Orlando City SC Holds Off Indiana Fire to Win Group G in Development Academy U-17/18 Playoffs

Westfield, Ind. (June 26, 2017) - In a game that featured drama from the first minute through the 90th, Orlando City SC downed Indiana Fire, 2-1, to win Group G in Monday night's feature game in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 Playoffs at Grand Park.

"I'm proud of these boys for what they have done this season," said Orlando City SC U-17/18 head coach David Longwell. "It is a little bit of history, this club has never progressed out of the group stages, so I'm just proud of them. The game was exciting from first minute to last, we had to do our best to keep ourselves in the game because if we tied, (Indiana Fire) would have gone through. It was a massive effort and a massive achievement."

It took Orlando City less than a minute to open the scoring as Juan Jose Hernandez slipped a ball to David Loera in behind the Indiana Fire defense and Loera slotted home the opening goal just 39 seconds into the match.

Orlando City goalkeeper Justin Bauer was called into action for the first time in the 34th minute as Indiana Fire's Joel Harvey saw his shot touched around the post for a Fire corner kick. Just a minute later, Thomas Warr had a chance to equalize for the Fire but Bauer was again equal to the shot as Orlando City took a 1-0 lead into halftime.

Five minutes into the second half, Loera stepped around a defender and just missed the upper corner of the goal as his shot whistled just high. Orlando City had another chance in the 63rd minute as Hernandez played the ball to Isaque Couto whose shot hit the side-netting.

Orlando City doubled its advantage in the 69th minute on a goal from Raul Aguilera. Mario Licor laid the ball off into the path of Aguilera and his low drive beat Indiana Fire goalkeeper Jake Gruber to give Orlando City a 2-0 lead.

Seven minutes later, Indiana Fire cut the Orlando City lead in half. Ben Weber's thunderous 30-yard drive found the top corner past a helpless Bauer to setup a dramatic final quarter-hour.

In the 85th minute, Indiana Fire had a free kick wide left of the Orlando City goal. Justin Ingram whipped in a dangerous ball toward the top of the six-yard box and Logan Lee was the first to it, sending his effort just wide of the near post.

Two minutes later Orlando City had a chance to finish the game off but Gruber made a terrific save with his feet on a shot by Licor, keeping the Fire's hopes alive.

Needing just a tie to advance on goal difference, Indiana Fire created two more chances in stoppage time. Driving down the right wing, Warr looked to sneak a shot inside the near post but Bauer tipped it around the post for a Fire corner kick. Moments later the ball fell to Warr again near the top of the six-yard box but Bauer came up with another save as Orlando City hung on for a 2-1 victory to win Group G.

"I'm proud of (the team) for what they achieved," said Longwell. "The club should be proud of what they have achieved. The group that we have is incredible, we've had a really good season, we finished second in the whole country (in the regular season), which is a huge achievement. We tried to do that playing football, we would have liked to have played more football tonight but the way the game went it was difficult at times.

"The three games this week have been hard games. I think U.S. Soccer has done a good job with the level of competition, to get through against Pateadores, against PDA and against Indiana (Fire) tonight we needed to be at our best, we are delighted."

Orlando City advances to the Development Academy Knockout Round quarterfinals, to be played on Friday, July 7. Knockout round matchups will be set later this week and will be available on ussoccerda.com as well as on Twitter and Instagram.