Thanks to a Maxwell Griffin’s last minute strike, Orlando City avoided a loss, and earned a tie Saturday night, against MLS side Philadelphia Union to start off the pre-season.
Orlando City has made their mission to make it to the MLS in the near future, and Orlando City has a competitive history when playing up against MLS teams.
The last time Orlando played Philadelphia, was in their inaugural game, in which Orlando City earned a 1-0 win.
“It shows all these MLS teams that we mean business and that [Orlando City] knows how to play,” said Griffin after the game.
With the Philadelphia friendly out of the way, Orlando will play two more MLS clubs before their USL Pro season begins.
Orlando will play Toronto FC and FC Dallas in the 2012 Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.
The Lions played Toronto FC in the 2011 installment of the WDW Pro Soccer classic. Orlando got away with a 1-0 victory.
However, if Orlando City wanted to show MLS that they can compete, they must overcome a tough FC Dallas.
Orlando and FC Dallas have met twice before, both games ended with a win for Dallas.
They met most recently in the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. FC Dallas secured a 3-2 victory in the last minutes of stoppage time.
Orlando City, however, has seen progress throughout the off-season.
With forward Dennis Chinn rising amongst Orlando’s depth in attack, the Lions attack force is considerably stronger than last year.
“Chinny is still developing and still learning the game,” said Coach Heath on Dennis Chinn’s performance against the Philadelphia Union. “I think we got a good player, he’s very, very quick.”
Maxwell Griffin, who was loaned to MLS San Jose Earthquakes during the off-season, scored 11 goals in all competitions last year, and could possibly team up with Dennis Chinn upfront to strengthen City’s attack.
Despite missing a penalty against Philadelphia, John Rooney, who sported the traditional number 10, debuted in front of many City supporters and played a superb game.
“I think the number 10 will be his position,”said Coach Heath on Rooney’s debut. “I thought he found some really nice pockets of space and distributed the ball well.”
Orlando City hopes to see their progress build once the season starts.
During the off-season, Orlando City acquired the Central Florida Kraze and renamed them, Orlando City U-23.
City also acquired youth club, Florida Soccer Alliance, and renamed them Orlando City Youth Club, in order to build a developmental system.
Orlando’s next game is against MLS side Toronto FC, in which will be the beginning of the 2012 WDW Pro Soccer Classic.