Orlando City B
COVID-19 May Derail Plans for Orlando City B
The new year brings a lot of excitement in American soccer. January includes United States national team camps, the NWSL Draft, and the MLS SuperDraft. With all the news surrounding Orlando City and the Orlando Pride, it can be easy to forget about the club’s third professional team.
In 2016, Orlando City launched a second team for the Lions that played in the second division United Soccer League. After two years, the team went on hiatus for 2018 and joined the new third division league, USL League One, for 2019. Following the 2020 season, OCB dropped out of the USL setup entirely, presumably to join the long-rumored, but still unannounced, MLS reserve league in 2021.
Back in October, reports surfaced that MLS was going to launch the new reserve league this year. Those reports seemed to be substantiated when three MLS teams dropped out of the USL. Additionally, Minnesota United announced during its youth restructuring that it would be joining a new MLS reserve league.
While the plan originally was to start the new league in 2021, there are now obstacles that will impact if it can actually happen. MLS Commissioner Don Garber recently said that the COVID-19 pandemic will end up costing MLS around $1 billion. Since the league is already financing a new youth setup and losing a significant amount of money, it’s possible that it could put the new league on the shelf for now.
Should the new reserve league be postponed, it puts Orlando City in a difficult position. OCB has become a critical part of the club’s structure. A majority of the players last year came from the club’s academy. That followed Jordan Bender making his way from the second team to the first team, becoming the third player in club history to do so.
Orlando City has invested greatly in OCB over the past year. The team joined the first team at the new training facility and played its games next door at Osceola County Stadium. A lot of that comes down to the belief of the Orlando City brass in developing their own talent.
If the reserve league is postponed, OCB likely could go back to USL League One. The league currently has 12 teams after North Carolina FC dropped down to the third tier Sunday, but there’s no guarantee they’ll all make it through 2021. Four of the teams are MLS developmental sides and the others might not have the finances to make it through another year during the pandemic. The league would likely be willing to accept any team wanting to join to keep the venture afloat.
However, having a backup league doesn’t guarantee the club would join. While not as significant as the first team, there is a cost in running a developmental squad. Even with low or non-existent salaries, it costs money for stadium upkeep, equipment, and additional staffing.
In all likelihood, Orlando City games will feature a significantly reduced capacity for the 2021 MLS season. That will decrease the amount of revenue the team obtains for the second consecutive year. One of the cost-cutting measures could be OCB.
If OCB doesn’t take the field in 2021, it would be a blow to the club’s youth development. Homegrown Players like Moises Tablante, Jose Quintero, and Wilfredo Rivera have shown the talent coming from the academy. Without OCB, those who don’t sign first-team contracts will head off to college where they may or may not play. Staying with OCB would guarantee playing time and further development.
Right now, this is all speculation. There has been no news on the reserve league since October and much has changed since then. The new vaccine could put clubs and leagues in a better position by the summer. But positive cases could also continue to rise, causing clubs and leagues to go under. Only time will tell the future of an integral part of Orlando City SC.
Orlando City B
Orlando City B vs. Toronto FC II: Final Score 3-0 as OCB Falls in Shortened Game
Poor defending by OCB saw the Young Lions fall 3-0 to Toronto FC II in a shortened game due to lighting troubles.
Two poor clearances late in the first half helped Toronto FC II (3-7-1, 10 points) beat Orlando City B (6-4-2, 21 points) 3-0 in a shortened game north of the border. Reshaun Walkes gave the hosts the lead in the 33rd minute and Markus Cimermancic doubled the advantage two minutes later. Jesus Batiz added a second-half goal for good measure, handing the Young Lions their first loss since May 14.
The game suffered a power issue in the 72nd minute when the lights went out. The delay lasted for nearly an hour and a half before the game had to end due to a local curfew.
OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made four changes to the team that beat New York Red Bulls II Monday night. First-team backup goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar entered the lineup with Zakaria Taifi, Juninho, and Alejandro Granados, who returned after representing Spain. They replaced Javier Otero, Alex Freeman, Moises Tablante, and Wilfredo Rivera.
The back line in front of Stajduhar was Imanol Almaguer, Nabi Kibunguchy, Thomas Williams, and Taifi. Juninho, Cristian Medina, and Granados were in the midfield and Shak Mohammed, Jack Lynn, and Jhon Solis made up the front line.
Despite their lack of goals, it was defensive errors that cost OCB in this game. It started inside the first minute when the Young Lions nearly gave up a breakaway and continued as they gave the opposition possession in the box on several occasions. The first two goals came from bad clearances and it could’ve been worse.
The game got off to an inauspicious start when Williams turned the ball over to Walkes near the OCB box. He made a clumsy challenge to stop a potential breakaway, taking down Walkes and receiving a yellow card just 17 seconds after the kickoff. Walkes received treatment for an extended period of time before getting up and resuming play. Themi Antonoglou stepped up to take the set piece, sending it well over the target.
The Young Lions got their first chance in the eighth minute, when Granados got the ball on the left and sent it towards the penalty spot for Mohammed. The attacker’s first touch was a shot, but it was blocked.
Stajduhar was called into action for the first time in the 10th minute, when Cristian Gutierrez found Walkes in the box. The forward got his head to the ball, putting it on goal, but it was right into the arms of Stajduhar.
Two minutes later, Walkes should’ve scored when a ball into the box was headed on by Batiz. It fell right to Walkes’ feet, who was left wide open at the top of the six-yard box, and should’ve been an easy goal for the forward, but he put it wide.
In the 22nd minute, Almaguer sent a cross into the box that was headed away. However, it was only sent to the top of the 18, where Granados collected it. The midfielder moved the ball over to his right and shot, but the attempt was right to Toronto goalkeeper Luka Gavran.
Juninho made a good run in the 31st minute into the Toronto third of the field. A strong touch allowed a defender to step up, but his clearance bounced off Juninho and went towards the six-yard box. It bounced around and looked like Lynn would get on the end of it, but Toronto was able to clear it.
After being booked inside the first minute of the game, Williams made the referee think about issuing a second yellow. The center back stepped over the ball and took down Walkes for the second time after a careless giveaway by Solis. Rather than sending him off, the referee Ryan Schwenger gave Williams his final warning.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, when Antonoglou sent a cross into the box. Taifi attempted to head the ball away, but sent it directly to Walkes. It was an easy finish for the forward, who put it past Stajduhar to give Toronto a 1-0 lead.
It took less than two minutes for Toronto to double their lead. It started when Granados received the ball from Taifi on the left and lost it to Toronto in his own third. Hugo Mbongue and Walkes attempted a give-and-go, but Medina won it back. However, his poor clearance attempt went right to Cimermancic, whose shot was deflected by Kibunguchy and went in to give Toronto a 2-0 lead.
The Young Lions had a chance in the 40th minute when Solis played the ball back for Almaguer, who had plenty of time to send a cross into the box. It found the head of Lynn, who had a defender right in front of him. As a result, Lynn couldn’t get much on the attempt and Gavran easily collected it.
A minute later, the Young Lions thought they should’ve had a penalty when Mohammed found Lynn making a run into the box. His first touch was towards the near post and Adam Pearlman appeared to take him down. Schwenger determined that there wasn’t enough in the challenge and signaled play on.
OCB had another bad clearance in the 45th minute, this time by Williams. Possibly lucky to still be on the field, Mbongue dribbled into the center back, but his clearance was poor, giving the striker another chance. Fortunately, he sent the ball over the goal.
Lynn had the final chance of the first half in the 45th minute. He carried the ball to his right to avoid a defender and took a shot from outside of the box, but it didn’t cause any trouble for Gavran, who easily collected it.
At halftime, Toronto had more possession (53.1%-46.9%), shots (9-5), and passing accuracy (91%-89.9%). OCB had more crosses (6-2) and both teams put three shots on target. The difference in the half was Toronto taking advantage of some poor clearances by the Young Lions.
Toronto had the first chance of the second half when Batiz made a good run into the box in the 54th minute. Reaching the end line, he played it back for Cimermancic, but the midfielder sent his shot over the goal.
OCB had its first second-half chance in the 56th minute when Juninho sent the ball into the box with Lynn and Mohammed making back-post runs. With Mohammed behind him, Lynn got his head on the ball, putting it on target. But he didn’t get enough on it and Gavran was able to collect it.
In the 57th minute, Mbongue made a run into the box and got a shot off, but it was blocked out of play by Williams for the game’s first corner kick. The ensuing set piece ended up with Cimermancic at the top of the box. He put it back into the mixer, but nobody in red could get on the end of it. The Young Lions had trouble clearing the ball again, but were eventually able to get it away.
The hosts nearly had a third goal in the 59th minute when Walkes sent a low cross into the box looking for Mbongue. The forward got behind Kibunguchy, but the center back was able to catch up and reach the ball first. He stuck his foot out and the ball went towards his own goal and into the arms of Stajduhar.
Perelman made his first change in the 62nd minute, bringing Favian Loyola on for Granados. It was an attacking substitution as the Young Lions looked to get back into the game.
In the 64th minute, Marko Stojadinovic, who came on at halftime, took an ambitious shot from long distance. It was a decent strike and the bodies in front of Stajduhar made it more challenging. But the goalkeeper did well to dive to his right and stop it.
Seconds later on the other end, Lynn received the ball in the box and dropped it back for Mohammed. The first-team forward shot, but it was wide of the near post. That was the last touch of the game for Mohammed, as he was replaced by Wilfredo Rivera.
Immediately after the substitution, Toronto scored its third goal. Mbongue played the ball for Cimemancic with Williams challenging. Cimermancic’s first touch was a pass through Williams’ legs for Batiz, who held his run long enough to remain onside. The forward didn’t squander his attempt, putting it by the oncoming Stajduhar to give the hosts a 3-0 lead.
As the Toronto players celebrated, the lights went out in the stadium, apparently on a timer. The game was originally scheduled to start at 8 p.m., but a delay in OCB reaching the stadium saw the game delayed an hour with a 9 p.m. kickoff. That triggered the lights to go off with a little less than 30 minutes remaining in the game, eventually ending the contest and giving Toronto the 3-0 win.
In the end, Toronto had more possession (51.7%-48.3%), shots (17-9), shots on target (5-4), corners (2-0), and passing accuracy (89.3%-89%). OCB had more crosses (8-4), duels won (41-29), and tackles won (10-5).
The Young Lions will have a week before they take the field next, returning home to face FC CIncinnati 2 at Osceola County Stadium next Sunday evening.
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.
Lion Links: 6/6/23
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Orlando City B vs. Toronto FC II: Final Score 3-0 as OCB Falls in Shortened Game
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