When: Wednesday May 4th, 7:30pm ET kickoff
Where: Titan Soccer Complex, Melbourne, FL
On Saturday, FC Cincinnati drew the Wilmington Hammerheads 1-1 on a soggy evening in Nippert Stadium. In place of injured center back Austin Berry, Paul Nicholson started and scored the lone goal for FC Cincinnati. Goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt made the play of the night, denying Wilmington a penalty kick, and earning man of the match honors. The FCC faithful braved the stormy conditions, contributing to the club’s third game with over 11,000 in the stands.
Opponent: Orlando City B
OCB currently sits 10th out of 14 clubs in the USL Eastern Conference table. They enter the match on 7 points with a -4 goal differential through 7 games. FC Cincinnati has totaled 10 points and sits in 6th place through 6 games. This marks game 2 of a 6 game home stand for Anthony Pulis’ side. Pulis is the son of West Brom manager Tony Pulis.
2016 marks the return of an Orlando-based club to the USL. As a 4 year member (2011-2014) of the USL, the former Orlando City SC club were either regular-season or playoff champions before joining Major League Soccer in 2015. Their franchise rights were transferred to Louisville City FC.
In the fall of 2015, MLS club Orlando City SC founder Phil Rawlins, declared a mission to create a true “soccer club”. Rawlins announced the the addition of Orlando City B to play in 2016. The “MLS2” side will be used to help in the development of future top-tier players as well as providing playing time for injured or less-used players. In 2016, Orlando City SC also created the Orlando Pride which debuted in in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Like FC Cincinnati, Orlando City B is in their first year as a USL side. Their results have been improving as of late, going 2-1-0 in their last three games. OCB is looking for offense as they have scored more than 1 goal only once this season. Their last three games began with a two game road trip to Pennsylvania. Orlando notched their first win with a 2-1 victory over next-to-last-place Pittsburgh Riverhounds. OCB right back Tyler Turner steered in 2 goals in that match.
On a short turnaround, OCB could not continue their winning ways and fell to the Harrisburg City Islanders 2-1. MLS Young Designated Player (DP) and Orlando City SC loanee Bryan Rochez knocked in a PK. They missed several chances in that match and could not capitalize on a short-handed Islanders side. OCB returned to Florida with three points from two games.
In their first game of their six game home stand at Titan Soccer Complex, OCB recorded their first home win with a 1-0 result against Eastern Conference cellar-dweller FC Montreal. Orlando got on the board early with a Michael Cox header in the 9th minute. However, OCB was reduced to 10-men in the 18th minute as Devron Garcia was sent off for taking down a Montreal attacker on a breakaway. This should be an advantage for the Orange & Blue as OCB will continue to have to reach down the roster for center back help due to injuries and call-ups to the parent club. Good news for OCB was the debut of other center back and former MLS Super Draft pick Conor Donovan. OCB will also expect the return of USYNT left winger Pierre da Silva from the 2016 Slovakia Cup. The speedy de Silva scored a goal for the Brad Friedel led side who defeated Russia in the final 2-1 over the weekend.
Parent club Orlando City SC, provided OCB with a tremendous gift in loanee Bryan Rochez. The forward scored 3 goals in 14 games last season, needing consistent minutes after being replaced by Canadian International Cyle Larin. The 21 year old Rochez netted his first goal from a PK vs. Harrisburg, but is still looking for one in the run-of-play. The current Young Designated Player and Honduran International could be called up to Orlando City if Larin is transferred in the upcoming window. Make sure to keep your eye on this talented player.
It has been surprising that considering the amount of talented attacking players, OCB is having issues putting the ball in the back of the net. Forward Michael Cox was able to head in the winning goal over the weekend (video below). The 23 year old Canadian has had experience scoring goals for FC Edmonton of the NASL, netting 10 in 50 games from 2011-13. After two seasons at KuPS in Finland, Cox came back to North America to anchor OCB up front.
10' GOAL! What a set up and an excellent finish from Michael Cox! OCB lead 1-0!
— Orlando City B (@OrlandoCityB) May 1, 2016
Another high profile Orlando City loanee, Richie Laryea has logged the 4th most amount of minutes for an outfield player. The 21 year old Generation Adidas prospect was drafted 7th overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. The midfielder has already put six shots on goal this season and is not afraid to provide an offensive outlet for OCB.
What to expect from FC Cincinnati
When speaking with several players last week, they described the challenges in playing three games in the span of eight days and the rigors of the associated travel. Fortunately for the team, they will fly to Orlando instead of the long bus odyssey they experienced last week to Toronto. I would expect to see some lineup interchange along with shorter minutes for several players.
This Saturday Luke Spencer, Omar Mohomed, Derek Luke and Omar Cummings made appearances off the bench for Harkes’ side. I would think that these four, with the additions of Antoine Hoppenot and Eric Stevenson, could see their first starts of the season or at least more significant minutes. You may also see some surprise players like Francisco Narbon make an appearance. With the long travel and short turnaround to Harrisburg, a full complement of substitutes should be utilized.
Coming off the draw vs. Wilmington, Derek Luke was one of the highlights, providing some pace and calm to the left side of the defense. With the sloppy play of Polak, this could be Luke’s chance to claim a starting spot. Many fans were disappointed with the play of Omar Mohomed, but I want to give you an opposing viewpoint. Mohomed found his way into good spots on the field with his vision and pace. He did give up the ball on a slippery surface, but credit to him for combining with Cummings up top for some chances. For a 19 year old who has logged 93 minutes of professional experience, lets be patient. Mohomed could be special to see before the end of the season.
Harkes will also need to address his center back rotation this week. Harrison Delbridge put in a great effort and will be called into action again alongside back-up Paul Nicholson. With the injury of Austin Berry, will Harkes go to Evan Lee on the bench or maintain his squad from the weekend with no CB replacements?
We had a great comment from Justin on our game recap:
“I thought Nicholson filled in well. Apart from scoring the goal, he also made a good challenge in a situation where he was the last man, keeping Wilm from having a 1-on-1 with our keeper. Pat McMahon also had a good match, working hard at the back.”
Thanks for the analysis. I agree to both points. Nicholson is a pro adapting to his new position well. McMahon did have a good match with the exception of losing his footing to concede the blocked PK. Overall though he made more positive plays on the night.
What would be a good result?
FC Cincinnati could be in for another wet one on Wednesday. Weather predictions have at least an inch of rain coming to the Orlando area Wednesday morning/afternoon. The only saving grace is that they may miss the traditional 90 degree weather because of the storms. With the long travel required and short turnaround to Harrisburg, I think that our roster could be shuffled, leading to some weakness on the defensive side. A draw here could be disappointing due to Orlando’s spot in the standings, but considering the variables of travel and weather, it might be fair. In April, we wrote a story on expectations on our upcoming 5 games. Through the first two games, we have 4 points, and I think getting 10 or 11 out of 5 would be a success. Make sure to check out our official predictions that will drop on Wednesday morning.
HAVE YOU SEEN MITCH SAY NO!
— Shane Harrison (@VideoShane) May 3, 2016
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