Orlando City has loaned several players to its USL affiliate, Orlando City B, ahead of Saturday night’s season opening I-4 Derby at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. When OCB kicks off against the Rowdies, MLS Lions Tommy Redding, Kevin Alston, Richie Laryea, Pierre Da Silva, Hadji Barry, Earl Edwards, Jr., Conor Donovan, and PC will all be on the USL side’s roster, as well as SuperDraft pick Danny Deakin.
The loans are considered “season-long” but the loan terms allow for recall at any time. Players may also move freely between the two clubs this season in compliance with roster rules from both leagues.
OCB starts its second USL season against its most hated – and nearest, geographically – Eastern Conference rival. Although the club would probably say the loans are merely to get senior team players some much-needed playing time during the international break from MLS play – and, in fairness, it does serve that purpose – there’s more than a small part of me that feels this move is partly due to wanting to field a stronger team against Tampa Bay.
Of the players loaned down, only Barry and Da Silva have seen the field for the MLS side this season, with both featuring for just a few minutes in last week’s home win over the Philadelphia Union. Barry saw the field for nine minutes, while Da Silva officially only made a one-minute cameo in his MLS debut. Laryea and PC were on the bench for both of Orlando City’s first two matches but did not appear.
Laryea played all of last season on loan with OCB, playing in 23 games and notching a pair of assists in the young Lions’ attacking midfield. He was utilized primarily on the right side in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Da Silva played in 22 matches with OCB in 2016, scoring twice and adding a team-high five assists on the left side of the 4-2-3-1. Barry, who will likely start at the top of a 4-4-2 with fellow forward Michael Cox, played in 10 OCB games as a striker last year, scoring four goals and adding a pair of assists. Redding spent 2016 with the MLS side but did play in two USL matches.
Alston is rehabbing a hamstring injury and is close to returning to MLS action. He appeared in a recent OCB friendly as he works his way back to fitness.
The Rowdies boast a potent attack, including former MLS strikers Deshorn Brown and Martin Paterson. The latter joins Luke Boden as former Lions-turned-Rowdies to add spice to the rivalry. Paterson was never fully able to show his capabilities while with Orlando City in 2015, sustaining lengthy injury absences before running afoul of team rules and parting ways with the club.
OCB and the Rowdies is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start time on Saturday.
Which player will OCB benefit most from having on Saturday?
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Earl Edwards Jr.
Pierre Da Silva