Orlando City B (1-9-3, 6 points) returns home this morning as the Young Lions start their final homestand against the Richmond Kickers (7-5-2, 23 points). Facing one of the league’s top teams, the Young Lions will look to claim some more points before the end of the season.
OCB comes into this game having lost six straight games and is fresh off a disappointing loss to FC Tucson Saturday night. A stellar performance by starting goalkeeper Austin Aviza gave the Young Lions a chance to steal a point late but it wasn’t enough as the team in purple fell, 2-0.
This morning, OCB will face one of the best teams in USL League One and a club with a chance to make it to the championship game. The Kickers are currently sitting in third —three points behind Union Omaha for the final spot in this year’s championship game. Including today’s contest, the Kickers have two games remaining while Omaha has one left.
While the Kickers still have a chance to make the final, they’ve struggled down the stretch, losing three of their last four games. The only points they’ve claimed in the month of October were three points against OCB on Oct. 7. That game also saw OCB’s only goal since Sept. 3 — a late strike by Wilfredo Rivera.
Despite being on the road, this game is coming at the right time for the Kickers. The Young Lions have struggled offensively the second half of the season, only scoring one goal in their last six games. However, they haven’t conceded many goals, giving up no more than two goals in any of those games.
The Kickers are not much different than the team OCB played just a couple of weeks ago. Emiliano Terzaghi is the reigning USL League One Player of the Month and has been excellent for the Kickers this season, scoring 10 goals in 14 games. Former Lion Ryley Kraft has also been terrific this season, adding two goals to his team-leading four assists.
The last time these two teams faced off, the Young Lions were able to keep Terzaghi off the board and Kraft from creating many chances. While that might seem to have helped their chances of at least gaining a point, the Kickers’ depth kicked in. Jonathan Bolanos stepped into the goal scorer’s role, netting a brace on the way to a 2-1 win. Those are Bolanos’ only two goals of the season.
If the Young Lions are to get anything from this game, they’ll need to keep it close. A superior team, the Kickers outshot OCB 16-4 (7-1 on target) in their first match-up. However, that one shot was Rivera’s goal. Had Bolanos not scored his second goal late in the first half, it could’ve been enough for OCB to claim a point.
The Young Lions will need to be more disciplined this time around. In the first match-up, the Kickers were awarded two penalties. In the 43rd minute, Franklin Carabali took down Bolanos in the box, which the midfielder converted. In the 89th minute, Daniel Rosario took down Oalex Anderson for the hosts’ second penalty. Aviza was up to the task on the second attempt, saving the penalty by Stanley Alves.
OCB’s attempted comeback was also hindered by the team going down to 10 men in the 68th minute. Midfielder Moises Tablante was deployed at left back in that game, a position he hadn’t played at the professional level. Already down two goals, a pair of bookings saw the 19-year-old playmaker given his marching orders with 22 minutes remaining.
After missing the weekend’s game in Tucson, OCB will certainly be helped by the addition of Tablante. However, the Lions might still be missing some key players. Over the weekend, the club was missing team captain Mateo Rodas and playmaker Raul Aguilera — two players who have been hindered by injuries this season. Playing an older and more experienced team, OCB will be somewhat shorthanded heading into this contest.
If the Young Lions hope to claim any more points in their final USL League One season, this could be their last chance. The league has yet to announce a makeup date for the team’s postponed game against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC and the only other game on the schedule is against league-leading Greenville Triumph SC. However, it will be a tall task against a team with so much to play for.
Most Recent Lineups
Austin Aviza, Jonathan Rosales, Juan Pablo Monticelli, Owen Guske, Thomas Williams, Austin Amer, Adam Ozeri, Jose Quintero, Aleksandar Gluvacevic, Wilfredo Rivera, Kenji Tanaka.
Akira Fitzgerald, Matthew Bolduc, Scott Thomsen, Kyle Venter, Ivan Magalhaes, Victor Falck, Jonathan Bolanos, Ryley Kraft, Emilinao Terzaghi, Oalex Anderson, Luke Pavone.
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