Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Inter Miami II: Final Score 2-0 as OCB Tops Rival to Stay Perfect

Two first-half goals lifted OCB to a 2-0 home win over Inter Miami II.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

KISSIMMEE – Orlando City B (3-0-0, 9 points) continued its winning ways as the Young Lions defeated Inter Miami II (1-2-0, 3 points) 2-0 at Osceola County Stadium. It was the Favian Loyola show, as the 17-year-old forward assisted Jack Lynn’s opening goal and scored one for himself just before halftime. With the win, OCB became the first team in MLS NEXT Pro to earn nine points this season and continued its best start ever.

OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made one change to the team that beat Huntsville City FC 2-1 last weekend. Loyola entered the lineup in place of Cristofer Acuna, who started on the bench. The Young Lions lined up with Javier Otero in goal in front of a back line of Franco Perez, Nabi Kibunguchi, Abdi Salim, and Alex Freeman. Imanol Almaguer, Cristian Medina, Juninho, and Jhon Solis were in the midfield with Lynn and Loyola up top.

Just as they did in the first two games of the season, the Young Lions got off to a fast start. In the first minute, Joseph Convers turned the ball over to Solis in the OCB third. It went to Lynn, who quickly spun and shot, but his attempt was just wide.

Two minutes later, the Young Lions won a corner. The low ball by Loyola nearly snuck through the box to a purple foot, but was cleared. The ball flicked up and the OCB players wanted a handball, but referee Gary Gutierrez waved for the teams to play on.

OCB opened the scoring in the fourth minute and it was Loyola again creating the opportunity. Receiving the ball out wide from Solis, Loyola sent a good cross in for Lynn. Israel Boatwright was marking the striker, but allowed him to get goal side and head the cross past Miami goalkeeper CJ dos Santos to give the Young Lions the early lead.

The team has scored inside the first five minutes in each of its first three games. The Young Lions scored in the fourth minute against Philadelphia Union II to start the season and in the third minute against Huntsville City last weekend.

“We are always trying to start the first and second halves with a high level of activation,” Perelman said about the team’s early goals. “We look for the goal there and we are finding that so we are enjoying that.”

The first chance for Miami came in the eighth minute when Jake LaCava dribbled into the OCB box. His shot was blocked by Kibunguchi and appeared to go out for a corner kick. But Gutierrez awarded OCB a goal kick to the dismay of the Miami players.

Following their opening goal against Huntsville last weekend, OCB fell into a shell, desperately defending its 1-0 lead. This game was more like the Philadelphia clash the prior week, when OCB remained on the attack. The Young Lions had several chances in the following minutes to break out through passes by Perez, but his pass attempts were off target.

After an ill-advised shot by Boatwright that went well over the goal, OCB had a good attack building in the 16th minute when Solis made a lovely turn and found Perez out wide to his left. However, the assistant referee judged that Perez was offside, ending the attack.

In the 23rd minute, Freeman got his first attempt on goal, a week after netting a brace. It was a good run by the right back to get into the box, but his shot was just wide of the far post.

A minute later, Perez found Solis for an attempt at the top of the box. The attacker took a first-time shot, but hit it over the crossbar.

In the 25th minute, Edison Azcona fouled Freeman outside the Miami box. The Young Lions attempted a short free kick for Lynn, but he swung and missed on his shot attempt. Fortunately, it went to Perez coming in behind him. Perez took a shot but missed the target.

A minute later, Miami had a chance when Perez tripped Lucas Meek just outside of the box. The set piece by Azcona was sent into the box and Freeman was the first to it, heading it out. Otero handled the ensuing corner, catching the ball before a Miami player could get to it.

Freeman had his second chance of the game in the 37th minute when a good ball wide by Juninho was headed back across the box by Salim. It found the foot of Freeman, but he didn’t make good contact and his shot was right at dos Santos.

The Young Lions found the back of the net for the second time in the 39th minute when Solis was tripped just outside of the Miami box. Solis stepped over the free kick and Loyola sent the ball in. Freeman was charging in and headed it past dos Santos, but his run was a bit too early and he was ruled offside.

Just a minute later, OCB put it in again and this time it counted. Juninho found Loyola, who made a good run past multiple Miami defenders. With enough space for a shot inside the box, Loyola placed it past dos Santos and into the corner, giving the Young Lions a 2-0 lead.

“The first thing that comes to my mind is go forward,” Loyola said after the game. “And I feel like once I get that ball in the pocket, the first thing I think about is going forward and scoring a goal. I’ve always kept that since the academy, since I was young, and since I’ve been in this club.”

In the 42nd minute, a Freeman foul on Azcona provided a free kick chance for the latter just outside of the OCB box. He was aiming for the top left corner and didn’t miss by much, causing Otero to attempt a diving stop. The OCB goalkeeper may have had it covered, but it went just over the crossbar anyway.

The final attempt of the first half came from Miami in the 45th minute. A good cross by Azcona almost found the head of David Ruiz, but it was inches too high, allowing OCB to take a two-goal lead into the break.

After 45 minutes of action, Miami had more possession (55.4%-44.6%) and passing accuracy (79.7%-74.1%), but OCB had more shots (9-3), shots on goal (3-0), corners (4-1), and crosses (6-5).

While OCB started the first half better, it was Miami that came out strong in the second period. LaCava dribbled the ball into the box in the 46th minute and got a shot off, but a good tackle by Perez cleared it out for a corner kick.

Four minutes later, LaCava had another chance as he dribbled the ball into the box. He got his shot off this time, but it skipped just wide of the far post.

In the 51st minute, Miami had a golden chance to get a goal back. A short goal kick was pressured and won back by Miami. Freeman attempted to win it back from Meek, but took him down in the process. Gutierrez didn’t hesitate to point to the spot, giving the visitors a penalty.

Azcona stepped up to take the kick and sent it towards the bottom right corner of the goal. But Otero guessed correctly and dove to his left, catching the ball without allowing a rebound.

The game settled down considerably after the penalty stop. In the 59th minute, Boatwright’s cross found Azcona in the box. The attacker took a shot on goal, but it was blocked away.

OCB made its first change of the game in the 63rd minute, bringing off the game’s hero, Loyola, after a goal and an assist. He was replaced by Shak Mohammed. 

After recording nine first-half shots, the first second-half shot for the Young Lions came in the 66th minute. A cross from a corner kick found Salim, who redirected it towards goal, but the shot was over the crossbar.

Attempting to see out the game. Perelman made three defensive-minded changes in the 74th minute, replacing Freeman, Lynn, and Solis with Tahir Reid-Brown, Cristofer Acuna, and Zakaria Taifi.

OCB had a chance at a third goal in the 77th minute when a Taifi cross found the head of Kibunguchy in front of goal. The header was on target, but right at dos Santos.

As the game wound down, OCB set up defensively and Miami remained on the attack, looking to get back into the game. A minute into stoppage time, the visitors had a chance when Dairon Reyes’ cross found the head of Lawson Sunderland in the box. The midfielder sent the header toward goal, but missed to the right.

The fourth official added five minutes to the second half and that nearly gave Miami enough time to end the shutout. Three minutes into stoppage time, Azcona found enough space to take a shot from the center of the box. Despite having little to do since the penalty, Otero had one more big save in him, sending it over the bar to secure the clean sheet.

In the end, OCB had less possession (55.9%-44.1%) and passing accuracy (81.3%-77.7%), but made more of its opportunities. The Young Lions ended the game with more shots (12-9) and shots on goal (4-2). Additionally, both teams ended the game with eight corner kicks and Miami had three more crosses (13-10).

OCB had conceded after going up 2-0 in both of its first two games, however, the Young Lions were able to keep their South Florida rivals off the scoresheet, earning their first clean sheet of the season.

“It was a derby and we played like that. I’m proud of our players,” Perelman said about the performance. “I think that they defend our jersey in the way we want. They played again with heart. They were with the high level of activation again from the beginning to find the goal. They were smart. I really enjoy watching them play.”

“It’s amazing,” Loyola added about beating their in-state rivals. “Like I said, Florida is purple, it will always be purple, and it will stay that way for a long time.”

The Young Lions will carry their three-game winning streak on the road next weekend when they face another rival in Atlanta United 2.


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