Orlando City’s forwards lead Lions to 3-2 win over Ponte Preta

ORLANDO — Bryan Rochez and Cyle Larin both scored as Orlando City SC defeated Brazilian side Ponte Preta 3-2 for the Lions’ first win at the Citrus Bowl of 2015.

“Nice to get a few goals at home,” said Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath following the game. “(It) gave the supporters something to cheer.”

Rochez scored the equalizer for Orlando City just before halftime with a header on a corner kick in the 45th minute that found the back of the net to make it 1-1 after the opening 45 minutes.

Orlando City took a 2-1 lead when Sean St. Ledger scored off a Luke Boden corner to give the Lions their first lead at home of 2015. Ponte Preta would late tie the game at 2-2 when Renato Caja scored on a free kick from just outside the box.

Larin scored the game winner in the 90th minute when he drew a penalty kick as the clock hit 90:00 and then buried the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to give Orlando City their first win at home of 2015.

“The fact that we played a real team and in the second half played well, created some good opportunities, had good shape,” said Heath after the win. “Tonight they’ll take a lot of confidence with them moving forward.”

The match against Ponte Preta was just an international friendly, but Orlando came away with a few positives from the result including a boost of confidence.

Brek Shea played 65 minutes at midfield for Orlando during the friendly and showed some of the pace and aggressiveness that got him national recognition back in the early 2000s.

“I felt comfortable,” said Shea about playing midfield again. “I played there throughout my career, I was just excited to move forward and trying to help the team.

“I was just excited to have that freedom to move forward and try to create things.”

Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino left the game in the 20th minute with an apparent lower body injury, coach Heath said he would be evaluated further on Sunday and have precautionary x-rays taken.

If Molino were to miss any time it would be probable that Heath could elect to go with Shea in the midfield and Boden at left back as both players played well on Saturday.

The Lions were outshot by Ponte Preta 9-8 but Orlando City had more shots on target by a 4-2 margin.

With the win Orlando City will go into the week with some confidence as the team prepares for a league matchup against the New England Revolution on Friday, May 8 at the Citrus Bowl.

The Lions are still looking for their first MLS win at home and things won’t be easy with U.S. men’s national Jermaine Jones and Juan Agudelo on the opposite side of the pitch. Kickoff for Friday is set for 8 p.m. EST.