Unlike a lot of USL teams, OCB won't have the excuse of a busy schedule and tired legs if it comes out flat tonight.
After a two week layoff between games, Orlando City B (2-5-2, 8 points) returns to the field tonight at 7:30 p.m. where it will take on the defending USL champion Rochester Rhinos (4-1-2, 14 points) at Eastern Florida State College.
OCB is coming off of a 2-2 draw at home against Bethlehem steel on May 7, a full fifteen days ago. Tyler Turner and Michael Cox continued their strong (if inconsistent play) to start the season by scoring against the Philadelphia Union affiliate, but OCB couldn't take advantage of a Bethlehem red card and only managed to take a single point at home.
In the league, Rochester is coming off of a 0-0 draw at home to the Charlotte Independence on May 14, but has since beaten Southie FC 7-0 in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night.
Last season Rochester finished thirteen points clear of second place finishers Louisville City in the regular season before its playoff run to a 2-1 extra-time victory in the USL Final, becoming the first team to finish in first place in the regular season and win the championship since Orlando City in 2011. This season, the Rhinos have just one loss which they suffered in their second game of the year, and currently are on a five game unbeaten run which includes three victories.
Head Coach Bob Lilley employs a defensive style which sees his Rhinos grind out low scoring victories. In seven games this season, Rochester has scored only eight goals but has given up just five, which is good for second fewest goals conceded in the league.
Last Week's Lineups
OCB: Earl Edwards Jr.; Tyler Turner, Luke Boden, Conor Donovan, Devron Garcia; Lewis Neal, Jonathan Mendoza, Harrison Heath, Tony Rocha; Michael Cox, Hadji Barry
Rochester (vs. Charlotte): Adam Grinwis; Bradley Kamden, Joe Farrell, Wal Fall, Dominic Samuel; Sean Totsch, Kenardo Forbes, Mike Garzi, Ryan James; Christian Volesky, Steevan dos Santos
Keys to Victory
- Rested Legs, Rested Minds: It's been 15 days since OCB has taken the field, and that should have provided plenty of time to rest up and nurse any nagging injuries. As has been a theme in this month's NBA playoffs, the more rested team tends to be the better team, but with that also comes a caveat: don't let the rest make you lethargic. A long layoff such as OCB has been on is incredibly beneficial, but can also cause a slow start to the game. If OCB comes out slow and gives up an early goal, it can wave goodbye to three points because Rochester does not give up goals often.
- Michael Cox and the Back of the Net: It's becoming increasingly clear that forward Michael Cox is going to be an asset not just for OCB, but potentially for the big club. Cox scored again in OCB's last outing, and is now tied with Tyler Turner (who also scored last time out) for the team lead. Continuing to build the confidence of the 23-year-old Canadian should be at the top of the list for Anthony Pulis.
- Let's Get the Defense in Order: Such is life for an MLS reserve team, but the constant shuffling of the backline can't be good for OCB's chances for victory. As much as he can, Pulis must try to grow a sense of normalcy for the back four.