Orlando City B (1-5-3, 6 points) fell 2-0 to Fort Lauderdale CF (3-3-2, 11 points) tonight in South Florida. Goals in the opening minutes of each half were the difference as a 10-man OCB lost its fifth game of the season.
The OCB starting lineup saw the returns of captain Mateo Rodas and Raul Aguilera, who had been out with injuries. While Joey DeZart was with the first team at Exploria Stadium, Mason Stajduhar and Jordan Bender received the call by the second team for the third straight game, with both making the starting XI.
A steady rain soaked the field and the players throughout the game, causing problems for both teams. Whether it was handling the ball for a throw in, goalkeepers catching the ball, or players keeping their footing, it was a tough night for anyone looking to make a difference.
Fort Lauderdale started the game out strong, coming up with the first real chance. In just the fourth minute, Edison Azcona played Ricky Lopez-Espin through after the latter made a nice run. One-on-one with the goalkeeper, Stajduhar did well to come off his line and make the sliding stop.
Two minutes later, the Young Lions weren’t so lucky. Receiving the ball on the left side, Sami Guediri found Azcona inside the box. Sliding in between Jonathan Rosales and Franklin Carabali, neither defender picked him up as both were concentrated on the ball. That provided the necessary space for Azcona to pick out the far post, curling the ball beyond the reach of the diving Stajduhar for the opening goal.
OCB nearly got an equalizer in the 38th minute when Moises Tablante sent a cross into the box. Aleksandar Gluvacevic found some space between two Fort Lauderdale defenders, neither of which picked up the tall attacker. Gluvacevic attempted to send the ball back to the far post but it curled just over the crossbar. That’s the closest OCB would come to an equalizer in the first half.
Fort Lauderdale nearly doubled the lead in the 39th minute when a corner kick was headed in front of goal by Jason Bucknor, who had come on early in the game for the injured Andres Cardenas. Christian Makoun got his left foot on the ball with nobody but Mason Stajduhar in front of him but his shot sailed high of the goal.
After scoring just five minutes into the first half, the hosts did the same in the second. In the 50th minute, Eduardo Sosa received the ball right in front of goal with no defenders around but a heavy touch allowed Stajduhar to clear it away. A minute later, Lopez-Espin made no such error.
OCB’s back line, which had been shaky all game, allowed Lopez-Espin space while he made his run. A nice ball by Azcona was perfectly weighted, allowing Fort Lauderdale’s most dangerous player to reach it before Stajduhar could arrive. The striker tapped the ball around the OCB goalkeeper and slid it home for the second goal of the game.
OCB had its first real opportunity to get on the board in the second half in the 76th minute when Jose Quintero was put in on goal. However, a heavy touch allowed Andre Zuluaga-Silva to make the stop. Just after that, an attempt at a two-goal comeback increased in difficulty when OCB went down to 10 men.
After being cautioned in the 26th minute, Carabali was booked for a second time for a hard challenge on Ian Fray. Despite having been cautioned in the first half, referee Natalie Simon didn’t hesitate to pull out the second yellow, sending the OCB defender to an early shower.
With just 13 minutes left, down a man, and facing a two-goal deficit, OCB did hold some possession and create a couple of shots but nothing too much for the Zuluaga-Silva. In the end, it was a fair result as Fort Lauderdale dominated in every important statistic. The hosts held a commanding 60% possession, out-shot the Young Lions 17-8, and put eight shots on target to OCB’s four. The most important stat was that the Herons put two behind Mason Stajduhar while OCB only really challenged Andre Zuluaga-Silva once.
The Young Lions will have a week to recuperate from their second straight loss before they head to Virginia to take on the Richmond Kickers next Saturday night. They’ll be looking to get back on the right track and salvage something from this three-game road trip.