Orlando City B (1-4-3, 6 points) returns to action tonight, traveling south to take on Fort Lauderdale CF (2-3-2, 8 points). This will be the second time that the two teams have met, the first ending in a 1-1 draw in Kissimmee.
While Orlando City and Inter Miami are facing off at Exploria Stadium, their developmental squads will be meeting in Fort Lauderdale. The first time the two teams met, lightning stopped play just 11 minutes into the game. Upon resumption, a first-half goal by Wilfredo Rivera was canceled out by a mistake by Austin Aviza, allowing Ricky Lopez-Espin to claim the equalizer.
OCB is coming off a tough 1-0 loss to Union Omaha on Sunday night. While the Young Lions were out-shot, the two teams had the same number of shots on target. The only difference was Evan Conway getting his head on a Devin Boyce cross in the 43rd minute. The close loss away from home came after the Young Lions had drawn 1-1 twice at Osceola County Stadium against South Georgia Tormenta FC and North Texas SC.
The attack still largely continues to run through Moises Tablante and Rivera. However, the connection through the midfield has been going through Jordan Bender since he joined the team for the last two games. If Bender is with the team in Fort Lauderdale, he’ll be a focal point going forward again tonight.
Defensively, Aviza lost his starting spot after a bad mistake against Tormenta FC cost the Young Lions two points. Mason Stajduhar, who had been on OCB’s roster before but had yet to make an appearance in three previous seasons, took over and has played the last two games. Considering he’s the third goalkeeper for the first team and still just 22 years old, the Homegrown Player could receive more minutes for OCB this season for experience.
Due to OCB starting its season later than Fort Lauderdale, it has played more games than its competition since the last time the two have met. While OCB has played five games since Aug. 14, Fort Lauderdale has only played three times. The Herons have gone 1-1-1 in those games with a win against North Texas SC, a loss against Greenville Triumph SC, and a draw against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC.
Lopez-Espin continues to be the focal point of the Fort Lauderdale attack. His team-leading 19 shots are 13 ahead of Eduardo Sosa’s second most. He’s also the only player on the team with multiple goals this year, scoring five in seven appearances. Despite only playing in four games so far this season, Sosa has been the setup man for the Herons, recording a team-leading three assists and creating seven chances — second most on the team behind Sami Guediri.
With Dylan Castanheira in goal for six of its seven games, Fort Lauderdale is one of two teams not to have a clean sheet yet. While it has yet to keep an opponent off the score sheet, it’s held the opposition to one goal in four different games. Its 10 conceded goals ranks sixth in the league, three better than OCB’s 13.
OCB will once again be without Nick O’Callaghan, who is out with a lower body injury, and might be without Mateo Rodas and Raul Aguilera. In the last two games, Stajduhar, Joey DeZart, and Bender have joined OCB. These three could be in the lineup again tonight if they’re not needed on the first team.
Most Recent Lineups
Fort Lauderdale CF
Andre Zuluaga-Silva, Brian Rosales, Sami Guediri, Ian Fray, Ethan Hardin, Servando Carrasco, Blaine Ferri, Christian Makoun, Ricky Lopez-Espin, Felipe Valencia, Edison Azcona.
Orlando City B
Mason Stajduhar, Jonathan Rosales, Juan Pablo Monticelli, Franklin Carabali, Thomas Williams, Joey DeZart, Jordan Bender, Jose Quintero, Mason Lamb, Moises Tablante, Wilfredo Rivera.
How to Watch
The 8 p.m. kickoff from Inter Miami CF Stadium in Fort Lauderdale can be streamed on ESPN+ domestically or on YouTube internationally. We will not be live tweeting this match-up, unfortunately.
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