Orlando City SC announced today that Midfielder Kevin Molino suffered a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in his right knee Saturday night during a friendly match against Brazilian Seria A club Ponte Preta.
Molino is expected to undergo surgery in the coming weeks at Orlando Health and will miss the remainder of the 2015 Major League Soccer season. Molino suffered the injury in the 18th minute of the match. Additional tests are expected in the coming weeks to determine the full extent of the injury.
“We are obviously devastated for Kevin,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “He was having a great start to the season, his first in MLS. He’ll work with the team physicians from Orlando Health to make sure he undergoes a full recovery and comes back in top form.”
Orlando City defeats Brazilian side in friendly, but Kevin Molino goes down with knee injury.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Kevin Molino and Orlando City SC face an anxious wait to discover the damage to the attacker’s right knee after the midfielder was forced out early from the Lions’ friendly with Brazilian side Ponte Preta at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday.
With the Lions facing a visit from in-form New England on Friday, the last thing Adrian Heath’s side need is another injury before they make their fifth bid for an elusive first home MLS victory.
“He has to go to the doctor’s [Sunday] for the necessary X-Ray,” Heath said after the game on Saturday night. “We will assess him and see what’s right for him moving forward.”
Molino went down after just 16 minutes of a see-saw game that City eventually won 3-2 thanks to a last-minute Cyle Larin penalty. With fellow midfielders Lewis Neal and Tony Cascio still sidelined, Heath knows his team can ill afford another casualty, especially with high-flyers New England, D.C. United and the LA Galaxy on tap in the Lions’ next three games.
“It is an occupational hazard, but there is not an awful lot you can do about it,” Heath said. “The players are committed even though it is only a friendly. Brazilian teams don’t like to lose.”
A crowd of 20,501 turned up during Orlando’s MLS bye week for an exhibition against a team playing its final warmup before Brazil’s Serie A opens next weekend. Unfortunately, several players needed treatment early on, culminating in Molino’s exit.
The Trinidadian midfielder stayed down after an innocuous challenge in the 14th minute and then appeared to damage the same knee again immediately after returning to action. The trainer was summoned, and substitute Eric Avila was instantly waved into the game. Heath also removed Kaká from the action nine minutes later.
Despite the injury concern, head coach Heath was still thrilled to chalk up a positive result after four home league games without a win, especially after going 1-0 down early on.
Designated Player Bryan Rochez headed his first Orlando goal on the stroke of halftime, center back Sean St. Ledger made it 2-1 with another header from a corner in the 55th and No.1 SuperDraft pick Larin both won and converted his last-gasp penalty to give City the victory.
Several of Orlando’s younger players also showed well, with rookies Earl Edwards and Conor Donovan and teenagers Tyler Turner and Harrison Heath all seeing action.
“I am delighted for the players and the supporters, but especially the players, who have been working so hard and wanted to get themselves going,” Heath insisted. “We played against a very good team and to get a few goals at home gives everyone something to cheer.”
Video: - Highlights: Orlando City SC - 3 Ponte Preta - 2