Orlando City B (1-2-0, 3 points) will look to even its season record with a second consecutive win when the Charlotte Independence (0-1-0, 0 points) visit Orlando City Stadium tonight at 7:30 p.m. After starting the year with consecutive losses at Tampa Bay Rowdies and home to Louisville City, the young Lions grabbed a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night over Toronto FC II, despite being down to 10 men for the final 20 minutes of the match.
The important thing for Head Coach Anthony Pulis’ bunch is that it has played better each game than the previous one. The bad news is that it will have to do so without midfielder Pierre Da Silva, who was a force against TFCII before being sent off late for a reckless challenge.
Charlotte, the USL affiliate of the Colorado Rapids, has played only one game so far this season, falling 2-0 against Charleston Battery. But the Independence played a strong defensive game and the match was scoreless until the 70th minute before Romario Williams and Forrest Lasso scored late. This will be the first match on the road this season for the Independence.
Enzo Martinez and Jorge Herrera are the offensive players to watch for Charlotte, having combined for 16 goals and 10 assists in 2016. The Independence finished fifth in the USL’s Eastern Conference last season, reaching the conference quarterfinals. In 2015, they made it to the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup. Mike Jeffries’ team should provide a stiffer test for OCB than Toronto FC II did.
“They’re a good side, I like the way they play. They had a really impressive last year and we’ve watched some tape on them from the preseason and obviously the first game at Charleston last weekend,” Pulis said. “They’ve got some good players. They’re really well organized and have got good shape. Going to be a really difficult task for us.”
Last season, the teams played three times, with the teams splitting them, 1-1-1, and OCB going unbeaten in two matches at Titan Soccer Complex in the team’s old home over in Melbourne. The first meeting was a 2-1 comeback win on May 28, 2016, with Da Silva and Craig Nitti finding the net for the young Lions. The second meeting was a 1-1 draw in Melbourne on July 2. Charlotte’s Brian Brown opened the scoring but Michael Cox pulled the Lions level. On Aug. 17 of last year, the Independence played OCB off the pitch in Charlotte, 4-0. Patrick Slogic, Brown (twice), and Enzo Martinez, provided all the scoring.
Most Recent Lineups
OCB (Tuesday vs. Toronto FC II): Earl Edwards Jr; PC, Leo Pereira, Zach Carroll, Kevin Alston; Pierre Da Silva, Lewis Neal, Paul Clowes, Austin Martz; Richie Laryea, Hadji Barry.
Charlotte (April 1 vs. Charleston Battery): Cody Mizell; Joel Johnson, Luke Waechter, Bilal Duckett, Henry Kalungi; Callum Ross, Jorge Herrera, Lewis Hilton, Enzo Martinez; Yann Ekra, David Estrada.
How to Watch
To catch tonight's game, tune into the official USL Youtube page or at orlandocitysc.com/live for the 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff. For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand on Twitter.
We’ll have folks on hand tonight to bring you the action and a full match recap.