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Striker Julio Baptista Impresses in First Start for Orlando City vs. New England Revolution

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Julio Baptista made his first start for Orlando City on Sunday since being acquired in March, and looked good in the process.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday's match against the New England Revolution was marked with controversy, taking away from some of the good things that actually happened for Orlando City.

For example: some people probably won't even remember Kevin Molino coming on to score in his 100th appearance for the club.

The refereeing madness at the end of the match will also make most people forget just how impressive Julio Baptista was in his first start for the club.

Baptista played the full 90 minutes, running all over the field, creating opportunities, muscling his way to the ball and drawing a couple of fouls, including a big one just 15 seconds into the match when his foot was stepped on inside the penalty area, earning Orlando City a penalty kick.

He was no Cyle Larin on the field, but Baptista did make his presence felt before noticeably tiring out in the second half.

"He hasn't played a lot of football for a while, match-wise," Lions manager Adrian Heath said post-match. "Obviously that's the first thing to go, you get a little bit tired. But I thought he showed a lot of stuff that will help us moving forward. He's been out for a while, but looked as though he is fit, and I think if we get enough balls to him in the right areas he's going to be a big piece for us moving forward."

Baptista started up top as the lone striker in the 4-2-3-1 with Larin on the bench, but we saw Heath go with more of a two-striker set up about 15 minutes into the second half, with Larin and Baptista sharing the space above Kaká and the other midfielders.

When asked about the prospect of using that kind of set up, with both Larin and Baptista in the lineup, again in the future, Heath didn't shoot down the possibility.

"We'll see, it could be a good option for us moving forward," he said. "I think one of the things is that with all of his injury worries, I thought he was a threat in the first half."

One would assume that Larin will be feeling much better about getting 29 minutes on the field against New England, but it'll be something to watch as the Lions head back up to north to face off against the New York Red Bulls next Sunday.