KISSIMMEE — Orlando City B (6-10-3, 23 points) used a first-team heavy squad to down Rochester New York FC (7-7-5, 30 points) 5-2 at Osceola County Stadium. Jesus Baitz gave the visitors a 25th-minute lead, but OCB scored five unanswered goals through Tesho Akindele, Jack Lynn, Wilder Cartagena, Ivan Angulo, and Favian Loyola. Bubacar Djalo got one back for Rochester but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Young Lions took all three points, winning their second straight match.
The midweek kickoff gave Orlando City the opportunity to give some first-team players that usually don’t start some minutes. Nine players in the starting lineup were first-team players, including Mason Stajduhar, Mikey Halliday, Rodrigo Schlegel, Thomas Williams, Cartagena, Jake Mulraney, Niko Gioacchini, Angulo, and Akindele. The only two full-time OCB players in the starting lineup were Ignacio Galvan and Erick Gunera.
“We’re one team, mentally,” OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman said about the largely first-team squad. “First team’s priority, as I always say, but everybody at OCB is so proud to receive those guys to start helping. We worked all together this week. It’s amazing working here with our first-team staff and our first-team players.”
“It’s really good to get them integrated into the system and get some familiarity at this level,” Lynn added about including some of the newest players. “Before we try to put it on the field with the first team.”
Despite several first-team players in the starting lineup, OCB got off to a slow start. Rochester got the first chance of the game and got on the board first. However, OCB took over after the goal. Angulo’s and Gioacchini’s MLS ability shined as the two dominated most of their time on the field.
Rochester’s first chance came in the second minute when Ian Garrett took a shot from the top of the box. The shot was blocked but went right to Baitz, who immediately looked to cross the ball. However, it was too close to Stajduhar, who made the catch.
OCB appeared to get its first chance in the 10th minute when Mulraney sent Akindele through on goal. The forward put the ball in, but the assistant’s flag was up for offside.
The visitors felt as though they should’ve had a penalty in the 19th minute when Gilbran Rayo carried the ball into the box and went down. It appeared as though there was contact from behind by a defender, but referee Catherine McCormick told the players to play on.
Rochester was the first to break through in the 25th minute. Quick passing by Pedro Dalabella and Edward Williams allowed the latter to send Baitz through in the box. Halliday was challenging Baitz but the forward was able to hold off the right back, putting it past Stajduhar for the opening goal.
It didn’t take long for OCB to respond and it appeared the Young Lions had evened up the contest in the 29th minute. Mulraney lifted a ball over the top for Angulo and the midfielder put it past Caique to even the game at 1-1. However, Rochester’s players were adamant that Angulo was offside. McCormick went to the far side to discuss the play with assistant Miguel Martes, which resulted in Martes belatedly raising his flag for offside, although it wasn’t during play and there is no video review in MLS NEXT Pro.
Mulraney nearly had a chance himself when Gioacchini found him at the top of the box. The midfielder dribbled inside, looking for enough space to take a shot. He created enough room for an attempt, but sent it just over the crossbar.
In the 34th minute, OCB put it past Caique again, but this time it counted. It started when Schlegel took the ball off a Rochester player on the opposing side of the field. Gioacchini quickly picked up the ball and played Schlegel into the box. The center back sent it across for Akindele, who tapped it home to even the game at 1-1.
The entire first team not in the OCB side tonight were in the stands after training to support their teammates. They especially enjoyed the run forward by Schlegel, cheering him on as he ran back to his center back position.
OCB had a good chance to take the lead in the 42nd minute when Mulraney was taken down by Lamar Batista just outside of the box. Akindele went for goal from the set piece, but sent it well over the crossbar.
A minute into first-half injury time, Rochester players again felt as though they should’ve had a penalty. This time it was Pedro Dalabella that went down, but there was less contact than the first penalty claim, and it was the same result as no foul was called.
At the half, OCB had more possession (55.7%-44.3%), corners (2-1), and crosses (5-4), but fewer shots taken (5-4). Meanwhile, both teams had one shot on target and both were goals.
Perelman made one change at the break, replacing Akindele with the team’s leading scorer, Lynn. The substitution had an immediate impact as OCB took the lead just two minutes into the second half.
This goal started on the OCB side of the field when Lynn was fouled by Gerardo Lopez. Mulraney took the kick quickly, sending it forward for Gioacchini, who was making a run. The midfielder could’ve shot himself, but decided to play it across to Lynn at the back post, allowing the striker to knock it in and give OCB a 2-1 lead.
It was Lynn’s 15th goal of the MLS NEXT Pro season, tying him with Columbus Crew 2’s Jacen Russell-Rowe for the league lead.
“On the goal, the ball was played up to me,” Lynn said about his goal. “Just tried to do my job and hold the ball up. Drew the foul and then we knew there was space in behind so we just played a quick one and I just busted my ass to get to the far post and tap it in.”
OCB extended its lead 11 minutes later off a set piece. Gioacchini was fouled just outside the box by Michael Smith, resulting in the latter getting booked. The set piece was in nearly the exact spot that Akindele took earlier in the game, but this time Mulraney stood over the ball. Rather than shooting on goal, Mulraney sent the ball to the back post, where Cartagena got his head to it, putting it past Caique to give the Young Lions a 3-1 lead.
In the 63rd minute, Lynn made a good run to the top of the Rochester box. He had Gioacchini on his left, but decided to carry the ball across the top of the box instead. Shortly after, it was taken away and a good opportunity by OCB went by the wayside.
The Young Lions got their fourth goal in the 68th minute when Djalo took down Gioacchini just outside of the box. It was in nearly the same spot as the previous two free kicks, but this time Angulo stepped up to take it. The Colombian sent the set piece around the wall and towards the far post. Caique couldn’t pick it up until it was too late and it snuck inside the post to make it 4-1.
After the goal, Loyola came on for Mulraney, and it didn’t take long for the teenager to make a difference. Just after the kickoff, Lynn won the ball back and sent Loyola through on goal. The academy product didn’t make any mistakes, putting it past Caique to give OCB a 5-1 lead.
Loyola curls it in for number 5️⃣! pic.twitter.com/zNHwsgPht5— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) August 18, 2022
“I’ve been really impressed with him,” Lynn said about Loyola. “He’s someone that kind of came into the group halfway through the year, once (the U-17 team) finished their season, and he’s just been lighting it up since he’s been here. As you can see, he’s got a wand of a left foot. So if you just give him one-v-one situations, he’s going to score.”
Three minutes after OCB’s fifth goal, Rochester got one back. Galvan fouled Wilterlynd Inalien about 35 yards out and on the right side of the field. Gabriel Costa sent a long ball towards the back post that was met by Djalo, who put it in to make it a 5-2 game.
The Young Lions had a chance to make it six when Williams found Angulo in the box. The midfielder took a shot, looking for his second goal of the night, but it went wide of the target.
In the 86th minute, Neicer Acosta, who had come on for Angulo four minutes earlier, was sent through on the left. Caique came out of his goal and it looked like Acosta might chip the goalkeeper, but Caique got enough of the ball to block it away, keeping his team’s deficit at three.
As time wound down, the result was a foregone conclusion. However, Rochester did create a few chances in the dying moments. In the 90th minute, Gabriel Costa took a shot from the top of the box. He had enough space to put it on target, but it was right at Stajduhar, who made the catch.
In the final seconds of the game, Costa took a shot that was deflected and appeared to be going wide. But Stajduhar wanted to make sure, so he dove and tipped it out for a corner kick. The ensuing set piece ended up at the foot of Djalo, who shot but hit it well over the target.
In the end, OCB ended up with more possession (56.6%-43.4%), corners (5-2), crosses (12-7), and completed more of their passes (83%-73.8%). While the teams had the same number of shots in the game (12-12), OCB put more on target (6-4).
“I’m really happy for our one team, mentally,” Perelman said after the game. “We joined rosters for today. Everybody helped each other. It’s a really good message from our club. We work all together but first team’s priority and I’m happy today because both rosters did a great game together.”
With these three points, the Young Lions remain in eighth place. They move closer to Philadelphia Union II, but are still five points back. They also remain in third in the Central Division and are six points behind Inter Miami II.
OCB will return to action Saturday night when it hosts Columbus Crew 2 at Osceola County Stadium, kicking off at 7 p.m.