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Orlando City B vs. NYCFC II: Final Score 1-1 as OCB Claims an Unlikely Point

The Young Lions were outplayed by NYCFC II at home but hung on to claim a point.

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City B (2-4-3, 11 points) took an early lead but faltered and had to settle for a 1-1 draw against NYCFC II (5-3-3, 19 points) at Osceola County Stadium. Jack Lynn gave OCB the lead in the 14th minute, but John Denis equalized in the 62nd minute for NYCFC II. With the game ending in a draw, it went to penalties. Mauro Bravo’s shot off the crossbar was the difference in the shootout as NYCFC II took the extra point.

OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman only made two changes from the team that lost 5-3 to FC Cincinnati 2 last weekend. Alex Freeman is away with the U-19 U.S. Men’s National Team in Spain and Wilfredo Rivera is with the Puerto Rico senior national team as they begin their 2022-2023 Concacaf Nations League campaign. Owen Van Marter started for Freeman at left back and Nick Taylor took the place of Rivera.

OCB came out strong in this game, creating most of the early chances. However, NYCFC II worked its way into the game late in the first half, taking control of some poor passing by OCB. The visitors continued their dominance into the second half, eventually finding an equalizer.

The Young Lions can count themselves fortunate to come away with a point in this game as they were thoroughly outplayed in the latter stages of the first half and all through the second half. It’s probably fair that NYCFC II won the penalty shootout 5-3 and took home the extra point as the visitors were the better team in this one.

The first good chance of the game came in the third minute through an NYCFC II corner kick. Stephen Turnbull sent the ball towards the back post where it met the head of El Mahdi Youssoufi. The attacker got his head to the ball, but sent it just wide.

OCB broke the other way and almost had a chance of its own. Taylor was a consistent first-half threat on the right and sent a dangerous ball into the box for Lynn. However, NYCFC II goalkeeper Alex Rando beat the OCB striker to the ball.

In the sixth minute, Lynn found Taylor making a run down the right. The midfielder carried the ball towards the end line as Lynn made a run towards goal. It appeared as though Taylor would get his cross in, but Piero Elias blocked it out of play. The ensuing corner was to the near post, but NYCFC II intercepted and an offside ended the attack.

Moises Tablante nearly had an opportunity in the eighth minute as he darted down the left. He got into the NYCFC II box, but was tripped up and the visitors headed the other way on the counter attack. Youssoufi found Denis on the left side, but his shot was high and wide right of the target.

The ensuing goal kick was taken short to Andrew Forth, but the defender immediately gave it back to NYCFC II. The bad turnover in his own third allowed Turnbull to get a shot off, but it was right at Javier Otero.

The Young Lions came very close in the 10th minute when Lynn found Tablante making a run near the top of the box. The midfielder cut inside to lose his defender and shot on goal, but his shot was just over the crossbar and out for a goal kick.

Four minutes later, OCB broke through. Victor Yan won a free kick from about 35 yards out, which was taken by Taylor. The free kick was behind the NYCFC II back line, where Lynn was making a run. His first touch was a shot past Rando and in for the game’s first goal.

“That’s actually something we worked on yesterday in training,” Lynn said about his goal. “I knew that if I timed my run right, I’d be wide open on the near post. And once the ball came to me, I had plenty of time to just pick out a corner.”

This is the third straight game in which Lynn has scored. He previously had a hat trick against Inter Miami II on May 21 and a brace last weekend against FC Cincinnati 2. He now has six goals in his last three games. His eight goals on the season leads MLS NEXT Pro.

“I think he’s doing a great job,” Perelman said about Lynn’s scoring streak. “He’s working so hard for that.”

“I think my teammates have put me in really good positions to score,” Lynn said about his lead-leading goal tally. “And I think the coaching staff’s worked with me on refining some of my movements that have helped me get open too. And I think ultimately when I get chances, I’m a good enough player that I’m going to score the goals.”

Despite having the lead, the Young Lions didn’t let up. In the 18th minute, Tablante found Taylor to the right of goal. The midfielder attempted to curl the ball around Rando and inside the far post, but just missed.

Two minutes later, Elias got his head to a cross sent to the back post. However, the header was right at Otero, who made the easy stop.

OCB went the other way, looking to double the lead. Lynn found Tablante to his left on the counter attack and the attacker sent the ball across goal in what was likely a cross rather than a pass. However, the ball veered toward the far corner, forcing Rando to dive and tip the ball out of play for a corner kick.

The ensuing corner by Taylor was partially cleared away, but only to Ignacio Galvan at the top of the box. The outside back shot toward the low far corner, forcing Rando to get down and make a quality save, knocking the ball out of play.

After a pair of good chances by the Young Lions, Owen Van Marter took a shot from the top of the box that sailed out of play, allowing NYCFC II to finally clear.

OCB thought it had a penalty in the 27th minute when a long ball for Lynn saw the striker get tripped up in the NYCFC II box. Lynn threw his arms into the air, claiming a penalty, but the referee determined that it wasn’t a foul.

Following the no-call for Lynn, NYCFC II created multiple chances the other way. In the 28th minute, Denis found Jack Beer who fired on goal. But the shot was blocked. NYCFC II retained possession and Turnbull found Youssoufi, but his shot was saved by a diving Otero.

OCB was unable to completely clear the danger as Elias found space for a shot in the 31st minute. However, Otero was again there to make the stop, finally allowing OCB to clear.

The Young Lions were looking outside most of the first half, either for Taylor on the right or Tablante on the left. In the 41st minute, a long ball for Taylor nearly connected, but it was just a bit too far and Rando beat the midfielder to the ball.

OCB quickly won it back and sent it out left for Tablante. After a few dribbles, the third-year OCB midfielder played it across for Lynn, but it was too close to Rando and the goalkeeper made the grab.

Back the other way, NYCFC II created a couple of late chances as the game neared halftime. In the 43rd minute, Julian Gomez got his head to a Turnbull cross, but Otero did well to jump up over everyone in the box and make the catch.

Two minutes later, the visitors had their best chance of the first half. Denis found Beer to the left of goal and the midfielder shot on goal. The ball got past Otero’s outstretched hand but bounced off the crossbar.

OCB had one more chance to double its lead a minute into first-half stoppage time. Taylor sent a long cross for Tablante, who was making a run down the left, but it was too far and went out of play.

While the Young Lions had the best of the early minutes in the game, NYCFC II controlled most of the first half. The visitors had more possession (60%-40%), shots (10-6), shots on target (5-3), and crosses (9-5), as well as better passing accuracy (86.3%-72.5%). However, OCB benefited from Otero’s play in goal and NYCFC II’s lack of finishing, taking a 1-0 lead into the break.

As the second half started, it was as if OCB had remained in the locker room. NYCFC II got off to the better start and didn’t let up. In the first minute of the second period of play, Youssoufi found Gomez in the box, but the shot was right at Otero.

In the 48th minute, Brandon Hackenberg tripped Beer feet outside the box, resulting in Hackenberg being booked. Denis took the free kick but hit it right into the wall.

After OCB thought it should’ve had a penalty in the first half, NYCFC II had its own shout for one in the 52nd minute. An apparent kick to the back of the leg saw the attacker go down. The visiting team swarmed the referee, but his mind wasn’t going to change and OCB was awarded a goal kick.

As happened too frequently in this game, OCB was unable to hold onto the ball, giving it back to the opposition before the Young Lions could reach midfield. As a result, Elias had the opportunity to send a dangerous cross through the box just a minute after the penalty shout. Fortunately for OCB, nobody in orange was there.

In the 60th minute, Erick Gunera fouled Youssoufi in a scenario very similar to the foul earlier in the half. OCB argued the call, resulting in Victor Yan being booked, but the referee stood by his original decision.

Again, Denis took the free kick from a very dangerous position. However, while the first set piece was from the right, this one was from the left. Denis used his right foot to curl the ball around the OCB wall and inside the far post, beyond the outstretched arms of Otero to make it 1-1.

NYCFC II seemed emboldened by the equalizer, continuing to pressure the OCB back line. In the 64th minute, a quick buildup created a cross into the box. There were orange jerseys there, but Forth did well to block it away.

OCB quickly broke out on a counter attack the other way. Galvan found Lynn near the six-yard box and the striker fired on goal, but it was just wide left.

The Young Lions created another chance in the 71st minute when quick passing at the top of the box saw Tablante receive the ball on the left. He took a quick shot but the defender was able to get into position, blocking it out behind the goal.

The visitors nearly took their first lead of the night in the 77th minute when Youssoufi found Denis near the penalty spot. He attempted to beat Otero to the bottom left corner, but the OCB goalkeeper did an excellent job of getting down to make a diving one-handed save.

The corner by Diego Rossi found the head of Youssoufi in the box. He attempted to redirect it into the lower left corner but missed just wide.

OCB should’ve had an opportunity in the 85th minute when it broke out after Beer’s shot from outside the box was blocked. Lynn and Tablante played a quick one-two, resulting in the latter receiving the ball in the final third. However, he was unable to beat the final defender and it was blocked away.

Both teams had a late chance to claim the win before time ran out. In the 90th minute, Stevo Bednarsky took a shot from outside the box, but it was well high and wide.

On the other end, Bravo found Lynn near goal and the striker got his head to the ball, looking for his second goal of the night. But Rando did well to make the save and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

NYCFC II dominated the second half. The visitors out-shot the Young Lions 9-2 and put more shots on goal (5-1) in the second 45 minutes. The visitors ended the game with more possession (57.2%-42.8%), shots (19-8), shots on goal (10-4), corners (7-5), crosses (16-9), and passing accuracy (83.5%-73%).

However, the Lions were able to keep NYCFC II off the board following the equalizer, securing a point. But MLS NEXT Pro rules state that games ending in a draw must go to a penalty shootout to see who gets the extra point. It was OCB’s third penalty shootout this season and the second against NYCFC II at Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions were previously 2-0, with the other shootout win coming against New England Revolution II at Exploria Stadium.

“I think we did good the first half,” Perelman said after the game. “I mean, we could’ve won that half 4-0. We knew New York. We did the situation plan well. We created the situations. But we didn’t score. They played well, they’re a good team. We knew that there was a part of the game that they would take control of the ball. A set piece for them and then penalties is penalties. It was a tough game.”

“I think in the first half (we) executed our strategy pretty well,” Lynn added. “We were just unable to finish off a lot of the transition moments that we created with our pressure. And ultimately we got a goal. We’re up 1-0 at half and I think we would’ve been fine with just a 1-0 win. But they scored on a set piece and that’s always tough to take.”

The shootout went back and forth, with each of the first six shooters converting. While Otero was strong in previous shootouts, the OCB goalkeeper was sent the wrong way on every attempt in this one.

The deciding moment came in the fourth shot when 88th-minute substitute Bravo stepped up. One of the newer additions to the team, Bravo shot hard down the middle but the ball slammed off the crossbar.

Beer stepped up to take the fifth penalty for NYCFC II with a chance to end the game. As Otero dove to his left, Beer calmly played the ball right down the middle and the visitors claimed the extra point.

Despite losing the shootout, a point is more than the Young Lions deserved in this game. There were times where they looked good going forward, but they made too many mistakes, especially in the second half.

Without some heroics by their goalkeeper and some poor finishing by the opposition, they probably should’ve lost by multiple goals. However, they move their overall record to 2-4-3 on the season and 1-1-3 at home.

After a three-game homestand that saw the Young Lions go 1-1-1, OCB will now head out on a four-game road trip, lasting through the beginning of July. It starts next Saturday when the Young Lions face New England Revolution II at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.