Orlando City B took on USL foe San Antonio FC this afternoon at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne in the team’s third preseason game ahead of the 2017 season. Despite some close chances from both sides, neither was able capitalize, with the game ending in a scoreless draw.
San Antonio dominated the chances early in the game, forcing OCB onto the back foot. The first good chance of the game came after about 10 minutes, when Miguel Salazar was taken down just outside the box. Devin Vega lifted the free kick just over Earl Edwards’ goal, resulting in a goal kick. The visiting side nearly opened the scoring again at the half hour mark when Cesar Elizondo saw a look at goal from the top of the six-yard box. However, his shot was cleared off the line, keeping the game scoreless.
OCB looked to attack from the outside in and over the top to Albert Dikwa for much of the first half. This strategy was unsuccessful as the Lions were unable to find the young striker. Though the visitors had the majority of chances, the two sides went into the break with no score.
As the teams switched sides for the second half, so did the play. While San Antonio had most of the chances in the first half, OCB dominated the second half. The ability to get Dikwa more involved proved to be the difference, resulting in several opportunities on goal.
Striker Ben Polk saw the first good look for the Lions in the 55th minute, as he carried the ball into the box. But his shot was right at San Antonio goalkeeper Matt Cardone — an Orlando City trialist in 2015. The Lions thought they should have had a golden opportunity 10 minutes later when Dikwa was pulled down in the box but, despite pleas from the home side, the referee waved play on.
The next Lion to nearly open the scoring was former U-23 standout Paul Clowes in the 71st minute. As Dikwa stumbled after receiving the ball, he played it back for the oncoming Englishman, who unleashed a shot that looked destined for the corner but rolled just wide of goal.
With time winding down, academy product Joe Gallardo had his go. A free kick from just outside the box allowed him his opportunity and he nearly took advantage. The free kick from the teenager crashed against the crossbar after rocketing past Cardone for OCB’s closest chance in the game. But it was not to be and the referee blew her whistle to signal the end of the game with no goals.
The Lions will move on in preparation for the 2017 USL season, taking on UCF tomorrow morning at UCF Soccer Complex in Orlando.
OCB Lineup: Edwards; Thomsen, Carroll, Timbo, Ellis-Hayden; Deakin, Neal, Clowes, Gallardo; Polk, Dikwa