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.”