Orlando City B (8-8-12, 36 points) looked to be in line to qualify for the USL playoffs for the second straight year during a 12-game unbeaten run, but two straight 2-0 losses have them back in limbo. Tonight, the young Lions will host the third-place Charleston Battery (13-7-8, 16 points) in a crucial game at Orlando City Stadium in the second half of a home double-header with the Pride.
After going 12 games unbeaten, OCB was on a roll and looked to be a lock for the playoffs. But the absence of key starters Earl Edwards, Jr., Seb Hines, and Hadji Barry has the young Lions once again scrambling for that final playoff spot. They currently sit in eighth, which would see them qualify, but Bethlehem Steel and Pittsburgh Riverhounds sit just one point back and the former have two games in hand.
The Lions aren’t the only team playing for something in this game. The Battery have had a great season this year, spending most of the year near the top of the standings. Currently in third, they sit just one point behind the Charlotte Independence for second, making this a valuable game for the visitors. The Battery are currently on a run of two straight wins, having beaten the Richmond Kickers and Charlotte Independence at home. However, they’ve lost their last two road games, falling to the Richmond Kickers and Louisville City FC.
A key to this game will be the absence of the Battery star striker, and former Orlando City U-23 standout, Romario Williams. The former UCF player has netted 15 goals in 19 games this year, good enough for third in the league. However, the Atlanta United-loaned striker was handed a three-game suspension by the USL for violent conduct against the Richmond Kickers last Saturday night.
This will be the second and final time these two teams meet this season. They first met on July 29, with the game ending in a scoreless draw. They met three times last year, which resulted in two 0-0 draws and a 2-1 win for the Lions.
“[Charleston is] probably the most athletic team in the league,” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said leading up to the game. “They’ve got a lot of size, they’re very dangerous off set pieces, and they’re a counter-attacking team. Lots of pace in forward areas. It’s important that we defend properly. But we’ve come up against them a number of times over the years so we kind of have a good idea of what they’re going to be about and they’re probably the same about us.”
OCB only has four games left this season, with three at Orlando City Stadium. The lone road game will be in Richmond, where the young Lions have already won this year. Three points tonight will go a long way to helping OCB qualify for the postseason yet again.
Most Recent Lineups
Orlando City B (9/16 at Saint Louis FC): Jake Fenlason; Zach Ellis-Hayden, Zach Carroll, Conor Donovan, Fernando Timbo; Paul Clowes, Austin Martz, Jordan Schweitzer, Lewis Neal, Pierre Da Silva; Albert Dikwa.
Charleston Battery (9/20 vs Charlotte Independence): Cody Mizell; Dennis Castillo, Austin Yearwood, Bilal Duckett, Luke Waechter; Yann Ekra, Joel Johnson, Callum Ross, David Estrada; Jaime Siaj, Enzo Martinez.
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.