Clinging onto the final playoff spot in the USL’s Eastern Conference, Orlando City B fell to Saint Louis FC, 2-0 at Marshall Wireless Stadium. It’s the young Lions’ second straight 2-0 loss after a 12-game undefeated streak.
Saint Louis (9-12-7, 34 points) had the majority of possession early in the game and was unlucky not to have an early lead due to some poor defending by OCB (8-8-12, 36 points). Within the first 10 minutes, the home side had three good chances at taking the lead. They finally did 10 minutes in through defender Ryan Howe.
With the entirety of the possession in OCB’s half of the field, a headed clearance fell right to Howe outside of the box. Rather than sending the ball back in, Howe took a left-footed shot on goal. The low, bouncing line drive beat Jake Fenlason to his left post, giving the home side a 1-0 lead.
Following the goal, OCB seemed to wake up and finally found its offensive footing. Jordan Schweitzer, Albert Dikwa, and Lewis Neal all had good chances to equalize in a 10-minute span but were unable to convert.
The closest opportunity came in the 30th minute, when Schweitzer just missed. Receiving the ball from the left, the OCB midfielder took a touch to the top of the box and shot with the outside of his right foot. The ball beat Saint Louis goalkeeper Devala Gorrick but slammed off the crossbar, allowing the hosts to maintain their goal advantage.
In the 54th minute, it appeared as though OCB may have gotten the break it needed when Saint Louis defender Austin Ledbetter was issued his second caution and subsequently sent off. But eight minutes later, things got worse for OCB. As Mats Bjurman took the ball into the box off an overlap, Conor Donovan slid in for a tackle. The referee, Danielle Chesky, ruled that Donovan had missed the ball but caught Bjurman and awarded a penalty. Striker Christian Volesky stepped up and finished the penalty, doubling the lead for the hosts.
As time wound down, the young Lions had a few chances at climbing back into the game, including a close-range chance late for Albert Dikwa and numerous scrambles off of set pieces. But, in the end, it was a justified 2-0 result in favor of Saint Louis.
The loss puts OCB in a precarious position as the young Lions look to hold onto the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Bethlehem Steel and Pittsburgh Riverhounds sit just one point behind the Lions with the former having two games in hand.
OCB will attempt to maintain its hold on that final playoff spot when the Lions return home next weekend to host the Charleston Battery.
Starting XI: Jake Fenlason; Zach Ellis-Hayden, Fernando Timbo, Zach Carroll (Scott Thomsen, 81’), Conor Donovan; Paul Clowes (Joe Gallardo, 64’), Austin Martz (Danny Deakin, 78’), Jordan Schweitzer, Lewis Neal, Pierre Da Silva; Albert Dikwa.
Unused Subs: Mason Stajduhar, Youmeni Jules, Ryley Kraft, Allen Seals.
Goals: STL – Howe (10’), Volesky (62’, pen).
Yellow Cards: OCB – Thomsen (89’) Da Silva (90’), Neal (90+2’), Donovan (90+5’) STL – Cochran (42’), Ledbetter (49’, 54’), Charpie (90+5’).
Red Cards: STL – Ledbetter (54’).