Orlando City B (4-8-3, 17 points) came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Chicago Fire II (4-8-4, 17 points) in a 4-3 thriller at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, IL. The hosts took a 3-1 lead early in the second half through a Victor Bezerra hat trick, but a Favian Loyola brace brought the Young Lions back and Neicer Acosta’s 90th-minute goal was the difference in the game. OCB leading scorer Jack Lynn also scored for the Young Lions.
OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made three changes to the lineup that lost 3-1 to Inter Miami II last weekend. Goalkeeper Javier Otero started the game as Adam Grinwis, who started the previous three OCB games, was with the first team in Atlanta. Ignacio Galvan also re-entered the starting lineup for Nick Taylor, who started on the bench. Moises Tablante, who had started every game until tonight, was suspended for this one due to yellow card accumulation. He was replaced by Wilfredo Rivera, who got his first start since May 29 against FC Cincinnati 2.
The Young Lions got off to the better start, creating a corner kick in the third minute. After a couple of headers kept the ball near Chicago’s 18-yard box, it fell to Victor Yan just outside the penalty area. The midfielder took a shot on goal but it was right at Mihajlo Miskovic, who made the save.
In the sixth minute, Ryan Quintos pulled back Yan and was booked for the professional foul. The free kick was taken by Acosta, who sent the ball in for Lynn, making a run to the near post. The striker got his head to the ball, but sent it just wide.
Five minutes later, Galvan sent a pass from the left to Lynn inside the box. The forward turned, looking for enough space to get a shot off, but was unable to, and Chicago cleared it away.
Chicago didn’t get its first shot of the night until the 15th minute, when Josh Penn fired from just outside of the box. However, the shot was right at Otero, who had no trouble gathering it.
OCB finally broke through in the 19th minute through its leading scorer. Charlie Ostrem fouled Joey DeZart just outside the box, creating a free kick from about 18 yards away. Lynn stepped up and sent a dart into the far corner for the opening goal.
It was Lynn’s 12th goal of the year. In addition to pulling him to within one of the league lead, the goal also saw the striker set a new OCB single-season record, passing Michael Cox, who scored 11 goals during the 2016 USL season.
The hosts got their own chance from a similar spot, just a little bit further out, when Andrew Forth fouled Penn off the kickoff. However, Penn’s free kick was right into the OCB wall.
Chicago had another opportunity in the 22nd minute, when Forth was called for a controversial foul. He went up for a header while Penn didn’t jump. Rather than calling Penn for undercutting Forth, referee Rebecca Pagan called the foul on Forth. The free kick was sent into the box for Ostrem, but he couldn’t turn it on goal and it went out for a goal kick.
The Young Lions lost their veteran presence in the midfield in the 31st minute when DeZart went down. The OCB players surrounded the midfielder as he received attention. Eventually, he limped off the field and was replaced by Alejandro Granados.
Just after the sub, Chicago found the equalizer. Quintos sent a great ball to the far side of the box for Ostrem. It looked like the pass might’ve been too far, but Ostrem caught up to it and sent it back in front of goal. Bezerra was left alone and got on the end of the pass, putting it past Otero to make it 1-1.
Chicago continued to attack following the goal and had a chance to take the lead in the 37th minute. Penn did well to sidestep two OCB defenders and create enough space for a shot. But Otero did well to get down and make the stop, keeping the score at 1-1.
Just two minutes later, Chicago took the lead in a bizarre and controversial situation. After making a stop, Otero punted the ball down field. However, assistant referee Eric Wood raised his flag and told Pagan that Otero held onto the ball for more than six seconds. It’s a violation rarely called, despite nearly every goalkeeper holding onto the ball for that long multiple times per game.
As a result, Chicago had an indirect free kick just inside the box. Penn tapped the ball to Bezerra, allowing the latter to shoot. The low, strong shot went past Otero and into the far corner, giving Chicago the 2-1 lead and Bezerra his second goal of the night.
At the half, Chicago had more possession (55.1%-44.9%) and crosses (10-6). While OCB had one more shot in the first 45 minutes (10-9), Chicago put more shots on goal (4-3) and took a 2-1 lead into the break.
It didn’t take long for Chicago to extend its lead. Just four minutes after the start of the second half, Bezerra finished off his hat trick. Sergio Oregel sent a ball into the box where Bezerra was surrounded by defenders. Bezerra brought the ball down with his thigh, turned Thomas Williams with his second touch, and put it into the far corner to give his team a 3-1 lead.
In the 51st minute, OCB nearly got one back through Yan. The midfielder carried the ball to the top of the box and took aim on goal. The ball was headed for the bottom right corner, but Miskovic did well to get down and make the save.
In the 59th minute, Perelman made a substitution that changed the game, replacing Rivera with Loyola. The 17-year-old midfielder put a charge into the Young Lions to start their comeback.
Chicago continued its attack after the substitution, when a Matteo Kidd backheel set up Oregel, but the shot was off target. A minute later, Chicago had a breakaway in which Diego Alvarado found Penn in the box. Penn took the ball around Otero and shot but hit the outside of the post.
In the 63rd minute, Otero stepped up to keep his team in the game. Alvarado found enough space to take a shot, but Otero blocked it away. Unfortunately, he blocked it right in front of goal and Alvarado was there to take another shot. Otero did well to get back to his feet and made another save, but this time he caught it.
Those two saves proved crucial as OCB found a goal seven minutes later. A nice one-two by Yan and Lynn set up Yan with space in front of goal. But Miskovic came out and blocked the shot. The rebound went right to Loyola, who put it in to cut the deficit to one.
It was the first goal for the 17-year-old in his third professional game out of the Orlando City academy.
Chicago went on the attack following the goal, looking to regain its two-goal advantage. Taylor, who had come on for Williams in the 50th minute, fouled Andre Reynolds, resulting in a free kick. Missael Rodriguez, who had come on for Bezerra right after the goal, shot from the set piece but Otero was there to make the stop.
A minute later, Penn found space to the left of the goal. After being played in by Kidd, Penn shot, but Otero was there again to make the save.
Granados nearly scored the equalizer in the 77th minute when he sent a shot towards the far side of the goal. It appeared to be on target, but Miskovic did well to dive and get his fingertips to the ball, curling it around the post.
Most of OCB’s corner kicks are short and that nearly cost the team in the 80th minute. The short corner was won by Chicago and the hosts went the other way on a counter attack. Just after entering the OCB half of the field, an excellent defensive effort knocked the ball out of play. It was brought back as Erick Gunera was booked for tugging on the jersey, but the slide saved a potential breakaway.
In the 83rd minute, the Young Lions found the equalizer. Loyola took a shot from outside the box that was saved by Miskovic. But OCB won the clearance and went back into the Chicago third. Lynn, who set up Loyola’s previous chance, sent the teenager forward. Loyola took the ball to the top of the box and cut inside to lose his defender. He quickly shot with his left foot, beating Miskovic this time and evening that game at 3-3.
Despite coming back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game, the Young Lions were energized to find a winner. They nearly did in the 86th minute when Granados took a shot from the left side of the box. It was headed into the corner, but Miskovic laid out to make the stop.
Chicago went the other way and Penn found substitute Miguel Flores in the box. Flores took a shot but Forth was able to get in front of him and make a big block.
The hosts thought they might’ve had the lead in the 89th minute, when a cross into the box was dropped by Otero, who reached over three attackers. However, a foul was called on Rodriguez and OCB was able to clear the danger.
The Young Lions quickly broke the other way, creating a three-on-three situation. Acosta found Loyola to his right with nobody between him and the goalkeeper. The shot was right at Miskovic, who used his leg to block the ball away. However, it went right to Acosta, whose second touch was a chip over Miskovic and into the goal, giving OCB a late 4-3 lead.
It was a remarkable comeback by OCB but there were still seven minutes of injury time to be played — plenty of time for Chicago to find another equalizer. Two minutes into added time, Kidd’s cross found the head of Quintos in front of goal but it was right at Otero.
Two minutes later, Penn sent a cross into the box that wasn’t controlled. However, it fell to the foot of Flores, who sent the shot over the crossbar.
Six minutes into added time, it looked like Chicago had a breakaway in the box, but Gunera made a last-ditch slide and got enough of the ball to knock it away. The Chicago players appealed for a penalty, but Pagan said no.
In the eighth minute of injury time, A cross to the back post was headed back in front of goal, but Otero was right there to catch it. That was the last touch of the game as Pagan’s whistle blew and the Young Lions came away with the 4-3 win.
In the end, Chicago had more possession (53-7%-46.3%), shots (25-21), and crosses (23-10). But the teams had the same number of shots on goal (12-12) and corners (6-6). Most importantly, Otero was able to make nine saves while Miskovic only made eight.
The win ends a two-game losing streak that dates back to OCB’s 3-1 win over FC Cincinnati 2 on June 25 in Northern Kentucky. It’s only the fourth win for the Young Lions this year and their second away from Osceola County Stadium.
OCB will look to build on this comeback performance next Sunday night when they return home to face Philadelphia Union 2 at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee.