Orlando City B (4-9-3, 17 points) fell 3-1 to Philadelphia Union II (5-7-3, 20 points) at Osceola County Stadium in a chippy affair that saw the visitors score twice after OCB equalized late. Both teams lost their starting goalkeepers to second-half red cards and OCB went down to nine men in the closing moments when Diego Pareja was sent off. Matt Real gave the visitors the lead in the 52nd minute and OCB answered through Ethan Subachan in the 85th. But late goals by Jesus Bueno and Nelson Pierre saw Philadelphia leave with all three points.
OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman made four changes from the team that completed a 4-3 comeback win last weekend against Chicago Fire II. Joey DeZart was injured last weekend, taking him out of the lineup. Additionally, Wilfredo Rivera, Erick Gunera, and Neicer Acosta were out of the lineup. They were replaced by Nick Taylor, Alejandro Granados, Favian Loyola, and Moises Tablante, who came back from his one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Your starting XI for the night #ORLvPHI | #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/YtcYBUBtKK— Orlando City B (@OrlandoCityB) July 24, 2022
The Lions had one player in the starting lineup that was in the team Saturday night when the first teams faced off at Exploria Stadium. Jack Lynn came off the bench late for the senior side and started up top tonight. Meanwhile, Philadelphia had four players in the team that were in the first team last night. Christopher Donovan and Quinn Sullivan came off the bench and Real and Bueno were unused subs in Philadelphia’s 1-0 win.
The Young Lions got off to the better start in this game, creating their first chance in the sixth minute. Loyola found Tablante on the far side of the field, creating a shot for the midfielder. The shot was blocked and Alex Freeman picked it up but it was quickly knocked out for a corner kick.
A minute later, Loyola sent another ball towards the back post. It was likely supposed to be a cross for Tablante on the far side, but the ball drifted toward the far post and appeared to be on target. In fact, it was close enough that Union II goalkeeper Matt Freese felt that it was necessary to dive and catch the long ball.
Tablante should’ve opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he took the ball away on the Philadelphia half of the field and bolted the other way. The midfielder had a breakaway on goal and attempted to dribble around a defender and beat Freese. However, he lost control, which resulted in a weak shot, allowing the Union II goalkeeper to jump on the ball.
Ice cold! Freese froze Tablante in the area! pic.twitter.com/rUQ2rrdh1W— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) July 24, 2022
It appeared that Tablante might have another breakaway chance in the 18th minute when a nice flick on by Lynn with the outside of his right foot sprung the midfielder free. However, the assistant had his flag up, signaling for offside.
Philadelphia had its best early chance in the 23rd minute when Brandan Craig played a ball through for Bueno. The midfielder nearly caught up to the ball in the box behind the OCB defense, but it was a bit too far in front of the sliding Bueno and Javier Otero collected it.
The Union had another chance in the 26th minute when Real sent a cross in looking for Bueno. The cross found Bueno’s head, but he couldn’t get it down and the shot went over the crossbar.
The best first-half chance for OCB came in the 28th minute. It started with Tablante, who used some nifty footwork to beat a pair of defenders. He found Lynn in front of goal but the striker’s shot was right at Freese. The block went right to Victor Yan, who fired on goal from the top of the box. However, his shot bounced off the crossbar and the Young Lions missed another great opportunity to open the scoring.
A bit of history occurred for OCB just after the missed chances. Philadelphia broke the other way and Juan Perdomo went down injured in the OCB box. The midfielder required medical assistance, forcing him to come off for three minutes, as the recently released injury rule for MLS NEXT Pro dictates. While other players have received attention during OCB games since the rule came into effect, it was the first time that the player wasn’t substituted.
Sullivan nearly gave the visitors the lead in the 37th minute. The midfielder fired a shot off from the top of the box that was dipping and appeared to be headed just below the crossbar. As a result, Otero was forced to tip it over.
In the 42nd minute, Sullivan attempted a curling shot from outside the box toward the lower right corner, but Otero did well in goal, diving to make the catch and keeping the game scoreless.
A minute later, Sullivan attempted to catch Otero off his line from his own side of the field. The ball was sailing close to the crossbar but went just over, falling on top of the net. However, Otero wasn’t too far out and was close enough that he would’ve caught it had it not gone over.
Union II had one more chance as the first half neared its end. Anton Sorenson made a nice run, getting a shot off to the right. Otero blocked it away and Thomas Williams cleared it away from danger.
OCB had the better first half overall, with better chances. At the half, OCB had more possession (61.1%-38.9%) but Philadelphia had more shots (8-5), shots on target (4-2), corners (3-2), and crosses (5-2).
The visitors got off to a roaring start to the second half. Inside the first minute, a good cross to the far side met the foot of Perdomo. The midfielder attempted to shoot to the far post, but missed just wide.
In the 50th minute, Donovan dribbled into the middle of the box and found enough space to shoot. With no defenders in front of him, it was a golden chance to open the scoring, but the shot was right at Otero, who easily caught it.
Union II finally broke through two minutes later. A long corner kick towards the far side of the box was headed back across by Donovan. Real beat the OCB defenders to the ball and headed it past Otero to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.
.@PhilaUnionII's Matt Real sends in the header for the breakthrough! pic.twitter.com/5NNkKbjU4y— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) July 25, 2022
Philadelphia nearly got a second in the 54th minute when an attempted cross by Sullivan was blocked out of play by Ignacio Galvan. The corner was redirected on goal by Nathan Nkanji and beat Otero, but Lynn was there to head it off the line and the Young Lions avoided a two-goal deficit.
OCB could have found the equalizer in the 59th minute when Lynn was sent through into the Philadelphia box. However, Boubacar Diallo played it well, clearing the ball out of play for a corner kick.
The ensuing corner fell in the middle of the box. As the Union II players failed to clear it, OCB attempted to find space for a shot. Unfortunately, they were unable to find enough space to put the ball on goal. The ball popped out to Loyola outside the box and the midfielder shot but it was well off target.
The Young Lions had another opportunity in the 65th minute when Taylor’s cross was over the head of Lynn at the top of the six-yard box. However, it landed at the feet of Freeman who played it back for Lynn, who sent his shot over the crossbar.
In the 68th minute, OCB caught a break. Tablante was sent through on goal and Freese came out to challenge. He took down Tablante just outside the box, which referee Anya Voigt determined was a denial of a goal-scoring opportunity and issued Freese a red card. As a result, Philadelphia took Diallo off for backup goalkeeper Brooks Thompson.
The ensuing free kick was right into the wall. Lynn ended up with the ball with more space in front of goal but sent it right to Thompson. However, the backup goalkeeper was unable to control it and it fell to Loyola, whose shot missed high.
In the 75th minute, the teams went to the sidelines for a hydration break. During the stoppage, multiple OCB players surrounded the officials near midfield. Voigt ended up showing a red card to Otero. In about 10 minutes, both teams had lost their starting goalkeepers.
The sending off of Otero meant that OCB had to bring on backup goalkeeper Dominic Pereira. It was the 17-year-old Orlando City academy product’s first professional appearance. To make room for the goalkeeper, Perelman took off Galvan. He also replaced Lynn with Ethan Subachan, which helped the Young Lions get back into the game.
OCB found its equalizer in the 85th minute. Freeman received a long pass on the right and sent it back across the box. Freeman’s beautiful cross sailed beyond Thompson to where Subachan was standing near the back post. The second-half substitute didn’t waste his opportunity, putting it in for his first professional goal and evening the game at 1-1.
Ethan Subachan pulls one back for @OrlandoCityB pic.twitter.com/gGlZgqQXbo— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) July 25, 2022
However, the game didn’t remain tied for long. Just two minutes after the Young Lions scored, Philadelphia took the lead back. Real sent a long cross into the box that found Bueno, but Williams blocked his shot. The rebound went to Sullivan, who aimed for the far post. Making a run further into the box, Bueno got his heel to the ball and it went into the far corner, giving the visitors a 2-1 lead.
.@PhilaUnionII's Jesus Bueno gets in behind the defense to regain the lead! pic.twitter.com/SIiagMBdVF— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) July 25, 2022
A minute into second-half injury time, Union II nearly put the game away. Pierre found space for a shot and aimed for the right low corner but sent the ball just wide. Moments later, OCB’s Freeman sent a ball across the box, but nobody in purple was there to get on the end of it.
Four minutes into added time, Philadelphia put the game away. Pareja lost the ball to Sullivan near midfield and the Union II midfielder started a three-on-two break. With an option on either side, he sent the ball to the left for Pierre. After missing just wide minutes earlier, Pierre put it into the top corner to make it 3-1.
Nelson Pierre makes it 3️⃣! pic.twitter.com/XNdO0g3Hd7— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) July 25, 2022
Tensions flared following the goal as the players gathered near midfield. Pierre had been booked for his excessive celebration after the goal but that wasn’t all. The fracas at midfield resulted in Maike Villero and Pareja getting booked. It was Pareja’s second booking of the game, as he also received a yellow in the 83rd minute for a professional foul.
Initially, Pareja thought he had gotten away with it as Voigt didn’t seem to realize that she had already booked the midfielder. However, she eventually realized that he was already on a yellow card and sent him off, reducing the Young Lions to nine men.
Philadelphia had one more chance to make it four when Sullivan set up Bueno but the shot was off target. Down to nine players and two goals, there was no coming back for the hosts and OCB fell again at home.
In the end, OCB commanded possession (60.6%-39.4%), though the Young Lions had less possession in the second half. Philadelphia ended up with more shots (22-15), shots on goal (10-5), corners (5-3), and crosses (12-10).
The two teams were tied on points coming into this game, so Philadelphia ended the night in seventh while OCB fell to eighth. The Young Lions will also stay in third in the Central Division, tied on points with Chicago Fire II and six points behind Inter Miami II.
OCB will now have a two-week break before traveling north of the border to take on Toronto FC II on Aug. 7 at 7 p.m.