Orlando City B (0-1-0, 0 points) kicked off its 2020 USL League One season tonight with a 2-0 loss to South Georgia Tormenta FC (1-0-2, 5 points) in Statesboro, GA. The hosts, who already had two games played under their belts, dominated for most of the game, comfortably leading the Young Lions in possession and shots.
Orlando City’s focus on development was seen in the starting lineup as eight of the starters were draft picks or academy products. Third- and fourth-round picks in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, goalkeeper Austin Aviza and defender Nick O’Callaghan, started their first professional games. The team also featured six players from the academy. Joining 2019 OCB players Austin Amer, Jose Quintero, and Moises Tablante were Michael Halliday, Wilfredo Rivera, and Julian Kennedy.
This was a game of two halves as the teams defended well in the first half and it opened up during the second. In the first half, neither goalkeeper was really challenged. OCB goalkeeper Aviza was forced into a diving save in the 23rd minute by a Luca Mayr-Falten shot but no other shots gave the young goalkeeper any trouble.
OCB’s best chances in the first half came through 16-year-old midfielder Wilfredo Rivera. The Orlando City academy product was strong going forward and drew a pair of fouls just outside of the box. However, the Young Lions were unable to get either free kick on target, allowing Tormenta FC off the hook.
While the first half was largely played in the midfield, the game opened up in the second half. Tormenta FC nearly opened the scoring in the 53rd minute when quick passing by Pato Botello Faz and Mayr-Falten found Marco Micaletto free near the back post. Aviza showed his decisiveness and quickness by coming off his line to make the stop before Micaletto could get a shot on goal.
Two minutes later, it appeared as though the hosts had broken through. A free kick from outside of the box was blocked by Aviza but the follow-up shot was put away by Jordan Skelton. However, the assistant referee raised his flag for offside and OCB escaped.
In the 56th minute, Tormenta FC finally broke the deadlock. Nils Vinyals received the ball at the top of the box and unleashed a curling shot toward Aviza’s back post. The ball sailed just over the outstretched arm of Aviza, knocking off the bottom of the crossbar and going over the line. It was a well-deserved goal by the hosts as they had dominated the half to that point.
Tormenta FC continued to dominate possession and create chances following the goal but it was OCB that came closest to scoring. In the 69th minute, Quintero carried the ball into the box and found Tablante in front of goal. The midfielder connected with a low shot but it went just wide of the post, ending the Young Lions’ best chance of the night.
Tormenta immediately went on the attack and found its second goal less than a minute after OCB’s near miss. The Georgia-based team quickly moved the ball upfield, finding Mayr-Falten on the right. His low ball to the top of the box was reached by Vinyals who slid it into the corner for his second goal of the game.
The final score was well-deserved as Tormenta dominated the game. The Georgia side held nearly 62% of the possession and out-shot the Young Lions, 24-8. While nine of Tormenta’s shots were on target, OCB didn’t have any.
It was a difficult game for the visitors but there were some positives. Aviza played well in goal, making some excellent saves. Despite a couple of lapses in defense, it was a strong defensive performance by both O’Callaghan and Halliday. The most noticeable performance for OCB was Rivera. The teenager was all over the field and created problems for the Tormenta defense. Given OCB’s purpose of developing talent for the first team, it was good to see these performances by players whose MLS rights are owned by the club.
It was a tough night for OCB as the Young LIons were handled by Tormenta FC in a 2-0 loss. However, there were plenty of positives to build on with this game and the Young Lions will look to do that when they travel to New England Friday night to take on Revolution II at 7 p.m.