Lions’ roster bolstered by Mendoza and Russo returning to lineup
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando City U23s face the Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy this Friday, May 11, at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford Florida. Friday’s game is a rematch of last week’s PDL season opener held at SSC, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Kickoff for the match is set at 7 p.m.

Before last Friday’s season opener, the Orlando City U23s coaching staff only had two full practices with the team. With a full week of training under their belt and with more players arriving, Head Coach Avallone says they are ready to get out and play Fort Lauderdale Friday night.

“It was great to get everyone in Orlando and have them in training. We’re trying to focus on our players’ fitness levels and getting them into our system,” said Avallone.

Orlando will continue to receive a consistent flow of incoming players for the next couple of weeks due to final exams wrapping up all around the United States. The U23s consists of top players from the NCAA level, many of whom could possibly play for the pro team as soon as next season.

Some of those players arriving this week include Stetson’s Johnny Mendoza and Louis Ocejo, along with Nicolas Russo who played for Boca Juniors - which is considered one of the greatest development academies in the world.

Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy is led by Head Coach/Owner Josef Schulz, who was awarded 2011 National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Adult Soccer Association. Avallone commented on playing a back-to-back against the same team and what he expects out of his club on Friday.

“You never really know what to expect out of the first couple weeks of the season. We have players that are striving to expect more. I expect more. I want to have the win this week,” he said.

Tickets for all Orlando City U23s matches start at $5 for kids 16 and below, with admission for adults 17 and up just $10. Tickets are available at the gate before every home match.

Player to Watch - Joesph Toby

Joseph Toby was a key player in last week’s draw against Fort Lauderdale. The Sierra Leone-native showed experience in moving the ball while consistently fighting for possession, something Avallone and the rest of the coaching staff admires. Look for Toby to keep improving throughout the season and lead the U23s defense on Friday and beyond.

Available Roster

Moses Aduny, Johan Bergfeld, Ricardo Campbell, Oumar Diakhite, David Graydon, Will Frandsen, Ryan Griffin, Ezequiel Pedraza, Joseph Toby, Steven Williams, Sean Reynolds, Chip Saunders, Anthony Arico, Keneil Baker, Jonathan Mendoza, Louis Ojeco, Nicolas Russo.

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LA Galaxy II 28 51
Richmond Kickers 28 51
Charleston Battery 28 41