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Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Chicago Fire II: Final Score 2-0 as Jack Lynn’s Brace Leads Young Lions to Victory



Jack Lynn scored a brace in his competitive debut — both off assists from Wilfredo Rivera — and goalkeeper Javier Otero had a huge game, leading OCB to a 2-0 win at Osceola Heritage Park in the team’s MLS NEXT Pro debut. Both teams finished with 10 men, but it was OCB (1-0-0, 3 points) that had a strong second half to give Head Coach Martin Perelman his first win with the club.

“We’re happy to win,” Perelman said after the match. “We’re happy because our young players especially had their first experience in a professional league and also because of the performance of the players who’ve come from the first team. Of course we have a lot to improve, with many mistakes. The game was without balance and we don’t like that but OK, it’s the first game. And it’s good to start winning.”

Perelman’s first lineup of the season featured Otero in goal behind a back line of Nick Taylor, Brandon Hackenberg, David Boccuzzo, and Alex Freeman. Erick Gunera-Calix and Diego Pareja played central midfield behind Gonzalo Agostoni-Chagas, Rivera, and Moises Tablante, with Lynn up top.

The Young Lions were sloppy throughout the first half and gave up the far better scoring chances between the two teams, as they struggled to find ways through the Fire’s press. Homegrown defender Freeman had a giveaway in the opening moments that led to a shot from Alex Monis but it skipped wide of goal. Hackenberg turned it over in the third minute and that led to a chance but the shot was sent right at Otero without much pace.

The Young Lions worked their way into the match slowly and Agostoni-Chagas tried a shot from distance in the sixth minute, but it deflected out for a corner. On the ensuing set piece, OCB got a header toward goal but it was cut out and the Fire went on the counterattack. Josh Penn, who was a dangerous player throughout the opening half, forced a good save from Otero on the other end. Otero again denied Penn in the 11th minute on a good chance.

In the 17th minute, the Young Lions should have created some kind of danger on a transition opportunity but the Chicago defense did well to prevent both Lynn and Agostini-Chagas to get a clear-cut chance with timely challenges.

Otero again made a big save in the 22nd as Chicago continued to slip in between Orlando defenders.

Lynn had the best chance of the opening half for Orlando, slipping in behind the defense. With only the goalkeeper to beat, the 2022 SuperDraft selection skied his shot over the bar in the 27th minute.

“You’re never going to put away every chance,” Lynn said about the miss. “So, I think when I missed that one (in) the first half, I think ‘just keep your head high and know that another chance is on its way.’ And, you know, when the opportunity presented itself, I took ‘em, so I was happy with that.”

Chicago was forced into a first-half sub moments later, bringing on Justin Reynolds for Andre Reynolds. That ended up being a significant moment in the first half.

After Otero made two more big saves on Penn in the 35th and 36th minutes, Justin Reynolds, who had only been on the pitch for five minutes, saw straight red for fouling Rivera near midfield, denying the Orlando attacker a goal-scoring opportunity in transition.

Down to 10 men didn’t alter the rest of the opening half, however, as OCB continued giving up more opportunities than it generated. Penn sent a weak shot toward Otero in first-half stoppage time on the last opportunity for either side and the teams went to the break scoreless.

Chicago out-shot OCB 13-8 (7-0 on target) in the first half, while the Young Lions won more corners (4-2), kept more possession (54.5%-45.5%), and passed more accurately (78.2%-72.1%). The Fire blocked six of Orlando’s eight shot attempts.

OCB came out of the locker room better in the second half and found a breakthrough just five minutes after the restart. Rivera’s cross on a free kick found Lynn in front and the first-round pick sent a strong, low header into the net for the club’s first ever MLS NEXT Pro goal. The Young Lions led 1-0 at the 50-minute mark.

“I’m buzzing,” Lynn said after the game. “It’s always great to start the year with a win and I couldn’t be happier.”

A minute after Lynn’s goal, Nick Taylor was able to sneak up the left side and send a shot on goal, forcing a good save by Fire II goalkeeper Mihajlo Miskovic.

The Fire nearly pulled a goal back in the 54th minute, but Otero made another big stop after OCB’s defense turned the ball over in their own defensive right corner.

Tablante sent a shot off target from the left corner of the box in the 59th minute as the Young Lions looked to put the game away. Unfortunately, it was the Fire getting the game’s next big break. Gunera-Calix, who had picked up a soft yellow in the first half, received his second booking in the 63rd minute, conceding a dangerous free kick just outside the area. Perelman didn’t like either call.

“I think those were a mistake of the referee,” he said. “For me, the first yellow card was no yellow card. The second, I think, is not even a foul.”

Otero made a save on Victor Bezerra on the set piece but Chicago scored on the rebound. However, the offside flag saved the Young Lions and preserved OCB’s 1-0 lead.

Orlando got two golden opportunities to put the game away as the second half wore on but couldn’t do it. Rivera was in alone in the 68th minute but couldn’t beat Miskovic. Tablante tried to track down the rebound but couldn’t get a clean look at goal as the defense arrived.

In the 76th, it was Lynn in alone on Miskovic, but again the goalkeeper came up with a huge 1-v-1 save in the box to keep it a one-goal game.

Lynn made amends in the 87th minute. Taking another through ball from Rivera, the SuperDraft pick buried a shot inside the far post to make it 2-0, putting the game out of reach.

“He put two balls on a platter for me today, so I couldn’t ask for much more out of him,” Lynn said of Rivera’s assists.

Substitute Alejandro Granados Torres tried to make it 3-0 on the cusp of stoppage time, but his shot from the left skipped wide of the right post. After another big stop by Otero on a deflected shot in the 92nd minute — giving him nine saves in the match — Tablante went for goal late but saw his shot saved at the near post. That was it for the scoring chances and OCB had its first win of the season.

Chicago finished with more shots (17-15) and shots on target (9-5). Orlando City B held more possession (53.9%-46.1%), and passed more accurately (78.4%-72.2%). Each team finished with four corners.

“I think the team did a great job,” Perelman said. “It is not easy to start a season, especially it’s not easy to start a new league. So these players, most of them, they did their first game (as a) professional in their lives all together. We will try to work to teach them to be more balanced, and that’s it, but I think that the players did their job. They did what we trained.”

The Young Lions will host New York City FC II on Sunday, April 3 in their next match.

Orlando City B

Orlando City Signs Academy Midfielder Colin Guske to MLS NEXT Pro Contract

The 17-year-old OCSC academy midfielder signs a one-year MLS NEXT Pro deal.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

Orlando City announced this afternoon that the club has signed academy product Colin Guske to an MLS NEXT Pro contract with its reserve side, Orlando City B. The deal is for one year, running through the 2024 season.

“Colin is another talented young player coming from our development pathway in the way that we envisioned at the beginning of this project,” Orlando City Vice President of Soccer Operations and Technical Director Ricardo Moreira said in a club press release. “Colin is also another player who benefited from the full integration between our academy, OCB, and first teams inside our training facilities, and took advantage of the time he had in preseason training camp with the first team to sharpen his tools and show us that he’s ready for that next step along the development pathway. Despite his age, Colin shows a lot of personality on and off the field and we truly believe his future with us will be bright.”

The 17-year-old St. Johns, FL native joined the club’s academy in 2020 and made his debut for OCB in the season opener against Atlanta United. He made an immediate impact for the club’s second team, scoring in the 49th minute, which ended up being the game-winning goal.

So far this season, Guske has made four appearances (all starts), playing 360 minutes, and scoring a goal. He’s played each game in the defensive midfield alongside team captain Imanol Almaguer.

Guske joins his two older brothers in going through the Orlando City academy and playing with OCB. However, Colin is the only Guske brother to sign a professional contract with the club as the others were on academy deals, enabling them to play in college. Owen, the oldest of the three, played with OCB during the 2020 USL League One season and is currently playing at Jacksonville University. Liam played with OCB during the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season and is currently playing at Seton Hall University.

The young midfielder is the second academy product the club has signed to an MLS NEXT Pro contract this year after 18-year-old defender Zakaria Taifi was inked to a second-team contract on March 12. The move is a logical step for both players in their progression through the club’s development system, which they hope results in a Homegrown Player contract with the first team.

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Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Crown Legacy FC: Final Score 2-0 as Young Lions Claim Road Victory

The Young Lions will bring all three points back from North Carolina after a complete win over Crown Legacy.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored and Javier Otero made six saves as Orlando City B defeated Crown Legacy FC, 2-0 at the Sportsplex at Matthews in Matthews, NC. OCB (2-1-2, 9 points) completed its two-game road trip by claiming four out of six possible points and is now unbeaten on the road in four matches (2-0-2), with a shootout win after one of its two draws. Crown Legacy remains winless on the young season (0-2-3, 5 points).

Manuel Goldberg’s lineup included just one change from the squad that started the last game at Philadelphia Union II. Manuel Cocca replaced Zakaria Taifi at fullback. The starting back line in front of goalkeeper Otero consisted of Cocca, Thomas Williams, Abdi Salim, and Freeman. Colin Guske and Imanol Almaguer played in the central midfield behind an attacking midfield line of Yutaro Tsukada, Jhon Solis, and Wilfredo Rivera, with Mohammed up top.

OCB was the better side in the first half, but squandered too many good attacks with a misplaced pass or by simply making a poor decision.

The first look at goal fell for OCB in the third minute. Tsukada intercepted the ball in the attacking half and drove forward into the box against two defenders. After entering the penalty area, the first-year pro unleashed a shot that deflected out for a corner. The Young Lions couldn’t get to Tsukada’s service, which bounced in the box before being cleared.

The hosts had a great chance in the fifth minute, shortly after the skies opened up and a heavy rain began to fall. Nimfasha Berchimas cut in from the right side, beat Williams, and sent a shot skipping toward goal. Otero did well to make the save and not give up a rebound on the hard shot in the wet conditions. The rain eventually subsided and became less of a factor.

Solis went down in the box in the 14th minute with contact but the ref played on and OCB didn’t seem too bothered by it. Seconds later, OCB stole the ball in the attacking half — a common theme in the opening 20 minutes — and Rivera had a go from distance with his left foot, but he didn’t get all of his shot. Not only did the shot lack power, but it was also wide of goal.

OCB should have scored in the 19th minute when a good buildup ended up with Tsukada on the left. The winger gave the ball to Mohammed, who cut back, but even with the goalkeeper down, the forward was reluctant to shoot. It eventually was sent toward goal by Rivera but was deflected out for a corner. The ensuing set piece was played short to Almaguer, who made a good cross into the area. Freeman got his head to it and it was on target, but goalkeeper Chituru Odunze was able to scramble over and knock it out for another corner in the 20th minute.

The Young Lions were less precise with the next corner, misplaying it short and turning it over, requiring Tsukada to break up the transition with a professional foul, earning him a yellow card.

The hosts started to settle into the match over the next 10 minutes, keeping more possession. When OCB broke up Crown Legacy’s play, the Young Lions repeatedly gave it right back in their own half.

Jonathan Nyandjo blazed past Williams and fired a shot that Otero saved in the 23rd minute on a ball over the top. Moments later, a corner kick cross was sent straight at Otero, who caught it.

Three Young Lions took unnecessary bookings before the first half was finished. Almaguer was the first of those in the 27th minute after he appeared to knock the ball out of play off a Crown Legacy player. The throw-in was awarded to the home side, and Almaguer held onto the ball while arguing the call, drawing the yellow.

Three minutes later, Otero made a stop on a shot from outside the box by Tyger Smalls.

OCB finally broke through in the 35th minute, but the play almost broke down in the Crown Legacy box again. Rivera was played into the area but opted to cut back to his right rather than fire from an angle. He just about lost the ball, but it was knocked over to the right side of the box. Freeman got to it first and powered it into the net to give OCB a 1-0 lead.

An excellent chance to double the lead broke down in the 39th minute. A good ball sent Tsukada down the left. He tried to fake out a defender, but took a heavy touch, losing it over the end line before he could get his cross in.

Otero was booked for time wasting and Rivera for something away from the ball in the final minutes of the opening period. Neither team created anything over the final minutes and OCB took its slim lead into the locker room.

OCB finished the first half with more shots (6-3), but Crown Legacy put all three of its attempts on target, compared to just two by the Young Lions. OCB also passed slightly more accurately (87.9%-87.5%) and won more corners (5-1), but did precious little with those set piece opportunities.

Crown Legacy served up a warning sign in the first minute after the restart, sending a shot from distance well over the bar.

OCB came right back and created something in the 48th minute, with a dangerous ball from Solis from the left blocked away from Tsukada. Solis then got into the box on the right in the 51st minute, but this time his cross missed his target and went all the way through the box.

Freeman nearly picked out Mohammed in the 55th minute but the cross was inches too far in front of the forward and he was ruled to be offside anyway.

Otero was called into action at the hour to make two huge saves. OCB expected a whistle for what appeared to be a clear handball and stopped playing. Crown Legacy did not and the ball ended up in the box. Otero made two big stops from close range to preserve the OCB advantage.

Tsukada’s back post delivery of a corner in the 62nd minute might have been an Olimpico attempt and it nearly worked. Cocca was breaking to the back post, but Odunze caught the ball just in front of the goal line. Cocca then nearly picked out Freeman in front in the 67th minute but the cross was inches over the fullback’s head. Orlando regrouped and Tsukada went down at the top of the area but the referee ruled it was a clean play. Two minutes later, Mohammed was sent in behind but the flag came up yet again on another close play.

OCB doubled its lead in the 76th minute. Solis won a free kick near the touchline on the left side and Willian Sangoquiza was booked for the foul. Tsukada took the set piece and sent in a good ball. Mohammed met it in the air and flicked it past Odunze to make it 2-0 with his first goal of the season.

Crown Legacy nearly pulled the goal back in the 83rd minute off a corner kick. The hosts played it short before sending it into the box, but OCB cleared it. The recycled ball came in and found Philip Mayaka in front, but the midfielder sent his shot high over the bar, wasting the opportunity.

Second-half sub Favian Loyola had a chance to put the game away moments later. He blocked a clearance attempt and the ball rolled sideways from left to right near the top of the area. However, the midfielder wasn’t fast enough to beat his defender to the ball and Crown Legacy survived what might have been a third goal.

Crown Legacy had several set pieces down the stretch to try to get back into the game. A corner was headed over in the 85th minute and then a pair of terrible bookend fouls by substitutes Tahir Reid-Brown and Loyola — on the defensive left and right, respectively — gave the hosts unnecessary chances. The Young Lions did well to survive a pair of bicycle kick attempts, blocking the second one, off the Reid-Brown foul. A third shot was blocked in front by the defense and OCB finally cleared.

The best chance in stoppage time went OCB’s way, when the ball found Freeman all alone at the top of the area. The fullback tried to pick out the right corner but missed the net just wide in the 92nd minute.

Chandler Young got the last look of the match off a cross from the right. Salim tried to get under it but misplayed it and it landed on Young’s foot, but the shot went wide to the right of Otero’s goal. Moments later, the game was over.

Crown Legacy fired more shots (15-9), and put more on target (6-4), although only a few of the hosts’ attempts were dangerous. Crown also nipped OCB in passing accuracy (87.8%-86.4%), while the Young Lions won more corners (9-5).

It was a good performance overall by the Young Lions, despite squandering a number of good attacking opportunities in the early part of the match. The defense wasn’t tested often, which is a testament to the press and defensive play from the midfielders and attacking players. The few times Crown Legacy created something, Otero was there.

The Young Lions will finally play a home game, hosting Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday, April 28.

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Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Philadelphia Union II: Final Score 1-1 as OCB Draws, Drops Shootout

OCB earned a oad draw with Philadelphia Union II but fell 7-6 in penalties, picking up one point.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Orlando City B (1-1-2, 6 points) drew Philadelphia Union II (2-0-2, 9 points) at Subaru Park 1-1 in Chester, PA this afternoon. Sal Olivas gave the hosts the lead in the 11th minute, but Wilfredo Rivera equalized less than 20 minutes later. Philadelphia dominated the second half, but OCB was able to keep the hosts out, finishing with a road draw despite not recording any second-half shots. The game went into penalties, where Union II won the extra point in the MLS NEXT Pro standings in sudden death by a 7-6 score.

OCB Head Coach Manuel Goldberg made four changes to the team that lost 2-0 to Inter Miami II on April 2. Thomas Williams, Zakaria Taifi, Colin Guske, and Shak Mohammed entered the lineup for Nabi Kibunguchy, Manuel Cocca, Jeorgio Kocevski, and Jack Lynn. Of the four regular starters taken out of the lineup, only Cocca was included on the bench.

The back line in front of goalkeeper Javier Otero was Alex Freeman, Abdi Salim, Williams, and Taifi. While Guske returned to the lineup for the first time since March 22, the rest of the midfield remained the same, including Imanol Almaguer, Rivera, Jhon Solis, and Yutaro Tsukada. Lynn is likely with the first team tomorrow night, so Mohammed got the start up top.

This was a game of two halves for the Young Lions. In the first 45 minutes, they were strong on the attack, creating problems for Philadelphia. However, they spent the entire second half on their heels, trying to keep the opposition from taking another lead. They were successful, as Union II struggled to hit the target, enabling OCB to bring home a point.

OCB nearly made a mess of its early possession when Williams turned the ball over within the first two minutes. However, Philadelphia was unable to create anything from winning the ball in the Young Lions’ third of the field, ultimately playing it back into their own half.

In the third minute, OCB had the first shot of the game and it was from a familiar source. Tsukada has been problematic on the left for teams around the league early this season and used some nifty footwork to create space. However, his shot was right to Union II goalkeeper Andrew Rick, who made an easy stop.

The Young Lions created another good chance in the eighth minute when Rivera sent Freeman forward. The right back got behind Philadelphia’s back line and got a shot off from the right of the goal, forcing Rick to block the ball out of play for the game’s first corner kick. Rivera’s ensuing set piece to the back post found the head of Solis, who redirected the ball on target. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get much on it, enabling Frankie Westfield to head it off the line.

OCB paid for the missed opportunity as the hosts took the lead on the other end. Westfield received the ball on the left and, after a couple of touches, sent a cross across goal. Olivas found space between Williams and Taifi as neither defender picked up the run into the six-yard box. As a result, Olivas was able to touch the ball past Otero to give Philadelphia an early 1-0 lead.

In the 12th minute, Nick Pariano created a chance from the other side. Beating Taifi to the end line, the midfielder sent a low ball across the goal mouth. Fortunately, nobody was making a run for Philadelphia and the ball went harmlessly through the box.

The Young Lions felt they should’ve had a penalty in the 24th minute when Tsukada dribbled past his defender and towards the end line. The midfielder went down as the ball went out of play and threw his arms in the air, but referee Gary Gutierrez awarded a corner kick instead.

OCB found the equalizer in the 30th minute when Solis played a nice ball for Tsukada to run onto. Philadelphia was caught with too many players forward, leaving Rivera alone on the far side of the box. Tsukada found the attacker and Rivera had plenty of time to curl the ball inside the far post to make it a 1-1 game.

The Young Lions nearly took their first lead a minute later when Tsukada played the ball across for Mohammed on the left. The first-team forward’s first touch was to the top of the six-yard box where Rivera was charging in. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to reach the ball, enabling Union II to clear.

In the 36th minute, Philadelphia had a pair of corner kicks and the second one gave the hosts a good chance to retake the lead. The corner fell in the middle of the box, but Williams was unable to get his foot on the ball. Edward Davis’ first shot was blocked back to Olivas, who got it back to Davis. The forward’s second shot was wide of the target and the Young Lions cleared the danger.

Things got a little feisty in the 39th minute when David Vazuez pulled down Rivera. Following the foul, the Philadelphia attacker kicked out at Rivera, which his OCB teammates didn’t appreciate. Some pushing and shoving ensued, resulting in Vazquez and Williams being booked.

While neither team was able to create any chances, hostilities continued in the 45th minute when Freeman shielded Olivas from the ball. After Olivas went down, Salim stepped over him and Gutierrez had to separate players again. However, no cards were shown during this incident.

At halftime, Philadelphia had more possession (52%-48%), shots (10-6), and corners (6-5), and better passing accuracy (83.3%-77.8%). Meanwhile, OCB had more shots on target (4-2), but only one went in for both teams as they entered the break at 1-1.

Both teams created chances early in the second 45 minutes, but neither resulted in a go-ahead goal. Pariano had the first opportunity as he weaved through the OCB defense and into the box. He eventually took a shot, but Williams got in front to block it, enabling Otero to easily collect it.

A minute later, OCB had its first chance of the half when Solis’ pass for Mohammed split the defense. Mohammed sent a low cross into the box, but none of his teammates were there to get on the end of it.

Following the first couple of chances, things settled down, as neither team was able to create chances. However, Otero came out of his box in the 65th minute to play the ball, not realizing Davis was behind him. Once he recognized the attacker, he cleared the ball out for a Philadelphia throw in.

Union II used the throw-in to create another chance. Vazquez dribbled into the box and Otero tipped the ball away, but only to Olivas. The forward reached the end line and sent a low pass across the goal mouth with Otero still well away from his net. Fortunately, nobody was there and Taifi was able to clear it out of play. The ensuing corner kick was taken by Otero, but the goalkeeper went down after a challenge. The OCB medical staff attended to the young shot stopper, but he was able to continue.

The hosts had another chance in the 73rd minute when Olivas met a low cross near the penalty spot. Taifi got in front of the shot, but deflected it off the crossbar. Philadelphia retained possession, resulting in Giovanny Sequera getting a shot, but this one was well over the target.

In the 75th minute, Williams went down and required treatment. As a result, he had to leave the field for two minutes. Shortly after leaving, Otero collected the ball and went to the ground for the second time in the half. He received treatment long enough for the two minutes to elapse, enabling Williams to return to the field.

The first OCB substitution came in the 81st minute when Favian Loyola replaced Rivera.

As the Young Lions searched for their first shot of the second half, Philadelphia continued to create chances. In the 82nd minute, Olivas cut the ball back for second-half substitute Ryan Zellefrow in the box. Zellefrow’s first touch was a shot, but he sent the ball well over the target.

Goldberg made his second change in the 84th minute, bringing teenage forward Justin Ellis on for Mohammed.

In the 86th minute, CJ Olney found Westfield on the left side of the box. The left back attempted a low cross across the goal, but it was cleared out for a corner kick. The ensuing set piece was cleared by Solis, keeping the game at 1-1.

Philadelphia broke the other way in the 89th minute, forcing Solis to pull back the attacker, and he received a yellow card for it. The break in action enabled Goldberg to make his final change of the game, replacing Tsukada with Thomas Bowe.

Gutierrez added seven minutes to the second half and Philadelphia nearly took the lead in the sixth minute. A good run into the box by Vazquez enabled him to find space for a shot. However, Otero barely got his fingers to the ball, tipping it wide.

Zellefrow had a late chance for Philadelphia with a teammate on the far side of the field. He tried to play the ball around Salim to himself, but the OCB center back did well to stay in front and play it back to Otero. That was the final play of the 90 minutes as the game ended tied.

At the end of 90 minutes, Philadelphia had more possession (58.2%-41.8%), shots (22-6), shots on target (7-4), and corners (11-7), and better passing accuracy (82.8%-73.5%). OCB didn’t have a single shot in the second half, but was able to keep Union II’s 11 second-half shots out of the goal.

As per MLS NEXT Pro rules, the draw meant both teams would receive a point and go to penalties to decide who got a second. It was an impressive shootout, with the first 13 shooters scoring. In the seventh round, Olwethu Makhanya scored, meaning that Taifi had to convert to keep OCB alive. The defender went down the middle and Rick dove to his right, but the goalkeeper was able to drag his feet behind him, knocking the attempt wide. As a result, Philadelphia claimed the extra point.

The result is OCB’s second draw of the season. However, while they defeated Huntsville City FC in the first shootout on March 22, they lost this one, 7-6. The Young Lions remain undefeated on the road (1-0-2), taking six out of a possible nine points in away matches. They have six points from their first four games and remain in seventh in the Eastern Conference.

OCB will continue its road swing as the Young Lions take on Crown Legacy FC in North Carolina next Friday night.

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