After a five tumultuous months in the USL Pro, only two teams remain.
The Orlando City Lions capped off their regular-season American Division title with a comfortable 3-0 victory over the Richmond Kickers. They'll be joined in the final by the Harrisburg City Islanders, who knocked off top-seeded Rochester in a thrilling 2-1 win.
Orlando cruised to the final on the back of a dominating offensive performance and a stifling defense that left goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo with little to do. A packed house of over 8,000 fans were on hand at the Citrus Bowl and were treated with an early goal for the home side.
Luke Boden's counterattacking goal came via a deflection off Luke Vercollone and left goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale wrong-footed. Orlando's lead was doubled when Mechack Jerome's laser from 30 yards out found the back of the net and the Lions took a two-goal lead into the locker room.
The win was all but assured in the 70th minute when Dennis Chin finished off a sequence of sharp passing and slotted his shot past Pascale. Henry Kalungi was sent off in the 89th minute and the game ended on a bit of a sour note.
Harrisburg moved on to the final all the worse for wear after a semifinal marred with reckless challenges and a multitude of colored cards.
The City Islanders took the lead after just sixth minutes courtesy of a deflected Stephen Basso shot from 25 yards out. Both teams were reduced to 10 men after tempers flared due to a couple of harsh challenges but Harrisburg managed to double its advantage before halftime. With only three minutes left to go in the half, Harrisburg was down to nine men when Brian Ombiji was given his marching orders.
Issac Kissi pulled a goal back against the shorthanded Islanders but the Rhinos wasted a plethora of chances and fell short in their bid for an equalizer.
Orlando and Harrisburg will meet Saturday night at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The action will be nationally televised on Fox Soccer Channel.
What did you think of the semifinals? Did Harrisburg deserve the win? Impressed with Orlando? Who will raise the trophy this Saturday?
Share your thoughts below.