Orlando City B (3-10-4, 13 points) continues its two-game road trip as the team travels up to Virginia where it will take on the Richmond Kickers (3-9-3, 12 points) tonight (7 p.m., ESPN+).
It’s been a tough run for OCB since the last time it played Richmond. The Young Lions have lost five of their last six games after falling to Greenville Triumph SC 1-0 Saturday night. Tresor Mbuyu saved the team from a six-game losing streak with his last-minute goal on July 10 as the Young Lions pulled out a 1-1 draw against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC.
Tonight, OCB will look to do something that it’s only done once so far this season: earn a point away from home. In the six previous away games, the Young Lions were only able to escape with a point on May 31 when they drew 2-2 against FC Tucson. That occurred in the third game of the team’s four-game point streak.
If OCB is to break out of its current slump, tonight could be the night it happens. Richmond is the only team in USL Leauge One with as few points as OCB, though the Kickers have two games in hand. They also have the second-most losses in the league with nine, one fewer than OCB.
There are four former Lions on this Richmond side, with the most recognizable player being Dennis Chin. The Rollins College product played four years for the Lions, making 103 appearances. He currently sits fourth all-time in appearances for the club behind Luke Boden, Kevin Molino, and Cristian Higuita. He’s also fourth in all-time goals, sitting behind Cyle Larin, Dom Dwyer, and Molino.
Forward Joe Gallardo and defender Scott Thomsen are both Kickers this year after playing for OCB in 2017. Gallardo made seven appearances for the club while Thomsen made 15. Eli Lockaby came out of the club’s academy before attending Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Similar to OCB, it’s been a tough year for the Kickers in 2019. The team currently sits in dead last in USL League One with 11 goals, tied with Greenville Triumph SC. However, they’ve only taken 136 shots, fewest in the league, so their conversion rate is 11%, just ahead of OCB’s 10%.
The Kickers are led offensively by Gallardo, who leads the team in goals (four), shots (29), and chances created (21) in 15 games. Chin currently sits second on the team with two goals while Lockaby is tied with four other players with one.
Unlike Greenville or South Georgia Tormenta, which struggle offensively but are stellar defensively, Richmond has struggled on both ends of the field. Kickers goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald has conceded 21 goals this season and has accumulated five clean sheets.
This will be the seventh time that OCB has faced the Kickers in the team’s three-year existence. Back when both teams were in the USL, the Young Lions went 2-2-1 against the Kickers, winning both of those games at City Stadium in Richmond, VA.
The lone time the two teams met this year was on May 22 at Montverde Academy. The Young Lions scored early through Moises Tablante and doubled their lead with a wonderful goal by Serginho in the 27th minute. Lockaby got one back for Richmond 10 minutes before the break and Joshua Hughes equalized in the 80th. In the end, it was an 85th-minute penalty conversion by Thiago Souza that sealed the 3-2 win for OCB.
Helping OCB tonight is that Richmond will be slightly shorthanded. Midfielder Jannik Eckenrode, who has played in seven games this season with three starts, was sent off with a pair of yellow cards in the team’s 2-0 loss against North Texas SC last weekend. That results in a one-game suspension which will be served this weekend.
While both of these teams appear to be out of any playoff contention, this will be a battle to stay out of last place in the 10-team league. With one point separating the two, the loser will occupy the bottom spot of the table.
Most Recent Lineups
Orlando City B (7/13 at Greenville Triumph SC)
Christian Herrera; Wilfred Williams, Randy Mendoza, Brandon John, Leonardo Simas; Tresor Mbuyu, Austin Amer, Jordan Bender, Thiago Souza; Ates Diouf, William Bagrou.
Richmond Kickers (7/13 vs North Texas SC)
Akira Fitzgerald; Ivan Magalhaes, Wahab Ackwei, Conor Shanosky, Matthew Bolduc; Maximiliano Rodriguez; Joe Gallardo, Gregory Boehme, Jannik Eckenrode, Mutaya Mwape; Dennis Chin.
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