasing the crowd with the possibility of rain shortly before the game was about to start — although it never went beyond a very quick sprinkle.
During the game, there were also advertisements for United World Soccer, an official partner in the game. That soccer store is located at the Florida Mall.
And one of the flashing neon ads prominently noted,“Don’t Miss a Single Kick in 2013,” since season tickets are available from $175 and up.
Orlando City Soccer Club is a premier professional soccer sports franchise, and a member of the USL PRO. The Lion’s pro team has won two regular season titles and one postseason championship during its brief time in Orlando, and OCSC has its own youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer.
Coming up next, the winner of the Des Moines Menace and Sporting Kansas City match will play Orlando in the 4th round, with the Lions travelling to Sporting Park to play SKC if the MLS club prevails, or hosting the PDL side in Orlando if the Menace win.
That match will be on Wednesday, June 12.
On March 4, 2010, the USL announced that a pro club was coming to Orlando, and on Oct. 25, 2010, the club unveiled its name as the Orlando City Lions.
The first year was a busy one for the Lions. In April 2011, the team had its first Road Win against the Charlotte Eagles, and on June 4 2011, its first locally television match, followed by its first U.S. Open Cup match – and win.
The first International Win came on July 23 2011 against Newcastle United of England.
Mayor Buddy Dyer has been busy encouraging city residents to wear purple on game days during the playoffs.
The OC GamesDay App provides soccer fans with everything they need to know about game days, and lets them be the first to get lineups, listen to the SoccerCast and vote on the Man of the Match from their phone. Features include news and highlights about the team and the games, and the chance to get upcoming game times early on, as well as special event information.
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