Top 10 Moments of 2022: Jack Lynn Sets New OCB Goal-Scoring Record



As we count down to the new year of 2023 — which will be Orlando City’s ninth in MLS and the Orlando Pride’s eighth in the NWSL — and say goodbye to 2022, it’s time to look back at the club’s 10 best moments of the year as selected by The Mane Land staff via vote.

Orlando City B was coming off the second hiatus year of its existence, having not played in 2021. The Young Lions, who began play in the USL in 2016, had competed for two seasons in that league before sitting out the 2018 season. OCB then returned to play in USL League One in 2019 and 2020 before again taking a year off to become an original side in Major League Soccer’s new developmental league, MLS NEXT Pro, in 2022.

The 2022 OCB roster was assembled primarily from the Orlando City Developmental Academy, but some of the MLS side’s players were loaned to OCB to get minutes as well. One of those players was first-round MLS SuperDraft pick Jack Lynn. The forward out of Notre Dame wasn’t yet ready to step in and provide minutes for the first team, and with players like Ercan Kara, Tesho Akindele, Alexandre Pato, and Benji Michel on the roster, there were precious few opportunties for the young striker to get on the field for the senior side.

Some players might sulk if sent down to the developmental team, but Lynn made the most of his opportunities in MLS NEXT Pro. In fact, Lynn wasted no time establishing his goal-scoring prowess with the third-tier side. The Young Lions got their first-ever MLS NEXT Pro season started at Osceola County Stadium on March 26 with a 2-0 win over Chicago Fire II. Lynn provided both goals for OCB in the match, with Wilfredo Rivera assisting on both. The team’s first MLS NEXT Pro goal came on a Lynn header in the 50th minute on Rivera’s free kick service.

Lynn scored another in the 87th minute, and his season was off to a great start. It was the first of three braces for Lynn on the season and the first of four multi-goal matches, which also included a hat trick in late May.

The Young Lions blasted rival Inter Miami CF II off the pitch, 6-0, at home on May 21. Lynn led the way with OCB’s first-ever hat trick, scoring in the eighth minute after a weather delay. After Rivera and Brandon Hackenberg built the OCB lead to 3-0, Lynn got his second in the 63rd minute with an excellent turn and shot in the box.

The third goal of the hat trick came in the 85th minute, after Victor Yan had built the Young Lions’ lead to 5-0. Lynn took a pass and made a nice play to cut across two defenders before lashing home his third of the night.

Not only was Lynn’s hat trick the first by an OCB player in any league, but it was also a new club record for goals in a game and the team’s most lopsided win ever.

Lynn’s season was a special one in OCB history. By his sixth game — that demolition of Inter Miami II — he had five goals on the season, which was already more than Rivera’s team-leading three from the 2020 season. He had seven by the end of his seventh OCB match, which topped the Young Lions’ season high of six by Thiago de Souza back in 2019.

By then, it was already clear that Lynn had an opportunity to go for the club’s single-season, goal-scoring record. At that point, only two players had scored more goals in a single season for OCB — Hadji Barry’s 10 in 2017 and Michael Cox’s 11 in 2016. Lynn scored in each of his next two games to bring his total to nine goals in nine MLS NEXT Pro matches on the season. He had also made a couple of appearances with the first team by then and got into Orlando City’s U.S. Open Cup match against Inter Miami.

Lynn didn’t score in his 10th MLS NEXT Pro match, but he netted his 10th goal in his 11th game — a 3-1 win at FC Cincinnati 2 on June 25. The forward put back the rebound of a saved Alex Freeman shot to open the scoring as the Young Lions snapped a four-game winless skid. That goal tied Barry’s team-leading total from the 2017 USL season and was the most goals by any OCB player in the club’s post-USL days.

The only target remaining was Cox’s club single-season record of 11, and Lynn only needed one more game to equal that total, although it was in a 3-2 road loss on July 1. The Young Lions had, unfortunately, fallen behind 3-0 to Rochester New York FC when Lynn scored his 11th of the season in his 12th match. Here’s the club record-tying goal:

It had taken Cox 28 games and 2,091 minutes to reach 11 goals in 2016, albeit playing in a second-tier league rather than in the third tier. Lynn needed just one more goal to break Cox’s record at that point and he had almost all of July, as well as all of August and half of September, in which to do it.

After making the MLS team’s team sheet a couple of times — and playing for one minute off the bench against D.C. United — Lynn returned to the Young Lions with sole possession of the record in sight. He failed to score in a 3-1 loss to Inter Miami CF II but then found his record-setting goal in the next game.

Lynn opened the scoring on the road against Chicago Fire II and his record-setting goal could not have been a better one. The young forward stood over a free kick just outside the area and smashed it inside the right post to give his team the early lead.

The Young Lions actually fell behind by two goals in the game but rallied to beat Chicago, 4-3, in a wild, seven-goal thriller that day.

With Lynn holding the OCB record for goals in a single season, the only questions remaining were whether the striker could go on and win the league’s first Golden Boot, and just how many goals would he score on the year? The Golden Boot race at that point was a tight one, with Jacen Russell-Rowe just ahead.

Unfortunately, Lynn couldn’t catch the Columbus Crew 2 scorer, and some of that might have had to do with being moved up and down. Lynn played 16 minutes with the senior side in Orlando City’s midseason friendly against Arsenal. He also made a late appearance off the bench for the MLS Lions against Philadelphia.

Although Lynn scored three more goals down the stretch with OCB, he was held off the scoresheet in three of his last five matches, which allowed Russell-Rowe to create some distance in the Golden Boot race and also let North Texas’ Bernard Kamungo slip past him into second, with 16.

Lynn finished the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro campaign with 15 goals and four assists in 18 appearances (17 starts), logging 1,509 minutes for the Young Lions. He finished well clear of OCB goal-scoring runners-up Favian Loyola and Moises Tablante, who each netted six goals on the season.

With a strong season for OCB, fans on social media wanted to see more of Lynn with the first team, calling for it throughout the season, particularly when Kara wasn’t scoring (nor were many others doing so). The reasoning behind that thought seemed to be, “it couldn’t hurt.”

While Lynn did tear up MLS NEXT Pro to some extent, there were also long stretches of those OCB matches when he was invisible, and although his cameo appearances with the first team were too short to draw many conclusions, it’s not as if he was noticeable on the pitch in those games either.

Oscar Pareja’s job is to determine when players are ready to accept a bigger role, and as the gaffer has a long history of playing young players, it’s fair to assume he made the right decision with Lynn in 2022. But just because he wasn’t deemed ready for more MLS game time, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate Lynn’s accomplishments with the Young Lions this past season.

Lynn’s play with OCB gave fans plenty to cheer about, and his record-setting performance this season is worthy of being included among our top 10 moments for the club in 2022.

Come back through New Year’s Eve as we count down the remainder of Orlando City’s top 10 moments of 2022.

Previous Top Moments of 2022

10. OCB nabs first win in MLS NEXT Pro play after joining the new league.

9. Orlando City signs Facundo Torres as a Young Designated Player ahead of the 2022 season.

8. Tesho Akindele establishes “Tesho Time” with late winners in consecutive games against Charlotte and New York City FC.


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