On a historic night at Red Bull Arena, nine-man Orlando City B was hammered 5-1 by New York Red Bulls II. Apart from the dominating performance by the home side, the game also saw the first video replay in professional soccer with the new video assistant referee (VAR) system coming into play early and being used twice in the match.
It was a rough start for OCB as the Lions had trouble keeping possession in the midfield. Their inability to build an attack resulted in an early eighth-minute deficit. Florian Valot brought the ball down the left and played it into the box. As it bent toward the back post, OCB center back Conor Donovan slid in to clear the ball, however, he inadvertently knocked it past goalkeeper Mark Ridgers for an own-goal and an early 1-0 New York Red Bulls II lead. It was the start of a bad night for Donovan.
The Red Bulls nearly doubled on multiple occasion through midfielder Junior Flemmings in the early minutes. In the 13th minute, Flemmings was the beneficiary of a mistake by Ridgers, which gave him a look at goal but his shot missed wide. Just three minutes later, Flemmings had another opportunity, receiving a ball inside the box. Finding some space to take a shot on goal, Flemmings forced Ridgers into a fine save.
The Lions' first chance of the game came through Richie Laryea in the 12th minute. As Pierre Da Silva brought the ball inside from the left, he played it for Laryea, who found some space for a shot on goal. However, his shot was hit wide of Ryan Meara's right goal post for a Red Bulls goal kick.
The Lions got their second chance in the 22nd minute, when a free kick by Da Silva lifted into the box. But no one in purple could get on the end of it and Meara caught it with ease.
Things got worse for the Lions in the 36th minute. Flemmings was fouled by Donovan just outside of the box, giving the Red Bulls a free kick. Before play could be restarted, the first implementation of the VAR occurred. After a short view of the video, referee Ismail Elfath deemed that Donovan had denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity and the defender was subsequently issued a red card, putting the Lions down to 10 men.
The second half started as the first half ended, with the Red Bulls dominating possession and OCB defending desperately. Just two minutes into the second half, Brandon Allen found himself in front of goal but was denied by the save of the game. Allen played the ball on goal but Ridgers dove to his left making a remarkable one-handed save.
The Red Bulls finally doubled their lead in the 62nd minute. After receiving the ball down the right from Noah Powder, Flemmings played the ball across into the box. OCB left back Antonio Matarazzo slid in attempt to clear the ball but it got caught under his arm, resulting in a Red Bulls penalty. Allen stepped up and buried the ensuing spot kick past Ridgers to give the home side a 2-0 lead.
Just four minutes after the penalty, the Red Bulls made it three. Valot found himself with room on the right and sent in a cross. The cross found Devon Williams at the top of the box, who hit the ball first time for a beautiful goal past Ridgers, making it 3-0.
The Lions did get one back two minutes later in the 68th minute. A Zach Hayden throw in found Michael Cox down the right side. Cox outran the Red Bulls defender into the box and beat goalkeeper Ryan Meara to his far post, cutting the Red Bulls lead to 3-1.
The Red Bulls got their fourth in the 87th minute. After forcing a turnover, the Red Bulls were able to spring Junior Flemmings, who had a very strong game. After outrunning Matarazzo to the ball, he beat Ridgers to his far post making it 4-1 Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls capped off the scoring in injury time of the second half. Omir Fernandez hit his shot off the post, which rebounded back to Zoumanna Simpara for an empty-netter, lifting the Red Bulls to a 5-1 lead.
Despite the goal by Cox and a few good plays by Da Silva, this game was all New York Red Bulls II with OCB never getting into the game. The Lions were rarely able to get out of their own way or get the ball out of their own end, and when they did, they more often than not quickly turned it back over to the opposition. It will definitely be a game Anthony Pulis and his squad will want to forget.
The young Lions will be without two center backs for their next game. In addition to Donovan being sent off, Kyle Callan-McFadden was sent off after receiving two yellow cards. The first came via the second ever VAR review. Midfielder Harrison Heath returned from a knee injury to put in 62 mostly solid minutes for OCB before coming off for Andrew Ribeiro.
OCB now has 31 points from its first 22 games placing the club eighth in the USL's Eastern Conference. After this miserable performance, the young Lions will look to rebound Wednesday night when they travel to North Carolina to face the Charlotte Independence.
Starting XI: Ridgers; Turner, McFadden, Donovan, Matarazzo; Laryea (Mendoza, 62'), Heath (Ribeiro, 62'), Neal (c) (Haig, 90'), Da Silva, Smith (Hayden, 40'), Cox
Unused Subs: Fenlason, D. Garcia, Loera
Goals: NYRBII - Valot (8'), Allen (62'), Williams (66'), Flemmings (87'), Simpara (90') ORL - Cox (68')
Yellow Cards: NYRBII - Valot (21'), OCB - McFadden (82', 88')
Red Cards: ORL - Donovan (36'), McFadden (88')