ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Orlando City B opened up its 2017 USL season by going into rival territory. The first I-4 Derby since Orlando City’s 2014 U.S. Open Cup victory took place in front of record crowd of 7,710 in Al Lang Stadium. However, the game finished differently than a few years ago as the host Rowdies came away with the 1-0 victory.
A large portion of the fans were Orlando City traveling supporters and they gave the team something to fight for. Tommy Redding even gave a special shout out to the supporter groups after the game.
“It’s amazing, I can’t ask for anything more from the fans so thank you for coming out,” he said.
It was Tampa Bay’s first I-4 Derby win in seven tries against an Orlando City side.
Georgi Hristov’s spot kick in the 57th minute was the game’s only tally, set up by a Leo Fernandes run through the OCB defense that forced goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. to come off his line and foul the former Philadelphia Union man. However, without Edwards it could have been much worse, as the Rowdies finished with 21-3 (5-1 on target) and the OCB keeper made three outstanding saves to prevent any goals in the run of play.
“Earl was fantastic. He has been great since he has been with us, “ OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said after the game. “When he has been in training with us, he has been fantastic. I’ve been really, really pleased with him. Tonight, I thought he kept us in the game and (I’m) disappointed for him that he was the one that gave up the penalty kick, but on the whole I thought that he was outstanding.”
The Rowdies dominated most of the first half, as OCB looked slow and was continually caught without numbers back to defend. The first big chance of the half came after just one minute. Tampa Bay had control of the ball going down the left wing, but Conor Donovan was able to clear the ball out for a Rowdies corner. On the ensuing corner, OCB easily defended it and the first chance of the game was over.
The game was back and forth from that moment on, and in the fifth minute, Danny Deakin won the first foul of the match. The ball went down OCB’s right hand side but former Lion Luke Boden was there for the Rowdies to clear it from danger. OCB won back the 50-50 ball and held possession for a short while before Richie Laryea took a long shot that was easily caught by Tampa Bay keeper Akira Fitzgerald.
The game continued to go back and forth, each team defending well and immediately going on the counter. Edwards was called into action for the first time of the night when a perfect through ball to Marcel Schafer led to a one-on-one with Edwards on the keeper’s right side. Schafer took the shot across the face of the goal, which had all the home supporters thinking they went ahead but Edwards made a diving fingertip save to keep the game scoreless.
For the second half of the first 45 minutes the Rowdies were in full control as OCB made many unforced errors and failed to maintain possession. Tampa Bay out-shot the Lions, 13-2, in the first half, and could have went up by multiple goals if not for Edwards.
Orlando City B came out much better, and looked the best of the night to start the second half. However, the story of the second half was similar to the first, and Tampa dominated the match, but Edwards was the Man of the Match for the young Lions and kept his team in the game.
In the 56th minute, Tampa finally found the breakthrough. Joe Cole took possession of the ball towards OCB’s goal, but Donovan stopped the former Chelsea man’s attack. Fernandes picked up the loose ball and took on the entire OCB defense before coming in one-on-one with Edwards. As Fernandes touched the ball toward the end line, Edwards brought him down in the box for a penalty kick. Hristov confidently took the kick straight down the middle for the game-winning goal.
After the goal, OCB was re-energized for a little bit and nearly had the tying goal in the 65th minute. Pierre Da Silva made a killer through ball into the Rowdies 18-yard box that left Danny Deakin free. Deakin was just a half second too slow, though, and Fitzgerald came sliding out and ended the Lions’ attack.
65' | Danny Deakin in on goal but the pass is just out of reach…
— Orlando City B (@OrlandoCityB) March 26, 2017
From there, Tampa went back on the attack. The Rowdies put in three crosses from OCB’s right side in the next five minutes, but all were confidently dealt with by the Lions.
In the 78th minute, Tampa had its next big chance of the game. Cole found space down Tampa’s right side and looked into the middle of the field and saw his teammates following up. He attempted to be tricky and took a shot disguised as a back-post cross from way out wide, but Edwards barely got a hand on it to punch the ball over the crossbar.
77' | Earl coming up huge once again to keep it close as the boys look for an equalizer.
— Orlando City B (@OrlandoCityB) March 26, 2017
“I thought that my guy would have tracked [Cole] down eventually, so I just held my ground seeing the guy running down the back post,” Edwards said. “I knew it could have been a cross and Joe Cole, having the class that he has, he went for one. I was able to keep my feet and get there.”
Ten minutes later, Cole broke free once again. Off an OCB corner, the Rowdies defended well and went straight on the counter. With OCB throwing all numbers forward, Tampa only needed three passes to send Cole on a breakaway against Edwards. Edwards was ready for it, though, and made the save, keeping the Rowdies’ lead to just one.
The Lions tried bringing on offensive players Albert Dikwa and Austin Martz, but could not fashion a good scoring chance to tie the game.
Although clearly disappointed with the result, both Pulis and Edwards seemed positive about how the Lions played.
“The positives for me was the reaction to going a goal down,” said Pulis. “I thought the boys dusted themselves off and got back on with the game.”
“It was a good starting point for us,” Edwards added. “I thought we did well building out of the back, other times it seemed a little bit forced.”
Former Orlando City fan favorite Luke Boden made his Rowdies debut tonight, and was cheered on not just by his home supporters, but the traveling Lion supporters as well. Bodz was just one of eight players that moved up with the Lions from USL to MLS, and went on to make 45 MLS appearances in purple. PC, who was one of nine Orlando City players recently loaned down to OCB, also got the start against his old team.
“There definitely was some emotion,” said Boden about playing against his former team. “I was [in Orlando] for six years and there definitely was some emotion. I spoke to Lewis [Neal] and we talked about family, but when we are on the field we are competitive. I spoke to him again after the game. It was very good seeing him.”
OCB returns to action on Thursday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m., as taking on Louisville City FC in the new Orlando City Stadium.
Orlando City B Announces Schedule for 2024 MLS NEXT Pro Season
Discover where, when, and who Orlando City B will play during the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season.
The 2024 MLS NEXT Pro schedule was released this afternoon for Orlando City B. This season will see an increase from 27 to 29 teams in the league with the additions of Carolina Core FC and Chattanooga FC — the first independent clubs in the league since 2022. The schedule remains at 28 games, with each team playing 14 at home and 14 away. Most OCB home games will take place at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, but the location of the home opener against Inter Miami II has yet to be announced.
OCB will start the 2024 season with a two-game road trip, beginning on March 16 against Atlanta United 2 and concluding on March 22 against Huntsville City FC. The home opener against Inter Miami II will take place on April 2 with a location to be determined in the near future. The season will end on the road as well, as the Young Lions will face FC Cincinnati 2 at TQL Stadium, home of the first team, on Oct. 6. The Eastern Conference games on Decision Day will all begin at 1 p.m.
MLS NEXT Pro has decided to change its division format to include the new teams. OCB will be a part of the new Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference, including Atlanta United 2, Huntsville City FC, Inter Miami II, Crown Legacy FC, Carolina Core FC, and Chattanooga FC. Chicago Fire II, Columbus Crew 2, and FC Cincinnati 2, former members of the Central Division with OCB, will move to the Northeast Division.
For the third consecutive season, MLS NEXT Pro teams will only play opponents from their own conference, limiting travel. The Young Lions will play each team in the Southeast Division three times and the teams from the Northeast Division once. The exceptions are New York Red Bulls II and New York City FC II, who they’ll face twice this year.
The busiest month for OCB this season will be in April when it plays five games. The Young Lions will play four games in May, June, July, August, and September, twice in March, and once in October. The team will compete on all seven days of the week this season. The most common day the Young Lions will play is on Sunday (13 games), which was expected since the first team usually plays on Saturday. Additionally, they have five games on Saturday, three games each on Wednesday and Friday, two games on Thursday, and one game on Monday and Tuesday.
The addition of two teams sees an expansion of the playoffs from 14 to 16 teams. The top four seeds in each conference will host the first round and, for the second consecutive season, pick their opponents. The highest remaining seed will pick its opponent in the second round, setting up the conference semifinal matchups. The postseason will include 15 games this year, concluding with the MLS NEXT Pro Cup.
The rules from the 2023 season are returning to MLS NEXT Pro for the third consecutive year. The league has been a place for MLS to try out new ideas, some of which are included in the top division this season. Once again, games tied after 90 minutes will go directly to a shootout for an additional point. Rules regarding players receiving treatment, serving red card suspensions against the same team, and substitutes leaving the field within 10 seconds all remain in place this year.
The majority of regular season games and all Decision Day games will again air on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass. The remaining games will be streamed live on mlsnextpro.com.
Orlando City B’s 2024 Schedule
- Saturday, March 16 at Atlanta United 2, 3 p.m.
- Friday, March 22 at Huntsville City FC, 8 p.m.
- Tuesday, April 2 vs. Inter Miami CF II, 7 p.m.
- Thursday, April 11 at Philadelphia Union II, 4 p.m.
- Sunday, April 14 vs. Carolina Core FC, 3 p.m.
- Friday, April 19 at Crown Legacy FC, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, April 28 vs. Toronto FC II, 3 p.m.
- Saturday, May 4 at Chattanooga FC, 5 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 8 vs. New York Red Bulls II, 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 15 at Columbus Crew 2, 12 p.m.
- Sunday, May 26 vs. Huntsville City FC, 6 p.m.
- Sunday, June 2 at Inter Miami CF II, 6 p.m.
- Thursday, June 13 vs Chattanooga FC, 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, June 26 vs. Atlanta United 2, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, June 29 at New York City FC II, 8:30 p.m.
- Sunday, July 7 vs. Carolina Core FC, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, July 14 vs Inter Miami CF II, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, July 21 at New York Red Bulls II, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, July 27 at Chattanooga FC, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 3 at Carolina Core FC, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 11 vs. Crown Legacy FC, 5 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 18 vs. New York City FC II, 7 p.m.
- Friday, Aug. 23 at Atlanta United 2, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 1 vs. Huntsville City FC, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 8 at Crown Legacy FC, 3 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 15 vs. New England Revolution II, 5 p.m.
- Monday, Sept. 23 vs. Chicago Fire II, 5 p.m.
- Sunday, Oct. 6 at FC Cincinnati 2, 1 p.m.
Orlando City Signs Defender Tahir Reid-Brown to Homegrown Player Contract
Orlando City has signed teenage defender Tahir Reid-Brown to a Homegrown Player contract.
Orlando City announced this afternoon that the club has signed defender Tahir Reid-Brown to a first-team contract. The four-year deal runs through the 2027 season with a club option for 2028. Reid-Brown becomes the 15th player to sign a Homegrown contract with the club.
“Tahir is a player that has been in our academy system for a while now and someone that we’ve seen really grow through our development pathway,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “He has great potential for growth as a player and we’re excited to see how he takes his opportunity with the first team.”
The 17-year-old joined the Orlando City Development Academy in 2020 and quickly rose through the ranks, signing an academy contract with OCB for the 2022 season. In two seasons with the MLS NEXT Pro side, Reid-Brown has made 16 appearances with four starts and recorded 409 minutes. Most of those appearances occurred in 2023, when the defender made 10 appearances and one start.
Reid-Brown also made 13 appearances in the academy during 2023, helping the U-17 team reach the MLS NEXT Cup semifinals for the third consecutive year. His time with the academy team saw him named to the 2023 MLS NEXT All-Star Game, the third Orlando City player to receive the honor.
Internationally, Reid-Brown has been a part of the United States Men’s National Team youth setup. He made his debut for the U.S. in November 2022 and was named to the 2023 FIFA Under-17 World Cup squad, making three appearances in the competition.
What It Means for Orlando City
Reid-Brown is a recent star in the Orlando City academy, joining in 2020 at 14 years old. This past year was a big one for him in which he became a regular for his national side and on the OCB team sheet. At just 17 years old, the 6-foot-2 defender still has a lot of development before he’ll make regular first-team appearances, but this signing makes him available for selection if necessary.
Before he becomes a first-team regular, Reid-Brown will need to become a regular with the second team. In addition to his 10 appearances, he was an unused substitute 14 times in 2023. The regular starting center backs were Abdi Salim and Nabi Kibunguchy with Franco Perez at left back — the two positions Reid-Brown plays. He’ll be looking to work his way into the starting lineup for the Young Lions this coming season.
Whether Reid-Brown becomes a regular center back or left back remains to be seen. The club also has a Homegrown center back in 19-year-old Thomas Williams, but he’s seen a significant dip in playing time with OCB and hasn’t been impressive while on the field. Reid-Brown could take over Williams’ spot as the up-and-coming defender with a strong 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season.
Top 10 Moments of 2023: Jack Lynn Named MLS NEXT Pro MVP
Our No. 5 moment of the year features Orlando City’s Jack Lynn being named MVP of MLS NEXT Pro and earning a share of the league’s Golden Boot.
As we count down to the new year of 2024 — which will be Orlando City’s 10th in MLS and the Orlando Pride’s ninth in the NWSL — and say goodbye to 2023, it’s time to look back at the club’s 10 best moments of the year as selected by The Mane Land staff via vote.
Jack Lynn no doubt entered his second pro season looking to get more first-team minutes. He had an excellent rookie season in MLS NEXT Pro with Orlando City B in 2022, setting an OCB single-season record with 15 goals and staying in the league’s Golden Boot race up until the final few matches of the season. He saw five minutes of action with the first team, and with a strong year with the reserve side, it’s likely the young striker felt he was ready to step into a larger role in 2023.
Lynn joined Orlando City through the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, when he was selected in the first round by the Lions with the No. 18 overall pick. He was then signed to a one-year deal in February of last year with options for the next three years.
But Lynn didn’t see much more time with the MLS Lions in 2023. He made three appearances with the senior side, all of which came as a substitute, and finished with 33 minutes played. On the attacking end, he won four aerial duels, took one shot, which was on target, drew two fouls, and completed three long balls while passing with 76% accuracy. He did not score a goal or assist on one. Defensively, he recorded one interception and two clearances, while committing one foul.
As in 2022, the majority of Lynn’s season was spent in MLS NEXT Pro with Orlando City B. He had a phenomenal year in the developmental league, and his campaign finished with him piling up the accolades for his play on the pitch. He finished the season with a share of the Golden Boot with his 19 goals. He was also named to the league’s Best XI for the second consecutive season. However, his biggest prize yet was being named MLS NEXT Pro Most Valuable Player on Oct. 20.
Lynn played in 26 of the Young Lions’ 28 games this past season, 19 of which were starts, and he racked up 1,760 minutes. He also played in OCB’s postseason loss at Columbus Crew 2. On the offensive end, he took 72 shots and put 40 of them on target, scored 19 goals, drew 15 fouls, and passed with 74% accuracy while completing 13 long balls and 12 key passes (but, surprisingly, no assists). Defensively, he recorded three interceptions, committed 16 fouls, and was shown four yellow cards.
Although the young striker wasn’t named MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Matchday at any point in the 2023 season, he did win Goal of the Matchday once — against Chicago Fire II on July 23. It was, by Lynn’s standards, a typical goal. He made a smart run, attacked the ball in the air, and headed it past the goalkeeper.
Lynn added a second goal in the 72nd minute and the Young Lions went on to win 3-2 that day.
The 23-year-old was a vital piece of Martin Perelman’s attack for OCB throughout the season, helping the Young Lions reach the postseason for only the second time ever and the first time since joining MLS NEXT Pro. To capture the trophy as the league’s most valuable player is a major honor for Lynn and shows how vital he was to OCB’s success during the 2023 season.
That accomplishment is certainly worthy of being immortalized among our top moments for the club in 2023.
Come back through New Year’s Eve as we count down the remainder of Orlando City’s top 10 moments of 2023.
Previous Top Moments of 2023
10. The Orlando Pride select breakout stars Emily Madril and Messiah Bright in the 2023 NWSL Draft.
9. OCB draws at Chicago and then wins a shootout, clinching its first playoff spot since 2016.
8. Orlando Pride dump Portland Thorns 3-1 in June, kick-starting the team’s push for the playoffs.
7. Orlando City gets a late goal to defeat Santos Laguna 3-2 in Leagues Cup play, earning its first win over Liga MX competition.
6. Orlando Pride sign Brazilian international Adriana.
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