Orlando City B (1-3-3, 6 points) used three Orlando City first-team players in a 1-1 draw with North Texas SC (1-2-4, 7 points) this evening at Osceola County Stadium. A penalty for North Texas was cancelled out by Jose Quintero’s first professional goal in the first half, accounting for all the scoring.
The OCB starting lineup had some significant changes for this game. First-team goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar, midfielder Jordan Bender, and midfielder Joey DeZart entered the lineup for this game. Raul Aguilera was initially slated to start in the midfield but was replaced just before kickoff by Quintero.
“We didn’t give away too many chances, they just scored on a penalty,” Stajduhar said. “The defensive organization was pretty good, we can build off that and keep playing out of the back and keep building off of it.”
OCB nearly took the lead in the 12th minute when Mason Lamb found Wilfredo Rivera just outside the box. The forward’s second touch was a shot that forced North Texas goalkeeper Carlos Avilez into a one-handed diving save.
In the 24th minute, the first goal of the game came from the visitors. Collin Smith carried the ball toward the end line as Franklin Carabali attempted to shield it out of play. In his attempt to shield the ball, Carabali appeared to trip, causing the North Texas attacker to collapse to the ground. Coming in from behind the play, referee Natalie Simon pointed to the spot. Oscar Romero’s stutter step on his approach caused Stajduhar to commit to a dive and allowed Romero to softly play it to the other side for the opening goal.
Just six minutes after North Texas took the lead, OCB responded. Dribbling down the right sideline, Romero and Derek Waldeck closed in on Rivera, attempting to trap him in the corner. The 16-year-old was able to split the two defenders as the ball went free. Jose Quintero was the quickest to respond, taking over possession. The last-minute addition to the starting lineup moved the ball to his left foot and curled it into the far corner for the equalizer.
There were few good chances in the second half for either team. OCB had two chances that nearly resulted in goals in the final 45 minutes. In the 54th minute, Bender found Rivera on the North Texas side of the field. After carrying the ball forward, Rivera took a shot from distance, forcing Avilez into a diving two-handed save.
An even better chance came in the 86th minute when a cross by Michael Halliday found the head of Bender right in front of goal. With an open goal and no defenders around him, Bender’s header went just wide of the post. The midfielder collapsed to the ground in disbelief that he’d let the game’s best chance for a winner get away.
The second half might not have seen very many chances on goal, but it did see increased aggression. In the 49th minute, Justin Che ran right through Moises Tablante as he received the ball near midfield, resulting in a caution. OCB captain Mateo Rodas showed his aggression in the 76th minute when he lowered his shoulder and charged through Thomas Roberts. That also resulted in a yellow card by the referee.
In the end, the game was defined by missed opportunities by each team. There were plenty of shots as North Texas shot 18 times and OCB fired 13 times, but 17 of the 31 total shots were from outside the box. Only eight shots hit the target as both teams were under 30% in shooting accuracy.
“I think we did a very good job playing the last champions,” OCB Head Coach Marcelo Neveleff said. “We, especially in the first half, were the team that we want to see more and more often. At the end, we had the chance for the winning goal from Jordan [Bender]. That shows that we can play throughout 90 minutes and we would like to see more of the continuity in the game in the way that we played.
“I’m very pleased with the team, especially this was the first time this season, even though it’s a tie, that we got good results back to back.”
OCB won’t have much time to think about this one before the Young Lions take the field again. Their next game is on Sunday night when they travel west to take on USL League One newcomers Union Omaha for the first time.