After a disappointing home stand that saw Orlando City B (0-3-1, 1 point) take a single point from four games, the Young Lions travel to Texas to take on North Texas SC (2-0-0, 6 points).
A home-heavy schedule saw OCB begin the 2019 USL League One season with four consecutive home games. The first two losses saw the team lose a man to a red card, handing the game to the opposition. The Young Lions took the lead in the latter two games, but gave up the leads in both, drawing with South Georgia Tormenta FC 1-1 and losing 2-1 to Forward Madison FC. The winless home stretch sees OCB sitting last in the league.
Today, OCB travels to Frisco, TX where it will take on North Texas SC, the developmental team of FC Dallas. Similar to OCB, North Texas SC has a very young roster, largely made up of FC Dallas academy products. In fact, today’s opposition is slightly younger than OCB at just over 19 years of age. Unlike OCB, North Texas SC has gotten off to a roaring start in its first season of existence.
While OCB started the season with games in four consecutive weeks, North Texas SC has only played two games to date, experiencing a week off between each game. Playing both games at Toyota Stadium, the home of the club’s first team, North Texas defeated a pair of the league’s independent teams, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC 3-2 and Forward Madison FC 1-0.
The star for North Texas SC has been FC Dallas academy product Ricardo Pepi. The 16-year-old forward has already scored four goals in the team’s first two games, including a hat trick against Chattanooga. Scoring all of the team’s goals so far this season, Pepi will be the biggest concern for OCB, which has yet to complete a clean sheet.
While North Texas SC comes into the game having scored four goals in two games, OCB has struggled offensively. Yet to score more than one goal in each of the first four games, the Young Lions have conceded multiple goals in three of those games. When they have found the lead, they’ve been unable to hold onto the advantage.
While the team’s leading scorer, Koby Osei-Wusu, will be available for selection, the team will miss the other two forwards with significant minutes. Will Bagrou suffered a concussion against South Georgia Tormenta FC which is expected to keep him out for a least another week or two. Ates Diouf, who scored against Tormenta FC, came off against Forward Madison last week with a lower back injury diagnosed as paraspinal spasms and will miss tonight’s game.
Other injuries for the Young Lions include Jahlane Forbes, who continues to miss time due to a right rectus femoris strain, and Brandon John. OCB was anxious to get John into the team as he would be one of the older players on the team at 24 and one of the few with professional experience. However, the defender has been sidelined with a torn left ACL.
Facing a team near the top of the table for their first away game will be a tough task for the Young Lions, but coming away with points might provide a boost for what’s been a slow start to the season.
Most Recent Lineups
Orlando City B (4/19 vs Forward Madison FC)
Juliano Chade, Leonardo Simas, Randy Mendoza, Nathan Simeon, Matheus Silva, Serginho, Koby Osei-Wusu, Ates Diouf, Luc Granitur, Thiago Souza, Steven Hernandez.
North Texas SC (4/13 vs Forward Madison FC)
Carlos Avilez, Bryan Reynolds, John Nelson, Brecc Evans, Callum Montgomery, Brandon Servania, Arturo Rodriguez, Alfusainey Jatta, Ricardo Pepi, Oscar Romero, Ronaldo Damus.
How to Watch
The 5:50 p.m. kickoff from Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX can be streamed on ESPN+ domestically or on YouTube internationally. For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @manelandsean on Twitter.
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