A late goal by Hadji Barry allowed Orlando City B to leave Virginia with three points as the young Lions defeated the Richmond Kickers, 1-0 at City Stadium. The win brings OCB closer to qualifying for the playoffs for the second year running.
There weren’t many chances for either side in the first half, though OCB (10-8-12, 42 points) did come close against the Kickers (7-15-8, 29 points) on a few occasions. The first came in the eighth minute when a long through ball by Tony Rocha sprung Barry in behind the Richmond defense. As he approached the goal, William Yomby was able to slide in and poke the ball away.
The next two chances came late in the first half and were from OCB midfielder Pierre Da Silva. The first came in the 35th minute when Da Silva fired on goal from long range, forcing Travis Worra to parry the ball away with his palms. Da Silva looked like he’d have another good attempt at goal two minutes later, as he created space just outside the box, but Mallan Roberts was able to get his foot in front of the shot and deflect it away.
Both of Richmond’s best chances came late in the first half through Sunny Jane. The first one came in the 43rd minute when Jane received the ball and fired from distance. The curling shot forced Jake Fenlason into a full-stretched dive, missing the far post by inches. Jane’s second attempt came in stoppage time after he was taken down by Rocha just outside of the box. His ensuing free kick curled around the wall, forcing Fenlason into his best save of the night.
OCB went on the attack in the second half, needing to collect all three points. Danny Deakin fired from outside the box in the 50th minute but Worra was able to tip it over the bar. Da Silva had another good chance at goal 17 minutes later, but that one went just wide of the net.
Richmond’s best chance came in the 53rd minute when OCB pushing numbers forward allowed Jane to free Luiz Fernando down the left on the counter attack. The striker beat the OCB defense and had a path to goal, but Fenlason got down to block the shot with a kick save.
With the game entering the final 10 minutes, OCB finally broke the deadlock. With Conor Donovan playing the ball out of the back, a quick touch by Barry gave second-half sub Michael Cox possession on the right wing. Cox played a low cross into the box where the oncoming Barry was able to one-touch it past Worra to give the young Lions a 1-0 lead.
While Richmond created some chances to equalize in the final 10 minutes, nothing created too much fear for the visitors. The decision was put out of question when Kickers’ midfielder Oscar Umar was sent off in the 90th minute.
“It’s a great road performance from the guys,” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said after the game. “I thought the first half was a little bit scrappy, a little bit stop-start, but then [in the] second half I thought we controlled the game for long stretches. Our movement was good; the quality of the passing was good and I felt like there was only one team that could’ve gone on and won it. Thankfully Hadji finished off a great move to score his goal and we defended really well at the end to get a fantastic shutout. This isn’t an easy place to come.”
With the Lions now back in a playoff spot, Pulis says the attention must now be put on their next crucial game. “Now the focus shifts to making sure the guys recover properly and get ready for what’s going to be a massive game next Saturday against Red Bulls II.”
OCB now sits in seventh place in the USL’s Eastern Conference, one point ahead of New York Red Bulls II and two points ahead of Bethlehem Steel. Both of those teams have one game in hand on the young Lions. Their next game will be their biggest of the season as they face New York to start a two-game home stand that will end the season.
Starting XI: Jake Fenlason; Kevin Alston, Conor Donovan, Zach Carroll, Austin Martz; Tony Rocha, Jordan Schweitzer; Pierre Da Silva (Timbo, 87’), Lewis Neal, Danny Deakin (Cox, 77’); Hadji Barry.
Unused Subs: Stajduhar, Thomsen, Clowes, Polk, Dikwa, Cox.
Goals: ORL – Da Silva (80’).
Yellow Cards: ORL – Rocha (45’) RIC – Jane (24’), Yomby (40’), Fernando (45+2’).
Red Cards: RIC – Umar (90’).