MELBOURNE, FL -- Orlando City B defeated the defending USL champion Rochester Rhinos, 2-1, at Eastern Florida State College behind a brace by OCSC 2016 first-round pick Hadji Barry.
With rookie striker Barry starting alone up top, OCB had the better of the chances from the first minute. From early on, the Lions looked to try to use Barry's speed to create opportunities by playing the ball over the top. But solid play by Rochester central defenders Vasilis Apostolopoulos and Wal Fall were able to keep the speedster in check early.
The first ball that got through for Barry came in the 26th minute, when ball movement resulted in a Lewis Neal pass that got through the back line. Rochester goalkeeper Adam Grinwis came out, beating Barry to the ball, but a mishit saw the ball float back dangerously toward the Rochester goal. However, the Rhinos were able to clear and keep the game scoreless.
The Lions had another great opportunity in the 36th minute, when Tony Rocha flicked the ball forward and Neal headed it on for Pierre da Silva. The teenage midfielder had a nice first touch which put him in on goal, but Grinwis came out strong and was able to win back possession for the Rhinos.
OCB finally broke the deadlock in the 41st minute. After da Silva did well to win the ball back near midfield, Neal took over, playing a through ball on the ground for Barry to run onto. With only Grinwis in front of him, Barry slid the ball with his right foot around the goalkeeper and into the net for the game's opening goal.
Rochester's best chance came in the 53rd minute, when a nice cross by Apostolopoulos found the head of Christian Volesky, who knocked the ball off of the outside of Ridgers' goal post.
OCB doubled its lead in the 57th minute, when Barry created his own goal. The young striker received the ball with a defender on him, but drifted to the inside until he found an opening, beating Grinwis to his far post from just outside of the box.
The game remained 2-0 for the Lions until the 85th minute, when the Rhinos caught a break. A long shot by Steevan Dos Santos forced a diving, one-handed save by Ridgers, but Dominic Samuel followed up, beating Ridgers to the ball. The Scottish goalkeeper missed the ball but took down Samuel. The ensuing penalty was converted by Dos Santos to cut the OCB lead in half.
Despite a late volley from about 20 yards out, Rochester was unable to create anything dangerous following the penalty and the Lions held on for a 2-1 win.
OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said he was pleased with his team's performance overall. "Pleasing performance. Good result," Pulis said after the match. "I think it's no mean feat to beat the reigning champions here at home. They're known for being well organized, drilled, disciplined. They've been on a good run and they've kept a lot of clean sheets so to score two was pleasing."
Despite the strong performance, Pulis felt the team left opportunities on the field. "I felt the disappointing thing was we didn't score more," he said. "I thought we should've had two or three after the half."
Pulis was particularly pleased with his striker, Barry, who opened his account for OCB with a brace. "The thing with Hadji is getting him to know what his strengths are and his strengths are that he's very quick, very athletic, very powerful," Pulis said. "And (he's) a handful for defenders when he runs into the space in behind and I thought he did that really well tonight."
As for Barry himself, finally getting off the mark was a weight lifted off the 23-year-old. "It's been a lot of games that I haven't scored a goal now," he said following the game. "So this is really going to help my confidence moving forward."
Sunday night's result is OCB's third win in 10 attempts this season. The Lions currently sit at 11 points and are ninth of the 14-team USL Eastern Conference. They'll attempt to make it two in a row when they host the Charlotte Independence next Saturday night in Melbourne.
Starting XI: Ridgers; Turner, Ambrose, Donovan, D. Garcia; Neal (c) (Mendoza, 59'), Ribeiro, Rocha, Da Silva, Laryea (Obekop, 83'); Barry (Cox, 69')
Unused Subs: Fenlason, McFadden, Hayden, Rochez
Goals: ORL - Barry (41', 57') ROC - Dos Santos (86', Pen)
Yellow Cards: ORL - Turner (90') ROC - Garzi (42'), Apostolopoulos (74')