Orlando City B lengthened their unbeaten streak to 11 (4-0-7) while winning its third in the last four games with a 3-0 win over first-place Louisville City at Louisville Slugger Field. OCB is now 2-3-0 in the all-time series with Orlando City’s former USL affiliate, with both wins coming on the road.
With Richie Laryea and Hadji Barry back in Orlando, striker Michael Cox got his chance to make a statement, and he did. Last year's leading goal scorer netted two goals in just 45 minutes of play. It was a welcome sight for the man who scored 11 times last season but had yet to find the net this year.
OCB (8-6-11, 35 points) got off to a great start, taking it to conference-leading Louisville (13-5-5, 44 points). Their first chance came just five minutes in when Cox slid a ball in for Austin Martz from the right. Martz looked to have a chance on goal but Louisville City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh closed down the midfielder to make the stop.
The near miss by Martz nearly cost OCB in the 12th minute. Goalkeeper Jake Fenlason, who has become the starter as Josh Saunders' injury has forced Earl Edwards, Jr. to the senior team, attempted to dribble out of trouble. Louisville's Luke Spencer charged at Fenlason and was able to get a piece of the ball, which fell to Niall McCabe. The midfielder attempted to chip Fenlason but it sailed high of goal, allowing OCB to escape.
The young Lions broke through 10 minutes later. A nice ball by Fernando Timbo found a streaking Cox, who played a sublime ball on the floor past Ranjitsingh to open the scoring for the boys in purple.
In the 27th minute, the Lions doubled their lead through the same guy. Jordan Schweitzer played a beautiful ball into space and when Cox received it, he didn't miss. On his second touch, the young Canadian striker struck a rocket that left Ranjitsingh with no chance.
In the 53rd minute, OCB added to its lead with the third goal of the game. A corner kick by PC found the head of Timbo who headed it down past Ranjitsingh for the young Lions’ third and final goal of the game.
It was an impressive game for OCB considering the young Lions were missing their two top scorers, Barry and Laryea, and starting goalkeeper, Edwards. OCB is hitting this run of success at the right time as the season winds down and teams jockey for playoff positions in each conference.
This win lifts OCB into sixth place in the USL's Eastern Conference with 35 points, equaling the team’s point total for all of 2016. The Lions will attempt to continue this impressive undefeated stretch when they host the Bethlehem Steel at Orlando City Stadium on Thursday night.
Starting XI: Fenlason; Ramos (Carroll, 76'), PC (Ellis-Hayden, 63'), Hines, Donovan; Schweitzer, Martz, Timbo, Da Silva; Cox (Dikwa, 45'), Neal.
Unused Subs: Smith, Thomsen, Kraft, Polk.
Goals: ORL - Cox (15', 27'), Timbo (53').
Yellow Cards: ORL - Timbo (81'), Neal (90') LOU - Reynolds (14'), Davis (73'), Jimenez (89').