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Orlando City B

Orlando City B Records First Home Win with 1-0 Defeat of FC Montreal



Orlando City B recorded its first home win Sunday night with a 1-0 defeat of FC Montreal. It was OCB’s fourth time playing at Eastern Florida State College on its home field, and it used an early header from Michael Cox to bury Montreal and take the three points in front of its home fans for the first time ever in USL, and it did it despite a red card for Devron Garcia.

OCB’s starting lineup was highlighted by six MLS players in Tyler Turner, Garcia, Richie Laryea, Harrison Heath, Bryan Róchez, and the return of Conor Donovan. It was Donovan’s first competitive game since he tore his ACL last August.

The home side got off to a good start with Lewis Neal on the left in place of Pierre da Silva who has been away with the U.S. U-19 national team competing in the Slovakia Cup. Neal created multiple opportunities for the Lions in the opening minutes, finally breaking through in the ninth minute. Turner drove down the right, sending a ball across the box toward Neal who then headed it back into the six onto the head of striker Michael Cox, who put it away for the game’s only goal.

"We've worked on some bits and pieces this week on seeing if we can get some overloads down the side," Head Coach Anthony Pulis said following the game. "And we got that. [Neal] put a good ball in and Coxy finished it off really well."

After a good start, the game changed in the 18th minute when OCB received yet another red card. After Donovan misplayed the ball, FC Montreal played it forward for Charles Joly. Garcia came over from the left to pick up the loose ball but Joly beat him to it, with Garcia taking the forward down. As the last defender, the referee had no choice but to send off the Honduran.

Down a man, OCB was forced to play a more defensive game from then on out, which involved dealing with a strong Montreal attack. That meant once again depending on a brilliant performance by goalkeeper Mark Ridgers who was forced into several diving saves.

The closest chance for the visitors came in the 79th minute when David Choiniere ripped a shot from the top of the box. But Ridgers was up to the task, tipping it over the bar.

The last 20 minutes was a much more open game with FC Montreal pushing for a goal and OCB attempting to catch them on the counter. Both teams saw multiple opportunities but neither was able to convert, and the Lions were able to hold off their opponents for a 1-0 victory.

The biggest news from Sunday night’s game was the return of center back Conor Donovan. After being out for nearly nine months, the second-round draft pick from the 2015 MLS SuperDraft out of N.C. State played the first 45 minutes. It’s a big moment for the club, who are short on first-team center backs after trading Aurélien Collin to New York Red Bulls earlier in the week.

"I thought he did great tonight," Pulis said of Donovan's first game back. "It isn't easy when you haven't played for nine months but I thought he slotted in and did well. And he'll only get better from here on in."

As for OCB, it'll be a quick turnaround. Having won two of their last three games, the Lions will play again Wednesday night as they host expansion side FC Cincinnati.

Starting XI: Ridgers, Turner, Donovan (Ribeiro, 46'), D. Garcia, Ambrose, Laryea (Mendoza, 38'), Heath, Rocha (Callan-McFadden, 22'), Neal ©, Rochez (Smith, 46'), Cox (Eyang, 78')

Unused Subs: Fenlason, Obekop

Goals: ORL – Cox (9')

Yellow Cards: ORL – Cox (6'), MON – Riggi (15'), Dominguez (54'), Charbonneau (66')

Red Cards: ORL – Garcia (18')

Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Carolina Core FC: Final Score 2-2 as OCB Draws Lowly Core and Claims Extra Point on Penalties

OCB came back from a poor start to draw Carolina Core FC and take two points at home.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B/Mark Thor

Orlando City B (4-4-4, 18 points) returned to action tonight, drawing Carolina Core FC (1-6-3, 8 points) 2-2 at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee. The Young Lions got off to a horrible start, conceding a penalty by Facundo Canete in the seventh minute and a Papa Ndoye goal 10 minutes later. But they dominated the second 45 minutes, with Alex Freeman converting a penalty in the 72nd minute and Imanol Almaguer equalizing in the 86th minute. They won the penalty shootout 6-5, claiming two points on the night.

OCB Head Coach Manuel Goldberg made two changes to the team that lost 3-1 to Inter Miami II Sunday evening. Yutaro Tsukada was on the bench for this one and Wilfredo Rivera wasn’t in the team. They were replaced by Yeiler Valencia and Justin Ellis. The back line in front of goalkeeper Javier Otero remained the same, featuring Manuel Cocca, Thomas Williams, Nabi Kibunguchy, and Freeman. Colin Guske and Almaguer were the defensive midfielders behind Jhon Solis, Shak Mohammed, and Valencia with Ellis as the lone striker.

Despite being one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, Carolina came out on the attack and put OCB on its heels. The hosts struggled to create anything offensively and didn’t even get a shot on target until the 35th minute. However, they played much better in the final 15 minutes of the first half and dominated the second 45 minutes. They were unlucky not to claim all three points and would’ve without a dreadful start to the game.

Carolina had the first attack inside the first minute when Jacob Evans played Joshua Rodriguez forward down the left. The attacker attempted a low cross into the box, but Williams was there to clear it out of play. The ensuing corner kick was towards the back post and met a Core head, but the attempt was over the crossbar.

The visitors felt as though they should’ve had a penalty in the third minute when Williams challenged Rodriguez as he entered the box. The Core attacker raised his arms, but referee Elvis Osmanovic didn’t agree.

The first chance for OCB came in the fourth minute when Valencia made a strong run along the end line and into the box. He was looking for a cross, but the ball was cleared out of play for a corner kick before he could get rid of it. The ensuing set piece by Almaguer found the head of Cocca, but the left back sent it wide of the far post.

It’s been a tough start to the season for Carolina Core, but the visitors took an unexpected lead in the seventh minute. Ndoye had the ball on the right and played it into the box for Rodriguez after Williams failed to follow his run. Otero came well off of his line, but Rodriguez got to the ball first. As a result, the OCB goalkeeper took down the attacker. Osmanovic immediately pointed to the spot and issued Otero a yellow card.

After Rodriguez was treated by the Carolina medical staff, Canete stepped up for the penalty. Otero dove to his right and Canete sent the ball the other way to give his team an early 1-0 lead.

Rodriguez continued to trouble the OCB back line in the 14th minute when he completed a nice turn to lose Kibunguchy. Dribbling towards goal, the attacker sent a low pass to the penalty spot. However, Williams was the only one there and cleared it away.

Carolina doubled its advantage in the 17th minute after Evans sent Canete down the left. Kibunguchy sprinted back to catch up with the midfielder, but Canete cut back as Kibunguchy slid past. The Argentinian played a perfect ball to the back post where Ndoye was making a run and the striker touched it in for a 2-0 Carolina lead.

The Young Lions had their second decent attack in the 20th minute when Evans fouled Guske on the Carolina side of the field. Almaguer sent the free kick into the box and Covi headed it out of play for a corner kick. The ensuing corner by Almaguer was to the top of the six-yard box where goalkeeper Alex Sutton, Cocca, and defender Christian Diaz collided. Carolina cleared but Diaz went down and required attention, resulting in a stoppage of play. In the meantime, Cocca and Covi began pushing before receiving a word from Osmanovic. No cards were given and play continued.

Mohammed looked to make something happen on his own in the 28th minute with a long run into the Carolina box. It looked as though he would get a strong shot off or set up a teammate in front of the goal, but sent a soft ball into the arms of Sutton instead.

In the 32nd minute, Solis tried to get OCB on the board with a run to the top of the box. He used a stepover to lose his defender and fired. Unfortunately, the shot was well high and wide of the target, ending the threat.

The first OCB shot on target came in the 35th minute when nobody stepped up to Valencia on the left. The midfielder decided to take a hard shot towards goal. It was a decent attempt, but was from a tough angle and distance, enabling Sutton to catch it.

OCB had another set piece attempt in the 40th minute when Solis out-muscled Derek Cuevas. The midfielder caught back up to Solis and pushed him down from behind in frustration, earning a yellow card for his trouble. Almaguer’s ensuing free kick met the head of Freeman, but the attempt was off target.

The Young Lions had another free kick in the Carolina third in the 43rd minute when Cocca made a strong run before being taken down by Canete. Almaguer sent the set piece towards the far post, but it was too strong and Sutton easily caught it.

In the third minute of first-half stoppage time, Freeman laid the ball off for Solis, who made a strong run into the box. The midfielder attempted a cross, but Sutton did well to get his foot to the ball, knocking it out of play. The ensuing corner kick was towards the back post, but nobody could get on the end of it.

The Young Lions had one last chance in the final seconds of the first half. Valencia made a run into the box from the left and sent a low cross to Freeman just outside of the six. The right back should’ve been able to redirect it on goal, but was leaning back and sent it over the target.

OCB had more shots (5-3) and corner kicks (3-2), and better passing accuracy (87.8%-81.2%) in the first half, but didn’t threaten Sutton, only putting one shot on target. Meanwhile, Carolina put two of its three shots on frame and scored twice to take a 2-0 lead at halftime.

The start of the second half was much better for the hosts, creating a chance inside the first minute. Receiving the ball from Mohammed, Cocca sent a curling cross towards the back post. The ball continued to drift as Sutton backpedaled. It looked as though it might actually get behind him and nestle inside the far top corner of the goal, but was just over the top.

The Young Lions had a second opportunity in the 49th minute when Cocca used some quick feet to beat Canete and was taken down, earning a free kick near the top of the Carolina box. The set piece by Cocca was off the wall and over the goal, but Osmanovic missed the deflection and gave the visitors a goal kick.

In the 51st minute, Cocca’s cross attempt was blocked out for a corner kick. The set piece was short, eventually ending at the feet of Almaguer. The OCB captain’s shot was between the legs of Canete, but right into the waiting arms of Sutton.

Valencia made a good run into the box in the 58th minute, beating Jathan Juarez, before Diaz knocked it out of play. Cocca got his head to the ensuing set piece, but the header was over the crossbar again.

The Young Lions created a pair of shots in the 61st minute as they continued to pressure the visitors. First, Mohammed turned Diaz and got a shot off, but sent it straight to Sutton. OCB quickly won back possession and set up a shot for Solis. Unfortunately, the midfielder’s curling attempt went just over the crossbar.

A long ball in the 62nd minute looking for Freeman was knocked out by Cuevas for an OCB corner kick. The ensuing set piece by Almaguer was volleyed by Williams just before it hit the ground. It was a good strike, but Sutton was up to the task, getting down to make the stop.

Three minutes later, Valencia took a shot from outside of the box. The midfielder touched the ball inside, setting up an attempt with his right foot. Canete got a slight deflection on it, enabling Sutton to collect it.

After not making any second-half substitutions against Miami, Goldberg made his first two against Carolina in the 67th minute. Zakaria Taifi and Majed Abdullah entered the game for Ellis and Valencia. While Abdullah for Valencia was a like-for-like change, Taifi came in at right back with Freeman moving forward into the midfield. Meanwhile, Mohammed shifted into the striker’s role with Ellis departing.

The constant attack by OCB paid off in the 72nd minute when a shot by Guske bounced off the arm of Evans. Osmanovic didn’t hesitate to point to the spot, giving the Young Lions a penalty. Freeman stepped up to take the spot kick, sending Sutton the wrong way and cutting the deficit in half.

The visitors spent most of the second half defending, but got a chance in the 74th minute through Canete. Receiving the ball on the right side of the box, nobody closed him down and the first-half goal scorer shot. However, it was right to Otero, who made an easy save.

OCB quickly went the other way and nearly equalized. Freeman made a long run into the Carolina box and shot, but it was blocked out for a corner kick. After the initial set piece was cleared away, Guske sent the ball to the top of the box. Kibunguchy headed the ball down and Williams got a touch to it, playing it forward for Freeman who was darting in from outside of the 18. Freeman stuck his foot out to send the ball towards goal, putting it just wide.

Carolina had a chance for a third in the 80th minute when Kibunguchy blocked Johnny Bazaes’ cross attempt for a corner kick. The ensuing set piece by Conete was over Otero and met the head of Kai Thomas. However, it was a little high for him too, resulting in his header going over the crossbar.

In the 83rd minute, Taifi made a long run out of the back, getting near the end line after a give-and-go with Freeman. He found Mohammed at the top of the box, but the forward didn’t get much on the ball. Fortunately, it went right to Abdullah near the back post. The substitute tried to backheel it in, but sent the attempt wide.

OCB finally found its equalizer in the 86th minute through its captain. Guske found Freeman just inside of the box and the defender-turned-midfielder quickly shot on goal. Sutton blocked the attempt, but the ball went straight to Almaguer. The midfielder didn’t waste any time, putting the ball in to even the game at 2-2.

“They really want to fight, right? We still need to fix some things to avoid suffering through some moments, but this made it clear that they wanted it and that’s really good,” Goldberg said about his team coming back from a two-goal deficit. “That’s really positive.”

“It tells that we don’t quit, man. We’re always determined to come out whatever the score is and just keep going and going and going,” Freeman said. “And it just tells that our team is full of spirit, good individuals that come and win any game we can.”

Carolina had a chance in the 89th minute when Bazaes sent a cross towards the back post. Cocca got to the ball first and tried to keep it in play, but the assistant determined it went over the line, giving Carolina a corner kick. The set piece by Canete found the head of Aryeh Miller on the far side, but his header was wide.

It appeared as though the Young Lions had found a winner two minutes into second-half stoppage time when Almaguer’s free kick went over the head of Sutton and was knocked in by Freeman. Osmanovic initially awarded a goal, but put his hand to his ear as he spoke with his assistant. It was eventually determined that Freeman handled the ball while controlling it, so a free kick was awarded to Carolina instead.

The Young Lions had one last chance seven minutes into second-half stoppage time when Almaguer sent a free kick into the box. Mohammed got the back of his head to it, sending it on goal, but Sutton blocked it out of play. The ensuing set piece was cleared and the final whistle blew.

OCB dominated the game statistically with the advantage in shots (25-7), shots on target (10-3), corner kicks (9-5), crosses (5-2), and passing accuracy (89.1%-80.4%). However, the poor start enabled Carolina to grab a point from the 90 minutes.

“It was a mixture of moments, right? We went through different ups and downs in the game. Started down, then going up,” Goldberg said about the performance. “But the good thing is that we showed good character. The points to improve are the early moments of the game in this case, right?”

“Obviously, the first half was a little slow for us. But I feel like throughout the second half we were able to get chances all game. And we were obviously able to just attack, attack, attack,” Freeman added. “Obviously, I feel like we got some wrong calls, but at the end of the day, we were still able to get the extra point in penalties. So I feel like our team overall did good to come back out.”

MLS NEXT Pro rules state that games tied after 90 minutes go to penalties to determine which team gets a second point. Before the shootout could start, Osmanovic issued a straight red card to Tsukada, who didn’t appear in the game, on the OCB bench. Per MLS NEXT Pro rules, Tsukada will miss the next meeting with Carolina on July 7.

The first three shooters scored before David Polanco stepped up. The Carolina substitute sent a poor penalty towards goal and Otero guessed right, blocking it away. Freeman had the next attempt, but Sutton was up to the task, making the stop with his left hand and keeping the visitors in the shootout.

Having already scored one penalty in the game, Canete stepped up to even it, but sent his attempt over the top of the goal. Once again, OCB had a chance to take a commanding advantage. This time it was Almaguer and he sent Sutton the wrong way, but his shot hit the crossbar.

The next eight penalty takers converted their kicks and Santiago Cambindo stepped up, looking to even it at 6-6 in the eighth round. However, the attempt wasn’t far enough towards the corner, enabling Otero to get his hand to the ball. As a result, OCB earned a second point from the game.

The two points puts OCB back in a playoff position, currently sitting in seventh. They’re tied with Columbus Crew 2 for sixth and one point behind NYCFC II for fifth.

The Young Lions will continue their three-game homestand Thursday night when they host Chattanooga FC at Osceola County Stadium.

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Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Inter Miami II: Final Score 3-1 as Young Lions Fall to 9-Man Rivals

OCB can’t take advantage of its manpower edge in a wasteful loss in Fort Lauderdale.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Orlando City B (4-4-3, 16 points) fell 3-1 to in-state rivals Inter Miami II (5-4-2, 17 points) at Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale tonight despite having a man advantage for most of the second half and a two-man advantage at the end. Lawson Sunderland gave Miami the lead in the 35th minute, but OCB responded quickly with a 40th-minute goal by Favian Loyola. Ryan Carmichael made 2-1 in the 43rd minute and the Young Lions couldn’t find another response. Coco Jean’s 85th-minute goal saw the game end 3-1 to the hosts.

The lineup for this game was the same as the team that beat Huntsville City FC 5-0 last Sunday in Kissimmee. The back line in front of goalkeeper Javier Otero was Manuel Cocca, Thomas Williams, Nabi Kibunguchy, and Alex Freeman. Colin Gukse and Imanol Almaguer were the defensive midfielders behind Yutaro Tsukada, Shak Mohammed, and Jhon Solis with Wilfredo Rivera as the lone striker.

OCB got off to the more aggressive start in this game, but the hosts turned the tables as the game went on. After multiple chances in the first 10 minutes, the game settled down. However, both teams were able to strike late in the first half, combining for three goals in the final 15 minutes. The second half saw the Young Lions win a penalty and two Miami players were sent off. Despite those advantages, Miami increased its lead by a goal to win by two.

OCB got the first chance of the game in the fourth minute from a foul just outside of the box. The Young Lions immediately played the set piece forward for Mohammed before Inter Miami II defenders were ready. Mohammed shot from a tight angle, but Miami goalkeeper CJ dos Santos knocked it out of play for a corner kick.

A minute later, the Young Lions created their second opportunity. Mohammed sent a ball into the six-yard box, where Rivera was making a run with Nykolas Sessock on his back. It looked like it would be a simple tap-in by Rivera, but Sessock was able to reach it first, sending it out of play for another OCB corner kick. The ball was sent near the top of the six where dos Santos was able to jump on it.

Inter Miami II nearly took the lead in the 12th minute when Noah Allen sent a cross into the box for Carmichael, who was behind the OCB back line. His first touch was a redirection towards goal, but the ball hit the post. The bounce off the woodwork was right into the arms of Otero, enabling the Young Lions to escape without conceding.

In the 15th minute, Cocca attempted a dangerous cross into the box. He had two teammates making runs, but the ball was just over the head of Rivera and a bit too far in front of Mohammed for him to reach it. As a result, the ball went out of play for a goal kick.

Cocca received the ball from Solis in the 20th minute and, after controlling it with his first touch, stepped inside to lose a pair of defenders, creating space for a shot. The left back curled the ball towards the far post from outside of the box, but dos Santos was able to get down and stop it.

Solis and Almaguer nearly combined for a goal in the 22nd minute when Solis chipped the ball over multiple defenders and into the box for Almaguer. The defensive midfielder reached his foot out for the ball, but dos Santos came off his line and was able to get to it first.

In the 28th minute, Sessock and Tsukada collided while going after a ball. Both players went down with Sessock holding his head and Tsukada holding his lower back. After receiving treatment, both players were able to continue. However, Tsukada went down a couple of minutes later, again holding his back. This time he wouldn’t continue and was replaced by Loyola.

Shortly after the restart, the hosts took the lead. Jose Cases chipped the ball into the OCB box where Sessock chested it down with his back to goal. It was well played by the defender, setting up Sunderland to put in the opening goal.

The Young Lions didn’t take long to respond, scoring from a Miami giveaway in the 40th minute. After setting up the opening goal minutes earlier, Sessock played a poor pass for Allen that was intercepted by Rivera. The forward’s second touch was a backheel to Loyola making a run into the box and the substitute took the opportunity well. A first touch to his right lost Tyler Hall and his second touch was a quality strike to even the game at 1-1.

In the 43rd minute, the hosts regained the lead with some nice play between Sessock and Carmichael. After playing the ball wide for Sessock, Carmichael continued his run behind the OCB back line. Sessock played a great ball forward for Carmichael while Williams attempted to get in front to block it, resulting in the players going down. However, Carmichael got his shot off before Williams could arrive, giving Miami a 2-1 lead.

There was some late first-half controversy four minutes into stoppage time when Guske caught up to Leo Afonso, who was making a long run into the OCB box. It was unclear who touched it last and, after initially playing it with his feet, Otero picked up the ball. Miami players wanted a pass back from Guske to Otero, but the referee waved play on.

The last chance of the half came through a set piece when Carmichael took down Rivera about 30 yards from goal. The forward stepped up to take the kick, putting it on target but right into the arms of dos Santos.

It was a pretty even half, with both teams having five shots, two corner kicks, and three crosses. OCB had a slight advantage in shots on target (4-3) and passing accuracy (88.5%-78.4%). However, the hosts took a one-goal lead into the break.

OCB had a golden opportunity to equalize in the 51st minute when Cocca took the ball from Sunderland just outside of the Miami box and to the left of goal. The left back dribbled down to the end line as Ian Fray came in to challenge him. It looked on replays as though Fray got the ball, clearing it out of play, but Olvin Oliva pointed to the spot.

The Miami players converged on Oliva to argue the call and, after issuing him a yellow card for the foul, the referee gave Fray a straight red card for his language.

While the Miami players argued the call, Mohammed stood over the penalty spot with the ball. Dos Santos clapped his hands while Mohammed waited for the whistle before stepping up to take the kick. It was a poor penalty and dos Santos guessed the right direction, blocking the attempt away.

The Young Lions continued to look for opportunities with the man advantage, but struggled to create chances. Cocca took a shot from outside of the box in the 61st minute and Kibunguchy from a similar spot in the 71st minute, but both attempts were well off target.

In the 72nd minute, OCB got a fortunate bounce that nearly resulted in a goal. Mohammed’s shot from the top of the box was blocked, but the ball went right to Loyola near the six. The forward’s second touch was a shot that dos Santos did well to block.

Loyola looked to score his second of the game in the 79th minute with a shot from outside of the box. Receiving a short clearance, the attacker had Freeman making an overlap. Since a defender went with him, Loyola took a step inside and fired on goal. However, it was right to dos Santos, who didn’t have any trouble with it.

Despite being down a man, Miami found a third goal in the 85th minute. Afonso’s initial shot went to the foot of substitute Shanyder Borgelin, who was taken down by Williams. It probably would’ve been a penalty, but Jean put the loose ball in to give Miami a 3-1 lead.

It looked like the Young Lions had gotten one back in the 88th minute when a give-and-go between Freeman and Loyola resulted in the latter sending a cross into the six. It was looking for Kibunguchy, but the center back fell. The clearance went to Guske just outside of the box and the midfielder snuck it inside the near post. However, Oliva determined that Rivera’s positioning in front of goal blocked dos Santos. Since the forward was in an offside position, the goal was ruled out.

A minute into second-half stoppage time, Miami was issued its second red card of the half. Yannick Bright initially won the ball from Rivera, but inexplicably went in with a second foot, taking down the attacker. He then proceeded to push Guske and Oliva had no choice but to give him a second yellow card.

The Young Lions had a final chance in the third minute of stoppage time when Solis was taken down by Jean. The free kick was sent into the box, but nothing came of it and OCB fell 3-1 to its in-state rivals.

OCB dominated the game statistically, with the edge in shots (17-8), shots on target (8-4), corner kicks (6-3), crosses (13-3), and passing accuracy (89.6%-74.6%). However, the Young Lions were only able to score a goal and conceded while up a man.

It’s perplexing that OCB trailed the entire second half and fell two goals down but didn’t make a single substitution in the final 45 minutes. Goldberg had forward Justin Ellis and attacking midfielder Yeiler Valencia on the bench, but kept defensive players on the field.

The loss sees OCB drop to ninth in the Eastern Conference, tied with NYCFC II on points for the final playoff position. Meanwhile, Inter Miami II moves up to fifth, winning as many games in its first 11 as it did all of last year.

OCB will return home Friday night, hosting Carolina Core FC for the first time at Osceola County Stadium. It’s the start of a three-game homestand, running through June 26.

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Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Huntsville City FC: Final Score 5-0 as OCB Dominates at Home

OCB scored a season-high five goals in a dominant shutout win over Huntsville City FC.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

Orlando City B (4-3-3, 16 points) scored a season-high five goals in a dominant 5-0 win over winless Huntsville City FC (0-7-3, 3 points) tonight at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed gave the Young Lions a 3-0 lead before late substitute Yeiler Valencia scored a brace — his first two OCB goals.

Manuel Goldberg made two charges to the starting lineup that lost 4-3 in Columbus on May 15. Javier Otero and Tsukada returned to the second team, replacing Carlos Mercado and Favian Loyola. The back line in front of Otero was Manuel Cocca, Thomas Williams, Nabi Kibunguchy, and Alex Freeman. Imanol Almaguer and Colin Guske were the defensive midfielders behind Tsukada, Mohammed, and Solis, with Wilfredo Rivera up top.

OCB dominated this game from the opening kickoff. The Young Lions should’ve put the game away in the first half, but missed several clear-cut scoring opportunities. The Young Lions were much more clinical in the second half, scoring four of their five goals.

The Young Lions had the first chance of the game in the sixth minute. Solis sent Freeman down the right and the right back caught up to the ball before it exited play. His cross was well over the head of Rivera, but landed at the foot of Tsukada on the far side of the box. The rookie midfielder was looking for the far post on his shot but missed wide.

The visitors had their first chance of the game in the ninth minute when Jonathan Bolanos was sent long down the right. The midfielder beat Williams to the ball and his first touch was a shot, but it was right at Otero.

OCB quickly went the other way and created a chance of its own. It was Tsukada again with the shot, setting up the opportunity on his own. Creating space at the top of the box, he was looking to beat Huntsville City goalkeeper Benjamin Martino to the near post, but the shot was wide. Martino appeared to have the post covered anyway, so it was unlikely to produce a goal.

The Young Lions took the lead inside the first 15 minutes for the third consecutive game. In the 12th minute, Tsukada took on Faiz Opande, twisting and turning the defender before finding Solis in the center of the box. It was a simple finish by Solis, who only had to touch it in to give OCB the 1-0 lead.

Solis nearly scored a second two minutes later after a turnover by Huntsville City on the visitors’ own side of the field. Rivera anticipated the pass and stepped in front of it, sprinting forward with Solis to his right. Rivera played it to the midfielder, whose first touch should’ve been a shot. However, he tried to dribble around Martino, enabling defenders to get back and win the ball.

The Young Lions felt they should’ve had a penalty in the 22nd minute when Solis attempted to chip the ball between two defenders to Rivera making a run behind the back line. It hit a defender and appeared to be a possible handball, so Solis threw his arms up claiming a penalty. However, referee Gerald Flores didn’t agree. Freeman ended up with the ball and went down in the box, but that too didn’t interest Flores.

In the 26th minute, Mohammed sent a cross into the box from the left. Rivera looked like he would turn it on goal, but let it go to Solis behind him. The midfielder’s first shot was on target, but right at Martino, who blocked it away. The block went right to Freeman for a second shot, but the fullback didn’t get enough on it, and it was stopped by Martino.

The Young Lions had another good chance in the 28th minute when a foul on the Huntsville City side of the field gave them a free kick. Almaguer and Rivera stood over it, with Almaguer taking the set piece. It was headed down in the box by Cocca in front of goal with Mohammed and Freeman making runs. However, Martino was the first to reach it, ending the threat.

Freeman tried to set up Mohammed at the top of the Huntsville City box in the 31st minute and it should’ve been a second goal. The right back laid it on a tee for the attacker and Mohammed’s first touch was a shot, but he sent the attempt over the top.

That was the last play before Flores called for a hydration break due to the high temperature. When play resumed, Almaguer stole the short goal kick and shot for the far post. Unfortunately, he missed wide.

OCB had nearly all of the chances in the first half, with Huntsville City unable to create anything in the final third. However, a foul just outside of the OCB box in the 37th minute gave the visitors their first good opportunity. It didn’t result in anything as Kibunguchy headed the ball away without a shot being taken.

In the 40th minute, quick passing by Tyler Pasnik and Bolanos saw the latter play Forster Ajaga through. The striker was behind the back line and attempted to curl it inside the far post, but missed wide.

A minute later a similar play occurred when Tomas Ritondale played the ball to Oliver Wright and Ajaga was sent through again. However, the flag went up on this one for offside as Ajaga was just a bit early on his run.

Almaguer forced Martino into a save in the 42nd minute after Tsukada laid it back to him. It was a quality strike by Almaguer, who put it on target. Martino did well to block it away, giving the Young Lions a corner kick. The ball ended up back in the box and was headed down where Mohammed should’ve gotten his foot on it. He couldn’t control it enough to get a shot off and Huntsville City cleared.

Wright found Pasnik for the visitors in stoppage time at the top of the box and the midfielder took a shot at goal. He had a good look but it was a weak attempt and made for an easy save for Otero.

A minute later, Rivera took an unexpected shot from distance. The forward has taken similar attempts this season and put this one on target, but Martino caught it. That was the last chance of the half as the Young Lions went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

It was a dominant first half by OCB which finished with the advantage in shots (11-3), shots on target (6-2), corner kicks (3-0), and passing accuracy (88%-84.7%). While they led at the break, it was a disappointing 45 minutes, as the Young Lions had several opportunities to take a commanding lead.

OCB was much more clinical in the second half, and it started almost immediately after the restart.

In the 47th minute, Mohammed found Tsukada, who dribbled inside and was taken down as he played it forward for Rivera. After ensuring there was no advantage, Flores blew for a foul just outside of the box. Tsukada and Rivera stood over the ball with Tsukada taking it. The midfielder sent a shot inside the near post before Martino could get to it, giving the Young Lions a 2-0 lead.

“I have confidence with free kicks because I’ve scored two so far,” Tsukada said about his goal. “So I had the confidence and I just needed to smash it. It went well, so I’m so happy with that.”

Huntsville City had its first second-half chance in the 50th minute when Ajago won a corner kick. Isaiah Johnston sent the set piece to the near post, where Ajago was making a run. The striker got his head to the ball but sent it into the outside of the net.

In the 62nd minute, Solis sent a lovely ball forward for Mohammed. The attacker dribbled inside, looking for space for a shot, and decided to leave it for Rivera coming the other way. Rivera took a shot from distance, his second of the game, but it was right into the arms of Martino.

The Young Lions scored a third in the 65th minute when Solis took the ball away in the Huntsville City half and played Freeman forward on the right. Freeman sent a great ball in front of goal, where Mohammed beat Sangwa. It was a simple tap-in by Mohammed, who has now scored in four consecutive games and has five in the last six games.

Goldberg made his first substitution in the 69th minute as Justin Ellis came on for Rivera. During the change, Williams went down, apparently with a cramp. Kibunguchy signaled that Williams should be substituted, but the center back was able to continue. However, since it wasn’t a head injury, OCB had to play a man down for three minutes.

In the 76th minute, Guske played a long ball across the field for Freeman, but the Homegrown fullback couldn’t control it. Flores took the stoppage to pull the players off for the second half hydration break. OCB made two changes during the stoppage, replacing Tsukada and Solis with Valencia and Favian Loyola

It didn’t take long for Valencia to make his mark on the game. His pressure on Opande in the 80th minute caused a turnover. Opande recovered well, forcing Valencia to turn back and look for a teammate. However, with nobody near him, Valencia turned the defender and took a shot on goal. It was a tight angle, but he beat Martino to the far post for his first OCB goal, extending OCB’s lead to 4-0.

Shortly after the goal, Goldberg made his final two changes. Majed Abdullah and Zakaria Taifi came into the game for Freeman and Mohammed.

In the 84th minute, OCB won a free kick and it nearly resulted in another immediate impact by a substitute. Almaguer sent the set piece into the box, where Abdullah was left unmarked. He got his head to the ball in an attempt to redirect it on goal, but sent it over the top.

Huntsville City tried to get one back in the 87th minute when a shot by Bolanos was blocked out for a corner kick. Pasnik received a short set piece and dribbled into the box, shooting from a tight angle. Otero got down to block it out of play for a second corner kick. The visitors weren’t able to create another shot as a foul call in the box enabled the Young Lions to clear it away.

In the 89th minute, Bolanos sent a dangerous cross in front of goal where Jones was open. The midfielder turned the ball on target, forcing Otero into his best save of the night.

The Young Lions made it five on the other end in the 90th minute, and it was the two late substitutes combining. Loyola played a gorgeous long diagonal ball to Valencia. Sangwa tried to cut off the pass, but missed it. As a result, Valencia was able to take a similar shot to his first goal, putting it inside the far post to give his team a 5-0 lead.

The crowd chanted for more goals and the Young Lions nearly gave them one in stoppage time. Abdullah attempted to find space for a shot in the box, but it was cleared away. Ellis collected it and took a long-distance attempt, but it was right to Martino.

OCB ended the game with the advantage in shots (21-9), shots on target (13-4), and passing accuracy (89.7%-86%). The visitors had more crosses (4-3) and both teams had three corner kicks.

“Every game is a lot of learning for us because we had some chances in the first half that we were not able to score,” Goldberg said about the game. “And we know that with that start, the important thing is that the team stays positive in the second half, continues with the positive energy, and finds the goals instead of the other way around.”

It’s been a road-heavy schedule early in the season for the Young Lions. Even their first home game wasn’t a true home game, as they played at the IMG Academy in Bradenton. They’re taking advantage of the friendly confines of Osceola County Stadium, winning their last two games in Kissimmee.

The team has also seen offensive improvements in recent weeks. After scoring three goals against Atlanta United 2 in the season opener, the team has only scored multiple goals in one of the next six games. With the five goals today, the Young Lions have now scored at least three in each of their last three games, primarily coming from Mohammed, Tsukada, and Rivera.

“With time and with work, stuff starts to function,” Goldberg said about the production. “The level of the team is very even, so anybody that goes in and out is able to play. So that’s really good for us.”

“Wilfredo, Shak, and me, we combine with each other well,” Tsukada added. “It comes from, I think, the head coach Manu.”

The three points sees OCB finish the weekend in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, a point out of fourth, and three points out of third. The Young Lions will look to build on this win next Sunday evening when they travel south for a rivalry clash with Inter Miami CF II.

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