Designated Players Propel Lions to 3-1 Win over West Brom

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All three of Orlando City’s Designated Players found the back of the net in the same game for the first time this season, as the Lions delivered a clinical performance for the 15,172 fans in attendance at the Orlando Citrus Bowl, defeating English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion FC 3-1.

The victory marked the Lions’ third win in nine international friendlies against high-level teams in five years – previously defeating Newcastle United 1-0 and Brazilian Serie A side Ponte Preta 3-2 at the Citrus Bowl.

After going down early due to Calum McManaman’s finish in the 13th minute, Orlando rallied in the first half, leading to a spectacular finish from playmaker Kaká. After receiving the ball just inside the center circle from Carlos Rivas, the Brazilian turned and powered his way through West Brom’s half for a powerful 45-yard run before firing the ball into the far corner.

Two minutes into the second half, Rivas provided the game-winning goal for Orlando. After setting up Kaká’s finish, the Colombian curled a strong free-kick from 30-yards away into the top corner at the near-post.

Bryan Róchez added the final blow in the 86th minute, tucking away Pedro Ribeiro’s well-placed ball past goalkeeper Boaz Myhill. The finish was Róchez’s second for City this season, previously scoring against Ponte Preta in a friendly earlier this season.

“I’m delighted. I thought we were excellent,” said head coach Adrian Heath. “I look at the team at the end, we had five guys under 20 years old on the field. Kaka got a great goal, reminiscent of about 1997. It looks like we’re all okay apart from Harrison, we’ll have a look at how he is in the morning. It looks like we’ve come through pretty unscathed.”

Pedro Heizer

The founder, editor and publisher of 90 Minutes Stong, Pedro is credentialed member of U.S. Soccer, Orlando City Soccer Club, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and others, as well as a member of the North American Soccer Reporters.

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