Orlando City B (8-6-11, 35 points) faces a crucial game tonight as the young Lions take on Bethlehem Steel FC (10-11-3, 33 points). The two teams currently sit just two points apart in the standings as they fight to claim one of the final playoff spots in the USL’s Eastern Conference.
The young Lions are 2-0-1 in three previous meetings with BSFC, winning earlier this year in Bethlehem, 2-0. OCB also defeated Steel FC on the road in the regular season finale last year by the same 2-0 score line to clinch a spot in the USL playoffs on the final day. The only Florida meeting to date was a 2-2 draw in the young Lions’ former home in Melbourne last year on May 7.
After drawing six straight games, OCB has caught fire, winning three of the last four and the young Lions are unbeaten in 11 (4-0-7). Two weeks ago, they traveled to Charlotte to face the first-place Independence and came away with a 1-1 draw. On Saturday night, they traveled to Kentucky to face first-place Louisville City and came away with all three points in an impressive 3-0 win.
The breakout star in Saturday’s victory was Michael Cox. After scoring a team-leading 11 goals last season, Cox was relegated to the bench in favor of first team players Richie Layrea and Hadji Barry. Both Laryea and Barry have played well enough to move into the first team, opening a spot for Cox. In his first game back in the starting lineup, Cox proved he belonged by scoring a pair of fantastic goals. With international call-ups and injuries depleting the first team, Cox will likely see plenty of more time starting for OCB.
The Bethlehem Steel are on the opposite streak as OCB. After a two-game winning streak, the Philadelphia Union affiliate has lost its last three games, though two of those came against the conference leading Independence and Louisville City. They’ll be looking to come away with points tonight and stay in that final playoff position.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said about the game. “Bethlehem is a very athletic team, they’ve got power and pace. The tricky thing with Bethlehem is probably what a lot of teams play us encounter is that trying to predict their lineup is going to be difficult. The full focus as always will be on us and making sure our level of performance is good.”
Most Recent Lineups
Orlando City B (8/26 at Louisville City FC): Jake Fenlason; PC, Seb Hines, Conor Donovan, Rafael Ramos; Jordan Schweitzer, Austin Martz, Fernando Timbo, Pierre Da Silva; Michael Cox, Lewis Neal.
Bethlehem Steel (8/26 at Pittsburgh Riverhounds): Jake McGuire; Aaron Jones, Matthew Real, Hugh Roberts, Auston Trusty; Maurice Edu, Chris Nanco, James Chambers, Adam Najem, Santi Moar; Cory Burke.
How to Watch
The 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff from Orlando City Stadium 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.