Orlando City B (10-8-12, 42 points) is on the cusp of a playoff berth as it takes on New York Red Bulls II (12-13-5, 41 points). A win tonight would clinch a playoff spot for the second consecutive year for the young Lions.
After a 12-game undefeated streak, OCB came back to earth with two straight losses to the Richmond Kickers and Saint Louis FC. Having fallen out of the playoff picture, the Lions gained six points out of their following two games against the Charleston Battery and Richmond Kickers and now have a chance to clinch a playoff spot tonight as they host New York.
The Red Bulls have recently come off of their own undefeated streak, going six straight without a loss. That stretch included four wins and two draws, allowing them to climb above the red line. But that streak was broken by FC Cincinnati on Sept. 16 and they have subsequently lost two of their last three games, including Wednesday night at Tampa Bay, 3-2.
“It’s good that it’s in our own hands,” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said about the game. “But there’s still an awful long way to go. I don’t mean to be cliché but an awful lot can happen in two games. We know that Red Bulls are a very good team. They have the same fundamentals and principles as their first team. We know it’s going to be a difficult game.”
This will be the second time these two teams have faced off this season. The first match-up was in New Jersey in April where the Red Bulls came away with a 3-1 win. The Lions’ only result against the Red Bulls came in Melbourne in a 2-2 draw last June. They later lost 5-1 away and were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the same team in a 4-0 drubbing.
The young Lions may see the return tonight of their starting goalkeeper, Earl Edwards, Jr. The OCB shot-stopper was called up to the first team on Aug. 25 after first team backup Josh Saunders suffered a season-ending injury. But with the senior team having the weekend off due to the international break, Edwards could get back in net for the reserves.
OCB currently sits in seventh in the USL’s Eastern Conference with just two games remaining, one point ahead of New York, one point behind FC Cincinnati, and two points behind the Rochester Rhinos. The young Lions are one point ahead of Bethlehem Steel, but the Steel have a game in hand. While the young Lions could clinch a playoff spot tonight, they could still finish anywhere between fifth and eighth.
Most Recent Lineups
Orlando City B (10/1 at Richmond): Jake Fenlason; Austin Martz, Zach Carroll, Conor Donovan, Kevin Alston; Lewis Neal, Deanny Deakin, Tony Rocha, Jordan Schweitzer, Pierre Da Silva; Hadji Barry.
New York Red Bulls II (10/4 at Tampa Bay): Rafael Diaz; David Abidor, Ethan Kutler, Tim Schmoll, Jordan Scarlett; Arun Basuljevic, Junior Flemmings, Kazu Shigenobu, Vincent Bezencourt, Zeiko Lewis; Stefano Bonomo.
How to Watch
The 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff from Orlando City Stadium can be streamed from the official USL YouTube page or at orlandocitysc.com/live. For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @OrlandoCityB and @TheManeLand on Twitter.