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Orlando City B vs. Chicago Fire II: Final Score 2-0 as Jack Lynn’s Brace Leads Young Lions to Victory

OCB opened its first MLS NEXT Pro season with a victory on two goals by Orlando City’s 2022 first-round SuperDraft pick.

Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Jack Lynn scored a brace in his competitive debut — both off assists from Wilfredo Rivera — and goalkeeper Javier Otero had a huge game, leading OCB to a 2-0 win at Osceola Heritage Park in the team’s MLS NEXT Pro debut. Both teams finished with 10 men, but it was OCB (1-0-0, 3 points) that had a strong second half to give Head Coach Martin Perelman his first win with the club.

“We’re happy to win,” Perelman said after the match. “We’re happy because our young players especially had their first experience in a professional league and also because of the performance of the players who’ve come from the first team. Of course we have a lot to improve, with many mistakes. The game was without balance and we don’t like that but OK, it’s the first game. And it’s good to start winning.”

Perelman’s first lineup of the season featured Otero in goal behind a back line of Nick Taylor, Brandon Hackenberg, David Boccuzzo, and Alex Freeman. Erick Gunera-Calix and Diego Pareja played central midfield behind Gonzalo Agostoni-Chagas, Rivera, and Moises Tablante, with Lynn up top.

The Young Lions were sloppy throughout the first half and gave up the far better scoring chances between the two teams, as they struggled to find ways through the Fire’s press. Homegrown defender Freeman had a giveaway in the opening moments that led to a shot from Alex Monis but it skipped wide of goal. Hackenberg turned it over in the third minute and that led to a chance but the shot was sent right at Otero without much pace.

The Young Lions worked their way into the match slowly and Agostoni-Chagas tried a shot from distance in the sixth minute, but it deflected out for a corner. On the ensuing set piece, OCB got a header toward goal but it was cut out and the Fire went on the counterattack. Josh Penn, who was a dangerous player throughout the opening half, forced a good save from Otero on the other end. Otero again denied Penn in the 11th minute on a good chance.

In the 17th minute, the Young Lions should have created some kind of danger on a transition opportunity but the Chicago defense did well to prevent both Lynn and Agostini-Chagas to get a clear-cut chance with timely challenges.

Otero again made a big save in the 22nd as Chicago continued to slip in between Orlando defenders.

Lynn had the best chance of the opening half for Orlando, slipping in behind the defense. With only the goalkeeper to beat, the 2022 SuperDraft selection skied his shot over the bar in the 27th minute.

“You’re never going to put away every chance,” Lynn said about the miss. “So, I think when I missed that one (in) the first half, I think ‘just keep your head high and know that another chance is on its way.’ And, you know, when the opportunity presented itself, I took ‘em, so I was happy with that.”

Chicago was forced into a first-half sub moments later, bringing on Justin Reynolds for Andre Reynolds. That ended up being a significant moment in the first half.

After Otero made two more big saves on Penn in the 35th and 36th minutes, Justin Reynolds, who had only been on the pitch for five minutes, saw straight red for fouling Rivera near midfield, denying the Orlando attacker a goal-scoring opportunity in transition.

Down to 10 men didn’t alter the rest of the opening half, however, as OCB continued giving up more opportunities than it generated. Penn sent a weak shot toward Otero in first-half stoppage time on the last opportunity for either side and the teams went to the break scoreless.

Chicago out-shot OCB 13-8 (7-0 on target) in the first half, while the Young Lions won more corners (4-2), kept more possession (54.5%-45.5%), and passed more accurately (78.2%-72.1%). The Fire blocked six of Orlando’s eight shot attempts.

OCB came out of the locker room better in the second half and found a breakthrough just five minutes after the restart. Rivera’s cross on a free kick found Lynn in front and the first-round pick sent a strong, low header into the net for the club’s first ever MLS NEXT Pro goal. The Young Lions led 1-0 at the 50-minute mark.

“I’m buzzing,” Lynn said after the game. “It’s always great to start the year with a win and I couldn’t be happier.”

A minute after Lynn’s goal, Nick Taylor was able to sneak up the left side and send a shot on goal, forcing a good save by Fire II goalkeeper Mihajlo Miskovic.

The Fire nearly pulled a goal back in the 54th minute, but Otero made another big stop after OCB’s defense turned the ball over in their own defensive right corner.

Tablante sent a shot off target from the left corner of the box in the 59th minute as the Young Lions looked to put the game away. Unfortunately, it was the Fire getting the game’s next big break. Gunera-Calix, who had picked up a soft yellow in the first half, received his second booking in the 63rd minute, conceding a dangerous free kick just outside the area. Perelman didn’t like either call.

“I think those were a mistake of the referee,” he said. “For me, the first yellow card was no yellow card. The second, I think, is not even a foul.”

Otero made a save on Victor Bezerra on the set piece but Chicago scored on the rebound. However, the offside flag saved the Young Lions and preserved OCB’s 1-0 lead.

Orlando got two golden opportunities to put the game away as the second half wore on but couldn’t do it. Rivera was in alone in the 68th minute but couldn’t beat Miskovic. Tablante tried to track down the rebound but couldn’t get a clean look at goal as the defense arrived.

In the 76th, it was Lynn in alone on Miskovic, but again the goalkeeper came up with a huge 1-v-1 save in the box to keep it a one-goal game.

Lynn made amends in the 87th minute. Taking another through ball from Rivera, the SuperDraft pick buried a shot inside the far post to make it 2-0, putting the game out of reach.

“He put two balls on a platter for me today, so I couldn’t ask for much more out of him,” Lynn said of Rivera’s assists.

Substitute Alejandro Granados Torres tried to make it 3-0 on the cusp of stoppage time, but his shot from the left skipped wide of the right post. After another big stop by Otero on a deflected shot in the 92nd minute — giving him nine saves in the match — Tablante went for goal late but saw his shot saved at the near post. That was it for the scoring chances and OCB had its first win of the season.

Chicago finished with more shots (17-15) and shots on target (9-5). Orlando City B held more possession (53.9%-46.1%), and passed more accurately (78.4%-72.2%). Each team finished with four corners.

“I think the team did a great job,” Perelman said. “It is not easy to start a season, especially it’s not easy to start a new league. So these players, most of them, they did their first game (as a) professional in their lives all together. We will try to work to teach them to be more balanced, and that’s it, but I think that the players did their job. They did what we trained.”


The Young Lions will host New York City FC II on Sunday, April 3 in their next match.