Hadji Barry gave Orlando City B the lead in the 55th minute but the lead was erased in the dying moments when substitute Danni Konig equalized in injury time to lift host FC Cincinnati (8-7-7, 31 points) to a 2-2 draw with OCB (5-6-10, 25 points) in front of a USL regular-season record 25,308 fans. The attendance figure bested a game at the same venue and between the same two teams on September 17, 2016 when 24,376 filed into Nippert Stadium.
The young Lions are now unbeaten in seven games (1-0-6) but have drawn the last six in a row. Orlando City B finished the season series 1-0-2 against Cincinnati.
The game got off to a fast start with FC Cincinnati scoring in the sixth minute. Receiving the ball on the left touchline, Josu sent a long cross toward the six-yard box for Kyle Greig, who had drifted behind Seb Hines. The ball sailed right over Hines and found the head of Greig who put it past Earl Edwards, Jr. to give the home side the early lead.
Less than two minutes later, it looked as though FC Cincinnati might double its lead. Receiving a back heel from Greig, Jimmy McLaughlin sent a cross into the box where Greig was making a run. Attempting to keep up with the striker, Zach Ellis-Hayden had his arm around him and Greig went to ground for a penalty.
Former Lion Aodhan Quinn stepped to the spot in an attempt to give FC Cincinnati a 2-0 lead. Approaching from the right, Quinn opened up and looked for the left bottom corner of the goal but Earl Edwards Jr. guessed the right way and was able to palm the ball away.
OCB was able to get into the game more following the penalty and equalized in the 14th minute. A long throw-in by Kevin Alston was headed to the top of the box by Sem de Wit but it fell at the foot of Austin Martz, who took it first time past Mitch Hildebrandt to equalize for the young Lions.
A half hour into the game, both goalkeepers were called into action again. In the 30th minute, it was a long cross into the box that Edwards was able to punch away. Two minutes later, Pierre Da Silva nearly gave OCB the lead. With the ball near the end line, Barry played it back for an oncoming Da Silva. The teenager made a swift turn to lose the defender and fired on goal but Hildebrandt made a diving one-handed save to his right, keeping the game at 1-1.
OCB was able to convert in the 55th minute to give the young Lions their first lead of the game. It started with a long ball by Tony Rocha that released Barry, who had a step on the defender. With nobody between the striker and goalkeeper, Barry slid the ball past Hildebrandt and into the far corner to give the Lions the 2-1 lead.
The last 20 minutes were dominated by FC Cincinnati with the home side having multiple chances on goal. With less than three minutes of stoppage time remaining, FC Cincinnati finally got the equalizer. From deep in his own end, Kenny Walker sent a long ball into the OCB box. There, Konig was shielding Leo Pereira. The OCB defender was able to get a head on the ball but it fell right in front of Konig, who tipped it past Edwards, snatching two points from OCB and securing the draw for the home side.
The two goals for the Lions is the most they’ve scored since June 3, when they defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 2-1.
This draw pulls OCB up to 25 points and into ninth place in the USL’s Eastern Conference, just two points behind New York Red Bulls II for the final playoff spot. The young Lions will take the field again next Saturday night in Richmond, VA, as they take on the Richmond Kickers.
Starting XI: Earl Edwards Jr.; Zach Ellis-Hayden, Seb Hines, Leo Pereira, Kevin Alston (Zach Carroll, 45’); Pierre Da Silva, Tony Rocha, Paul Clowes (Jordan Schweitzer, 76’), Austin Martz; Lewis Neal (Michael Cox, 76’); Hadji Barry.
Unused Subs: Jake Fenlason, Conor Donovan, Youmeni Jules, Joe Gallardo.
Goals: ORL – Martz (14’), Barry (55’); FCC – Greig (6’), Konig (90+2’).
Yellow Cards: ORL – Ellis-Hayden (8’), Hines (45+1’); FCC – Quinn (42’), Konig (90+2’).