Orlando City B (1-1-1, 4 points) returns to action tonight as the Young Lions host FC Tucson (1-3-0, 3 points). They’ll be looking to get back into the win column and build on a modest two-game unbeaten streak (1-0-1) before heading back out on the road.
After a difficult opening to the season against South Georgia Tormenta FC, OCB got its first win of the 2020 season Aug. 7 against New England Revolution II. The Young Lions followed that up with a 1-1 draw against Fort Lauderdale CF Friday night.
Friday night’s game was delayed by nearly two and a half hours just 11 minutes in when lightning entered the area. Shortly after the two teams returned to the field, the team’s high press forced Fort Lauderdale into a turnover and Moises Tablante set up Wilfredo Rivera for the game’s opening goal. It was Tablante’s third assist and Rivera’s second goal in the last two games.
Following the 22nd-minute goal by Rivera, OCB turned the tide of the game, controlling more possession and creating most of the chances. It appeared as though any more goals would be scored by the hosts. But in the 38th minute, a mistake by usually trustworthy goalkeeper Austin Aviza resulted in the equalizer. The 2020 MLS SuperDraft selection by Orlando City took a heavy touch on a back pass, then knocked it into his own net off Ricky Lopez-Espin for the tying goal. There were fewer chances in the second half as the two teams settled for a 1-1 draw.
As expected, Tablante has been the most dangerous player for the Young Lions this year. He’s had the assist on all three of OCB’s goals this season. The play of 16-year-old forward Rivera has also been impressive, having scored two of the team’s goals. They’ll be depended upon tonight if the Lions want to claim all three points.
Tonight’s opponent for OCB will be FC Tucson. The two teams played four times last season — twice in Arizona and twice at Montverde Academy. After opening the season with a 3-1 loss against Tucson last season, they played to an exciting 2-2 draw in Arizona two months later. The final two games last year were 2-1 and 3-1 wins by Tucson.
Similar to OCB, FC Tucson will be largely unrecognizable to last year’s team. While some players have returned, many of the team’s key starters have moved elsewhere. One player that will be recognizable to OCB fans is defender Jordan Hill. The 23-year-old played in 15 games last year and started 13 for the Young Lions.
It’s been a tough start for FC Tucson this season, as it has only claimed points in one of its four games. That was in the team’s first game, when Tucson won 2-1 over Fort Lauderdale in South Florida. Since then, Tucson has added a 1-0 loss to Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, a 2-1 loss to Union Omaha, and a 2-1 loss to the Richmond Kickers.
The primary attackers on FC Tucson are Azaad Liadi and Shak Adams, who lead the team with seven shots each. Both players have one goal on the season, which leads the team along with Adrian Valenzuela and Erik Virgen. On the defensive side, Amahi Knight started the first two games this season in goal as starter Carlos Valdez recovered from a groin injury. The starter returned to action two weeks ago and is expected to be in goal again tonight in Kissimmee.
After a quality win in New England, OCB will feel like it let another get away Friday night. The Young Lions will be looking to get back in the win column when they welcome FC Tucson to Kissimmee for the first time this evening.
Most Recent Lineups
Orlando City B
Austin Aviza, Michael Halliday, Mateo Rodas, Nick O’Callaghan, Thomas Williams, Raul Aguilera, Juan Pablo Monticello, Jose Quintero, Wilfredo Rivera, Moises Tablante, Julian Kennedy.
Carlos Merancio Valdez, Esteban Calvo, Derrick Silva, Charles Booth, Niall Logue, Raheem Sommersall, Roberto Alarcon, Elivelton Oliveira, Erik Virgen, Shak Adams, Giovanni Ramos Godoy.
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