In what can only be described as a rather lack luster performance from the Newcastle side, the lads were beaten 1-0 by third tier American side Orlando City tonight.
And Orlando deserved the victory and it was not a particularly inspiring performance from the Newcastle side.
These were the starting line-ups for the game tonight:
Orlando City (4-4-2)- Miguel Gallardo, Jerome Mechalk, Kieron Bernard, Rob Valentino, Jack Traynor. Jamie Watson, Yordany Alarez, Luke Bode, Lewis Neal. Max Griffin, Matt Luzunaris.
Subs- Sean Kelley, Wes Allen, Adama Mbengue, Justin Fojo, Kevin Molino, Charlie Campbell, Ian Fuller, Dennis Chin, Devorn Jorsling.
Newcastle United (4-4-2)- Fraser Forster, Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, James Tavernier. Dan Gosling, Alan Smith, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez. Peter Lovenkrands, Leon Best.
Subs:Steve Harper, Tim Krul, Jose Enrique, Mehdi Abeid, Demba Ba, Shola Ameobi.
The game got under way and Newcastle seemed to have trouble keeping possession, as the ball on the artificial turf seemed to have a lot more bounce than usual.
The game was fairly even in the first 20 minutes or so, with Orlando City giving as good as they were getting from the Newcastle side.
On 25 minutes Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was forced to make a change as Ryan Taylor was replaced by Jose Enrique. It looked like Taylor took a knock and presumably was removed for safety-first reasons – surely not another injury?
It was rather a listless game for the first 30 minutes or so, but then the game came to life in the last 10 minutes of the first half, and after 40 minutes Jonas put in a good cross that Steven Taylor headed on nicely, and it was Peter Lovenkrands who had a decent chance, but goalkeeper Gallardo made a good save.
And shortly after that it seemed as Gosling should have had a penalty on 42 minutes.
The former Everton midfielder broke into the penalty area in style, from the outside left position, and he seemed to be pulled down by an Orlando defender, but the referee waved play on.
It was funny when we heard an excited announcer announce “play on” – yeah right – that looked like a penalty.
Newcastle’s best chance in the half had fallen to Peter Lovenkrands but the first half was hardly a vintage game for the fans at the Citrus Bowl, and it was 0-0 at the interval.
There were no changes made at the interval for Newcastle and before the half could start some streamers had to be removed from Forster’s penalty area.
Enrique started to show his class on the left wing as he made several good moves and he looked fit enough after his hamstring scare.
On 56 minutes a good cross from Jonas was not collected cleanly by Gallardo, and he had to boot the ball away in panic mode, but then he took a Dan Gosling cross with style as he held onto the ball.
And as in Kansas, Coloccini was giving a master class on how to play center back with coolness and aplomb, and the Newcastle captain hardly has put a foot wrong tonight, as he cut out the Orlando attacks with ease.
Newcastle were attacking a lot more in the second half, as they tried to make a break-through against the third tier American side.
There was an announcement that 10,889 was the attendance and that’s the highest crowd at the Citrus Bowl this season
After 63 minutes Max Griffin missed a wonderful opportunity to put Orlando ahead, and from just ten yards out, but he shot straight at Forster, who parried the ball well.
On 65 minutes Lewis Neal had another great opportunity to put Orlando ahead but he missed the chance as the ball whizzed by Forster’s right hand post.
Haris Vuckic was brought on after 70 minutes even though he wasn’t listed as a sub – so at least he’s fit again.
It was Orlando at this point in the game that were attacking Newcastle and looking for a goal.
After 73 minutes 18 year-old Mehdi Abeid came on to replace Peter Lovenkrands, and Demba Ba and Shola Ameobi come on to replace Leon Best and Alan Smith, as manager Alan Pardew tried to stop the constant attacking of the Orlando side in the second half.
And would you believe it, on 75 minutes Orlando took the lead, and they deserved to go ahead too.
Dennis Chin was clear and then squared the ball to Molino, after avoiding a tackle from Coloccini, and Molino then easily hit the ball home from just 11 yards out, and the home crowd went wild.
Then on 82 minutes it looked like Newcastle equalized as James Tavernier played the ball across goal to Vuckic who hit the ball home nicely from a narrow angle, but the assistant’s flag was up – and it was disallowed, but what for we’re not too sure.
Two minutes later Forster kept Newcastle in the game with an outstanding save, when the 6’7″ goalkeeper got his left hand to a deflected shot from Molino – a terrific reaction save from the 23 year-old.
But Newcastle couldn’t get on level terms, and rather surprisingly Orlando City deserved their 1-0 win tonight.
Fraser Forster had a good game in the Newcastle goal, and Coloccini again looked good in central defense, as did Jose Enrique, who made some good runs down the left wing.