Orlando City B (11-9-3, 37 points) came back from a two-goal, second-half deficit tonight to beat NYCFC II (9-11-2, 29 points) 4-3 at Belson Stadium in Queens, NY. Shak Mohammed gave the Young Lions an early lead, but Matt Myers and Jack Beer scored two goals in two minutes to flip the scoreline. Myers’ second in the 55th minute made it 3-1, before a Jack Lynn brace and an 87th-minute winner by Mohammed secured all three points for the visitors.
OCB had some first-team players in the lineup during Wednesday night’s 5-4 loss to New England Revolution II, so there were some changes in the team for this trip. Javier Otero, Zakaria Taifi, Nabi Kibunguchy, and Wilfredo Rivera entered the lineup in place of Mason Stajduhar, Alex Freeman, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Felipe. Freeman was the only one of those four to make the trip.
The back line in front of Otero was Taifi, Kibunguchy, Abdi Salim, and Moises Tablante. Imanol Almaguer, Cristian Medina, Wilfredo Rivera, and Jhon Solis were in the midfield with Mohammed and Lynn up top.
OCB got off to a great start in this game, but NYCFC II settled down after the first 15 minutes. The hosts controlled the final half hour of the first half and took a commanding lead 10 minutes into the second half. But Lynn’s 62nd-minute goal provided a spark for the Young Lions and they had NYCFC II on their back foot for the majority of the second half. Braces for the two forwards were the difference as the Young Lions completed their largest comeback win of the season.
OCB had the game’s first chance when Stevo Bednarsky fouled Solis directly in front of goal and 25 yards out. Solis was the only one to step up and take the set piece, sending it into the arms of NYCFC II goalkeeper Alex Rando.
The Young Lions had another attempt in the fourth minute when Jonathan Jimenez fouled Tablante just outside of the box and to the left of goal. Rivera sent the free kick towards the near post, where Solis was making a run, but it missed the midfielder. Mohammed was the first to reach it behind him, but he sent the shot over the target.
The pressure by OCB paid off in the sixth minute when it forced the hosts into a mistake. Receiving the ball from Rio Hope-Gund, Klevis Haxhari attempted a pass for Samuel Owusu, but Taifi stepped in front to pick it off. The defender quickly sent the ball forward for Mohammed, whose second touch was a shot past Rando and into the corner to give the Young Lions an early 1-0 lead.
OCB had a chance to make it two in the ninth minute when Rivera took the ball away from a NYCFC II corner kick. He found Mohammed on his left and the Young Lions had numbers going forward. Mohammed’s low cross looked like it would connect with Medina, but it went by the midfielder and to Solis, whose shot was blocked.
NYCFC II found the equalizer in the 17th minute when Mohammed fouled Christian McFarlane by the sideline. Owusu sent the free kick into the box where MLS NEXT Pro’s leading goal scorer Myers got behind Medina and volleyed the ball past Otero. Medina held his arm up claiming it was offside, but the goal was given to make it 1-1.
Less than a minute later, Kibunguchy played a short ball to Medina, who was quickly swarmed by NYCFC II players. Beer took the ball off Medina’s foot and his second touch was a strong shot that beat Otero inside his near post, giving the hosts a 2-1 lead.
It looked like OCB might have a breakaway in the 27th minute when Lynn made a run through the middle of the field and called for the ball. Almaguer had it on the right and sent it forward for the striker, but Lynn couldn’t hold his run and was ruled offside.
NYCFC II nearly had a third goal in the 32nd minute when quick passing by the hosts resulted in Jimenez receiving the ball on the right. The midfielder sent a low cross towards the far post, where John Denis was making a run, but Almaguer slid in to block it. The ball popped up for Myers at the penalty spot and the forward tried to turn and put the ball on goal. Fortunately, he couldn’t get over it and the shot went harmlessly over the crossbar.
Jimenez received the ball on the right again in the 37th minute, dribbling behind Salim. He had Denis making a run towards the far post, but decided to take the shot himself. He had a decent angle, but sent the shot right to Otero who easily made the stop.
OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made his first change of the game in the 41st minute. Starting the game on the bench, regular right back Freeman came on for Taifi shortly before halftime.
In the 43rd minute, a quick give-and-go between Freeman and Mohammed enabled the latter to send a dangerous cross towards the near post, where Lynn was making a run. Unfortunately, it was a bit too far in front of the striker, and Rando was able to fall on it. Seconds later, Mohammed beat his defender to the end line and sent another ball towards Lynn at the near post. This one was closer to the striker and Lynn tried to use his heel to knock it past Rando, but couldn’t get on the end of it and the ball bounced through the box.
The fourth official put up three minutes of first-half stoppage time and NYCFC II was the only team to create a chance before the end of the half. Jimenez played the ball outside for Hope-Gund, who played it back to the midfielder at the top of the box. His shot was through the legs of Kibunguchy, but into the arms of Otero.
The Young Lions dominated the first 15 minutes, creating multiple chances and striking first. But the goal woke the hosts up and they had the better opportunities in the final 30 minutes of the first half. At halftime, OCB had more possession (51.7%-48.3%) and better passing accuracy (79.1%-72.6%), but NYCFC II had more shots (7-6), shots on target (4-3), and corners (5-1).
OCB had the first second-half chance in the 49th minute after Tablante was taken down by Jimenez just outside of the box. The short set piece ended up with Almaguer, who sent a good ball towards the six. It was headed towards the top of the box by Owusu, where it landed at the feet of Salim, but his shot was blocked by Bednarsky. Kibunguchy took a second attempt, but his shot was blocked by Haxhari.
In the 54th minute, Freeman dribbled the ball across the top of the box and gave it to Rivera. The attacker attempted to find space, eventually going down after contact with Owusu. NYCFC II broke the other way where Beer found Myers for a breakaway. Otero did well to come off his line and block the attempt. Denis ended up with the rebound, but Almaguer got in front to block it out of play.
The ensuing corner kick by Denis went into a group of players in the box. Owusu jumped over everyone, but Myers was the one to get the final touch, putting it past Otero to make it 3-1.
NYCFC II nearly had a fourth in the 59th minute when Denis played a low ball through the box. Jimenez ended up with it and sent a shot on goal, but Otero made a diving save, tipping it wide. Denis neary reached the rebound, but Almaguer got to it first, clearing it out of play.
Lynn almost got one back for OCB in the 61st minute when Tablante sent a dangerous ball towards the top of the six-yard box. The striker was there and got his foot to the ball, but Rando was able to get down and block it away with his foot.
Right after that attempt, NYCFC II tried to play the ball out of the back, but Medina intercepted the pass. Receiving the ball from Medina, Rivera found Solis, who quickly played it to Mohammed. Lynn was making a run towards goal and Mohammed found him, enabling the striker to redirect it in and making it a 3-2 game.
Perelman made his second substitution in the 64th minute, bringing Franco Perez on for Rivera.
OCB received a boost of energy as the game neared the 70th minute, keeping more possession and creating more chances than its opponents. The Young Lions had multiple opportunities, primarily with Almaguer lifting balls into the box, but nobody could get on the end of them. The only shot was a long-distance cross or shot attempt by Almaguer that sailed out of play.
Just after that chance, OCB made its final change of the game, bringing Favian Loyola on for Tablante.
The Young Lions found their equalizer in the 80th minute from a poor touch by Piero Elias. Mohammed got to the ball before Elias, tapping it to Loyola, who immediately sent the ball forward for Lynn making a run behind the NYCFC II back line. The striker shot from just outside of the box, aiming for the near post. Rando should’ve done better with it, but the ball got past him to even the game at 3-3.
OCB took the lead in the 87th minute when the ball was played around for Solis on the left. The midfielder lifted it forward for Perez, making a diagonal run into the box. The substitute found Mohammed at the penalty spot, and the forward didn’t miss his opportunity, putting it past Rando and into the top corner to give OCB a 4-3 lead.
The fourth official showed five minutes of second-half stoppage time, but it was extended when NYCFC II nearly had a chance. A ball through the box found McFarlane, but Almaguer got there just in time. The midfielder also tried to keep the ball from going out for a corner kick, flipping over the advertising boards and requiring attention.
OCB had a great chance to put the game away in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Haxhari swung and missed on a shot from outside of the box. Perez took control and sprinted the other way. Mohammed made a run through the middle of the field, but NYCFC II was lacking numbers in the back as the hosts were pushing for a late equalizer.
Owusu was the only man back for New York and had to make a decision, eventually leaving Mohammed to close down Perez. He played it across for Mohammed, whose first touch should’ve been a shot on goal. Instead, he took a touch, allowing Bednarsky to catch up. Mohammed cut back and shot, but it was blocked by Rando, ending his chance at scoring a hat trick.
NYCFC II had one last chance in the seventh minute of stoppage time when Ronald Arevalo found Elias sprinting forward. After his first touch, Elias and Medina collided and the referee awarded the hosts a free kick just outside of the box. NYCFC II wanted a penalty, but replays showed the foul occurred just before Elias entered the penalty area.
Jonathan Shore and Maximo Carrizo, a pair of second half substitutes, stood over the ball. Shore stepped over it and Carrizo took the set piece. The attempt went high and wide of the target, ending the last chance of the game. The final whistle blew immediately after the shot and OCB picked up a much-needed road win.
While NYCFC II controlled most of the first half, OCB came to life after Lynn’s first goal of the night. At full time, the Young Lions had more possession (57.1%-42.9%), shots (17-12), crosses (19-11), and passing accuracy (81.8%-72.6%). NYCFC II had more corner kicks (11-4) and both teams put seven shots on target.
This is the second time this season that OCB has come back from a 3-1 deficit to claim all three points. The Young Lions had a similar comeback on July 2 against FC Cincinnati 2, winning that game 5-3 at Osceola County Stadium. The win keeps OCB in fifth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Chicago Fire II and five points ahead of Philadelphia Union II for the seventh and final playoff spot.
After playing three games in eight days, OCB will have two weeks off before welcoming Columbus Crew 2 to Kissimmee on Aug. 27.