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Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Huntsville City FC: Final Score 2-1 as OCB Wins Second Straight



Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

KISSIMMEE — Orlando City B (2-0-0, 6 points) continued its hot start to the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season by defeating Huntsville City FC (0-1-1, 2 points) 2-1 in the club’s home opener at Osceola County Stadium. Alex Freeman scored his first professional goals with a third-minute strike and a second just before halftime. Kemy Amiche pulled one back in the 62nd minute, but the Young Lions held on for the win.

OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made three changes from the team that beat Philadelphia Union II last weekend. Freeman, Cristian Medina, and Jack Lynn entered the starting lineup in place of Zakaria Taifi, Alejandro Granados, and Moises Tablante. The Young Lions consisted of Javier Otero in goal behind a back line of Franco Perez, Nabi Kibunguchy, Abdi Salim, and Freeman. Juninho, Medina, Imanol Almaguer, Cristofer Acuna, and Jhon Solis were in the midfield with Lynn up top.

A week after scoring in the fourth minute in Philadelphia, the Young Lions got off to another fast start against Hunstville. In the third minute, Solis found Freeman to his right at the top of the box. The right back’s first shot was blocked by Joshua Drack, but it went right back to him. Carrying the ball towards the center of the field, he shot again. This time, it went past Huntsville goalkeeper Elliot Panicco and into the corner for his first professional goal, giving OCB another early 1-0 lead.

“First I saw my teammate, who made a through ball. I was trying to give it back to him and it bounced back to me,” Freeman said about his goal. “I saw the middle open, so I just cut in and shot on my left foot, which I rarely do for the right wing back, and it just went to the bottom corner.”

“We plan to be aggressive in the first sequences of the game, especially in the first minutes,” Perelman said about scoring inside the first five minutes in each of the team’s first two games. “We did it. We surprised them. I believe that we started with a higher level of activation than them to reach the goal in that moment. It’s something we train (for). It’s not something that we just found. We train for that, we train to score in the first minute of the game and we were able to do it.”

Following their opening goal last week in Philadelphia, the Young Lions stayed on the attack. Tonight, they conceded the majority of possession to Huntsville after taking the early lead.

“I feel like in the first game, they didn’t press as much maybe,” Freeman said about being put on the back foot. “In this game, we thought they weren’t going to press as much, but they pressed us high and it caused us to make quick decisions. Maybe we were nervous a little and it caused us to go long.”

The first shots by the visitors came in the seventh minute by Amiche and Nicky Law, but both were blocked. The first shot to get behind the back line was off the foot of Danny Griffin. However, Otero got down to make a good save and Salim cleared it out of play for a corner kick.

In the 11th minute, a set piece from the left of goal by former Lion Joey DeZart found the head of Sean Suber in the box. The defender was open, but the ball was too high for Suber to get over it and he sent his header well over the goal.

A good long ball by Griffin in the 16th minute found Jonathan Bolanos on the left side. The midfielder got a shot off, but Otero did well again to get down and make the stop.

The story of the first 20 minutes after the opening goal was OCB being unable to get the ball out of its own half. The defense was able to clear crosses from Bolanos out for corners, but any shots by Huntsville were only sent a short distance, allowing the opposition to recirculate and create another chance.

OCB almost had its second chance of the game in the 23rd minute when Almaguer won the ball off Huntsville on their side of the field. Quick passing through Lynn found Freeman, but the young defender lost the ball right back to the opposition, ending the second decent attack of the game.

In the 25th minute, Medina received the ball on the right and attempted a cross from the top right corner of the box. It was too far in front of Acuna on the far side, but nearly snuck inside the far post. Panicco ran over to it, but the ball went just wide.

Huntsville had a good chance in the 26th minute when Drack’s good long ball for Law was volleyed back across the front of the six-yard box. Fortunately, nobody in white was there and OCB was able to clear another dangerous situation.

After being outplayed for 40 minutes, the Young Lions doubled their lead and it was Freeman again. A great ball forward by Medina sent Freeman behind the Huntsville defense. He had Lynn making a run to his left and Panicco coming out, but decided to take it himself. Freeman put the ball just past the Huntsville goalkeeper and in for his second goal of the game.

“In practice, we always talk about me making a run into space because we talked about in practice that they had a high line. And it was just open,” Freeman said about his second goal. “I saw it, I checked in, I checked out, and then I had the space in behind and in my mind I’ll stick in first touch, make the goalie come on a little and then place in the bottom corner. That’s exactly what I did.”

“We were working with him the whole year last year,” Perelman said about Freeman’s brace. “We were looking for him to score and he finally found the goals.”

Huntsville had the final chance of the half in stoppage time when Bolanos tried his luck from outside the box. The low shot was right at Otero, who had no trouble with it, allowing OCB to get to halftime with a 2-0 lead.

Despite its two-goal deficit, Huntsville dominated the first half. The visitors had more possession (64%-36%), shots (11-3), shots on target (4-2), corners (4-0), crosses (13-2), and passing accuracy (82.6%-73.3%).

OCB made two changes at halftime as Favian Loyola and Thomas Williams came on for Salim and Acuna. Williams only lasted 10 minutes on the field, as he was replaced by Tahir Reid-Brown in the 55th minute.

Five minutes into the second half, Huntsville nearly got a goal back. A Perez foul on Bolanos near the top right corner of the box, gave the visitors a free kick. The set piece by Amiche found the head of Laurence Wyke at the top of the six-yard box. The header was off the crossbar and cleared out of play by Medina for a Huntsville corner.

The visitors had another good chance in the 57th minute with a strong cross across the six-yard box. However, Otero did well to dive off his line and catch it before it could reach the back post.

Huntsville finally got a goal back in the 62nd minute when a good diagonal ball for Law was quickly sent across the box. Amiche was making a back-post run and redirected a beautiful volley into the back of the net, cutting the OCB lead in half.

The Young Lions looked to have a good chance a minute later when Loyola made a long run down the middle of the field with teammates on either side of him. Rather than playing someone through, the Homegrown product decided to take it himself, shooting from the top of the box. But he didn’t hit it well at all, sending it well wide of the target.

On the other end, Bolanos found Oliver Wright on the left side. The midfielder was looking for the far post and his shot didn’t miss by much as it skipped just wide.

OCB had a good chance in the 70th minute when second-half substitute Taifi got behind the back line. His shot forced Panicco into a good save, but it popped right out in front of goal. The second attempt was sent well wide, ending the threat.

Perez went down in the 75th minute and required attention from the OCB medical staff. Per MLS NEXT Pro rules, he had to leave the field for three minutes. Huntsville City Head Coach Jack Collison urged his team to push forward while up a man, and they nearly converted in the 78th minute.

Bolanos attempted to cross the ball, but it was cleared. However, it wasn’t sent far enough, and Law ended up with it. He found enough room for a shot and took a chance on goal, but it was blocked. That was the only chance the visitors were able to create before Perez was able to rejoin the action.

Back to full strength, OCB created an opportunity in the 83rd minute when Juninho found Almaguer near the top of the box. The midfielder attempted a long-distance shot but sent it high and to the right of the target.

Three minutes into second-half stoppage time, Solis won the ball from Wyke, but the Huntsville attacker went down. While Solis tried to push the other way, referee Alyssa Nichols called a foul on Solis. OCB and its fans vocally disapproved of the call, but Huntsville had a free kick. The ensuing set piece found a head in the box, but was sent over the crossbar, allowing the Young Lions to clear.

Huntsville had one last chance in the dying seconds of the game. Wyke challenged Otero for the ball, resulting in the OCB goalkeeper going down. A foul was called on Wyke, allowing OCB to clear. That was the final action of the game as the Young Lions held on for a 2-1 win.

Huntsville dominated most aspects of the game, ending with more possession (62.2%-37.8%), shots (18-7), shots on goal (5-4), corners (5-1), crosses (25-4), duels won (55-50), and passing accuracy (82.7%-75.9%).

“As with the first half, we always want to play with the ball. This is our plan A,” Perelman said about holding onto the one-goal lead. “But if the game asks us to defend, we can do that. We’re prepared for that. And the team defended really properly in the first half and in the second half. If you think about the situations, especially in the first half, they didn’t have anyone. They had the ball, but we had control of the game. I like our team because it’s a pragmatic team, it’s a mature team, and this is just the beginning.”

The back-to-back wins to start the season represents the best start in OCB history, topping the team’s four-point start to the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season.

The Young Lions will be back in action next Sunday when they welcome inter Miami II to Osceola County Stadium.

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.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

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.

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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.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

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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Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Columbus Crew 2: Final Score 4-0 as Young Lions Blown Out in Second Half

After a scoreless first half, Crew 2 pulled away from OCB with four second-half goals.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Orlando City B (4-3-1, 14 points) gave up four second-half goals, falling 4-0 to Columbus Crew 2 (5-1-1, 17 points) at Historic Crew Stadium this afternoon. After a scoreless first half, the hosts got goals from Gio De Libera, Mataeo Bunbury, Clay Holstad, and Gibran Rayo to run away with all three points.

OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made two changes to the team that lost 3-2 to Crown Legacy FC last weekend. Abdi Salim entered the lineup after not playing for the first team last night and captain Juninho re-entered the lineup after missing last weekend’s game. They replaced Alejandro Granados and Favian Loyola, with the latter starting the game on the bench.

The back line in front of Javier Otero featured Alex Freeman, Salim, Nabi Kibunguchy, and Moises Tablante. Zakaria Taifi started in the midfield alongside Cristian Medina and Imanol Almaguer, while Juninho, Cristofer Acuna, and Jhon Solis were the attacking line.

Crew 2 dominated this game from the first minute, creating all of the good chances. OCB defended furiously in the first 45 minutes to reach halftime scoreless, but the opening goal in the 53rd minute opened the floodgates. It was chance after chance for the hosts with the result never in doubt once they got their first goal.

The Young Lions take pride in starting games strong, but it was the hosts that produced pressure early. In the first minute, a dangerous cross into the box by Columbus was cleared out by Kibunguchy for a corner kick. The ensuing set piece was easily caught by Otero.

Three minutes later, Thomas Roberts made a long, unimpeded run to the top of the box and found Jordan Knight to his left. Knight entered the OCB box, but was challenged by Taifi, who knocked the ball out for a corner kick.

Roberts’ corner found Jacob Erlandson, who redirected the ball on goal. Fortunately, Tablante was at the near post and cleared the ball off the line.

It looked like Crew 2 had an opportunity in the sixth minute for an opening goal when Bunbury got behind the OCB defense. As the low cross entered the OCB box, Kibunguchy caught up to Bunbury, making just enough contact so the striker couldn’t connect with the pass.

The Young Lions finally got their first decent chance of the game in the 14th minute when Taifi sent a cross into the Crew 2 box from the right. He had Acuna making a run towards the near post, but the pass was behind him, allowing Columbus to clear.

OCB had a second chance in the 16th minute when Almaguer sent a beautiful diagonal ball over the Columbus defense for Solis making a run on the far side. Solis was able to bring the ball down and get a shot off, but sent it over the goal.

In the 22nd minute, a great ball forward by Noah Fuson sent Bunbury behind the OCB defense. Otero was decisive coming off his line, challenging the Crew 2 forward, and blocked the ball out for a corner kick. The ensuing corner by Roberts was too close to the 20-year-old goalkeeper, who punched it away to safety.

An OCB turnover in the back in the 28th minute created a chance for Columbus. Marco Micaletto was sent into the box and beat Kibunguchy to get off a shot. But Otero did well to block it out for another Crew 2 corner kick. Roberts’ corner found the head of Jacob Erlanson, but the header was wide.

Crew 2 goalkeeper Brady Scott was forced into his first save of the day in the 32nd minute when Freeman took a hard shot from outside of the box. The usual right back had switched with Taifi, moving into the midfield, and got over the ball to put it on target. But Scott was able to block it down and collect it. The long-distance shot was one of OCB’s best chances of the day.

Columbus had one more chance just before halftime when quick passing allowed Micaletto to get a shot off at the top of the six. But Taifi did well to get in front of it, blocking the shot away and enabling OCB to reach halftime scoreless.

OCB had more first-half possession (58.3%-41.7%), crosses (3-2), and passing accuracy (86.1%-82.4%), but Crew 2 had more chances. The hosts ended the first 45 minutes with more shots (10-4), shots on target (2-1), and corners (7-1), but couldn’t convert on their opportunities and it was 0-0 at the break.

OCB got the first attempt of the second half in the 49th minute when Cole Mrowka fouled Juninho about 30 yards out. The set piece was taken by Juninho and the OCB captain went for goal, but sent it well over the target.

The hosts got their first chance of the second half in the 52nd minute when Knight’s cross was deflected out of play by Salim. The ensuing corner kick ended up at the feet of Micaletto at the top of the box, but the Crew 2 captain sent it well over the top.

Just after the miss, Perelman made his first change of the game, bringing Jack Lynn on for Acuna. However, Acuna took too long to leave the field and, per MLS NEXT Pro rules, Lynn had to wait a minute to enter the game. As a result, the Young Lions had to play with 10 men.

The decision by Acuna to take his time proved costly as Crew 2 scored before Lynn could enter the game. OCB turned the ball over quickly, and Fuson attempted to play the ball for De Libera, but it was deflected by Kibunguchy. Unfortunately, it went right to Mrowka, who flicked it over the OCB defense for Bunbury. The forward placed his shot well into the corner, beating the diving Otero and giving the hosts the 1-0 lead.

Columbus nearly got a second in the 56th minute when Abdi Mohamed sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal from the right. He had two teammates making runs — one to the front post and one to the back post — but neither could get on the end of it and the ball went all the way through.

Perelman made his second change a minute later, bringing on Favian Loyola for Freeman, and it nearly resulted in an equalizer. In the 59th minute, Loyola took the ball to the end line and played it back for Lynn at the top of the six-yard box. The striker took a bit too long to take his shot, allowing Erlandson to get in front and block the attempt.

Rayo had replaced Roberts at halftime and found enough space for his first shot in the 63rd minute. Otero looked to have a good view of it, but the shot went off Taifi and Kibunguchy before reaching the goalkeeper. However, Otero did well to react to the change of direction and made the stop.

OCB quickly went the other way and almost got an equalizer through Loyola. This time it was Lynn finding the other second-half substitute near the top of the six. Scott came out to block Loyola’s shot, but it went behind him. Knight was in the right place at the right time for Columbus, enabling him to clear it.

After scoring the opening goal, De Libera created the second for the hosts in the 65th minute. Receiving the ball from Scott near midfield, De Libera made a long run to the top of the box and found Bunbury to his left. Taifi didn’t get back and Salim didn’t slide over to cover, leaving Bunbury wide open. The striker didn’t waste his opportunity, placing the ball into the corner to give his team a 2-0 lead.

Following the goal, Crew 2 made three changes that impacted the game. Coleman Gannon, Taha Harboune, and Holstad came on for Bunbury, Micaletto, and Knight. 

Crew 2 almost had a third in the 75th minute when Fuson lifted the ball for Rayo in front of goal. Rayo headed the ball towards the back post but missed wide.

Columbus got its third goal in the 78th minute with another defensive error. Rayo made a good run into the box and used some nifty footwork to beat Kibunguchy. The OCB defenders left Holstad wide open near the penalty spot and Rayo did well to find him. Flicking the ball up for his teammate, Holstad simply headed the ball into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

In the 82nd minute, Columbus had a chance for a fourth when Gannon played the ball back for Harboune at the top of the box. The substitute shot the ball towards the bottom right corner, but Otero reacted well and blocked it away with his left hand.

OCB made its final three changes in the 85th minute. Fernando Sanchez, Wilfredo Rivera, and Shak Mohammed entered the game for Solis, Almaguer, and Juninho.

Crew 2 added a fourth goal in the 88th minute when Gannon sent a long ball into the OCB box. Ariel Mbumba used his speed to beat Mohammed to the ball and played it to Rayo, who had beaten Kibunguchy with a run into the six. Otero attempted to come out to clear it, but was too late and Rayo added a goal to his earlier assist.

It looked like Columbus would score a fifth a minute later. Rayo shot towards the bottom corner, but Otero made a great stop with his right hand. Unfortunately, Gannon beat Taifi to the ball and the defender took down the attacker. Referee Austin Saini didn’t hesitate to point to the spot, awarding Crew 2 a late penalty.

After drawing the foul, Gannon stepped up to take the kick. But Otero was up to the challenge again, diving to his right to block it away. That was the last good chance by either team as Columbus took all three points with a 4-0 win over the Young Lions.

OCB ended the game with more possession (52.3%-47.7%), but most of it didn’t result in chances. In addition to their four goals, Crew 2 had more shots (26-8), shots on goal (10-2), and corners (14-1). The Young Lions did pass more accurately (85.2%-84.3%) and attempt more crosses (6-4), but rarely threatened the opposition.

The loss continues OCB’s struggles on the road. After opening the season with a win against Philadelphia Union II in Chester, PA, the Young Lions have lost their last three away from Osceola County Stadium. But none of the games were as decisively lost as this one, with OCB completely outplayed by a team that entered the day with the same number of points on the year.

OCB will have to get over this loss quickly because the Young Lions take the field again Friday night. However, they’ll be back at home where they’ve yet to be beaten (3-0-1) to face Atlanta United 2.

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