Orlando City B was played off the field for the second straight game as the Lions fell on the road to the Charlotte Independence, 4-0. With this second straight lopsided loss, the Lions have been outscored 9-1 on the two-game road trip.
The scoring started early for the home team. Just four minutes into the game, Lewis Hilton, who was already causing trouble for the OCB defense, crossed the ball into the box. The curling cross found the head of defender Patrick Slogic, who guided the ball past OCB goalkeeper Mark Ridgers to open the scoring.
Two minutes later, Charlotte doubled its lead. After Slogic was unable to reach a forward pass, barely saving it from exiting play, OCB defender Tyler Turner had a ball that would've gone out for a goal kick bounce off of him and stay in play. It ended up with Brian Brown who shot from a very tight angle and beat Ridgers to his near post on a shot the Scot should have kept out.
In the ninth minute, OCB nearly got one back. Striker Michael Cox found himself in the Charlotte box with an opportunity on goal and beat goalkeeper John Berner. The shot hit Caleb Calvert and rolled toward the empty Charlotte net. However, Calvert was able to catch up and clear it off the line to maintain Charlotte's 2-0 lead.
While OCB was unable to score, there were two calls for penalties that occurred in the first half. In the 31st minute, Pierre Da Silva shot from outside the box. The ball appeared to hit the arm of Bilal Duckett after it had passed his body. Center referee Kevin Broadley decided against calling a hand ball and gave OCB a corner kick. Replays showed that the ball did hit Duckett's arm after it had passed his body but the defender was just outside of the box at the time.
There was another potential penalty claim for OCB in the 43rd minute. As Harrison Heath sent a free kick into the box, Devron Garcia and Henry Kalungi went up for the header. After Kalungi cleared the ball, Berner came flying in and took out Garcia with a football-like tackle. Again, no call was made by Broadley.
The second half was similar to the first, and in the 64th minute, Charlotte scored a third. Enzo Martinez brought the ball down the left side of the field and took on OCB central defender Craig Nitti — getting a start due to the suspensions of Conor Donovan and Kyle Callan-McFadden, who were both sent off last weekend at New York Red Bulls II. Taking Nitti to the right, Martinez fired a shot toward the unsuspecting Ridgers, beating him to the near post for the second time on the night.
Charlotte capped off the scoring in the 71st minute. Fancy footwork by David Estrada allowed him to get a cross in behind Zach Hayden, which found a sliding Brian Brown for the fourth goal of the game. It was the second of the game for Brown, who was man of the match.
The loss capped off a horrible two-game road trip for OCB. The road trip is especially troubling, considering the young Lions only have two more home games in Melbourne this season, with five of their final seven coming on the road. The season will end with a four-game road trip for a team fighting for that final playoff spot.
After tonight's loss, OCB remains in eighth place in the USL's Eastern Conference for the final playoff spot, with 31 points from 23 games. They'll take the field again Sunday night in Melbourne for their penultimate home game against the Richmond Kickers.
Starting XI: Ridgers; Hayden, Garcia (Matarazzo, 46’), Nitti, Turner; Mendoza (A. Garcia, 89'), Neal (c), Ribeiro (Smith, 72'), Da Silva (Couto, 85'), Heath, Cox
Unused Subs: Fenlason, Norris
Goals: CLT – Hilton (4'), Brown (6', 71'), Martinez (64'),
Yellow Cards: OCB – Garcia (11'), Neal (49'), Heath (82'), Hayden (84') CLT – Duckett (67')