Orlando City B (0-3-2, 2 points) returned home tonight where the Young Lions played Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (2-3-1, 7 points) to a scoreless draw. It was the first clean sheet for the team but it once again was unable to find the back of the net.
For the first time this season, OCB Head Coach Fernando Jose De Argila Irurita displayed the same starting lineup in back-to-back games. The big note in the team sheet this week was the return of Will Bagrou. The striker was injured on April 12 in the final moments against South Georgia Tormenta FC with a concussion. After missing the last two games, his presence on the bench is a welcome sign as Ates Diouf remains sidelined with back spasms.
“In Dallas we played good,” Irurita said about putting the same team out as last week. “Will (Bagrou) was out for two or three weeks with a concussion so I preferred he started the second half.”
Once again, OCB held the majority of possession but was unable to come away with points. Holding 53% of the game’s possession, much of that in the second half, the Lions out-shot their opponents, 21-12. More than half of the team’s shots were taken from long distance and only four were on target.
OCB controlled the first 20 minutes of the game, creating several chances but none of which resulted in the opening goal. The team nearly scored in the 30th minute when Luc Granitur was sent through into the box, but the teenager was unable to beat Chattanooga Red Wolves goalkeeper Alex Mangels to the ball.
Three minutes later, Chattanooga nearly took the lead with a chance of its own. As Steven Beattie was able to get down the right, he found a sprinting Éamon Zayed, but the ball was just in front of the striker, allowing the Young Lions to escape without any damage.
OCB had its chances throughout the game, largely due to fouls committed by the opposition just outside of the box. The free kicks were taken by midfielder Serginho but he was unable to keep the shots down as they sailed over the crossbar.
“We are the team with second most shots on goal and now we’re going to be the first one, but we don’t score goals,” Irurita said. “I think the more shots a team has, the equation is easy.”
While the team once again struggled to capitalize on its opportunities, the Young Lions were as solid in the back as they have been this season, resulting in the team’s first clean sheet. While some of this was due to the play of Juliano Chade, the back four, which has remained consistent over the past few weeks, had a strong game. This was especially true in the second half when the Red Wolves were able to create space for Zayed, their most dangerous attacker. The 35-year-old had a pair of chances to give his team the lead but both were blocked by the strong defensive effort.
“We didn’t concede a goal on a set piece and we have already conceded five goals on set pieces this season,” Irurita said about the defensive performance. “Juliano has been for two weeks the best goalkeeper in the league but he’s been conceding goals. He won’t be the best goalkeeper of the week, but he didn’t concede a goal.”
While Chade didn’t have his best game of the year, it was his first clean sheet of the season.
“It’s a great achievement,” Chade said after the game. “All the games so far we conceded goals but we got the clean sheet as a team.
“All the team had a great game. Especially the center backs and the left and right backs. The whole team had a great game. Not only me.”
Gaining its second point of the season, OCB will now look to improve on the clean sheet and look to capitalize on scoring opportunities. The next opportunity for the Young Lions will be on Saturday, May 11, when they return to Texas to take on North Texas SC.