Orlando City U23s Take Emphatic Win
Lions defeat Schulz Academy 4-1, finish third in Southeast Division
SANFORD, Fla.— In their final match of the season, the Orlando City U23s took an emphatic 4-1 win over the Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy, on Thursday, July 18, at Seminole Soccer Complex. The victory saw the Lions finish third place in a very tight Southeast Division, capping off an impressive 2013 campaign.
The U23s had a difficult start to the match as Fort Lauderdale attempted to press Orlando high, causing problems for the young Lions. City attempted to demonstrate their branded style of play but continued to give the ball away in poor areas, allowing Fort Lauderdale to move forward on the break.
However, the Lions seemed to find their stride as the 15 minute mark approached, and never looked back. Orlando began dominating the match and possession, yielding several opportunities throughout the first half.
In the 19th minute of play, Michael Annarumma created a chance of his own, and brought the Lions close to breaking the deadlock. The lethal midfielder collected the ball deep into Fort Lauderdale’s half and cracked an effort off the post, keeping Goalkeeper Kent Freund on his toes.
After several more clear chances on goal, it seemed the young Lions were destined to find the back of the net and would do so in the 37th minute of play. Rollins College product Evan Greenbaum took an in-swinging corner that found Striker Tyler Blackwood, who nodded home his 14th goal of the season.
To begin the second half, the U23s once again had a slow start but this time it would prove to be costly. Striker Kevin Bangai received the ball near the penalty spot and laid it off for Midfielder Jesus Gonzalez, who carefully placed his strike in the bottom left corner.
In the ensuing moments, U23s Head Coach Paul Shaw made a tactical substitution that proved to be his most effective this season. In the 53rd minute, Jowayne Laidley exited the match for speedy Striker Junior Pre’Valus- wjho made an immediate impact on the match.
Exactly one minute after the change, Blackwood found Pre’Valus in behind with a piercing pass. Pre’Valus sped down the right-hand side and blasted an effort that beat Freund on the near-post, giving the Lions a well-deserved 2-1 lead.
The Lions would then go on add two more goals to their tally before the 70th minute mark. In the 69th minute, Annarumma glided down the left side and pulled the ball back into the box for Russo, who had his shot deflected. Russo’s deflected effort landed perfectly for Blackwood, and the Englishman wasted no time slotting it in to the back of the net.
In the following play, Blackwood combined with Annarumma and played him in behind the Schulz Academy backline. Annarumma’s pace allowed him to elude the defense and curl his strike into the bottom right corner, giving the U23s a 4-1 lead in the 70th minute of play.
Blackwood’s second goal gave him 15 on the season, making him the leading goal-scorer in the Premier Development League (PDL). The match would go on to finish with a 4-1 score-line, resulting in a positive ending to the young Lions’ season.
Source: Orlando City Soccer