Orlando City B (1-6-3, 6 points) returned home after two matches away, but fell 1-0 to New England Revolution II (3-6-2, 11 points) today at Osceola County Stadium. An early second-half goal by Justin Rennicks was enough to down the Young Lions.
OCB has not scored a goal since the 30th minute against North Texas back on Sept. 3. That’s a drought of 330 minutes, including the last three consecutive games in their entirety.
It was an early start for this game, with kickoff coming just after 11 a.m. The early start time was at the request of the visiting Young Revs. While it was the visitors who requested the time, OCB Head Coach Neveleff thought it would be an advantage for his team.
“I thought we were going to do better because it’s our kind of weather,” Neveleff said. “It’s the time that we always train, so I was expecting something better.”
Neveleff made a few changes to the lineup for this match-up. First-team players Mason Stajduhar, Joey DeZart, and Jordan Bender were not included, while team captain Mateo Rodas and Raul Aguilera were on the bench. Goalkeeper Austin Aviza returned to the starting lineup and Michael Halliday wore the armband.
While possession was almost even in the first half, OCB had the best chances to take the lead in the first 45 minutes. Moises Tablante created multiple opportunities, creating space with the use of stepovers, but was unable to hit the target with any of his shots.
New England probably should’ve had a penalty just nine minutes into the game. Orlando Sinclair beat Jonathan Rosales to Connor Presley’s cross to the near post. The OCB defender reached out and appeared to pull Sinclair back, causing the forward’s attempt to go just wide of goal. However, referee Alex Billeter saw nothing wrong and awarded a goal kick to the hosts.
The best chance of the game for the Young Lions came in the 30th minute in a string of events that should’ve resulted in a goal. Austin Amer found Rosales on the right and the defender sent a beautiful ball toward goal. The cross was just over the head of Mason Lamb but eventually found Jose Quintero. The midfielder’s first shot was on goal but right at Joe Rice for the easy save.
The Revs had a quick start after the break, scoring just 28 seconds into the second half. Tiago Mendonca sent a ball towards the far post that found the head of Sinclair. The header was back across the box where Rennicks calmly collected it and put it past Aviza for the opening goal.
The Lions nearly equalized in the 52nd minute when a misplay by Jonathan Bell in the New England box created a chance. Rice came off his line but ended up in no-man’s land. Fortunately for the visitors, Wilfredo Rivera missed the open net.
With time winding down and OCB trailing 1-0, you would expect the Young Lions to have the majority of possession and chances but that wasn’t the case. New England held the majority of possession late and forced Aviza into multiple saves in the final minutes. A minute into injury time, OCB had an excellent chance to equalize as Kenji Tanaka centered a ball into space but there were no runs made by OCB so it went gently through the box and was cleared away by the Revs. It would end up being the Young Lions’ final chance to equalize.
While the first half was pretty even, New England dominated the second half. The visitors ended up with 55.4% possession in the game and out-shot the Young Lions, 18-15. The most telling stat of the game is that, while the Revs ended up with eight shots on target, only three of OCB’s 15 shots were on frame.
According to Neveleff, the first goal was always going to be the difference in the game.
“We were looking to score the goal because we felt if we scored a goal, we were going to break them down,” the head coach said after the game. “But we couldn’t and they scored and then everything — the heat, the goal against you, a lot of things in their mind, it all becomes uphill.”
The loss is OCB’s third in a row, the first three-game losing streak the team has had this season. It won’t get any easier for the Young Lions as now they head to South Carolina where they’ll take on the league leaders, and possibly not with everyone available.
“We need to go back and see who is healthy, who is not,” Neveleff said. “We’ve got a lot of players out this week, so hopefully we’ll get everybody available and we need to wait and see what we’re going to do.”
OCB will travel north to take on Greenville Triumph SC Friday night.