Orlando City B (1-11-3, 6 points) finished the 2020 USL League One season this afternoon with a 4-1 loss to Greenville Triumph SC (11-3-2, 35 points) at Osceola County Stadium. The loss gave OCB its eighth consecutive defeat to end its run in the USL, as the Young Lions will not make up the postponed match against Chattanooga.
This game ended the 2020 season for OCB and completed their existence in USL League One. While nothing has been officially announced yet, it is widely believed that OCB will be joining a new MLS reserve league to be launched next year. If so, several academy products on this year’s team should be returning for 2021.
“We played a very good team, a team that is playing for the championship next Saturday,” OCB Head Coach Marcelo Neveleff said after the game. “I think that we were there competing but we paid for some of the inexperience from our guys. At the end of the day that’s why they are here, to learn from it and hopefully when they are ready to move on to the next team, next level, the first team, they won’t make these mistakes.”
The most noticeable addition to today’s lineup was goalkeeper Javier Otero. The 17-year-old Orlando City Development Academy product has been on the bench most of the season but got his first start in this game. That moved Austin Aviza to the bench for the first time since Sept. 12.
While possession percentage was close, Greenville had far more chances and that showed up on the scoresheet.
OCB started the game well, creating a couple of early chances. Three minutes in, Moises Tablante played a nice ball across the box for Kenji Tanaka, the same combination that scored against the Richmond Kickers midweek. Tanaka got his head to the ball but sent it just wide of the far post.
After that chance, the visitors took over. Greenville got its first goal of the game in the 11th minute. Noah Pilato’s ball toward the back post found the foot of Lachlan McLean. The Triumph’s leading scorer sent the ball back across the box but it was too close to Otero. The teenager got his hand on it but only tipped the ball to Alex Morrell, who was sitting free of any defenders right behind Otero and in front of goal. That allowed Morrell to tap the ball into the wide open net with no Lions anywhere near.
The Triumph doubled their lead in the 26th minute through another defensive mistake by the Young Lions. A turnover by Wilfredo Rivera in the opposing half allowed the Triumph to break. Evan Lee played a nice ball across the stretched OCB defense for Morrell on the far side. The attacker cut back to his left to avoid the oncoming Juan Pablo Monticelli and fired on goal. The ball may have been heading into the far corner but Owen Guske came sliding in, knocking the ball into his own net to ensure Greenville had its second.
Just over 10 minutes into the second half, Greenville got its third goal of the afternoon. Franklin Carabali had a chance to clear a long Greenville ball forward on a break but he was unable to get a piece of it. That allowed Morrell to claim possession at the top of the box. Morrell played the ball toward the far end line for Paul Clowes, who found McLean charging toward the six-yard box. The Australian’s first touch was on goal and the visitors took a three-goal lead.
It didn’t look like OCB would get anything on this day but the Young Lions did get a goal back in the 73rd minute. A strong run by Teddy Ndje ended with a ball out wide to Julian Kennedy. The forward’s first touch was a cross into the middle and onto the head of second-half substitute Aleksandar Gluvacevic, who put it past Dallas Jaye, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
The Young Lions nearly got a second in the 79th minute when Tablante sent a cross into the box. Similar to the earlier OCB goal, Gluvacevic was charging into the six but this time the cross was just over his head.
For good measure, Greenville added one more goal in second-half injury time. Once again, it was OCB’s defense giving up too much space in the box. Omar Mohamed played a short pass to Morrell, who sprinted to the end line and played it back across goal. Receiving the ball on the far side, Clowes played a nifty backheel to Andrew Booth, who converted for the team’s fourth goal of the afternoon.
Greenville didn’t dominate possession, only possessing the ball 54% of the game, but the visitors had far more chances. The Triumph out-shot the Young Lions 20-8 and 12-2 in shots on target. The final score was a fair result given the amount of attacking possession the Triumph had compared to OCB.
Neveleff said that it’s the inexperience from the young players that makes the difference in these games.
“At the end of the day, once again, the experience of their players — some of them are 10 years older than Thomas Williams, for example, or Wilfredo Rivera — it comes into play,” he said. “That’s when they take advantage.”
In the end, it was a tough year for the Young Lions. It started out promising with a win in their second game and some draws. But they ended the year on an eight-game losing streak, finishing the 15-game season with just one win and three draws.