Orlando City B played one of their last few friendlies before the start of the 2016 USL season later this month, beating Division II school and Melbourne-based Florida Tech, 3-0, at Orlando's Sylvan Lake Park training facility. Head Coach Anthony Pulis fielded a solid lineup, which could end up being his starting 11 come the first game vs Wilmington on March 26.
The game began as a back-and-forth affair with both teams getting solid opportunities. OCB was a bit lazy with possession and had some nervy moments on the back line. The first goal came about 26 minutes in after Mikey Ambrose came up from his left back position, got past a defender into the box and fed Johnny Mendoza in the center of the area, who calmly slotted it away in the right side of the net.
About seven minutes later, OCB struck again. Ambrose again made himself a problem, weaving between defenders on the left wing.He then floated a beautiful ball to the back post to Keegan Smith, who was able to head the cross into the back of the net, putting the Lions up 2-0.
Halftime then came and went, with OCB only making one change to the lineup, Orlando City Homegrown Player Tyler Turner came on for Zach Ellis-Hayden.
OCB started the half with more determination and drive, dominating the midfield and hardly letting Florida Tech get out of its own half of the field. There were chances aplenty for the Lions, but FIT's defense held tough and their goalkeeper, Mitch Thorn, came up with some big stops.
The final goal of the game came as the final whistle blew when substitute William Eyang scored a tap-in right in the middle of the 18-yard box to seal the match and give OCB a convincing 3-0 victory.
"We were a little bit disappointed in our first-half performance," Pulis said after the game, "We didn't have enough purpose to our play. I think everybody knows that we want to pass the ball, possess the ball, and that's our foundation as a club. But there has to be a purpose to the play and a reasoning behind possessing the ball and moving it and we were too slow.
"We didn't get people in the pockets that we want early enough. Our pressing organization was a bit off, we addressed a couple of things at half time and the second half I was really pleased. The boys executed it well and in the end you look at the score line, it's 3-0, kept another clean sheet and scored three goals."
OCB will square off against Florida International next Saturday at Sylvan Lake Park in another preseason friendly. The reserve side wraps up the preseason on March 19 at Eastern Florida State College in a doubleheader, with the Orlando Pride also taking on EFSC's women's team that day.
Orlando City B Starters: GK Mark Ridgers; D Zach Ellis-Hayden (Tyler Turner 45'), Craig Nitti, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Ambrose; M Jonathan Mendoza (Raul Aguilera 67'), Andrew Ribeiro, Keegan Smith (Marius Obekop 67'), Tony Rocha, Pierre da Silva, F Michael Cox (William Eyang 75')