VSI Tampa Bay (USL PRO) won over the Orlando City U-23 (USL PDL) in penalty kicks Tuesday night 1-1 (5-3) at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla. The first round match of the 100th U.S. Open Cup paired Tampa Bay in its first appearance in the US Open Cup against Orlando City U-23 in its sixth appearance. VSI Tampa Bay advances into the second round and will play the 2012 NASL Champions Tampa Bay Rowdies.
The match was hard fought and looked to be a win for Tampa, but Orlando was able to equalize in the 90th minute to send the match to two overtime periods. Orlando has never advanced beyond the first round, and was again unable to do so tonight. Orlando was one of four amateur teams to face a professional team opponent in the first round.
VSI Tampa Bay’s game experience as a team was apparent in the opening minutes. Tampa has already played seven matches to a record of 4-3 and sit in sixth place on the table. The ball control was crisp and they put immediate pressure on the Orlando City U-23 Lions. With the final seven players announced only four days ago, the Lions had less time to prepare for the match and it showed as they misconnected on key passes and in general looked like they were playing their first competitive match as a team.
Tampa took advantage when Andriy Budnyy scored seven minutes into the contest to give Tampa the 1-0 lead. Budnyy headed the ball in from the top of the goal box out of the reach of the Lion’s goalkeeper, Tomas Gomez. Alex Freitas was left alone on the left to serve the excellent cross and got the assist.
After that goal, the Lions settled down and played a much better match. Although Tampa was in the Lion’s half for most of the first 20 minutes, Orlando City players seemed to gel and find their stride.
“We haven’t been together long so I can’t fault their effort and work rate but I think overall we did well in our first competitive match,” said U23 coach Paul Shaw.
In the 25th minute, Orlando’s perseverance was almost rewarded as Tyler Blackwood got behind VSI’s defense and put a beautiful cross into the goal box but Tampa was able to clear. The remainder of the first half continued with exciting play from both teams as each pressed forward and created changes. Tampa’s Tony Dontelli had an opportunity near the 40th minute but his shot went right to the hands of Gomez.
The play in the second half was similar to the end of the 1st half with the Lions and VSI controlling the ball equally well with neither team clearly superior in time of possession or completing their chances. Both made substitutions to keep fresh legs in the game as Tampa brought in Chad Burt (61′) and Sebastien Thureire (77′) while Orlando brought in Tom Skelly (57′) and Daniel Barboto (67′).
Orlando’s last substitution, Ian Svantesson (77′) would turn out to be key, as he broke free of several defenders in the box and shot what looked to be the game winner in the 90th minute. However, Tampa’s goalkeeper Dave Martin came up with a fantastic save. The rebound came near Orlando Captain Nic Russo who was crashing the goal area and he headed the ball home to equalize the match and forcing overtime.
The extra time brought plenty of exciting plays as both teams moved the ball quickly through the midfield and pressed the fowards into the final third. Both goalkeepers were kept busy but additional goals eluded both teams. In the second overtime period, tired legs began to take their toll from the fast paced match and the teams remained tied.
The first three rounds of shots from the mark were even as each team’s representative seemed to score easily. In the 4th round, J.T Noone of Tampa shot the ball past Gomez, but the shot by Orlando’s Nick Sowers was saved by Martin, giving Tampa the 4-3 penalty kick advantage. The final round came to a close as Tampa’s Mauricio Salles sent his shot past Gomez to give VSI the victory.
VSI: Budnyy (Freitas) 7th minute
ORL: Russo (Svantesson) 90th minute
Penalty Kick Summary
X – VSI – Donotelli (1-0)
X – ORL – Clowes (1-1)
X – VSI – Hoffer (2-1)
X – ORL – Blackwood (2-2)
X – VSI – Burt (3-2)
X – ORL – Russo (3-3)
X – VSI – Noone (4-3)
_ – ORL – Sowers (4-3)
X – VSI – Rife (5-3)
VSI Tampa Bay FC Dave Martin, Richard Dixon, Kyle Hoffer, Josh Rife, Alex Freitas, Joseph Noone, Darren Toby, Shawn Chin (Mauricio Solles 90th), Tony Donotelli, Douglas Dos Santos (Sebastien Thureire 77th), Andriy Budnyy (Chad Burt 61st)
Orlando City U23s Tomas Gomez, Evan Greenbaum (Ian Svantesson 77th), Kyle Fisher, Cole Seiler, Stewart Abrahart (Tom Skelly 57th), Itode Fubara, Troy Peterson (Daniel Barboto 67th), Paul Clowes, Tyler Blackwood, Nick Sowers, Nicolas Russo
ORL – Nick Sowers (95′) Yellow
TPA – Sebastian Thuriere (97′) Yellow
ORL – Itode Fubara (107′) Yellow