Adrian Heath said before the game that if it was important to the fans Saturday’s game at the Jacksonville Armada would be important to him. The large number of fans who traveled north for the in-state battle certainly brought some importance to the game.
It will be hard to say whether Jacksonville will have any bragging rights after defeating Orlando City 2-1 considering the amount of substitutions Heath made in the second half, largely preventing any rhythm or cohesion from the team’s second preseason friendly for the public.
Still Heath playing essentially his starting lineup had to like what he saw from the first half. Especially this early in the season.
Orlando City took the lead in the 32nd minute on a free kick from Kaka, making good on the positive play the starting unit had overall.
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) February 13, 2016
These are the kind of opportunities Orlando City wants to create in these kinds of games and it was good to see the team execute it.
Cyle Larin was also dangerous throughout his time on the field, challenging Jacksonville goalkeeper and former Orlando City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo on several occasions. The Lions were on the front foot for much of the game and held firm defensively.
This was their starting lineup essentially — minus Kevin Molino in the midfield.
The lead though came apart in the second half with Heath subbing out most of his starting lineup.
Mechack Jerome scored in the 48th minutes on a free kick and then Alhassane Keita scored on a deflected shot off David Mateos to beat Earl Edwards, Jr. for the game-winner and the 2-1 lead 10 minutes later.
This game was about continuing to get Orlando City’s feet wet ahead of the March 6 opener. The Lions have put in a lot of work through the preseason and appear to have found some rhythm and cohesion to this point.
Orlando City had the results to show for it with the starters in. But there is still undoubtedly work to do before the season begins.