These guys look familiar, don't they?
Following two straight blowout losses, Orlando City B (8-8-8, 32 points) took a step in a positive direction with a 1-1 draw last week with the Richmond Kickers (11-6-7, 40 points), who the young Lions will take on tonight in a road rematch less than a full week later. The game will take place at City Stadium in Richmond at 7 p.m.
Last week's draw against the Kickers saw OCB take the lead just before the close of the first half, as Richie Laryea drew a penalty that leading scorer Michael Cox buried for his 10th goal of the year. However, the second half saw the Kickers' Anthony Grant tie the game just eight minutes in. In a game in which OCB was outplayed for significant portions, the 1-1 draw was a much-needed point in the context of the team's recent slide.
With six games to go, OCB is currently six points clear of its closest competition for the eighth and final USL playoff spot. Ninth-place Bethlehem Steel, which has a losing record, will take on second-place Louisivlle City tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Kentucky.
Of note, RIchmond Kickers all-time leading scorer Matthew Delicate will return to the team's active roster tonight and will be available to play. Delicate, who has been a fixture in the Richmond lineup for years, has played just six games so far in 2016 due to a benign kidney cancer which was removed via surgery on June 3.
Last Week's Lineups
OCB: Ridgers; Ramos, Hayden, Nitti, McFadden; Mendoza, Laryea, Heath, Ribeiro, Da Silva; Cox
Richmond: Dykstra; Troyer, Yomby, Roberts, Lee; Owusu, Asante, Aguilar, Jane, Imura; Grant
Keys To Victory
- Manufacture Goals: At this point in the season, every goal seems hugely important, and OCB did a good job of finding the back of the net any way it could on Sunday. Whether you believed Richie Laryea's penalty shout to have been in or out of the box, the referee awarded the young Lions the PK, which put them in a surprising halftime lead. The moral to the story: score any way you can.
- Be Strong at the Back: Defense hasn't exactly been a calling card for OCB this season, as evidenced by the need for several key Mark Ridgers saves throughout this inaugural campaign. However, defensively the young Lions played well enough last week, and should they be able to duplicate that kind of performance down the home stretch, a playoff berth seems likely.
- Root for Louisville?: Bethlehem currently sits six points behind OCB for the final Eastern Conference playoff position, and has been behind OCB by a significant margin for some time. Why is that? Bethlehem hasn't won since July 14, a span that has seen the team tie just twice while losing four. Another loss tonight by Bethlehem is just nearly as important as an OCB victory in the hunt for the postseason.