Orlando City B (3-5-3, 12 points) will be looking to win its fourth straight home game and gain points in its fifth straight game when it welcomes FC Tucson (3-4-3, 12 points) to Montverde Academy tonight.
OCB is in the middle of an unprecedented run for the club, having won three of its last four games. After a 2-0 win over Toronto FC II and a 3-2 win over the Richmond Kickers at home, the Young Lions drew FC Tucson 2-2 in Arizona in an exhilarating game on May 31. They returned home last week, where they defeated Forward Madison FC 2-1, with two spectacular goals by Rafael Santos and Thiago Souza, landing both players on the USL League One Team of the Week — Souza was named the league’s Player of the Week.
After the draw with OCB less than two weeks ago, FC Tucson hosted the Richmond Kickers Saturday night and was held to a scoreless draw. Offensively, Tucson continues to be led by Devyn Jambga, who has three goals to his name this season. Defensively, it’s all about goalkeeper Phillip Ejimadu. The Los Angeles FC loanee kept OCB from winning in Tucson with a fantastic save on Santos and recorded his third clean sheet of the season against Richmond.
This will be the third time that these two teams have faced off this season. The first came in the opening game of the season, where OCB was beaten 3-1. The damage was done by Guillermo Delgado, who scored twice, and OCB defender Randy Mendoza who was sent off just before halftime.
The most recent game between these two was a thrilling game in Tucson. Santos scored the opening goal just before halftime off a free kick. Tucson responded in the 58th minute with a controversial goal by Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu as substitute Koby Osei-Wusu made his way onto the field. José Terrón gave the home side the lead in the 73rd minute before Osei-Wusu equalized in the 78th minute off a mistake by Ejimadu.
This is a key game for both teams as there is currently a logjam in the middle of the table. Five teams currently sit on 12 points, just one point behind Lansing Ignite FC, which holds the final playoff spot.
It will be difficult for OCB as the team will be without their captain, Santos, who suffered a leg injury Friday night. The team’s current form can be largely attributed to his recent inclusion in the starting lineup due to his leadership, skill, and experience.
The question for the Young Lions this week will be who will step into that leadership role. It will likely be Osei-Wusu, who captained the team in the first few games and can be a like-for-like change replacing Santos. Offensively, the team may also depend more on Souza, who is tied with Osei-Wusu for the team lead with three goals.
Most Recent Lineup
Orlando City B (6/7 vs. Forward Madison FC)
Christian Herrera; Randy Mendoza, Matheus Silva, Nathan Simeon, Leonardo Simas; Austin Amer; Thiago Souza, Ates Diouf, Serginho, Jordan Bender; Rafael Santos.
FC Tucson (6/8 vs. Richmond Kickers)
Phillip Ejimadu; Terrón, Lamar Batista, Kyle Venter, Luke Hauswirth; Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Erik Virgen; Devyn Jambga, Jamael Cox, Zach Wright; Jordan Jones.
How to Watch
The 7:30 p.m. kickoff from Montverde Academy can be streamed on ESPN+ domestically or internationally on YouTube. For rapid reaction and live updates, following @ManeLandSean on Twitter, as we’ll be live tweeting Orlando City’s MLS side in the U.S. Open Cup on the @TheManeLand account.
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