Through 8 games of the USL season, let’s take a look at some OCB prospects who have been impressive in the early season.
Earl Edwards, Jr. - The San Diego, Calif., native has been nothing short of spectacular since the start of the 2017 season. In addition to leading the league with 24 saves, Edwards Jr. continues to come up big for the Lions away from home. The Landlord of the box began his season with a miraculous leaping save over the bar to deny former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole and has stayed at that level ever since. On April 23, Edwards Jr saved three point-blank breakways at Bethlehem to preserve three points and a clean sheet. Even if it has only been a month, it is safe to say Edwards Jr. is one of the best goalkeepers in the league.
Richie Laryea - The 2016 first-round MLS SuperDraft pick is finding his form with OCB. The midfielder had his best match two weeks ago at Bethlehem after starting the second half with a thunderous strike from the top of the penalty area. Laryea followed his first professional goal with the dagger 22 minutes later when he ripped a right-footed strike into the side netting to secure a 2-0 win and OCB’s first road win of the 2017 season.
Austin Martz - The former Maltese Premier League midfielder continues to find himself in the starting XI for OCB down the right flank. Martz recorded his first assist with OCB against Bethlehem while offering another attacking threat with his pace and resilience. Martz has appeared in every match this season, making six starts and coming off the bench twice. The Pennsylvania native’s speed is obvious from first glance and he doesn’t seem to stop running throughout the entire match.
Zach Carroll - The 2016 USL Cup Champion has anchored the backline to start the season and even wore the captain’s armband while veteran midfielder Lewis Neal recovered from an injury. Carroll, a physical and technical defender, has tremendously helped a revamped OCB defensive line. Yet, the center back’s most memorable moment to start this season came in the dying moments against Harrisburg when he fired home the equalizer with seconds left in the match. The goal was Carroll’s first professional goal and it helped kick start a three-game unbeaten run.
Pierre Da Silva - Coming off of an impressive first season with OCB, Pierre Da Silva has started the 2017 season with a league-leading four assists. Earlier this season, Da Silva became the first Orlando City Pro Academy product to make an MLS appearance and while the 18-year-old continues to train with the likes of Cyle Larin and Kaká, he may well have the chance to help lead OCB back to the playoffs.
Léo Pereira - Orlando City acquired Léo Pereira on a season-long loan from official partner Clube Atlético Paranaense two weeks before the season began. The move was the first player transaction between the two clubs since announcing a partnership in November 2016. Since then, Pereira has performed and showed his willingness to work and defend for 90 minutes. The Brazilian defender is versatile and can play both at outside back and in the center back role. With four starts for OCB, his flexibility and technical ability has already earned him a promotion the First Team.