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Orlando City B vs. FC Tucson: Final Score 3-1 as Young Lions Drop USL League One Opener

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Down a man, OCB fell 3-1 to FC Tucson as the Young Lions opened the 2019 USL League One season.

Dan McDonald, The Mane Land

MONTVERDE, FL — Orlando City B hosted FC Tucson tonight in its first game in the newly formed USL League One at Montverde Academy. Two first-half goals by the visitors and a red card were too much to come back from as the Young Lions fell, 3-1.

OCB had plenty of chances to get off the mark in the first half but the Young Lions were stopped at the shot. Ates Diouf had some space at the top of the box in the 15th minute but took too long to shoot and the ball was taken off of his foot. In the 28th minute, William Bagrou was gifted a chance after a poor back pass found him, but his attempt at a shot was blocked. Tresor Mbuyu nearly provided OCB its first goal as he got in behind the defense but his shot was blocked.

Despite OCB having the majority of the quality chances in the first half, it was FC Tucson that took advantage. In the 22nd minute, Luis Martinez beat Randy Mendoza down the right and played the ball across for an oncoming Guillermo Delgado. The striker simply steered the ball on goal and gave the visitors the lead.

They nearly doubled their lead in the 37th minute when Delgado attempted to play in Martinez, who was making a run on goal. Before the ball could reach the attacking midfielder, OCB goalkeeper Luca Mancuso stepped up and made the stop.

Mancuso wasn’t as lucky in first-half injury time as Delgado played Zach Wright a back heel, providing an opportunity on goal. Wright beat Mancuso to his near post, resulting in the game’s second goal.

Making things more difficult for the hosts, Mendoza was issued a straight red card in the 45th minute for a tough challenge.

While it took a while for both teams to get into the first half, the second half started quickly with both teams netting goals in the first 10 minutes. In the 54th minute, Jamael Cox played Delgado through on goal where the striker scored his second of the night.

Just two minutes later, OCB finally got on the board with a good run by Kobe Osei-Wusu. Receiving the ball on the left, his quick touch provided some space to take a shot on goal, beating FC Tucson goalkeeper Philip Ejimadu and cutting the deficit to 3-1.

“I got the ball out wide and I think there were one or two defenders at me and I just wanted to inspire our team, make something happen, and get a goal back,” Osei-Wusu said after the game. “I was running at the defenders, it was to give them a move, and then I was able to surprise the keeper near post.”

Following the goal, OCB found renewed energy as the hosts attempted to fight their way back into the game, despite being down a man. Diouf had three good attempts on goal in the final half hour that either went just wide or were blocked by Ejimadu. The closest they came was in the 78th minute when Sergio Costabile Elia played a dangerous ball through the box but the Young Lions were unable to find the final touch.

“FC Tuscon is one of the strongest teams in the league,” OCB Head Coach Fernando Jose De Argila Irurita said after the game. “We couldn’t have asked more from the kids. I congratulated them at the end of the game.”

The red card to Mendoza in the first half had a big impact on the game as the Young Lions played a man down for most of the match.

“We’ve been excessively punished by the cards,” the coach said. “We played a good team and the last 50 minutes we had them in their own field.”

Despite the loss, he said he was pleased with the performance of his team and the debuts of several players.

“I’m happy because of the performance of every player,” De Argila Irurita said. “This is the debut (for them) and they needed to have it.”

In the end, the deficit and being a man down was too much to come back from as OCB fell 3-1 in the team’s first game in USL League One.

The Young Lions held the advantage in possession (59.5%-40.5%) and shot attempts (12-11) but FC Tucson got more attempts on target (5-2). Discipline was also an issue for the Young Lions, as they were whistled for 17 fouls to Tucson’s 13 — at one point OCB had been called for 10 fouls to Tucson’s three — and the Lions saw five yellow cards and a red to just one yellow for the visitors.

OCB will return to the field Friday night when it hosts Toronto FC II at 7:30 p.m.