After being blown out last weekend, Orlando City B (3-6-3,14 points) bounced back with a 3-1 win over FC Cincinnati 2 (3-9-0, 9 points) in Northern Kentucky. Jack Lynn, Mauro Bravo, and Moises Tablante were the goal scorers as the Young Lions ended a four-game winless streak and picked up their first road victory in MLS NEXT Pro.
This was the second time that OCB and FC Cincinnati 2 have faced each other this season. The first meeting came on May 29. Lynn scored a brace in that game but Cincinnati scored five times to beat OCB 5-3 at Osceola County Stadium.
OCB made some changes from the team that lost 6-1 to Columbus Crew 2 last weekend. After sitting on the bench last night in the game between the first teams, Adam Grinwis, Alex Freeman, and Joey DeZart were in the starting lineup. Grinwis’ inclusion sent OCB’s starting goalkeeper Javier Otero to the bench for the first time this season. Additionally, Thomas Williams wasn’t in the team after playing last night for the first team.
Ignacio Galvan, Brandon Hackenberg, Andrew Forth, and Freeman were the back four in front of Grinwis. Nick Taylor, Tablante, Erick Gunera, Bravo, and DeZart were the midfielders behind Lynn up top.
The first chance of the game came in the second minute when a bad turnover by DeZart created a break for FC Cincinnati 2. The ball ended up with Allan Cruz at the top of the box and the first-team midfielder fired on goal. Grinwis did well to dive to his left in his first action of the game, tipping the ball wide of the target.
The ensuing corner resulted in a dangerous ball into the box by the hosts. It appeared as though the taller FC Cincinnati 2 team would get on the end of the cross, but it went just over the top of a couple of heads, going out of play for an OCB goal kick.
Cincinnati nearly got the opener in the 13th minute when Avionne Flanagan took a shot from the top left corner of the box. Grinwis dove for the ball, getting enough on it to tip it off the crossbar and keeping the game scoreless.
Two minutes later, Isaac Atanga appeared to be through on goal. However, Galvan did well to react to the run, putting his body on the Cincinnati forward. Galvan was able to muscle the ball away from Atanga and clear it away.
In the 22nd minute, Tablante carried the ball into the FC Cincinnati 2 side of the field and found Freeman making a run behind the Cincinnati defense. Alec Kann did well to come off his line and make the initial stop on Freeman, but the ball went right to Lynn, who put it in for the opening goal.
It was Lynn’s 10th goal on the season, moving him back to within one of the league lead held by Crew 2’s Jacen Russell-Rowe.The striker’s 10 goals ties him with Hadji Barry for the second-most goals in a single season by an OCB player. The record is held by Michael Cox, who scored 11 times during the 2016 USL season.
Cincinnati had a golden opportunity to equalize in the 26th minute when a Flanagan cross found the open head of Nicholas Markanich in front of goal. Had Markanich gotten the header down, it would’ve been nearly impossible for Grinwis to stop, but the midfielder sent it over the crossbar, allowing OCB to escape the danger.
The Young Lions had their own chance in the 28th minute when Lynn cut back and found DeZart standing wide open at the top of the box. The first-team midfielder had plenty of time to shoot, but it was right at Kann who made the relatively easy save.
OCB doubled its lead in the 30th minute and Lynn was involved again. After scoring the first goal, Lynn played a nice ball forward for Bravo, who made several good runs behind the Cincinnati defense. A defender was there to get between Bravo and the goal, but the attacker quickly cut inside to create space and slid it past Kann to give the Young Lions a 2-0 lead.
Unfortunately, the two-goal lead didn’t last long as the hosts got one back in the 35th minute. Zico Bailey received the ball on the left and carried it into the box. While he initially had a lot of space, several OCB defenders converged on Bailey, who laid off for Cruz, who was open at the top of the box. Cruz did well to place the shot past Grinwis and inside his left post to cut the deficit in half.
FC Cincinnati 2 won the ball right back off the OCB kickoff and charged the other way. Cruz found Flanagan on the left and the forward had enough space for a shot on goal. However, this time Grinwis was able to get his hand on the ball, making a good save.
The hosts had a couple of more opportunities in the 38th minute through Markanich. The midfielder found some space in the box and took a shot but it was blocked. The ball came right back to him, but the second shot was blocked as well and OCB cleared it away.
Both teams had chances in the 42nd minute, the final opportunities of the first half. It started when Atanga created a shot and Grinwis was there to make the save. OCB quickly went the other way, resulting in a chance for Taylor. However, Kann was also up to the task, making the stop.
FC Cincinnati 2 had much more possession in the first half (65.3%-34.7%) but only had two more shots (8-6). Despite the lack of possession, OCB had more shots on goal (5-4) than the hosts. Cincinnati also had more corners (3-0), crosses (9-2), duels won (19-11), tackles won (6-2), and better passing accuracy (88.8%-76.8%) but entered the break trailing by a goal.
OCB had the first decent chance of the second half, coming in the 51st minute. A hard Lynn cross from the right was blocked down by Tablante. He was unable to control the pass, but it landed at the feet of Bravo, who had space to fire on goal. Bravo had the time to place his shot, but hit it right at Kann.
Tablante nearly scored a surprising goal in the 69th minute. Ramathan Musa took down Bravo, providing OCB with a free kick from about 40 yards out and to the right. Tablante stepped up to take the kick, which was expected to be a cross into the box. However, Tablante went for goal and nearly beat Kann. But the ball sailed just over the crossbar.
In the 70th minute, Cincinnati nearly got the equalizer when OCB was caught napping. After conceding a corner kick, Harrison Robledo noticed the Lions were slow to react and quickly sent the ball into the box. It found the head of a wide open Markanich, who turned the ball toward goal but over the crossbar.
With a goal and an assist already in the game, Lynn had an ambitious attempt in the 79th minute to give the Young Lions another two-goal lead. The striker saw Kann off his line and attempted to chip him from 35 yards out but the shot was off target.
Tablante put the game away in the 85th minute on a goal created entirely by himself. The attacker won the ball on his own side of the field and darted forward, outrunning all defenders. As he entered the FC Cincinnati 2 box, the midfielder played the ball past Kann, giving the Young Lions a 3-1 lead with little time remaining.
Cincinnati had one final chance four minutes into second-half injury time when substitute Daniel Martin had enough space to shoot from the top of the box. Grinwis saw the ball the whole way and was able to block it away, securing OCB’s 3-1 win.
The final statistics were similar to the first half, with FC Cincinnati 2 dominating possession (62.7%-37.3%). But both teams had 11 shots and OCB had more shots on target (8-6). Meanwhile, Cincinnati had more corners (5-0), crosses (15-4), and better passing accuracy (88.2%-78%).
The win ends OCB’s four-game winless streak (0-3-1), with the most recent victory being the 6-0 win over Inter Miami II on May 21. The three-goal performance is the second-most goals OCB has scored this season, tying the 5-3 loss to Cincinnati earlier this year and only trailing that 6-0 win over Inter Miami II.
The win was also OCB’s first road result of the season. They were previously 0-5-0 in games away from Central Florida and had been outscored 13-2 in away games.
It was a good result for the Young Lions, who faced a Cincinnati team that played multiple players who were on the MLS side’s team sheet Friday night, including Cruz and Markanich, who both played against Orlando City the night before.
Back on the winning path, OCB will end its four-game road trip Friday night when the Young Lions travel to Western New York to take on Rochester NY FC in a makeup game from earlier this year.