No you weren't living in a reserve team fantasy world last weekend; Orlando City B won a game after going down a man yet again.
You might be thinking that Orlando City B (5-6-2, 17 points) should add the color red to its palate after seeing so many red cards this season, but that would cause a color clash with tonight's opponents, the New York Red Bulls II (8-1-3, 27 points) who don't need any advantage to take care of business on the road. Unfortunately for OCB, an advantage is just what the Baby Bulls will have due to Tyler Turner's red card suspension, which will keep him from seeing action tonight.
The New York Red Bulls reserve side has been very successful away from Red Bull Arena this season, winning each of their five road contests, including an early season road victory over league leader Louisville. In total, New York has lost just once all season en route to a second place standing in the Eastern Conference and the league overall. The Bulls' only loss this season came at home to the Charlotte Independence back on May 1, and since that time they have won five of six, including four straight 1-0 victories.
New York is led by Brandon Allen, who leads the team with four goals, but the talent doesn't stop with him. Anatole Abang, who has made many appearances for the MLS edition of the Red Bulls, is tied for second on the team in goals with Junior Flemmings, while recent Homegrown signing Derrick Ettiene is a real talent that has the ability to catch the eye with dashing runs at the opposing back line with the ball. Needless to say, down Tyler Turner, OCB will have its hands full with the plethora of attacking talent NYRBII has to offer.
With the big club taking a week off for the big international tournaments last week like the rest of MLS, NYRBII had some big-time talent on loan in the form of Designated Player Gonzalo Veron and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Both MLS regulars are expected to be back with the big club this week.
Coming into tonight's game, the young Lions should be feeling good about themselves after the way they saw out last week's 2-1 road victory over the Charleston Battery. Michael Cox and Conor Donovan scored first half goals, which gave OCB a two-goal lead as Turner was sent off in the dying minutes of the first half. The second half saw Charleston dominate play, holding OCB to only one clear chance, but Orlando City's reserve side clung to victory behind 10 Mark Ridgers saves.
Last Week's Lineups
OCB: Mark Ridgers; Mikey Ambrose, Devron Garcia, Conor Donovan, Tyler Turner*; Tony Rocha, Andrew Ribeiro, Pierre Da Silva, Lewis Neal, Richie Laryea; Michael Cox
NYRBII: Kyle Reynish; Justin Bilyeu, Zach Carroll, Gideon Baah, Aaron Long; Sean Davis, Devon Williams, Shaun Wright-Phillips^, Alex Muyl; Brandon Allen, Gonzalo Veron^
*Turner is suspended for tonight's match due to a red card
^Wright-Phillips and Veron are expected to return to the senior team after being loaned down during the MLS break
Keys to Victory
- Adolescent Advantage: Pierre Da Silva continues to make a name for himself with OCB this season. The 17-year old midfielder had assists on both of OCB's goals last week and now leads the team in that category with four, despite missing some time this season for youth national team action. OCB is about developing young players for the big time, and no one better exemplifies that than young Da Silva. Look for more excitement from the youngster in the near future, and if OCB hopes to win tonight he'll need to have another influential performance.
- Ridgers Saves: Goalkeeper Mark Ridgers has been a star this season for OCB, and was put on the USL Team of the Week this week after another stellar performance against Charleston. Ridgers was credited with 10 saves, and OCB will need the recently married Scotsman to be on top of his game if the young Lions hope to earn a positive result tonight against the USL's second-place team.
- Break up the Rhythm: NYRBII has had moments of passing excellence this season, with their talented youngsters able to string together multiple passes in quick succession in displays that are easy on the eye. Wanna beat the Baby Bulls? Disrupt that passing rhythm. OCB defenders need to be aggressive and step into passing lanes and cut out chances. However, NYRBII also has the individual talent to play one-on-one soccer, so it might be a matter of picking your poison tonight for the young Lions.