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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.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

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. Chattanooga FC: Final Score 2-2 as OCB Drops Points at Home

OCB scores late but concedes later to draw Chattanooga FC 2-2 at home.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

Orlando City B (4-4-5, 19 points) drew its second consecutive game at Osceola County Stadium, sharing the points in a 2-2 result with Chattanooga FC (6-2-6, 28 points) tonight. The Young Lions took the lead when Shak Mohammed headed in an Imanol Almaguer corner kick in the 30th minute. Mehdi Ouamri equalized in the 56th minute and it appeared as though OCB had won it when Jhon Solis converted a penalty in the 89th minute. However, Duvan Viafara’s stoppage-time goal saw the game end 2-2. Chattanooga dominated the shootout after some poor penalties by OCB, enabling the visitors to take the extra point.

OCB Head Coach Manuel Goldberg used the same lineup that drew 2-2 with Carolina Core FC Friday night. The back line in front of Javier Otero was Manuel Cocca, Thomas Williams, Nabi Kibunguchy, and Alex Freeman. Almaguer and Colin Guske were the defensive midfielders behind Yeiler Valencia, Mohammed, and Solis with Justin Ellis up top.

This game will be seen as points lost for OCB as the Young Lions dominated the 90 minutes. They likely would’ve won by multiple goals if not for some stellar play by Chattanooga goalkeeper Jean Antoine, but still took a lead into stoppage time. They were lucky that Jesus Ibarra’s last-minute free kick was off the post and Otero, but failed to clear the danger, enabling the visitors to steal two points.

The Young Lions created the game’s first chance in the fifth minute. Solis sent Freeman down the right and the right back’s second touch was a low cross for Mohammed in the box. The first-team forward turned to shoot, but sent the attempt over the crossbar.

A lackadaisical pass by Milo Garvanian to Farid Sar-Sar in the eighth minute was intercepted by Mohammed. Sar-Sar was the last defender and stuck his foot out, tripping Mohammed. It should’ve resulted in a red card for Sar-Sar as he was clearly the last defender, but referee Calin Radosav gave the defender a yellow card instead.

After a free kick and throw-in didn’t result in anything for the Young Lions, Chattanooga sprinted the other way with a counterattack. The pass out of the back went to Ibarra, who attempted to play it forward for Alex McGrath. Guske deflected the pass, but only to Ouamri behind him. The striker took the first on-target shot, but it was blocked away by Otero.

The Young Lions felt they should’ve had a penalty in the 11th minute when Mohammed received the ball at the top of the box. Contact came from Jesse Williams, resulting in Mohammed going to the ground. However, Radosav didn’t see anything wrong with the challenge.

In the 18th minute, Valencia received the ball on the left. Cutting back, he found Mohammed, who quickly played it further back to Solis. The midfielder attempted to curl the ball from outside of the box inside the far post, but it was just wide.

Ibarra created a shot for himself in the 26th minute with a winding run to the top of the box. He was looking for a shot the entire time and eventually found the necessary space. However, his attempt sailed well wide of the goal.

Valencia made a run down the left and to the end line in the 29th minute. Looking to cut it back and defended by Williams, the ball went out of play. Radosav awarded OCB a corner kick, which the Chattanooga players couldn’t believe, thinking it went off of Valencia. The protests resulted in Williams getting booked.

The ensuing corner kick by Almaguer was to the near post where Mohammed met it with his head. The redirection was past Antoine and in to give the Young Lions a 1-0 lead.

“I think I’ve just trusted a lot more my teammates to get me in the right spaces,” Mohammed said about his team-leading six goals on the season. “And then I’ve just stayed patient and mentally stable to just keep going and taking on the responsibility of helping the team in any way that I can.”

Valencia almost scored a second for the Young Lions in the 35th minute. It started with a strong run into the middle by Freeman, who found Mohammed to his left. The forward played it further left for Valencia, who moved inside and found space to shoot. The attempt from outside of the box was aiming for the far post and beat Antoine but hit the woodwork.

In the 36th minute, Almaguer was tripped by Taylor Gray, earning a yellow card for the foul. More importantly, it gave OCB a free kick in a dangerous position. The set piece was off the wall and out for a corner kick. Almaguer’s ensuing ball nearly found the head of Williams, but was a bit too far in front of him. Instead, it went to the far side of the box. Kibugnuchy ran down the ball and found Mohammed in the box. The forward attempted to turn it on target, but sent the attempt over the goal.

The Young Lions won another corner kick in the 40th minute and it resulted in another good chance. Almaguer sent the set piece towards the top of the six-yard box where Williams was charging to the near post. He got his head to the ball, but sent it wide of the target.

OCB had more first-half shots (10-4) and corner kicks (4-1) than Chattanooga, but was less efficient in front of goal. Both teams put one shot on target and tallied one first-half cross. Meanwhile, Chattanooga was more accurate passing (88.5%-84.9%) than the hosts.

After controlling much of the first half, OCB continued at the start of the second 45 minutes. In the 48th minute, Ellis made a run towards the top of the box before being tripped by Viafara. Cocca stepped up to take the set piece, putting it on target, but Antoine pushed it away.

In the 52nd minute, Mohammed continued a pass from Freeman into the box for Valencia. The left-sided midfielder took a touch to his right to lose Jesse Williams and fired on goal. The attempt was on target, but Antoine tipped it over the crossbar. The ensuing corner kick was cleared by Chattanooga, ending the threat.

The visitors found their equalizer in the 56th minute with some nice work up the field between Ibarra and Ouamri. The duo passed back and forth as they made their way through the OCB defense. Ibarra dribbled right past Thomas Williams before sending Ouamri into the box. Kibunguchy looked to pick up the run, but the forward easily got past the center back with one touch. It was an easy finish for the striker as Otero dove unsuccessfully and the game was even at 1-1.

OCB made three changes in the 61st minute. Zakaria Taifi, Wilfredo Rivera, and Jackson Platts came in for Thomas Williams, Freeman, and Mohammed. While Taifi and Rivera have played regularly this season, it was Platts’ second professional appearance.

Chattanooga had a chance to take its first lead of the night in the 70th minute when McGrath and Sar-Sar played a give-and-go, setting McGrath up for a shot from the top of the box. It was towards the near post but didn’t cause much trouble for Otero, who was able to get down and make the stop.

A minute later, Valencia reached a free ball before Sar-Sar and was in on goal. As he approached the six-yard box, the midfielder opened up and aimed for the far post. It wasn’t a bad shot, but Antoine made himself big and got his left hand to it, keeping the game at 1-1.

In the 72nd minute, Rivera carried the ball towards the top of the box before sending a low shot to the back post. However, Antoine was able to get to the attempt and knocked it out of play. The ensuing corner kick by Almaguer was to the top of the six, where Cocca and Viafara attempted to head it. Both players thought the other touched it last and Radosav gave Chattanooga a goal kick.

OCB made its fourth substitution of the game in the 77th minute as Thomas Bowe replaced Ellis.

Right after the sub, Rivera had another chance from outside of the box. He used a good touch with the outside of his foot to lose two defenders and dribbled to the top of the 18. The attacker was looking to beat Antoine to his near post, but sent the shot just wide.

On the other end, it looked like Chattanooga was about to score when Ouamri played McGrath behind the OCB back line and into the box. The Chattanooga captain chipped it over Otero and Guske cleared it before it reached the goal line. It wouldn’t have counted anyway as McGrath was ruled offside.

In the 81st minute, Solis used a nice stepover to beat a pair of defenders and create space for a shot at the top of the box. It appeared as though the attempt was on target, but Antoine did well to tip it wide of the far post. The ensuing corner kick was cleared away and the Young Lions lost another chance to retake the lead.

After being kept off the scoreboard in the second half by Antoine, OCB got a golden opportunity to retake the lead in the 86th minute. It was a chance created by Valencia, who beat Williams and entered the box before being pulled down by the defender. It took a few seconds for Radosav to make the call and Valencia threw his arms up in the air, but Radosav eventually pointed to the spot.

Solis stood over the ball while Williams received treatment. When he got up, the midfielder took the spot kick and didn’t make any mistakes. Antoine stood completely still while Solis prepared to take the kick before diving to his right. Solis powered the ball high and down the middle, giving the Young Lions a 2-1 lead.

“That’s what we need, what we expect from him,” Goldberg said about Solis’ penalty conversion. “Unfortunately here it’s not congratulating him, but it’s what we expect. We, of course, are really happy that he was able to do that.”

It looked like OCB had scored the winner, but Chattanooga found a very late equalizer when an Otero punch out of the box resulted in a collision between Valencia and McGrath. It looked like Valencia got the ball, but Radosav called a foul and issued the midfielder a yellow card. The set piece by Ibarra was off the post and then Otero’s back before Kibunguchy cleared it out of play.

Luis Garcia Sosa quickly threw the ball into Ibarra who sent a cross towards the back post. Jude Arhtur out jumped Taifi, heading the ball down to where Viafara could knock it in, evening the game at 2-2.

The Young Lions had one last chance in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time when Valencia found Rivera in front of goal. However, the attacker couldn’t control it, enabling the visitors to clear.

OCB dominated the game statistically with more shots (20-9), shots on target (8-4), and corner kicks (9-3). Both teams had three crosses in the game and Chattanooga had better passing accuracy (85.6%-80.9%).

“Lots of ups and downs like we had last game, but the other way around,” Goldberg said about the game. “But that’s how it works. You can do everything right, everything right, everything right and from one moment to the other, things can get tough. So, those are the moments to step up and get strong.”

“Obviously it’s really hard because we were winning with five minutes to go and then we couldn’t get the result. But I thought we played really well, so as a team we were amazing,” Mohammed said. “Everyone brought something to the table and it was amazing. It’s just unfortunate that we’re walking away with two less points than we would have, wanted to have. But we’ll bounce back and go again.”

Per MLS NEXT Pro rules, the game went into penalties to decide who got a second point. After watching two points go out the window with a late equalizer by the opposition, the Young Lions had their worst shootout of the season. Solis and Anatolie Prepelita converted the first two shots, but Cocca tried to go down the middle, enabling Antoine to block it with his legs. Ouamri converted his attempt and the visitors took the advantage.

Taifi was next and went for a corner, but Antoine guessed correctly and made the stop. Joseph Perez did well with his attempt, sending Otero the wrong way and making it 3-1. Valencia took the best penalty for the hosts to keep them alive, but Ibarra put his in the corner while Otero stood flat-footed to give Chattanooga the extra point.

The point sees the Young Lions sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They’re only one point behind New York Red Bulls II and Columbus Crew 2, but a point ahead of Inter Miami II and two points ahead of Crown Legacy FC.


OCB will look to claim its first win of this three-game homestand on June 26 when it welcomes Atlanta United 2 to Kissimmee.

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Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Carolina Core FC: Final Score 2-2 as OCB Draws Lowly Core and Claims Extra Point on Penalties

OCB came back from a poor start to draw Carolina Core FC and take two points at home.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City B/Mark Thor

Orlando City B (4-4-4, 18 points) returned to action tonight, drawing Carolina Core FC (1-6-3, 8 points) 2-2 at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee. The Young Lions got off to a horrible start, conceding a penalty by Facundo Canete in the seventh minute and a Papa Ndoye goal 10 minutes later. But they dominated the second 45 minutes, with Alex Freeman converting a penalty in the 72nd minute and Imanol Almaguer equalizing in the 86th minute. They won the penalty shootout 6-5, claiming two points on the night.

OCB Head Coach Manuel Goldberg made two changes to the team that lost 3-1 to Inter Miami II Sunday evening. Yutaro Tsukada was on the bench for this one and Wilfredo Rivera wasn’t in the team. They were replaced by Yeiler Valencia and Justin Ellis. The back line in front of goalkeeper Javier Otero remained the same, featuring Manuel Cocca, Thomas Williams, Nabi Kibunguchy, and Freeman. Colin Guske and Almaguer were the defensive midfielders behind Jhon Solis, Shak Mohammed, and Valencia with Ellis as the lone striker.

Despite being one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, Carolina came out on the attack and put OCB on its heels. The hosts struggled to create anything offensively and didn’t even get a shot on target until the 35th minute. However, they played much better in the final 15 minutes of the first half and dominated the second 45 minutes. They were unlucky not to claim all three points and would’ve without a dreadful start to the game.

Carolina had the first attack inside the first minute when Jacob Evans played Joshua Rodriguez forward down the left. The attacker attempted a low cross into the box, but Williams was there to clear it out of play. The ensuing corner kick was towards the back post and met a Core head, but the attempt was over the crossbar.

The visitors felt as though they should’ve had a penalty in the third minute when Williams challenged Rodriguez as he entered the box. The Core attacker raised his arms, but referee Elvis Osmanovic didn’t agree.

The first chance for OCB came in the fourth minute when Valencia made a strong run along the end line and into the box. He was looking for a cross, but the ball was cleared out of play for a corner kick before he could get rid of it. The ensuing set piece by Almaguer found the head of Cocca, but the left back sent it wide of the far post.

It’s been a tough start to the season for Carolina Core, but the visitors took an unexpected lead in the seventh minute. Ndoye had the ball on the right and played it into the box for Rodriguez after Williams failed to follow his run. Otero came well off of his line, but Rodriguez got to the ball first. As a result, the OCB goalkeeper took down the attacker. Osmanovic immediately pointed to the spot and issued Otero a yellow card.

After Rodriguez was treated by the Carolina medical staff, Canete stepped up for the penalty. Otero dove to his right and Canete sent the ball the other way to give his team an early 1-0 lead.

Rodriguez continued to trouble the OCB back line in the 14th minute when he completed a nice turn to lose Kibunguchy. Dribbling towards goal, the attacker sent a low pass to the penalty spot. However, Williams was the only one there and cleared it away.

Carolina doubled its advantage in the 17th minute after Evans sent Canete down the left. Kibunguchy sprinted back to catch up with the midfielder, but Canete cut back as Kibunguchy slid past. The Argentinian played a perfect ball to the back post where Ndoye was making a run and the striker touched it in for a 2-0 Carolina lead.

The Young Lions had their second decent attack in the 20th minute when Evans fouled Guske on the Carolina side of the field. Almaguer sent the free kick into the box and Covi headed it out of play for a corner kick. The ensuing corner by Almaguer was to the top of the six-yard box where goalkeeper Alex Sutton, Cocca, and defender Christian Diaz collided. Carolina cleared but Diaz went down and required attention, resulting in a stoppage of play. In the meantime, Cocca and Covi began pushing before receiving a word from Osmanovic. No cards were given and play continued.

Mohammed looked to make something happen on his own in the 28th minute with a long run into the Carolina box. It looked as though he would get a strong shot off or set up a teammate in front of the goal, but sent a soft ball into the arms of Sutton instead.

In the 32nd minute, Solis tried to get OCB on the board with a run to the top of the box. He used a stepover to lose his defender and fired. Unfortunately, the shot was well high and wide of the target, ending the threat.

The first OCB shot on target came in the 35th minute when nobody stepped up to Valencia on the left. The midfielder decided to take a hard shot towards goal. It was a decent attempt, but was from a tough angle and distance, enabling Sutton to catch it.

OCB had another set piece attempt in the 40th minute when Solis out-muscled Derek Cuevas. The midfielder caught back up to Solis and pushed him down from behind in frustration, earning a yellow card for his trouble. Almaguer’s ensuing free kick met the head of Freeman, but the attempt was off target.

The Young Lions had another free kick in the Carolina third in the 43rd minute when Cocca made a strong run before being taken down by Canete. Almaguer sent the set piece towards the far post, but it was too strong and Sutton easily caught it.

In the third minute of first-half stoppage time, Freeman laid the ball off for Solis, who made a strong run into the box. The midfielder attempted a cross, but Sutton did well to get his foot to the ball, knocking it out of play. The ensuing corner kick was towards the back post, but nobody could get on the end of it.

The Young Lions had one last chance in the final seconds of the first half. Valencia made a run into the box from the left and sent a low cross to Freeman just outside of the six. The right back should’ve been able to redirect it on goal, but was leaning back and sent it over the target.

OCB had more shots (5-3) and corner kicks (3-2), and better passing accuracy (87.8%-81.2%) in the first half, but didn’t threaten Sutton, only putting one shot on target. Meanwhile, Carolina put two of its three shots on frame and scored twice to take a 2-0 lead at halftime.

The start of the second half was much better for the hosts, creating a chance inside the first minute. Receiving the ball from Mohammed, Cocca sent a curling cross towards the back post. The ball continued to drift as Sutton backpedaled. It looked as though it might actually get behind him and nestle inside the far top corner of the goal, but was just over the top.

The Young Lions had a second opportunity in the 49th minute when Cocca used some quick feet to beat Canete and was taken down, earning a free kick near the top of the Carolina box. The set piece by Cocca was off the wall and over the goal, but Osmanovic missed the deflection and gave the visitors a goal kick.

In the 51st minute, Cocca’s cross attempt was blocked out for a corner kick. The set piece was short, eventually ending at the feet of Almaguer. The OCB captain’s shot was between the legs of Canete, but right into the waiting arms of Sutton.

Valencia made a good run into the box in the 58th minute, beating Jathan Juarez, before Diaz knocked it out of play. Cocca got his head to the ensuing set piece, but the header was over the crossbar again.

The Young Lions created a pair of shots in the 61st minute as they continued to pressure the visitors. First, Mohammed turned Diaz and got a shot off, but sent it straight to Sutton. OCB quickly won back possession and set up a shot for Solis. Unfortunately, the midfielder’s curling attempt went just over the crossbar.

A long ball in the 62nd minute looking for Freeman was knocked out by Cuevas for an OCB corner kick. The ensuing set piece by Almaguer was volleyed by Williams just before it hit the ground. It was a good strike, but Sutton was up to the task, getting down to make the stop.

Three minutes later, Valencia took a shot from outside of the box. The midfielder touched the ball inside, setting up an attempt with his right foot. Canete got a slight deflection on it, enabling Sutton to collect it.

After not making any second-half substitutions against Miami, Goldberg made his first two against Carolina in the 67th minute. Zakaria Taifi and Majed Abdullah entered the game for Ellis and Valencia. While Abdullah for Valencia was a like-for-like change, Taifi came in at right back with Freeman moving forward into the midfield. Meanwhile, Mohammed shifted into the striker’s role with Ellis departing.

The constant attack by OCB paid off in the 72nd minute when a shot by Guske bounced off the arm of Evans. Osmanovic didn’t hesitate to point to the spot, giving the Young Lions a penalty. Freeman stepped up to take the spot kick, sending Sutton the wrong way and cutting the deficit in half.

The visitors spent most of the second half defending, but got a chance in the 74th minute through Canete. Receiving the ball on the right side of the box, nobody closed him down and the first-half goal scorer shot. However, it was right to Otero, who made an easy save.

OCB quickly went the other way and nearly equalized. Freeman made a long run into the Carolina box and shot, but it was blocked out for a corner kick. After the initial set piece was cleared away, Guske sent the ball to the top of the box. Kibunguchy headed the ball down and Williams got a touch to it, playing it forward for Freeman who was darting in from outside of the 18. Freeman stuck his foot out to send the ball towards goal, putting it just wide.

Carolina had a chance for a third in the 80th minute when Kibunguchy blocked Johnny Bazaes’ cross attempt for a corner kick. The ensuing set piece by Conete was over Otero and met the head of Kai Thomas. However, it was a little high for him too, resulting in his header going over the crossbar.

In the 83rd minute, Taifi made a long run out of the back, getting near the end line after a give-and-go with Freeman. He found Mohammed at the top of the box, but the forward didn’t get much on the ball. Fortunately, it went right to Abdullah near the back post. The substitute tried to backheel it in, but sent the attempt wide.

OCB finally found its equalizer in the 86th minute through its captain. Guske found Freeman just inside of the box and the defender-turned-midfielder quickly shot on goal. Sutton blocked the attempt, but the ball went straight to Almaguer. The midfielder didn’t waste any time, putting the ball in to even the game at 2-2.

“They really want to fight, right? We still need to fix some things to avoid suffering through some moments, but this made it clear that they wanted it and that’s really good,” Goldberg said about his team coming back from a two-goal deficit. “That’s really positive.”

“It tells that we don’t quit, man. We’re always determined to come out whatever the score is and just keep going and going and going,” Freeman said. “And it just tells that our team is full of spirit, good individuals that come and win any game we can.”

Carolina had a chance in the 89th minute when Bazaes sent a cross towards the back post. Cocca got to the ball first and tried to keep it in play, but the assistant determined it went over the line, giving Carolina a corner kick. The set piece by Canete found the head of Aryeh Miller on the far side, but his header was wide.

It appeared as though the Young Lions had found a winner two minutes into second-half stoppage time when Almaguer’s free kick went over the head of Sutton and was knocked in by Freeman. Osmanovic initially awarded a goal, but put his hand to his ear as he spoke with his assistant. It was eventually determined that Freeman handled the ball while controlling it, so a free kick was awarded to Carolina instead.

The Young Lions had one last chance seven minutes into second-half stoppage time when Almaguer sent a free kick into the box. Mohammed got the back of his head to it, sending it on goal, but Sutton blocked it out of play. The ensuing set piece was cleared and the final whistle blew.

OCB dominated the game statistically with the advantage in shots (25-7), shots on target (10-3), corner kicks (9-5), crosses (5-2), and passing accuracy (89.1%-80.4%). However, the poor start enabled Carolina to grab a point from the 90 minutes.

“It was a mixture of moments, right? We went through different ups and downs in the game. Started down, then going up,” Goldberg said about the performance. “But the good thing is that we showed good character. The points to improve are the early moments of the game in this case, right?”

“Obviously, the first half was a little slow for us. But I feel like throughout the second half we were able to get chances all game. And we were obviously able to just attack, attack, attack,” Freeman added. “Obviously, I feel like we got some wrong calls, but at the end of the day, we were still able to get the extra point in penalties. So I feel like our team overall did good to come back out.”

MLS NEXT Pro rules state that games tied after 90 minutes go to penalties to determine which team gets a second point. Before the shootout could start, Osmanovic issued a straight red card to Tsukada, who didn’t appear in the game, on the OCB bench. Per MLS NEXT Pro rules, Tsukada will miss the next meeting with Carolina on July 7.

The first three shooters scored before David Polanco stepped up. The Carolina substitute sent a poor penalty towards goal and Otero guessed right, blocking it away. Freeman had the next attempt, but Sutton was up to the task, making the stop with his left hand and keeping the visitors in the shootout.

Having already scored one penalty in the game, Canete stepped up to even it, but sent his attempt over the top of the goal. Once again, OCB had a chance to take a commanding advantage. This time it was Almaguer and he sent Sutton the wrong way, but his shot hit the crossbar.

The next eight penalty takers converted their kicks and Santiago Cambindo stepped up, looking to even it at 6-6 in the eighth round. However, the attempt wasn’t far enough towards the corner, enabling Otero to get his hand to the ball. As a result, OCB earned a second point from the game.

The two points puts OCB back in a playoff position, currently sitting in seventh. They’re tied with Columbus Crew 2 for sixth and one point behind NYCFC II for fifth.


The Young Lions will continue their three-game homestand Thursday night when they host Chattanooga FC at Osceola County Stadium.

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Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Inter Miami II: Final Score 3-1 as Young Lions Fall to 9-Man Rivals

OCB can’t take advantage of its manpower edge in a wasteful loss in Fort Lauderdale.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Orlando City B (4-4-3, 16 points) fell 3-1 to in-state rivals Inter Miami II (5-4-2, 17 points) at Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale tonight despite having a man advantage for most of the second half and a two-man advantage at the end. Lawson Sunderland gave Miami the lead in the 35th minute, but OCB responded quickly with a 40th-minute goal by Favian Loyola. Ryan Carmichael made 2-1 in the 43rd minute and the Young Lions couldn’t find another response. Coco Jean’s 85th-minute goal saw the game end 3-1 to the hosts.

The lineup for this game was the same as the team that beat Huntsville City FC 5-0 last Sunday in Kissimmee. The back line in front of goalkeeper Javier Otero was Manuel Cocca, Thomas Williams, Nabi Kibunguchy, and Alex Freeman. Colin Gukse and Imanol Almaguer were the defensive midfielders behind Yutaro Tsukada, Shak Mohammed, and Jhon Solis with Wilfredo Rivera as the lone striker.

OCB got off to the more aggressive start in this game, but the hosts turned the tables as the game went on. After multiple chances in the first 10 minutes, the game settled down. However, both teams were able to strike late in the first half, combining for three goals in the final 15 minutes. The second half saw the Young Lions win a penalty and two Miami players were sent off. Despite those advantages, Miami increased its lead by a goal to win by two.

OCB got the first chance of the game in the fourth minute from a foul just outside of the box. The Young Lions immediately played the set piece forward for Mohammed before Inter Miami II defenders were ready. Mohammed shot from a tight angle, but Miami goalkeeper CJ dos Santos knocked it out of play for a corner kick.

A minute later, the Young Lions created their second opportunity. Mohammed sent a ball into the six-yard box, where Rivera was making a run with Nykolas Sessock on his back. It looked like it would be a simple tap-in by Rivera, but Sessock was able to reach it first, sending it out of play for another OCB corner kick. The ball was sent near the top of the six where dos Santos was able to jump on it.

Inter Miami II nearly took the lead in the 12th minute when Noah Allen sent a cross into the box for Carmichael, who was behind the OCB back line. His first touch was a redirection towards goal, but the ball hit the post. The bounce off the woodwork was right into the arms of Otero, enabling the Young Lions to escape without conceding.

In the 15th minute, Cocca attempted a dangerous cross into the box. He had two teammates making runs, but the ball was just over the head of Rivera and a bit too far in front of Mohammed for him to reach it. As a result, the ball went out of play for a goal kick.

Cocca received the ball from Solis in the 20th minute and, after controlling it with his first touch, stepped inside to lose a pair of defenders, creating space for a shot. The left back curled the ball towards the far post from outside of the box, but dos Santos was able to get down and stop it.

Solis and Almaguer nearly combined for a goal in the 22nd minute when Solis chipped the ball over multiple defenders and into the box for Almaguer. The defensive midfielder reached his foot out for the ball, but dos Santos came off his line and was able to get to it first.

In the 28th minute, Sessock and Tsukada collided while going after a ball. Both players went down with Sessock holding his head and Tsukada holding his lower back. After receiving treatment, both players were able to continue. However, Tsukada went down a couple of minutes later, again holding his back. This time he wouldn’t continue and was replaced by Loyola.

Shortly after the restart, the hosts took the lead. Jose Cases chipped the ball into the OCB box where Sessock chested it down with his back to goal. It was well played by the defender, setting up Sunderland to put in the opening goal.

The Young Lions didn’t take long to respond, scoring from a Miami giveaway in the 40th minute. After setting up the opening goal minutes earlier, Sessock played a poor pass for Allen that was intercepted by Rivera. The forward’s second touch was a backheel to Loyola making a run into the box and the substitute took the opportunity well. A first touch to his right lost Tyler Hall and his second touch was a quality strike to even the game at 1-1.

In the 43rd minute, the hosts regained the lead with some nice play between Sessock and Carmichael. After playing the ball wide for Sessock, Carmichael continued his run behind the OCB back line. Sessock played a great ball forward for Carmichael while Williams attempted to get in front to block it, resulting in the players going down. However, Carmichael got his shot off before Williams could arrive, giving Miami a 2-1 lead.

There was some late first-half controversy four minutes into stoppage time when Guske caught up to Leo Afonso, who was making a long run into the OCB box. It was unclear who touched it last and, after initially playing it with his feet, Otero picked up the ball. Miami players wanted a pass back from Guske to Otero, but the referee waved play on.

The last chance of the half came through a set piece when Carmichael took down Rivera about 30 yards from goal. The forward stepped up to take the kick, putting it on target but right into the arms of dos Santos.

It was a pretty even half, with both teams having five shots, two corner kicks, and three crosses. OCB had a slight advantage in shots on target (4-3) and passing accuracy (88.5%-78.4%). However, the hosts took a one-goal lead into the break.

OCB had a golden opportunity to equalize in the 51st minute when Cocca took the ball from Sunderland just outside of the Miami box and to the left of goal. The left back dribbled down to the end line as Ian Fray came in to challenge him. It looked on replays as though Fray got the ball, clearing it out of play, but Olvin Oliva pointed to the spot.

The Miami players converged on Oliva to argue the call and, after issuing him a yellow card for the foul, the referee gave Fray a straight red card for his language.

While the Miami players argued the call, Mohammed stood over the penalty spot with the ball. Dos Santos clapped his hands while Mohammed waited for the whistle before stepping up to take the kick. It was a poor penalty and dos Santos guessed the right direction, blocking the attempt away.

The Young Lions continued to look for opportunities with the man advantage, but struggled to create chances. Cocca took a shot from outside of the box in the 61st minute and Kibunguchy from a similar spot in the 71st minute, but both attempts were well off target.

In the 72nd minute, OCB got a fortunate bounce that nearly resulted in a goal. Mohammed’s shot from the top of the box was blocked, but the ball went right to Loyola near the six. The forward’s second touch was a shot that dos Santos did well to block.

Loyola looked to score his second of the game in the 79th minute with a shot from outside of the box. Receiving a short clearance, the attacker had Freeman making an overlap. Since a defender went with him, Loyola took a step inside and fired on goal. However, it was right to dos Santos, who didn’t have any trouble with it.

Despite being down a man, Miami found a third goal in the 85th minute. Afonso’s initial shot went to the foot of substitute Shanyder Borgelin, who was taken down by Williams. It probably would’ve been a penalty, but Jean put the loose ball in to give Miami a 3-1 lead.

It looked like the Young Lions had gotten one back in the 88th minute when a give-and-go between Freeman and Loyola resulted in the latter sending a cross into the six. It was looking for Kibunguchy, but the center back fell. The clearance went to Guske just outside of the box and the midfielder snuck it inside the near post. However, Oliva determined that Rivera’s positioning in front of goal blocked dos Santos. Since the forward was in an offside position, the goal was ruled out.

A minute into second-half stoppage time, Miami was issued its second red card of the half. Yannick Bright initially won the ball from Rivera, but inexplicably went in with a second foot, taking down the attacker. He then proceeded to push Guske and Oliva had no choice but to give him a second yellow card.

The Young Lions had a final chance in the third minute of stoppage time when Solis was taken down by Jean. The free kick was sent into the box, but nothing came of it and OCB fell 3-1 to its in-state rivals.

OCB dominated the game statistically, with the edge in shots (17-8), shots on target (8-4), corner kicks (6-3), crosses (13-3), and passing accuracy (89.6%-74.6%). However, the Young Lions were only able to score a goal and conceded while up a man.

It’s perplexing that OCB trailed the entire second half and fell two goals down but didn’t make a single substitution in the final 45 minutes. Goldberg had forward Justin Ellis and attacking midfielder Yeiler Valencia on the bench, but kept defensive players on the field.

The loss sees OCB drop to ninth in the Eastern Conference, tied with NYCFC II on points for the final playoff position. Meanwhile, Inter Miami II moves up to fifth, winning as many games in its first 11 as it did all of last year.


OCB will return home Friday night, hosting Carolina Core FC for the first time at Osceola County Stadium. It’s the start of a three-game homestand, running through June 26.

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