Orlando City B (1-3-1, 4 points) travels to FNB Field to take on Harrisburg City Islanders (2-1-0, 6 points) in the second leg of a three-match road trip. Although early in the season, OCB is just one point below the playoff line but needs to start finding the back of the net more as its -3 goal differential is third-worst in the Eastern Conference.
On Friday, OCB fell 3-1 to New York Red Bulls II in a match that Head Coach Anthony Puis said had “some really good individual performances but the players have learned a harsh lesson in how fine the margins are between winning and losing. We have to recover quickly and get ready for another game on Tuesday at Harrisburg.”
The Islanders are coming off a 3-2 win against in-state rival Bethlehem Steel FC in front of a record crowd of 3,264. Harrisburg came out of the match on the attack, and left the first half with a 2-0 lead. Bethlehem made vital second half adjustments, and it looked as if it would scrap out a point before Harrisburg’s Cardel Bendow notched the game winner in stoppage time.
Coming into the game tonight, Harrisburg is undefeated at home, albeit having only played one home match. OCB, on the other hand, has lost both its away matches this year and aims to become the first Orlando soccer team to win on the road in 2017.
The Islanders hold the all-time record between the two teams, having won both games in 2016 by a combined score of 3-1. Harrisburg grabbed the initial meeting, 1-0, at the Titan Soccer Complex, in Melbourne. Bryan Rochez scored the lone goal for the young Lions against Harrisburg in the second of the two meetings, a 2-1 road loss.
After playing just four days ago, Pulis will most likely field a different lineup from Friday. Pulis has been forced to field different lineups every match so far this season, with only goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. featuring in each of the first five games.
“I think the main focus for us is try to build off a lot of the positives that we saw on Friday night against New York, because there were a lot of pleasing aspects about the performance,” Pulis said. “I think any time you come up against a Harrisburg team you know what you’re going to get. They’re very hard-working, very blue collar, never give in, never stop running and it’s a credit to [Head Coach] Bill Becher because he’s obviously instilled a culture within that club where you know what you’re going to get every game. We know we have to match them if we’re going to have any success [tonight].”
OCB will have to work hard if it will take any points, and keep an eye on former MLS Lion Pedro Ribeiro, who made his Harrisburg City debut last week. Ribeiro came on late in the game but created an immediate impact with the game-winning assist. Jonathan Mendoza is another former Lion that could feature for the Islanders.
Although both Ribeiro and Mendoza will want to create a big impact against their former team, it is midfielder Rasheed Olabiyi who could create the most havoc for the OCB defenders. Olabiyi has connected on over 85% of his team-high 155 passes, and leads the team in chances created. The Nigerian has played every minute for the Islanders so far.
Most Recent Lineups
Orlando City B (April 15 at NYRBII): Earl Edwards, Jr.; Youmeni Jules, Scott Thomsen, Zach Carroll, Timbó; Austin Martz, Jordan Schweitzer, Ryley Kraft, Pierre Da Silva; Michael Cox, Albert Dikwa
Harrisburg City Islanders (April 15 vs. Bethlehem Steel FC): Brandon Miller; Abass Mohammed, Lee Nishanian, Travis Brent, James Thomas; Rasheed Olabiyi, John Grosh, Paul Wilson; Manolo Sanchez, Aaron Wheeler, Jonny Mendoza
How to Watch
To catch tonight's game, tune into the official USL Youtube page or at orlandocitysc.com/live for the 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff. For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand on Twitter.
We’ll bring you the action and a full match recap after the game concludes.