Orlando City B (1-8-3, 6 points) returns to action tonight as it travels west to face FC Tucson (5-6-4, 20 points) in Arizona. It’s the second and final time these two teams will face off during the 2020 USL League One season. It may also be the last meeting ever after it was announced Orlando City B will withdraw from the league after this season.
OCB was supposed to face Chattanooga Red Wolves SC last Saturday afternoon but the game was postponed after two members of the Red Wolves’ 40-person traveling party tested positive for COVID-19. The postponement means that OCB will end up going 10 days between games.
The most recent game played by the Young Lions was the makeup of another postponed game. OCB was supposed to face the Richmond Kickers in Virginia on Sept. 19 but the game was postponed after a member of OCB tested positive for COVID-19. The game was rescheduled and played on Oct. 7. While the Kickers dominated most of the game, it was one full of action with the Kickers awarded two penalties, the second of which was saved by Austin Aviza.
While the Young Lions fell in the game 2-1, the end of the match featured a bright spot as Wilfredo Rivera scored in injury time. It was the first OCB goal in over 510 minutes, dating back to Jose Quintero’s goal on Sept. 3. However, the goal wasn’t enough as the Young Lions lost their fifth straight match.
Tonight, OCB will take on FC Tucson for the second time this season. The first match-up was one to forget for the Young Lions. After defeating New England Revolution II 2-0 and drawing 1-1 with Fort Lauderdale CF, OCB was feeling confident. Tucson got off to a fast start when Azaad Liadi scored just six minutes into the game. OCB responded in the 16th minute with a penalty conversion by Mateo Rodas but that would be it for the hosts. Goals by Roberto Alarcon in the 21st minute and Liadi’s second in the 26th minute were too much to overcome. Shak Adams, who had two assists, scored the final goal in the 41st minute as the Young Lions fell 4-1 — their worst loss of the year.
While OCB has four games left including tonight’s, FC Tucson is heading into its final game of the 2020 season. After losing to the newest team in the league, Fort Lauderdale CF, on Sept. 26, Tucson has claimed points in each of its last three games. That includes a win over South Georgia Tormenta FC and draws with Forward Madison FC and Greenville Triumph SC. The club’s most recent game was a 2-2 draw against the league-leading Triumph last Saturday.
The player leading Tucson in goals is the same one who caused so much trouble for OCB in the first match-up. Adams has four goals in 11 games this year while Liadi, who netted a brace in the first meeting, sits on three goals in 14 appearances. A player that OCB was able to handle in the first match-up was Charlie Dennis, who leads Tucson in assists, with four, and chances created, with 29.
FC Tucson has used two goalkeepers interchangeably this season. Carlos Merancio returned after last season, when he was the team’s number one, but has shared the net with Amahl Knight. The latter is with the team on loan from San Diego Loyal SC in the USL Championship. Merancio has started in eight games for Tucson while Knight has started in seven. However, Knight has only conceded six goals while Merancio has conceded 13 times this year.
A major factor in this game could be the absence of OCB’s young star midfielder Moises Tablante. The academy product and carryover from the 2019 team was sent off against Richmond for a pair of yellow cards. His absence in the attack will put more pressure on Rivera to create chances for the Young Lions.
Most Recent Lineups
Carlos Merancio, Esteban Calvo, Jordan Pena, Samuel Biek, Niall Logue, Erik Virgen, Elivelton, Charlie Dennis, Azaad Liadi, Roberto Alarcon, Giovanni Ramos Godoy.
Austin Aviza, Jonathan Rosales, Moises Tablante, Franklin Carabali, Juan Pablo Monticelli, Raul Aguilera, Teddy Ndje, Wilfredo Rivera, Kenji Tanaka, Mason Lamb, Aleksandar Gluvacevic
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