Orlando City B (7-6-11, 32 points) travels up to Kentucky tonight to take on first-place Louisville City (13-4-5, 44 points). This will be the second straight week that OCB will take on the top team in the Eastern Conference as the young Lions look to continue their unbeaten run.
Last week, OCB traveled to Charlotte, NC, where the Lions brought home a point from the Independence who sat at the top of the Eastern Conference standings last weekend. The draw pushed the OCB unbeaten streak to 10 games (3-0-7), which dates back to the team’s June 23 win in Rochester. Now, for the second consecutive week, the young Lions will take on the team that sits atop the USL’s Eastern Conference.
Four straight wins by Louisville City has seen them catch the Charlotte Independence with 44 points and move ahead of them in the standings through goal difference. The six-goal advantage is in large part due to a pair of 5-0 drubbings over the past two weeks.
This is the second of two meetings between the teams this season. The young Lions are 1-3-0 all-time against LCFC, including a 3-1 home loss early this season back on March 30. Cameron Lancaster of Louisville in the first half, only to see an own-goal level things. But George Davis IV and Luke Spencer scored in the second half to lift the visitors. Orlando’s former USL affiliate won the first two meetings of 2016, 4-1 on the road on April 9 of last year, and a 4-3 victory in the young Lions’ then-home in Melbourne, FL, on June 5. OCB finally got a win in the series in the third meeting — a 2-1 win at Louisville Slugger Field on June 30 with two strikes at the death to turn the match on its head. Tyler Turner and Keegan Smith were the stoppage time heroes.
Both teams will see some key players missing for this game. Louisville City captain Kyle Smith is serving the second of a three-game suspension after being dismissed for violent conduct during Sunday’s game in Bethlehem. OCB will be missing midfielder Paul Clowes, who will be serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation.
A key factor in this game will be that OCB will also be missing striker Hadji Barry. The Guinean-born UCF product has led the offensive charge for OCB this season by scoring eight goals in 13 games. Barry stayed in Orlando and trained with the first team as the senior Lions prepare to play Vancouver at the same time. With Barry and Laryea absent, only one player available, Albert Dikwa, has scored multiple goals, with three. It is also likely that Earl Edwards Jr. will be backing up Joe Bendik in Orlando tonight, leaving Jake Fenlason to mind the net for OCB.
Most Recent Lineups
Orlando City B (8/19 at Charlotte Independence): Earl Edwards, Jr.; Rafael Ramos, Youmeni Jules, Zach Carroll, Conor Donovan, Paul Clowes, Joe Gallardo, Jordan Schweitzer, Scott Thomsen, Pierre Da Silva, Hadji Barry.
Louisville City FC (8/23 vs City Islanders): Greg Ranjitsingh; Tarek Morad, Sean Reynolds, Sean Totsch; George Davis IV, Oscar Jimenez, Speedy Williams, Paolo DelPiccolo; Ilija Ilic, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Niall McCabe.
How to Watch
The 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff from Louisville Slugger Field 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.