Currently sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, Orlando City B (10-9-12, 42 points) takes on the Tampa Bay Rowdies (13-7-11, 50 points) tonight in the final game of the regular season, looking to secure a playoff spot for the second consecutive year.
After jumping into a playoff spot with wins over the Charleston Battery and Richmond Kickers, OCB failed to secure a playoff spot last weekend when the young Lions fell 6-5 to New York Red Bulls II. While they’re currently on the outside looking in, they are far from out of contention as they sit just one point from seventh and two points from sixth in the conference.
With 42 points, OCB can’t finish any worse than ninth, as the City Islanders and Ottawa Fury are on 37 points. To qualify for the postseason, the young Lions will need a win against the Rowdies to have a chance to qualify. The first tiebreaker is wins, and with 10 wins this year, they won’t be able to draw even with any of the contending teams on points with as many wins.
OCB vs. the Rowdies is the only game on the USL slate tonight. Other games to watch for OCB fans, provided the Lions win, are New York Red Bulls II at the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday at 6:05 p.m., FC Cincinnati at Toronto FC II on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Bethlehem Steel hosting Saint Louis FC on Sunday at 3 p.m.
As for tonight’s opponent, the Rowdies currently sit in third in the USL’s Eastern Conference. They still have positioning to play for as they sit two points above the Charlotte Independence for fifth, are tied with the Rochester Rhinos, and are one point behind the Charleston Battery for second.
The Rowdies are currently on a six-game unbeaten run, which includes three wins and three draws. Their last loss came on Sept. 2 against New York Red Bulls II.
“Any game against the Rowdies is big for us with the rivalry that we’ve had over the years,” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said about the game. “But now going into this game we know that we have to win in order to give ourselves a chance at the playoffs. It adds a little bit extra toward it and we’re really excited going into it.”
This will be the third time these two teams face off this season, the first season for the Rowdies in the USL. With a lineup of mostly senior team players, OCB fell in the opening game of season, 1-0 at Al Lang Stadium. They drew 1-1 on July 13 at Orlando City Stadium during the Lions’ 12-game unbeaten run. This will definitely be the most important match-up between the two sides for both teams.
Most Recent Lineup
Orlando City B (10/7 vs New York Red Bulls II): Earl Edwards, Jr.;PC, Zach Carroll, Conor Donovan, Zach Ellis-Hayden; Lewis Neal, Tony Rocha, Richie Laryea, Pierre Da Silva; Hadji Barry, Michael Cox.
Tampa Bay Rowdies (10/7 at San Antonio FC): Matt Pickens; Darnell King, Kyle Porter, Hunter Gorskie, Tamika Mkandawire; Marcel Schafer, Walter Restrepo, Martin Vangaard, Georgi Hristov, Darwin Jones; Martin Paterson.
How to Watch
The 7:30 p.m. kickoff from Orlando City Stadium can be streamed on the official USL YouTube page and orlandocitysc.com/live. For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @OrlandoCityB and @TheManeLand on Twitter.