Death, taxes, OCB red card.— Gavin Ewbank (@GavinEwbank) May 5, 2016
You forgot the inevitable weather delay, Gav.
It seemingly wouldn't be an Orlando City B game without a red card to the young Lions and a weather delay, and Wednesday night's 3-1 loss to Cincinnati delivered on both fronts for Orlando City's USL side. After a lengthy two hour and twenty minute delay, the home standing reserve side dropped a one-goal lead in a four-goal second half that saw penalties awarded to both teams, with the second proving to be the decisive go-ahead goal for the visitors after a red card was shown to goalkeeper Mark Ridgers.
Tonight, OCB (2-5-1, 7 points) will try to redeem itself against Bethlehem Steel (2-2-2, 8 points), the USL affiliate of the Philadelphia Union, at 7:30 at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne.
The visitors from Pennsylvania are coming off of a 0-0 draw at home last Sunday to league-leading Louisville City FC and are, in fact, coming off of back-to-back 0-0 draws, having also played to a scoreless tie against the Charleston Battery the Sunday before. Bethlehem is named for the historical powerhouse team that won the competition now known as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup a record five times from 1915-1926. That team folded in 1930.
On the field, Bethlehem is led by speedy youngster Eric Ayuk, who has turned heads on several occasions while playing at the MLS level for Philadelphia. The 19-year-old Ayuk made 28 appearances last season for the Union, and is the current leader for Bethlehem in goals and is tied for the team lead in assists. Bethlehem's head coach is 33-year-old Brendan Burke, who had been an assistant with the Union since 2011.
It is likely that Orlando City backup goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. will be sent down to the reserve side to get the start in place of Ridgers, who will be serving a suspension for the red card he received against Cincinnati. In addition, Orlando City loaned left back Luke Boden to OCB yesterday. Boden is working his way back from a hamstring injury.
Last Week's Lineups
OCB: Mark Ridgers*; Tyler Turner, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Craig Nitti, Mikey Ambrose; RIchie Laryea, Andrew Ribeiro, Tony Rocha, Marius Obekop; Bryan Rochez, Hadji Barry
Bethlehem: John McCarthy; Ryan Richter, Anderson, Auston Trusty, Taylor Washington; Bolu Akinyode, Derrick Jones; Walter Restrepo, Leo Fernandes, Eric Ayuk; Fabian Herbers
*Ridgers will miss tonight's match due to his red card; Devron Garcia will be available after serving a suspension last game
Keys to Victory
- This isn't poker, I don't want to be dealt cards: Sometimes in this gig, one can easily be drawn into paralysis by analysis; this is not one of those times. Simply put, it's more difficult to win with 10 players on the field than the full allotment of 11. OCB has seen red four times in three different games this season. Needless to say, when you've played eight games, having a player thrown out in almost half of them isn't a winning formula. Per the official league statistics, OCB has been shown 22 yellow cards and four red cards, both of which are good for the most in the USL. That's just too many.
- Keep going, forwards: After a slow start to the season for the OCB forwards, the duo of Michael Cox and Bryan Rochez are now tied for the lead in goals scored on the team with two apiece. It's always a good sign when you're getting goals from your forwards, and OCB has gotten a goal from one of the duo in three straight games. It's encouraging to see a growing level of consistency from the forwards on the score sheet.
- Just score: Bethlehem is tied for the second fewest goals scored in the league this season with four, and it has been held scoreless in three of its six games so far in 2016, including back-to-back scoreless draws. If OCB can get one into the back of the net, a single goal could be good enough to take all three points tonight.