Orlando City B (1-1-1, 5 points) traveled south for its first road game of the season against Inter Miami II (2-0-1, 7 points). One goal in each half by Miami saw OCB fall for the first time this season, with the hosts winning 2-0. Emerson Rodriguez and Shanyder Borgelin scored the goals.
Martin Perelman only made one change from the starting lineup that drew 2-2 with NYCFC II last weekend. The only change to the team was the addition of the highly touted center back Quembol Guadalupe. The teenager replaced David Boccuzzo, who started the first two games of the season.
The lineup once again featured five first-team players in Alex Freeman, Thomas Williams, Joey DeZart, Wilfredo Rivera, and Jack Lynn. Williams, DeZart, and Lynn were all on the bench for Orlando City’s 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire Saturday afternoon but didn’t get into the game for the senior side. All three made it to Fort Lauderdale and were in Perelman’s starting lineup.
Inter Miami II was the better team early and late in the game, while OCB dominated the middle portion of the contest. In the end, it was a lack of finishing the doomed the Young Lions, as Miami was more clinical in front of goal.
Miami got the first chance of the game in the sixth minute. OCB defender Brandon Hackenberg did well defensively to win a throw-in on the left. However, the ensuing throw was to Diego Pareja and the midfielder’s bad touch ended up with Edison Azcona. It seemed as though Azcona would give the hosts the early lead, but his shot was right at Javier Otero.
OCB gave Miami another chance with some poor possession in the 12th minute. A Williams foul gave Miami a free kick, from which the Young Lions gained control. However, they quickly gave it away again at the top of their own box. Fortunately, the hosts weren’t able to do anything with it.
Miami finally converted on a chance in the 17th minute. A poor pass by Nick Taylor gave Miami the ball near midfield. Romeo Beckham ended up with the ball, playing it to Bryce Duke in the middle of the field. The newly signed player from LAFC darted up an empty midfield, eventually finding Rodriguez open on the left. Poor tracking by Freeman allowed the attacker to get behind the OCB defense and play the ball past Otero and inside the far post for the opening goal.
The Young Lions had few opportunities in the opening minutes but got more into the game around the 26th minute. That’s when Rivera got OCB its second shot of the game and its first shot on target. Unfortunately, the shot was right at CJ dos Santos, who made the easy save.
In the 31st minute, the visitors got another chance through Erick Gunera. The defender came on for Hackenberg in a surprise substitution in the 19th minute and took his first chance on goal from distance. It initially appeared to be heading wide but curved toward goal and forced dos Santos to block it away.
OCB came close to an equalizer again in the 39th minute when Taylor’s low cross was searching for Lynn near goal. However, the cross was blocked by Ethan Hardin and Miami was able to clear.
After OCB had taken control of the game, Miami finally got a decent chance in the 44th minute. Quick play between forwards Rodriguez and Borgelin nearly resulted in the former doubling the lead. However, he wasn’t able to reach the return pass as it went out of play for a goal kick.
Late in the first half, the rivalry started to show as things got a bit feisty. It started when Williams knocked Beckham to the ground with his shoulder after Beckham appeared to have gone over the end line. It continued three minutes into injury time when Freeman was successful in a fair challenge from behind on Rodriguez.
The first-half goal scorer wasn’t happy with the challenge and immediately took down Freeman, receiving a yellow card. The second foul resulted in pushing and shoving as Rivera and Moises Tablante came to their teammate’s defense. Eventually things settled down and the game reached halftime.
Despite trailing 1-0, OCB actually had the better of the first half. The Young Lions led in possession (53.6%-46.4%), shots (5-2), passes (192-170), passing accuracy (80.2%-72.3%), corners (3-1), and successful crosses (4-1). The main reason for the score was that Miami put both shots on target and OCB only put two of their five first half chances on frame.
Similar to the first half, Miami got out to a quick second half start. Less than a minute in, Borgelin took a shot on target from outside the box. However, Otero was there to make the stop.
In the 52nd minute, OCB got its first good chance of the second half when Rivera’s cross found the head of Williams. The Homegrown center back attempted to flick the ball towards the far post but it went harmlessly out of play.
Miami responded by doubling the lead in the 55th minute. It started when Borgelin attempted a shot inside the box but Williams did well to close him down and block it out for a corner. The ensuing Beckham ball was to the back post, where Borgelin had beaten Freeman. The 20-year-old Haitian international got his head to the cross, putting it past Otero and Miami went up 2-0.
Now down a pair, the Young Lions tried to respond quickly to get back into the game. In the 57th minute, a Rivera free kick found the foot of Freeman sprinting towards goal. The center back got his foot to the ball but it was blocked wide.
Miami was unable to clear the ensuing corner kick as the ball bounced around the box. Williams got in position to put his head to the ball, but dos Santos came charging out, punching the ball and Williams in the process. Despite Williams having been in position well before dos Santos arrived, the referee immediately called the center back for the foul, finally allowing Miami to clear.
After scoring a brace in the team’s first game and assisting a goal in the second, it appeared as though Lynn would be OCB’s best chance to get on the board. In the 61st minute, a Miami turnover gave Lynn an opportunity on goal but his shot was just off target.
Four minutes later, Pareja found Lynn’s head in the box. The striker put his header towards the bottom corner but dos Santos was able to get down and make a quality save to maintain the two-goal advantage.
Miami nearly put the game away with a three-goal lead in the 68th minute. First, second-half substitute Dairon Reyes had a shot at point-blank range but Otero made a fantastic save. The rebound went to Braxton Taghvai-Najib, who had his own chance, but Otero made another incredible save, keeping the game at 2-0.
As time wound down, it looked more likely that Miami would score a third than OCB would get its first. In the 71st minute, Beckham found Taghvai-Najib but his header was high. Two minutes later, Reyes took a shot from distance, but he too was off target. In the 84th minute, Borgelin shielded the ball from two defenders and appeared to be pulled down in the box. But the referee waved play on and OCB was able to clear.
Just as it seemed there was no way back, OCB had two excellent chances in the 86th minute. In a scene similar to Otero’s double save earlier in the half, dos Santos came up with two huge stops.
First, Brian Lopez took a shot from the top of the six, which dos Santos was able to knock away. The rebound went to fellow substitute Ian Silva, who took his own shot on goal. Despite having gone down to the ground, dos Santos made another spectacular save, keeping the Miami clean sheet.
As the game drew closer to stoppage time, it was clear that Miami was going to come away with all three points. The players grew more tired, resulting in some clumsy challenges and a pair of shots on goal by Beckham that went well high of the target. In the end, Miami came away with a 2-0 win, handing OCB its first loss of the season.
While OCB lost 2-0, the game was statistically much closer than the final score. The Young Lions had more possession (50.8%-49.2%), corners (7-6), crosses (9-8), passes (358-351), and better passing accuracy (79%-78.1%). However, Inter Miami II had more shots (13-11) and shots on target (7-5), which was the difference in the game.
The loss sees OCB fall to third in the Central Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference, placing the Young Lions out of the playoff places, albeit only after three matches. Meanwhile, Inter Miami II moves up to first place in the Eastern Conference on seven points.
Having suffered its first loss of the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season, OCB will continue its first road trip Friday night when the team faces Columbus Crew 2 at Historic Crew Stadium. The Young Lions will then return home in a doubleheader with the first team at Exploria Stadium against New England Revolution II.