Orlando City B

Orlando City B vs. Columbus Crew 2: Final Score 4-1 as OCB Claims First-Ever Win Over Crew 2

Four different Lions scored as OCB captured the team’s first win over the Ohio-based side.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

Orlando City B (12-9-3, 40 points) returned home tonight and beat Columbus Crew 2 (13-8-3, 45 points) 4-1 at Osceola County Stadium. OCB already had a 1-0 lead through Wilfredo Rivera when Clay Holstad was sent off early in the second half. The Young Lions took advantage, with Shak Mohammed and Jhon Solis making it 3-0 after 65 minutes. Gibran Rayo got one back, but Jack Lynn converted a late penalty to seal the win for the Young Lions.

OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made four changes to the team that beat NYCFC II, 4-3 on Aug. 13. Alex Freeman, Thomas Williams, and Franco Perez returned to the back line, replacing Moises Tablante, Abdi Salim, and Zakaria Taifi. Imanol Almaguer moved back up into the midfield, and Juninho returned to the lineup for the first time since July 31. Lynn has been a regular starter for OCB this year, but started on the bench tonight after playing at the end of the first team’s 2-1 win over St. Louis City SC Saturday night.

Javier Otero started in goal behind a back line of Perez, Nabi Kibunguchy, Williams, and Freeman. Solis, Cristian Medina, Juninho, and Almaguer were in the midfield, with Mohammed and Rivera up top.

OCB was the better team most of the game. The Young Lions had more possession and chances in the first half, going into the break with a 1-0 lead. But the task was made easier when Holstad was sent off in the 53rd minute and Crew 2 didn’t really have a chance after that. It was only a matter of time before the Young Lions scored a second and they quickly got two more. Even if the visitors had converted their penalty with 20 minutes to go, it never felt like this game was in doubt.

Crew 2 had the game’s first chances when Isaiah Parente shot from the right in the sixth minute, but Kibunguchy got in the way, blocking it out for a corner kick. The ensuing corner ended up with Stuart Ritchie, whose shot was blocked out by Juninho. Columbus players appealed for a handball in the box, but the OCB captain’s arm was tucked against his body, so it was only a corner kick. The second ball was cleared away by Kibunguchy and the Young Lions avoided an early deficit.

The Young Lions had their first chance in the 10th minute when Freeman sent Mohammed into the Crew 2 box. Mohammed was either aiming for the far post or passing into the middle for Rivera, but the ball was blocked by Clay Holstad out of play.

The ensuing corner was headed outward by Williams, ending up with Juninho just outside of the box. The midfielder’s low and hard shot was deflected by Philip Quinton, forcing Crew 2 goalkeeper Staislav Lapkes to change directions and knock it out of play. The next corner bounced around, enabling Kibunguchy to get a shot off, but it was blocked and cleared away.

OCB had a chance to take advantage of a Crew 2 mistake in the 24th minute when Perez was caught offside. Lapkes attempted a short free kick to Brent Abu-Gyamfi and OCB’s pressure forced Abu-Gyamfi to play it back to his goalkeeper. Juninho intercepted the weak pass before Rivera gained possession and attempted to guide it into the net. Unfortunately, Quinton was alert, getting back in front of goal and clearing the ball before it reached the goal line.

The Young Lions took the lead in the 39th minute when Almaguer sent a long ball forward for Freeman, who was on the outside of Ritchie. The right back did well to shield the defender, taking control and sending the ball across for a wide open Rivera on the far side. The forward’s shot was tipped by Lapkes, but went into the far corner, giving OCB a 1-0 lead.

The visitors asked for a penalty in the 44th minute when Abdi Mohamed sent Noah Fuson into the box. Medina was keeping up with the forward and Fuson ended up on the ground. The forward’s arms went up as he claimed he was pushed over from behind by Medina, but referee Daniel Gutierrez decided there wasn’t enough contact.

The final chance of the first half came three minutes into stoppage time. After losing the ball on his own side of the field, Juninho quickly won it back and made a run forward. He found Rivera open to his left and the forward’s second touch was a shot on goal. Lapkes did well to come off his line and wasn’t far from Rivera when he took the shot, blocking it with his leg. Juninho followed up with a shot from the top of the box, but that one was blocked by Gio De Libera.

OCB had a small halftime advantage in possession (50.6%-49.4%), but had far more shots (13-4), shots on target (4-0), and corners (5-2), and better passing accuracy (83.9%-82.1%). Both teams had one cross and the Young Lions were the only ones to convert, leading 1-0 at the break.

Already down a goal, things got more difficult for Crew 2 in the 53rd minute. Kibunguchy sent a long ball down the right that took a big hop over Holstad and Freeman. The right back got behind the Crew 2 defender and Holstad tripped him up. Gutierrez had issued Holstad a yellow card in the 41st minute and gave him his second with this foul.

OCB took advantage of the extra man, increasing its lead in the 55th minute. Taha Habroune received the ball from Lapkes and turned right into Solis. Mohammed took possession and sent Rivera through on goal. Rivera’s shot was right into the legs of Quinton on the goal line, but the block went to Mohammed. Columbus defender Mohamed, who got back to support Quinton, got his leg on the shot, but it went in and OCB took a 2-0 lead. After a brace against NYCFC II, Mohammed now has three goals in his last two games.

“I think it’s just a mental reset,” Mohammed said about scoring three goals in his last two OCB games. “Just knowing that everything is calm, trusting the process, and obviously I have the support of a lot of the people around the club and my teammates and coaches helping me. So it’s amazing to feel the joy of playing football again. That’s all I want to do always.”

Immediately after the goal, Perelman made his first change of the game. Lynn, the team’s leading goal scorer, came on for Rivera.

Despite being a man down, Crew 2 had a chance to equalize in the 60th minute when halftime substitute Rayo cut back and found De Libera between Juninho and Freeman. De Libera was aiming for the corner, but the shot went off the back of Freeman and out of play.

In the 63rd minute, Solis sent Perez down the left. Rather than lifting a cross into the box, the left back played it back for the oncoming Lynn. The striker had a free shot on goal, but sent it right to Lapkes. It was a hard shot and Lapkes knocked it over the crossbar.

As the clock entered the 65th minute, OCB had a golden chance to make it three when Almaguer sent a curling cross into the Crew 2 box. Kibgunchy was wide open and Almaguer’s cross was onto his head, but the center back sent it wide.

Seconds later, the Young Lions did make it three and it was off another Crew 2 turnover. A poor pass out of the back by Quinton was intercepted by Medina, whose first touch was to Mohammed. The striker played it on for Solis, who put it into the corner from the top of the box, giving OCB a commanding 3-0 lead.

OCB went into a bit of a lull for several minutes after scoring the third goal, allowing 10-man Columbus to have possession and create in the attacking third. Crew 2 had a great opportunity to get one back in the 70th minute when Cole Mrowka lifted the ball into the box for Fuson. The striker got to the ball before it went out of play and dropped it back for Rayo. Williams stuck his foot in front of Rayo and the attacker went down. It didn’t appear on replay that Willliams got any of Rayo, but Gutierrez pointed to the spot anyway.

Mohamed stepped up to the penalty, sending it towards Otero’s right corner. But the OCB goalkeeper guessed correctly and blocked the attempt away to maintain the three-goal lead. It was Otero’s third penalty save this season, the most in his career and the most of any goalkeeper in OCB history.

OCB made two more changes in the 74th minute. Salim and Tablante entered the game for Almaguer and Perez.

The visitors had come close to getting on the scoresheet and finally did in the 80th minute. Mrowka sent a curling ball into the box where Fuson was darting in, defended by Kibunguchy. The ball went past both of them to Rayo, who was left wide open at the back post. The midfielder dove down to get his head on the ball, putting it in to make it a 3-1 game.

Perelman made his fourth and final change after the goal, sending 17-year-old academy product Thomas Bowe on to make his professional debut, replacing Mohammed.

After giving up a penalty earlier in the half, OCB got its own chance from the spot in the 82nd minute. Tablante dribbled into the box and Fuson defended him well, knocking the ball out for a corner kick. The ensuing set piece bounced around the six, popping out to Freeman. The defender took a touch towards the end line and Fuson stuck his leg out, tripping him. Gutierrez didn’t hesitate pointing to the spot, awarding the Young Lions a penalty.

Lynn stepped up to the spot to take the penalty. Unlike on the other end, Lapkes went the wrong way and the OCB striker put the ball into the corner, increasing the lead back to three at 4-1.

The goal is Lynn’s 15th of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro campaign, equaling his total from the 2022 season. It also brings him to within one goal in the golden boot race, something he’s said he aims to win this year.

Down three goals and time running out of time, Crew 2 was able to create some chances. In the 76th minute, Rayo received the ball near midfield, dribbled through Juninho, and shot from the top of the box, but Williams got in the way to block it. A minute later, Ritchie’s cross was blocked away by Otero. Fuson took control and played it to the top of the 18 for Mataeo Bunbury. The substitute turned and shot, but Kibunguchy got down to block it with his leg, sending it over the crossbar.

Lynn had a chance for a second goal in the 89th minute when Fuson blocked a long pass by Solis before it could reach Tablante. The ball almost reached Quinton, but Lynn got to it first. He sent a hard shot on goal, but Lapkes did well to keep his eyes on the ball and blocked it away. That was the last good look for either team and OCB captured its first-ever win over Crew 2.

The final statistics matched the score as OCB ended up with more possession (55.2%-44.8%), shots (21-14), shots on target (10-2), and corners (8-6), and better passing accuracy (87.4%-84.6%). Crew 2 had more crosses (8-7), but couldn’t turn those chances into goals.

“Unbelievable,” Mohammed said about the win. “Like always, it’s all about the team and it’s a good win for the team. Considering a few months ago they beat us in Columbus, what a way for the team to come out and get the win.”

The three points bring OCB closer to clinching a playoff spot as Philadelphia Union II fell 3-0 to New England Revolution II. As a result, the Young Lions are seven points above the playoff line with four games remaining in the season. They also climb to within five points of Crew 2 for the top of the Eastern Conference’s Central Division.

“We’ve shown from the people on the bench and the people starting that we have the team to keep pushing,” Mohammed said about beating Columbus for the first time. “So it’s amazing to be doing that, especially at this point in the season.”

OCB will return to action next Sunday in its penultimate home game as the Young Lions welcome Eastern Conference-leading Crown Legacy FC to Kissimmee.


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