Orlando City B defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-1 at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh tonight for their first ever win behind a pair of Tyler Turner goals. Anthony Pulis' side improved to 1-3-1 and four points, moving OCB ahead of Pittsburgh (0-2-1, 1 point) and Monday's opponent, Harrisburg City (1-3-0, 3 points), in the USL's Eastern Conference.
"I'm just delighted for the players; they've worked really hard, and nobody's been more disappointed with recent results than myself," Pulis said after the match. "We've struggled to score, but tonight it all came together and obviously the result was the icing on the cake. I thought there were some outstanding individual performances and collective ones as a group. I'm really pleased. We came on this trip for six points. That's three and hopefully we can have another performance like that Monday at Harrisburg."
It was a historic game, being the first USL match on ESPN3, but it was an inauspicious outing for the network, as the announcer failed to mention a 35th-minute red card to Pittsburgh's Kevin Kerr, and he never noticed that the Riverhounds were down to 10 men. Somehow, no one seemed to notice a player had been sent off.
The Riverhounds got off to an attacking start immediately, putting OCB on its heels. But the Lions soon found their feet behind midfielder Richie Laryea and forward Hadji Barry, creating several chances around goal. Despite multiple crosses that went right across the box, the Lions were unable to turn any of those into shots on goal. The closest early chance came in the 23rd minute, when Barry sent a low ball across the six-yard box. Right back Tyler Turner had a golden opportunity on an open goal but his first touch shot hit the outside of the post.
Just minutes after going down with an apparent injury, Turner opened the scoring in the 39th minute. A beautiful one-two between Turner and Jonathan Mendoza -- which included a fancy backheel by the latter -- allowed the right back to split two Riverhound defenders near the top of the box and beat Pittsburgh goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap low to his right post. It was just the second time OCB had scored first in a game this season.
OCB got off to a much better start to the second half, with early chances by Turner and Barry. In the 67th minute, the Lions scored again making it 2-0. Barry carried the ball down the right to the end line and sent a low cross into the six yard box. Reaching it at the near post was Turner, who hit it first time past Gilstrap and into the Riverhounds net.
Both teams had their chances down the stretch but neither could convert. In the 68th minute, Turner nearly had a hat trick but couldn't hit the target. Then, in the 79th minute, Pittsburgh substitute Mike Green fired a shot from just outside the box but it was deflected high of goal.
It remained a 2-0 OCB lead and looked to safely be a Lions victory until stoppage time. But two minutes in the four added minutes of the second half, Romeo Parkes was able to get in behind the OCB defense. Coming over from his position of left back, Mikey Ambrose was called for what appeared to be a soft penalty. Parkes converted the spot kick and the Riverhounds cut the Lions' lead in half, 2-1. Following the goal, Pittsburgh pushed for an equalizer but was unable to come very close and OCB held on for the team's first ever win.
OCB looked much stronger in the back, with Ambrose returning to the lineup after missing last week due to his sister's wedding. The addition allowed Turner to return to his natural right back position. Particularly strong was center back Kyle Callan-McFadden, who wore the armband with regular captain Lewis Neal suspended, after being sent off last week against Harrisburg City.
Offensively, Turner was stellar with two goals and two other chances that he was unable to convert. Like last week against the Harrisburg City Islanders, Turner was very attack-minded from his outside back position, but did so from his natural right side this week.
After a difficult start to the season, the Lions gain their much-needed first win, kicking the monkey off their backs. It'll be a quick turnaround for the team as they will head to nearby Harrisburg to play the Islanders on Monday night.
Starting XI: Ridgers, Turner, Callan-McFadden, D. Garcia, Ambrose, Laryea (A. Garcia, 81'), Rocha, Heath (Ribeiro, 79'), Mendoza (Smith, 81'), Rochez (Cox, 73'), Barry
Unused Subs: Fenlason, Nitti, Obekop
Goals: ORL - Tyler Turner (39', 67'), PIT - Romeo Parkes (PK, 92'+)
Yellow Cards: ORL - Harrison Heath (6')
Red Cards: PIT - Kevin Kerr (35')