Orlando City B
Orlando City B vs. Charlotte Independence: Final Score 3-1 as Lions’ Streak Snapped
In its first game after a two-week break, Orlando City B hosted the Charlotte Independence. OCB scored first, but was unable to capitalize on its opportunities as the young Lions fell to Charlotte, 3-1, in front of 1,098 fans.
Kevin Alston and Rafael Ramos continued their returns from injury, both earning a start for Anthony Pulis. Conor Donovan and Zach Carroll completed the back line in front of Earl Edwards Jr. Pierre Da Silva, Tony Rocha, Lewis Neal, and Danny Deakin lined up left to right in the four-man midfield, with Richie Laryea up top beneath Albert Dikwa.
Orlando City B (3-4-3, 12 points) started the game strong, holding onto the ball well. In possession, the young Lions quickly got down the field, but remained patient in the final third. This allowed OCB to get two chances in the first five minutes.
On the other side, Charlotte (3-2-2, 11 points) was very compact, allowing the young Lions to play with the ball. The game plan for the Independence was to sit back and wait for OCB to make a mistake, and then quickly go on the counter. This nearly worked in the 11th minute, but Enzo Martinez’s cross was too long and Edwards Jr. just had to watch the ball go harmlessly wide.
The first yellow card of the match came in the 14th minute. OCB defended a corner, and Deakin jumped on the ball and immediately went on the counter. Seeing that his team was without numbers back, Donald Smith grabbed and held Deakin’s shirt to stop the midfielder in his tracks.
In the 20th minute, Rocha had the heads-up play of the game to find Pierre Da Silva. After receiving the ball, Da Silva then played the perfect through ball to Albert Dikwa, who easily beat goalkeeper Cody Mizell to put the young Lions up, 1-0.
Nothing but side netting. 👌
1-0 | #ORLvCLT pic.twitter.com/y7fJkHo3E6
— Orlando City B (@OrlandoCityB) May 28, 2017
Four minutes later, Deakin nearly made something out of nothing. From about 25 yards out, Deakin took a left-footed crack that forced Mizell to make a fingertip save. On the ensuing corner kick, Ramos put a ball in that found Da Silva. Da Silva passed it in to Carroll, who couldn't get the shot off but instead won another corner. Ramos again took the corner that was defended by Charlotte, but, on the second ball in, Ramos’ cross just missed the diving head of Donovan.
Now Flying direct from CLT- AirMizell
CC @CodyMizell1 @CLTIndependence #ORLvCLT #USL pic.twitter.com/d9O6DjSiQt
— USL (@USL) May 28, 2017
“For the first 40 minutes it was probably the best we played since opening charge of OCB, to be honest,” Anthony Pulis said. “The football was sharp, we moved it really well, the passing was crisp, we got players in good spaces in between lines, lots of efforts on goal. I thought there was only one team that was going to go on to win it.”
Charlotte found the equalizer in the 40th minute. Alex Martinez dribbled the ball down the left hand side of the box. He put the cross in that fell right to the feet of David Estrada. Estrada flicked the ball past Edwards, who looked as if he might not have seen the ball coming.
Moves by @AlexMartinez_15 , final touch from @Destrada324 to get @CLTIndependence back in the game #ORLvCLT #USL pic.twitter.com/ZPfiZzLkpM
— USL (@USL) May 28, 2017
Things went from bad to worse very quickly for the young Lions. Jorge Herrera took the ball about 30 yards from goal, made one move and completely faked out Carroll. Getting into the box, OCB recovered well but Herrera found an open Enzo Martinez. Martinez took the shot, but Donovan was there. Unfortunately, Donovan’s clearance attempt went straight into the back of his own net. Martinez was awarded the goal, but it looked an own-goal.
⚠️Defenders look away ⚠️@Enzo_Martinez90 makes it 2-1 for @CLTIndependence after Herrera dismantles the defense #ORLvCLT #USL pic.twitter.com/qL8wqfrMen
— USL (@USL) May 28, 2017
“We started the game very well; I think that probably the first 30-35 minutes was the best soccer we played all year,” Carroll said. “We gave up two goals that is very easy to fix. Its a bummer and it just kinda took the wind out of the sails for us at halftime.”
The half ended with the Independence up, 2-1. OCB held 56% possession, took six shots, and had an impressive 87% passing accuracy, but Charlotte’s only two shots both found the back of the net.
To start the second half, OCB made one personnel change. Zach Ellis-Hayden was brought on for Alston at left back. The Lions’ play much faster and direct in the opening minutes as it seemed Anthony Pulis was clearly not happy with his team’s first half performance.
“[At halftime] we just kinda reiterated what we were doing well for the first 38 minutes, and asked them to go do the same again,” said Pulis. “It was important to come off the blocks firing, but I don’t think we started the second half nearly as well as we did the first half.”
It was not enough though as Herrera’s header found the back of the net in the 51st minute. With that goal, Herrera moved to second on the all-time USL goal-scoring list.
Herrera with the Header for @CLTIndependence ! He now sits 2nd in the All-time #USL goalscorer list with 43 goals #ORLvCLT pic.twitter.com/PQkk58wnRd
— USL (@USL) May 28, 2017
Pulis responded to his team being down 3-1 by adding another forward. Michael Cox came on for Laryea in the 53rd minute as OCB moved into a 4-4-2.
Things looked promising leading up to the 61st minute. The Lions held possession in the final third and Charlotte struggled to regain shape. The ball found Rocha on the top of the box, who gave it up for Da Silva. Rocha’s ball was too hard, though, and Charlotte won a goal kick.
OCB nearly pulled one back as the game was expiring. In the 80th minute, Deakin put a beautiful ball into the box, aiming for the back post. Three Charlotte defenders whiffed on the clearance attempt, but so did Cox. That was Deakin’s last touch of the game, and young David Loera entered, replacing the Orlando City draft pick.
This brought some life back into the Lions, and in the 85th minute Rocha found some space in the box. His cross in went straight into the defender, and Mizell caught the ensuing corner. This was followed up by a Loera volley attempt, three Ramos crosses, and four Charlotte breakaway attempts, as OCB threw men forward in a desperate attempt to salvage some points. It came to no avail however, and the young Lions lost the second of its three scheduled matches to the Independence.
Deakin was also upbeat about his team’s first-half performance, calling it “some of the best football we’ve played all season,” but described the Lions as “flat” for the second 45.
“We couldn’t connect passes, we got into the final third and we weren’t effective. We put crosses in the box, and we weren’t getting on the end of crosses,” he said.
The young Lions are back in action again on June 3 as they travel to Pittsburgh to face the Riverhounds. They will be without midfielder Richie Laryea,
Starting XI: Earl Edwards, Jr.; Kevin Alston (Zach Ellis-Hayden – 45’), Conor Donovan, Zach Carroll, Rafael Ramos; Tony Rocha, Lewis Neal (c), Pierre Da Silva, Richie Laryea (Michael Cox – 53’), Danny Deakin (David Loera – 81’); Albert Dikwa.
Unused Subs: Jake Fenlason, Jordan Schweitzer, Moussa Sane, Austin Martz.
Goals: ORL – Dikwa (20’); CLT – Estrada (40’), E. Martinez (45’), Herrera (51’).
Yellow Cards: ORL – Laryea (53’), Rocha (78’); CLT – Smith (14’), A. Martinez (28’), Ross (42’), Johnson (69’).
Orlando City B
Orlando City B vs. New York Red Bulls II: Final Score 3-2 as OCB Comes From Behind to Win
OCB gave up its early lead but scored two unanswered in the second half to win its second straight game.
Orlando City B (6-3-2, 21 points) returned to Osceola County Stadium tonight and beat New York Red Bulls II (5-2-3, 20 points) 3-2. An own goal by Dija gave OCB the early lead, but Ibrahim Kasule and Ricardo Gorday made it 2-1 New York at the break. Jack Lynn and Shak Mohammed led the second-half comeback, lifting the Young Lions to their second straight win.
OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman only made one change to the team that beat Inter Miami II 1-0 Thursday night. Wilfredo Rivera entered the lineup, getting his first start of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season, replacing captain Juninho.
The back line in front of Javier Otero included Alex Freeman, Nabi Kibunguchy, Thomas Williams, and Moises Tablante. Imanol Almaguer, Cristian Medina, and Rivera lined up in the midfield, with Mohammed, Lynn, and Jhon Solis up top.
OCB got off to the better start, putting New York on its heels in the first 20 minutes. But the visitors ended the half strong, scoring two goals to take the lead. The second half was all OCB as the Young Lions dominated the final 45 minutes and took their second consecutive win.
The Young Lions got the game’s first shot in the second minute when Tablante found Almaguer in the middle of the field. The midfielder took a rising shot that appeared to be headed in, but New York’s goalkeeper, Alan Rutkowski, got his hands to the ball and knocked it out for a corner kick.
The ensuing short corner ended up with Almaguer, who sent the ball into the box. Rivera volleyed it back to Williams, who headed it towards goal. The ball appeared to hit the right arm of Jayden Reid and his arm looked to be extended, but referee Ivan Cid Cruz said no.
Two minutes later, OCB took the early lead. Receiving the ball back from Freeman, Almaguer curled a cross towards the back post where Lynn was charging in. The striker, who had scored three goals in the two previous games, dove into the six and headed the ball on goal. Rutkowski blocked the attempt, but it went right off Dija and in for an own goal.
In the ninth minute, OCB had a chance for a second when Tablante sprinted into the box and played a quick give-and-go with Lynn. The striker backheeled the ball to the left back, sending him behind the New York defense, but Rutkowski did well to block Tablante’s shot. It was sent back into the box, but Kibunguchy slipped and the Red Bulls were able to clear.
In the 13th minute, Solis dribbled towards the top of the box. He had Freeman on the far side, who might’ve been free on goal, but Solis decided to take it himself from distance. The midfielder had space for a shot, but sent it right into the arms of Rutkowski.
The first decent chance for the visitors came in the 24th minute when O’Vonte Mullings sent a cross into the box. Striker Frank Ssebufu was charging in on goal and Otero was a little late coming off his line, but knocked it off Ssebufu’s foot.
A minute later, Amos Shapiro-Thompson sent the ball forward and into the OCB box for Kasule behind the back line. This time Otero was more decisive, coming out to punch it away before Kasule could reach the pass.
New York found an equalizer in the 31st minute due to some splendid play by captain Mullings. The midfielder dribbled down the end line, cutting to beat Kibunguchy and Medina before finding Kasule in front of goal. It was a simple tap-in past Otero for Kasule, leveling the game at 1-1.
In the 37th minute, Dija used his speed to beat Tablante to the end line. The midfielder sent the ball towards the top of the six-yard box where Ssebufu beat Williams. He volleyed the ball towards the near post, but Otero did well to get across and tip it wide.
OCB nearly got the lead back in the 41st minute when Juan Gutierrez fouled Solis just outside of the New York box. Solis took the kick himself, sending it over the wall. The ball was dipping down and appeared to be on target, but Rutkowski did well to dive and tip it wide of the near post.
In the 44th minute, Medina took down Omar Valencia just outside of the OCB box and to the left of goal. Cruz issued Medina a yellow card and New York a free kick from a dangerous position. Gorday stepped up to take the kick and went straight for goal. The ball was right to the three-man wall, but while Solis and Mohammed went straight up, Tablante inexplicably jumped to his side. The free kick went right where Tablante should’ve been, curling inside the near post to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
The Young Lions had one last first-half chance when Dija fouled Rivera just outside of the New York box. Tablante went for goal but sent his shot well off target and OCB went into the break down one.
At halftime, OCB led in most statistical categories, including possession (58.7%-41.3%), shots (9-4), shots on target (5-4), corners (3-2), and passing accuracy (85.2%-79,4%). New York had more crosses (11-1) and, most importantly, a 2-1 lead.
The Young Lions started the second half the way they started the game and nearly broke through in the 50th minute. Receiving the ball forward from Tablante, Solis cut inside the created space from his defender, sending it through for Lynn. The striker initially got it caught between his feet, but eventually gained control. The slight hesitation allowed Reid to catch up, sliding in to block Lynn’s shot.
In the 53rd minute, they had another attempt when Freeman played the ball forward for Mohammed. The first-team attacker caught up to the ball and his first touch was a shot towards goal. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit it very well and Rutkowski had little trouble blocking it away.
New York had its first second-half chance in the 58th minute when Ronald Donkor, who had just come on for Mullings, beat Tablante and sent a free kick into the box for Ssebufu. The striker couldn’t turn on the ball, sending it wide.
OCB should’ve had a free kick in a dangerous spot in the 59th minute when Freeman dribbled to the top of the box and was taken down by Reid. Cruz determined that Reid got the ball, but replays showed that he didn’t get any of it. Regardless, New York was able to go the other way.
Rutkowski had been very good for the first hour, but he made a crucial error in the 61st minute, allowing OCB to equalize. After a short free kick on their own side of the field, Medina sent a long ball for Freeman. Rutkowski came out of his box, but misjudged the ball. Freeman shied away, but it bounced off the right back and went right to Lynn. OCB’s leading scorer played it into the empty goal from distance to make it 2-2.
Lynn started the season by scoring two goals in the first three games. But he was only used as a sub in the subsequent contests and went five games without a goal. He came on as a second-half substitute and scored twice in the team’s 2-2 draw against Atlanta United 2 on May 19 and scored again Thursday night in Fort Lauderdale. The striker now has four goals in his last three games for OCB.
“It’s the merit of Jack and of my staff because my staff work with him privately a lot,” Perelman said about Lynn’s scoring streak. “The only merit here is Jack’s talent, Jack’s effort, and my staff intervention.”
Once the game was level, it only took three minutes for the Young Lions to take their second lead of the game. Freeman received the ball forward on the right and took a shot from a tough angle. Rutkowski dove for it, but the ball bounced off the post. Fortunately, it went right to Mohammed, who put it in for his first goal in purple and gave OCB a 3-2 lead.
“It means the world to me,” Mohammed said about the goal. “I kind of scuffed it, but it went in and that’s all that matters really. Good moment for me and hopefully more to come.”
“I am happy for him,” Perelman said about Mohammed getting his first goal. “He was fighting for this opportunity and now he’s taking it in a good way and he’s impressing everybody. So we hope he can be consistent in his performance.”
Immediately after the goal, Perelman made his first change of the game, replacing Medina with Zakaria Taifi.
Right off the kickoff, a long ball by Rutkowski was flicked on for Ssebufu. A good touch by the striker beat Williams and he sent a cross into the box from the end line. Kasule beat Kibunguchy to the ball in front of the goal, but it went off his shin and wide.
OCB nearly conceded an own goal in the 68th minute when Williams attempted to clear a cross in for Ssebufu. He mishit the ball, sending it over the outstretched arm of Otero and, fortunately, the crossbar.
New York had a good chance in the 69th minute when quality passing in tight spaces between Shapiro-Thompson and Ssebufu created a chance. It looked like Ssebufu had space for a shot, but Almaguer came flying out of nowhere to slide in and block the attempt.
Perelman made two more changes in the 79th minute. Looking to see off the game, Favian Loyola and Tahir Reid-Brown came on for Rivera and the goal-scoring hero, Lynn.
In the 84th minute, Taifi made a long run from midfield to near the New York box. The teenager took a curling and dipping shot from distance and it was on target, but Rutkowski dove to his left to make a one-handed save.
In second-half injury time, New York sent three dangerous balls into the box, desperately trying to find another equalizer, but Otero handled them well. He jumped over everyone to claim a free kick by Shapiro-Thompson and took two balls off the head of Ssebufu, helping to seal the 3-2 win.
At full-time, OCB had more possession (53.8%-46.2%), shots (16-14), shots on target (10-5), corners (8-5), and passing accuracy (81.5%-77.9%). New York had more crosses (19-5) and won more tackles (14-11), but couldn’t hold onto its halftime lead.
“I think that we did a good game in general. The first half, we dominated completely the first 20 minutes. Then we went down in our energy. And they are a good team and they found two goals that hurt us a lot,” Perelman said after the game. “But we spoke in the halftime in the locker room that we were at home and I told them that we need to win. So we went back out on the field and the boys were great. I am proud of them.”
“This is the sign of a great team,” Mohammed added. “We find a way to always win, even when things are tough. Not the most amazing game, taking until the end playing wise. But we found a way out there, especially in the second half, to keep pushing with energy and we got the win. Huge three points for the team for sure.”
This is the second time in three games that OCB has come back from a deficit in the second half. The Young Lions only got a draw against Atlanta, but claimed all three points tonight. It’s the second time this year they’ve come from behind and won.
“That’s not the first time we’ve done it this season,” Mohammed said about the team coming back. “You’d rather not give away goals, but it’s also a good feeling knowing we can always come back and get the win.”
The Young Lions had a great start to the season, taking 14 of a possible 18 points from their first six games. But a dreadful road trip to begin May saw them drop back-to-back games against Crown Legacy and Columbus Crew 2, and lose a shootout against Atlanta United 2 at home. They bounced back well and got back to their winning ways with a six-point weekend, moving them up to third in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind second place.
After a short return home, OCB will head back out on the road when it faces Toronto FC II at York Lions University Stadium next Sunday night.
Orlando City B
Orlando City B vs. Inter Miami II: Final Score 1-0 as OCB Tops In-State Rival for Second Time This Year
Jack Lynn’s second-half goal lifts the Young Lions over Inter Miami II in Fort Lauderdale.
Orlando City B beat its in-state rivals, Inter Miami II, 1-0 tonight at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. Alex Freeman set up Jack Lynn in the 57th minute for the game’s only goal, leading OCB (5-3-2, 18 points) to its second win over Miami (3-6-1, 10 points) this season.
OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made three changes to the team that drew 2-2 against Atlanta United 2 last weekend. Shak Mohammed made his first start and Thomas Williams his second of the 2023 season. Lynn also entered the starting lineup after netting a brace off the bench against Atlanta. They replaced Favian Loyola, Cristofer Acuna, and Abdi Salim, who left the game injured in the ninth minute Friday night. Loyola and Acuna started this game on the bench.
Javier Otero started in goal behind a back line of Moises Tablante, Nabi Kibunguchy, Williams, and Freeman. Imanol Almaguer, Cristian Medina, and Juninho were in the midfield, with Mohammed, Lynn, and Jhon Solis up top.
Inter Miami II had the majority of possession in this game, but was unable to create many good opportunities. While much of the Herons’ possession was in the midfield, OCB had more possession in the opposing box. As a result, the Young Lions created more chances in dangerous spaces over the 90 minutes.
Miami nearly had the first chance of the game in the second minute when Noah Allen made a good run down the left and sent the ball in for Lorenzo D’Agostini. The forward was at the top of the OCB six-yard box, but Williams was able to beat him to the ball and clear it away.
The Young Lions got their first chance a minute later when Tablante forced a turnover near midfield. Tapping it to Solis, Tablante continued his run into the Miami half. Solis sent the left back behind the Miami defense, but Tablante’s shot was from a tough angle and CJ dos Santos made the stop.
The hosts had a golden opportunity to open the scoring off a Miami free kick in the ninth minute. Allen lifted the ball into the OCB box, where three Miami players were left wide open. It landed on the head of Lucas Meek, but his header was nowhere near the target, enabling the Young Lions to avoid conceding early, despite the terrible defending. It was a miss that Miami and Meek will regret.
OCB had its second chance in the 14th minute when a short corner to Medina created a cross into the box. The midfielder’s ball found the head of Freeman charging in at the near post, but the header was wide.
A minute later, the Young Lions had a great chance to open the scoring when Tablante received the ball on the left. He found Mohammed open right in front of goal and the first-team attacker’s first touch was on target. Unfortunately, it was right at dos Santos, who made his second save of the game.
Miami appeared to have a good chance in the 21st minute when Medina turned the ball over to D’Agostini near the top of the OCB box. The forward immediately found Braxton Taghvai-Najb, but his shot was blocked by Williams.
The hosts had another chance in the 24th minute, when quick passing allowed Taghvai-Najb to set up Meek with space entering the box. The midfielder found a gap in the OCB defense and shot on goal, but Otero was there to make the stop.
In the 29th minute, Juninho made a strong run into the Miami box, shielding any opposing players who stepped up. He made his way past five defenders to shoot near the penalty spot, but dos Santos got down to block the attempt.
Trying to work the ball out of the back, Medina turned the ball over on his own side of the field for the second time in the 32nd minute. D’Agostini won it from Medina and received it back from Abel Caputo at the top of the box. However, his shot was right to Otero, who made the easy stop.
The Young Lions had a three-on-three counterattack in the 36th minute that should’ve resulted in a better opportunity. As Mohammed dribbled down the middle of the field, he had Freeman to his right and Lynn to his left, but decided to shoot on goal himself from the top of the box. The attempt was right to dos Santos, who had no trouble collecting it.
OCB got the final chance of the half in the 45th minute, when Medina took a short corner to Tablante. The left back attempted a long shot from well outside of the MIami box, but it was right into the arms of dos Santos. Referee Alexandra Billeter blew the whistle before dos Santos could send it forward, ending the first period of play.
Miami had more first-half possession (56.9%-43.1%), but OCB had more shots (12-5) and shots on target (6-2). The hosts also had more crosses (8-4) and passing accuracy (89.2%-88.8%) while the Young Lions had more corners (3-1).
Inter Miami II had the first chance of the second half in the 48th minute when halftime substitute Cameron Johnson took the ball to the top of the box. Williams forced him inside, where he found enough space to shoot from distance, but Kibunguchy blocked it into the arms of Otero.
OCB almost had its own chance a minute later when Freeman sent a cross into the six-yard box where Lynn was sprinting in. The striker slid towards goal, but Freeman’s cross was too close to dos Santos.
In the 57th minute, the Young Lions broke the deadlock. Quick passing by Almaguer and Juninho sent Freeman down the right. Freeman sent an almost identical low cross with Lynn again entering the box. This time Lynn’s slide allowed him to reach the ball before dos Santos, tapping it in for the game’s opening goal.
After netting a brace last weekend against Atlanta, Lynn rewarded Perelman’s decision to put him in the starting lineup. He now has three goals in his last two games and leads the team with five goals on the season.
Perelman made his first change of the game in the 63rd minute, bringing in Zakaria Taifi for Mohammed. Taifi took over at left back, moving Tablante forward into a more attacking role.
In the 65th minute, OCB had a chance when Solis sent a cross into the box for Lynn. Unfortunately, it was a bit behind the striker, who still got his head to the ball but sent it wide.
Two minutes later, Miami had a good opportunity when Almaguer fouled Taghvai-Najb just outside of the OCB box. The forward went directly for goal, but sent it just wide of the near post. Immediately after the attempt, OCB made its second change, bringing on Tahir Reid-Brown for Tablante.
Meek used some slick dribbling ability to beat two defenders in the 75th minute and get into the OCB box, but it was blocked out for a corner kick by Almaguer. The ensuing corner was headed down into the middle of the box, but nobody in pink was there and OCB was able to clear.
Three minutes later, Meek beat a pair of defenders on the left again. This time he was able to get his pass off, finding second-half substitute Ricardo Montenegro near the penalty spot. Montenegro got a shot off, but Otero got down to make the stop.
Following the save, both teams made a pair of substitutions. OCB brought on Acuna and Wilfredo Rivera for Juninho and Lynn.
With time winding down, OCB put 10 players behind the ball defensively and Miami pushed forward, looking for an equalizer. They had a chance in the 85th minute when Miles Perkovich found space for a shot in the box, but Kibunguchy got in front of it to maintain the 1-0 lead.
Despite Miami needing a goal, OCB had a lot of possession in the closing minutes. In past games, the Young Lions were unable to hold onto possession late, giving the opponents last-minute opportunities. But tonight they were able to maintain control and use up quite a bit of the clock.
Things got a bit feisty in second-half stoppage time as Farid Sar-Sar and Rivera had a scuffle. That created an extra minute and Miami nearly took advantage. In the fourth minute of added time, Sar-Sar’s cross found the head of Lawson Sunderland near the far post. The midfielder’s header was heading just under the crossbar, but Otero made a huge save, tipping it over the goal. Billeter called a foul on Miami during the ensuing corner and blew the final whistle seconds later.
Inter Miami II ended the game with more possession (57.1%-42.9%), shots (14-13), crosses (15-10), and passing accuracy (89%-86.9%). OCB had more shots on target (7-5), corners (5-4), and the all-important goal.
The win marks the second time this season that OCB has claimed points away from Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions also beat Philadelphia Union II in Pennsylvania in the opening game of the season. The three points move the team up to fourth in the Eastern Conference of MLS NEXT Pro.
It will be a short break for the Young Lions as they’ll return home on Monday night to face New York Red Bulls II at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee.
Orlando City B
Orlando City B vs. Atlanta United 2: Final Score 2-2 as Atlanta Takes Extra Point in Penalties
OCB erases a two-goal deficit to draw Atlanta United 2, but loses the postgame penalty shootout.
Orlando City B (4-3-2, 15 points) came back from a two-goal deficit in the second half to draw Atlanta United 2 (3-4-2, 12 points) at Osceola County Stadium, but couldn’t ride that momentum to an extra point in the postgame penalty shootout, which the visitors won. Karim Tmimi gave Atlanta the lead after just six minutes and a Luke Brennan penalty in the 51st minute made it 2-0. But Jack Lynn came on just after the second goal and netted a brace to even the game at 2-2. Per MLS NEXT Pro rules, the draw went to penalties and Atlanta won 5-4 to take the extra point.
OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made only one change from the team that lost 4-0 to Columbus Crew 2 Sunday afternoon with Zakaria Taifi being replaced by Favian Loyola. Javier Otero was back in goal behind a back line of Moises Tablante, Nabi Kibunguchy, Abdi Salim, and Alex Freeman. Cristian Medina, Imanol Almaguer, Juninho, and Jhon Solis were in the midfield, with Loyola and Cristofer Acuna up top.
OCB dominated the possession and chances for most of the game, but was unable to put enough shots on target. A poor start to each half was the team’s undoing as the Young Lions conceded early in both periods of play. However, an inspired substitution in the second half by Perelman saw the Young Lions erase a two-goal deficit and gain a point.
The Young Lions had the first chance of the game in the third minute when Freeman made a good run down the right and sent a dangerous ball into the box. But it was too far in front of everyone in purple, going harmlessly out of play for a goal kick.
Atlanta took the lead three minutes later when Nick Firmino blocked Salim’s clearance attempt near midfield and sprinted the other way into the OCB box. After failing to create enough space for a shot, he found Tmimi at the top of the 18. The striker found space and placed his shot past Otero and into the corner to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
The Young Lions got off to strong starts in their first three games, scoring inside five minutes. It’s something that Perelman has spoken about pushing his team to do. However, they’ve now conceded inside the first six minutes three times in their last four games.
“It’s the same thing as last time. It’s not the first time it happened to us,” Perelman said after the game. “We need to correct this. We cannot concede goals like this, because the opponents are not making nothing to score on us. We just give it to them. We just make mistakes and then we suffer.”
OCB responded well after conceding and nearly equalized on multiple occasions. In the eighth minute, Tablante sent a dangerous ball into the Atlanta box that nearly found Loyola at the back post, but the first-team forward just missed connecting with the pass.
A minute later, Perelman was forced to make his first substitution when Salim went down with an injury. The OCB training staff attended to the center back for a few minutes before he left under his own power. However, he was replaced by Taifi.
The Young Lions had another good chance in the 12th minute when a free kick resulted in a dangerous ball into the box by Almaguer. Sent into a group of players, it was headed down for Loyola in front of goal. The forward got his foot on the ball, but sent it just wide of the near post.
Atlanta had a decent chance in the 21st minute when a nice one-two between Brennan and Kofi Twumasi resulted in Brennan with the ball inside the OCB box. The midfielder’s first touch after receiving the pass was towards goal, but it sailed well over the target.
The visitors almost doubled their lead again in the 26th minute when Kibunguchy fouled Brennan to the right of goal. Aiden McFadden stepped up to take the set piece and sent it towards the back post where Fuad Adeniyi was waiting. The center back got his head on the ball, but couldn’t get over it and it went just over the crossbar.
The Young Lions created a chance in the 29th minute when Juninho played the ball forward for Solis. It looked like the midfielder would run into traffic, but nobody stepped up, creating a hole for Solis to run through. The 24-year-old took a shot, but sent it well over the crossbar.
In the 34th minute, Tablante carried the ball down the left with Acuna running to the near post and Loyola towards the far post. A good ball likely would’ve found one of them, but Tablante’s low cross was too close to Atlanta goalkeeper Sebastian Guerra, who knocked it out for a corner kick. The ensuing short corner ended up at the feet of Juninho, but his shot was right at Guerra.
In the 42nd minute, Erik Centeno used a nice touch to beat Freeman. As he neared the OCB box, Freeman caught back up, sliding in and fouling the attacker. Referee Elvis Osmanovic felt the tackle was from behind and issued Freeman a yellow card. Aiden McFadden took the free kick and went for goal, sending the shot just over the target.
OCB forced Guerra into his first big save in the 45th minute when Loyola played a nice ball into the box for Acuna, splitting two defenders. Despite having his back to goal, Acuna did well to turn and shoot with his right foot on his first touch. But Guerra was up to the task, getting down and blocking the ball with his right foot. That was the last chance of the first half for either team as OCB trailed 1-0 at the break.
Despite trailing, OCB led in most first-half statistics. The Young Lions had more possession (58.4%-41.6%), shots (6-5), corners (3-0), crosses (13-4), and passing accuracy (90%-80.5%). Atlanta won more tackles (7-2) and duels (27-20), with both teams putting two shots on target.
Similar to the first half, it didn’t take long for OCB to concede in the second 45 minutes. In the 50th minute, Brennan used a nice move to get behind Tablante. As the attacker entered the OCB box, Tablante tugged on Brennan’s shirt and the Atlanta United academy product went down. Osmanovic immediately pointed to the spot, awarding the visitors a penalty.
After drawing the penalty, Brennan stepped up to take the kick. Otero has been terrific in these situations, but couldn’t get to this one. As he dove to his left, Brennan sent his soft shot the opposite direction, giving Atlanta a commanding 2-0 lead.
Right after the goal, Perelman made his second change of the game, replacing Loyola with Lynn. It didn’t take long for the substitute to make an impact, as quick passing by Juninho and Solis sent Tablante into the Atlanta box. The left back sent a low cross to the top of the six, where Lynn was charging in and redirected the ball past Guerra seconds after entering the game, cutting the deficit in half.
“Jack is doing a good job,” Perelman said about Lynn coming on and immediately scoring. “We are so happy with him and happy he scored again.”
OCB had a good chance to equalize in the 62nd minute when Juninho beat Tmimi to the end line and sent a low cross through the box. It found the left foot of Freeman, who was coming in from the opposite side. The right back’s first touch was a shot, but Nelson Orji was able to get in front and block it away.
It looked like the Young Lions had a breakaway in the 65th minute when Acuna was sent through. But Adeniyi did well to regain his position goalside and won the ball back from the forward.
In the 67th minute, Centeno beat Freeman to get into the OCB box. As Centeno reached the end line, Freeman slid in, taking the attacker down from behind. Osmanovic pointed to the spot for the second time, giving Atlanta a golden opportunity to retake their two-goal lead.
Freeman had already been booked in the first half and Osmanovic likely took that into account when not issuing a card. That didn’t sit well with Atlanta United 2 Head Coach Steve Cooke, who was booked for arguing that Freeman should’ve been sent off.
After Brennan did well to convert on the first penalty, Firmino stepped up to take the second spot kick. Otero guessed correctly, diving to his left, but Firmino’s penalty was wide of the post anyway, keeping the game at 2-1.
The Young Lions quickly went the other way looking for an equalizer. After Lynn played the ball out wide for Juninho, he continued his run into the Atlanta box. Juninho’s first touch was to the top of the box for Medina, but the forward couldn’t handle it and the ball bounced right off of him. Fortunately, it went right to Lynn, who was in the right place at the right time. He calmly put it into the far corner for the equalizer and his second goal of the game.
In the 76th minute, Efrain Morales fouled Acuna about 25 yards from goal. Perelman took the opportunity to make his third change of the game, bringing on Wilfredo Rivera for Freeman. It wasn’t a surprising change as Freeman was on a yellow card and could be considered fortunate to still be on the field after conceding the second penalty.
Acuna’s free kick was blocked out for a corner, which OCB took short. Rivera received the ball and sent a cross into the box. It found the foot of Acuna, but his shot was just wide. It didn’t matter anyway, because Osmanovic deemed that Acuna had fouled Toni Tiente in the process.
Two minutes later, Brennan had a chance for his second goal of the game. The forward was sent into the OCB box uncovered. He quickly shot towards the far post, but it skipped just wide.
The Young Lions nearly took the lead in the 84th minute when the Atlanta defense left Solis open outside of the box. The midfielder decided to go for goal, lifting his shot over the outstretched arm of Guerra. But the ball was inches too high, bouncing off the crossbar.
In the 87th minute, Raimar sent a dangerous cross into the box that found the head of Brennan. The forward sent his header towards the post, but he didn’t get enough on it and Otero was able to collect.
OCB almost won it in the 88th minute when Tablante sent a low cross into the box for Rivera. Alan Carleton, who came on as a second-half substitute, took Rivera down from behind, but Osmanovic decided it wasn’t a foul. The ball went right to Lynn, who shot towards goal, but sent it wide.
The fourth official signaled two minutes of injury time and it gave each team enough time for one last chance. The first chance was for Atlanta when Firmino was sent towards the end line, He found an oncoming Twumasi near the penalty spot, but the defender slipped as he reached the ball and it sailed over the crossbar.
OCB got its last chance on the other end when Tablante found Rivera in the Atlanta box. Rivera stayed on his feet and put his shot on target, but Guerra was able to block it. The final whistle blew immediately after the chance, ending the game in a 2-2 draw.
After 90 minutes, OCB had more possession (53.9%-46.1%), shots (19-11), shots on target (6-4), corners (6-2), crosses (19-8), and passing accuracy (90.2%-84.6%). But the Young Lions weren’t able to find a late winner and it finished 2-2.
Draws in MLS NEXT Pro games go to a shootout to decide who gets a second point, so this game went to spot kicks.
After Raimar and Lynn converted on the first two attempts, Otero saved Brennan’s shot to give OCB the advantage. But Guerra dove to his right to block Medina’s subsequent attempt, keeping it tied at 1-1.
It got a little feisty after Tiente beat Otero to make it 4-3 Atlanta. Tiente went to grab the ball, but Otero grabbed it first. After a brief tussle, Osmanovic had to calm both teams down. He booked both Otero and Tiente for the scuffle while Taifi waited to take his penalty. The teenager handled the delay well and beat Guerra with the next kick to keep it tied.
Carleton stepped up to start the sixth round and Otero got his hands on the ball. But it bounced off the post and in to give Atlanta a 5-4 lead. Almaguer took the sixth kick for the Young Lions, but got under it and sent his attempt well over the crossbar, giving the visitors the extra point.
“It’s so frustrating doing the game we did,” Perelman said about the performance. “We played amazing, controlled the complete game. But then we made unforced mistakes and we conceded the goals. It’s difficult winning doing that kind of mistakes.”
“It’s one of the most important things is you want to make the home a fortress,” Lynn said about getting a point at home. “You want people to hate to come here. So the fact that we can continue to keep putting points up when we’re here is a good thing.”
After one game at home, OCB will head back out on the road. It will be another rivalry game when the Young Lions face Inter Miami II Thursday night in Fort Lauderdale.
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