Confidence is the word out of the Orlando City B camp following the team's come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Charlotte Independence, and confidence is what the young Lions will need in their next game against the league leaders.
OCB (4-5-2, 14 points) caps off its six-game home stand tonight at 7:30 against first place Louisville City FC (7-1-3, 24 points) in a game that the young Lions hope will be a continuance of their current two-game winning streak and three-game unbeaten streak. On the other side, Louisville City will be looking to continue a spectacular run of league form that has seen former Orlando City midfielder James O'Connor's charges play in nine straight league games without a loss.
OCB's last outing saw the young Lions go down early to the Charlotte Independence, only to see teenager Pierre Da Silva and Craig Nitti score in the second half to bring the reserve side back to take all three points for the second consecutive match. The physical affair saw four yellow cards handed out, including one to Orlando City HGP Tyler Turner in the early going.
Louisville City, while unbeaten in its last nine league games, is coming off of a 2-1 loss at the hands of the NASL's Indy 11 in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday. Louisville took the lead behind a goal from leading goal scorer Chandler Hoffman, but gave up two goals in the second half to bow out of the competition. In the league, Louisville City last played in a 2-0 victory over the Charleston Battery, on the road. Louisville is 5-0-2 on the road, with the team's lone loss in the league coming at home to the New York Red Bulls II at home in the second game of the season.
These two teams have met once already this season, with Louisville coming away with the come-from-behind 4-1 win at Louisville Slugger Field. Michael Cox scored his first career goal for OCB in the match that saw OCB take an early lead only to then give up four goals in the losing effort.
Last Week's Lineups
OCB: Jake Fenlason*; Tyler Turner, Mikey Ambrose, Kyle Callan-McFadden,Craig Nitti; Andrew Ribeiro, Tony Rocha, Richie Laryea, Lewis Neal, Pierre Da Silva; Michael Cox
Louisville: Greg Ranjitsingh; Ben Newman, Tarek Morad, Sean Reynolds, Kyle Smith; George Davis IV, Guy Abend, Paul del Picollo, Andrew Lubahn; Cameron Lancaster, Chandler Hoffman
*Note: Usual starter Mark Ridgers has returned from his wedding and will be expected to start
Keys to Victory
- Score First: It sounds simple, and perhaps overly so, considering the teams' last meeting in which OCB did just that, but scoring first against Louisville is key to beating Orlando City's former USL affiliate. Wednesday night's U.S. Open Cup tilt was the fist time dating back to last season in which Louisville has given up a lead to an opponent. Scoring first doesn't guarantee victory by any means, but it certainly is preferable to allowing Louisville to dictate play with a goal advantage already secured.
- Squelch the Service: Louisville excels at getting goals from its strikers, with last season's MVP Matt Fondy setting the USL scoring record as Louisville's number nine, and the current strike duo of Hoffman and Lancaster combining for nine goals already. Limiting service to the strikers means neutralizing wingers George Davis IV, Mark-Anthony Kaye, and the fullbacks, who love to get into the attack to send in crosses towards the forwards. If OCB can do that, it will improve its chances of winning.
- Let's (Not) Get Physical: OCB's last match against Charlotte was a physical game that saw multiple yellow cards in the early going. If this sort of play continues, OCB could find itself in dangerous waters. Going a man down against a team like Louisville isn't an option, so OCB will have to watch its Ps and Qs against the USL's best team.