MONTVERDE, FL — Orlando City B claimed its first win of the 2019 USL League One season tonight, defeating Toronto FC II, 2-0. A 42nd-minute counter attack goal by Moises Tablante and a second half penalty by Thiago Souza was the difference for the Young Lions (1-5-2, 5 points).
After tinkering with the lineup for the first few weeks of the season, OCB Head Coach Fernando De Argila has found his lineup, displaying the same starting 11 this week as he did last week in the team’s 4-1 loss in Texas. The only change in the team sheet this week was replacing Jordan Bender with Tanner Hummel on the bench.
The Young Lions had the best chances in this game, nearly taking the lead multiple times in the first half. In the 19th minute, Leonardo Simas played a long pass forward for Souza. The midfielder took his man inside before firing a shot from the top of the box. It appeared to be headed for the top right corner but Kevin Silva was able to get his fingertips to it, tipping it over the crossbar.
OCB had another chance in the 31st minute when a long ball by Nathan Simeon out of the back found Tablante on the right. Bringing it down well, Tablante played a cross for the sprinting Souza, who beat Dante Campbell to the ball, but the header went just wide of goal.
Two minutes later, it was Austin Amer finding Tablante on the right. Once again, it was well taken by the midfielder as he directed the ball toward goal. His shot beat the diving Silva but skipped just wide of the far post.
The Young Lions finally got on the board in the 42nd minute on a beautiful counter attack. A Jacob Shaffelburg cross was won by Rafael Santos, who quickly looked up and found Serginho making his way down field. The midfielder’s first touch was cross-field to a sprinting Tablante on the right. Taking his man inside, Tablante played his accurate shot to the far top post, beating Silva and giving OCB the lead.
Just a few minutes later, the Young Lions nearly doubled their lead. In the 44th minute, a long ball sprung Santos free on goal. As he approached the Toronto FC II penalty area, he was closed down by Reds defender Franco Ramos Mingo. The defender took down Santos, giving OCB a penalty while getting sent off in the process and putting TFC II down to 10 men.
Amer stepped up to take the kick with the chance to give OCB its first two-goal lead of the season but the poorly taken penalty was easily saved by Silva, keeping the lead at one.
OCB has had trouble playing with a lead this season, losing a one-goal lead twice this season. Tonight was no different as the team struggled to keep possession and avoid mistakes.
In the 68th minute, goalkeeper Juliano Chade played a short ball to Simeon, who was challenged by Toronto substitute Jayden Nelson. The pressure caused Simeon to lose possession to the oncoming Shaffelburg. The misplay in the back could’ve resulted in an equalizer if not for a mistouch by the midfielder.
Toronto’s inability to take advantage of OCB’s mistakes allowed the Young Lions to double their lead in the 75th minute. Tablante played a nice ball to William Bagrou, who had beaten Patrick Bunk-Andersen into the box. Coming over for support, Julian Dunn-Johnson took down Bagrou in the box for OCB’s second penalty.
After Amer missed the first penalty at the end of the first half, the team called on Souza to take the second. The 20-year-old made no mistake with his opportunity, placing it into the bottom left corner of the net and giving OCB its first two-goal lead of the season.
While the Young Lions squandered their previous leads, a two-goal advantage was too much for Toronto to overcome as OCB claimed its first win of the 2019 USL League One season.
“It was a game that started really good for us,” Argila said after the game. “We played really good. The guys played with a lot of personality. We had the ball, we created chances, and we scored on some of the chances that we had.”
Argila felt that his team displayed an intensity and poise in the second half that was missing in other games.
“We were more calm in the second half,” he said. “From the moment the players started, they never decreased intensity.”
Argila also praised the addition of Santos into the team.
“Rafael Santos is really important for the team because he knows how to control the tempo of the game,” said the coach. “He’s our coach on the field.”
The brightest star of tonight’s performance was 17-year-old Orlando City Academy product Tablante. He scored the first goal of the game and set up the penalty in the second half.
“Moises Tablante, if he wants, can be a player of the first level,” Argila said following his performance. “He is 17 years old, he has incredible technique, he is really fast, and he knows how to shoot the ball.”
The players were ecstatic about their first win of the season, ensuring that every staff member was involved in the celebratory photos. They will now attempt to build on this win as they prepare for a tough Richmond team on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Montverde Academy.