Rowdies Fall to Orlando City in Second Leg of I-4 Derby
The Tampa Bay Rowdies fell short of a comeback against Orlando City on Saturday night, dropping the second leg of the I-4 Derby Presented by United World Soccer. The 3-2 loss on Saturday crowned Orlando City champions of the I-4 Derby, after defeating Tampa Bay 6-4 on aggregate.
The Lions scored two first-half goals, as forward Kevin Molina and Adama Mbengue increased Orlando’s lead to 5-2 on aggregate. Rowdies defender Takuya Yamada would put the Rowdies just two goals away from penalty kicks, scoring at the end of the half. Tampa Bay came out dominating play in the second half, leveling the second leg score thanks to forward Amani Walker. Orlando City’s counter attack sentenced the series, as forward Dom Dwyer would score the 3-2 goal in the 90th minute.
Early in the first half, Orlando City’s Molino would score the go-ahead goal in the 5th minute. Mbengue picked up the assist, after leaving Molino one-on-one with Rowdies Goalkeeper Andrew Fontein.
The Rowdies goalkeeper continued to make several key saves, but Mbengue would get a goal of his own in the 33rd minute. Fontein stopped the initial shot by Dwyer, but was unable to get a hand on the rebound that put the Lions up 2-0.
Being two goals down, the Rowdies began to retain more possession, in turn creating several chances on Orlando’s goal. The pressure would pay off, as Yamada would cut the lead to one in the 42nd minute, scoring off a penalty kick that was awarded to the Rowdies after forward Georgi Hristov was brought down in the box. The Rowdies would enter the second half down 5-3 on aggregate goals, needing to score two in order to force the series to penalty kicks.
The reining NASL Champions started the second half determined to get the two goals necessary to tie the series up. The Rowdies would score in the 51st minute making it 2-2, with Walker netting on Orlando for the second time in the I-4 Derby. The forward’s goal would put the Rowdies just one goal away from sending the series to penalty kicks.
With just over half an hour left in the match, the Rowdies were forced to push their players forward, leaving open gaps in the defense. Even though the Rowdies created chances, they were unable to finish in the final third. Orlando City was able to take advantage of those open spaces, scoring their third goal of the night in the 90th minute. Dwyer sentenced the series, putting the Lions ahead 6-4 on aggregate.
Orlando City: Kevin Molina - 5th minute (assisted by Adama Mbengue)
Orlando City: Adama Mbengue - 33rd minute
Rowdies: Takuya Yamada - 42nd minute (Penalty Kick)
Rowdies: Amani Walker - 51st minute
Orlando City: Dom Dwyer - 90th minute (assisted by Adama Mbengue)
Rowdies: Fontein (Restrepo 45'), Sanfilippo, Yamada, Scott, Cox (R); Frimpong, Mulholland, Campbell, Del Do; Hristov, Walker
Orlando City: Kempin; Songo'o, Burke, Boden, Valentino; Duke, Mbengue, O'Connor, Molino; Watson (Chin 72'), Dwyer