MELBOURNE, Fla. (April 16, 2016) - Although Orlando City B (0-3-1, 1 point) fell 1-0 to the Harrisburg City Islanders (1-2-0, 3 points) being two men down at Titan Soccer Complex on Saturday night, several developing players showed consistent growth, intensity and strong defensive efforts. The match saw the first start of the Honduran duo, Bryan Róchez and Devron Garcia, with Róchez up top and Garcia at right back. Michael Cox, who scored his first goal in OCB’s previous match, got the nod next to Róchez. In the backline, Mark Ridgers had another impressive night while Tyler Turner had an outstanding defensive performance playing on the left flank.
“The guys worked hard. I don’t ever question their togetherness and their willingness to keep going and never give in, and they obviously did that. We ended up with nine [players] and it’s difficult, but we were firm in the back and they didn’t give up, and I can’t question that at all,” said Head Coach Anthony Pulis. “I thought Bryan [Róchez] did well. Tonight I gave him the start because I felt like he was ready, and it was positive, and I am sure he will only get stronger from here on. Tyler [Turner] also did well tonight, he is a good player, we have to remember that he is very young, but he has a ton of potential, he is very good going forward and he is continuously improving defensively.”
City Goalkeeper Mark Ridgers picked up where he left off in the previous home game, making two early impressive saves to deny the Islanders and keep his goal unbeaten in the first 45. However, three minutes before the end of the first half, the Lions went down a man for the second-consecutive home match, when midfielder Tony Rocha was sent off in a controversial call after going for a 50-50 ball.
Despite the overall defensive effort by the Lions’ backline and numerous outstanding saves by Ridgers, Harrisburg took advantage of the extra man and opened the score in the 59th minute. Winger Cardel Benbow received a pass on the right flank, dribbled his way into the box and found the back of the net with a left-footed strike.
With the intensity of the contest incrementing in the final moments, OCB captain Lewis Neal was sent off after accumulating a second yellow card in the second half. However, City still managed to threaten Harrisburg’s backline, mounting forward with various deliveries to the box, including a cross from second-half substitute Marius Obekop that almost surpassed the Islanders’ goalkeeper.
OCB will travel to Pittsburgh for their next match, when they face the Riverhounds at the Highmark Stadium on Friday, April 22 at 7 p.m. ET. The Lions return home after consecutive road games to play Montreal on May 1 at the Titan Soccer Complex. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Orlando City B - GK Mark Ridgers, D Devron García, Craig Nitti, Kyle McFadden, Tyler Turner, M Tony Rocha, Lewis Neal, Johnny Mendoza, Richie Laryea (Pierre Da Silva 81’), F Bryan Róchez (Marius Obekop 66’), Michael Cox
Substitutes: GK Jake Fenlason, M Alejandro Garcia, F William Eyang, Keegan Smith
Harrisburg City Islanders - GK Nick Noble, D James Thomas, Liam Doyle, Dante Leverock, Shawn McClaws, M Cardel Benbow (Josh Hughes 77’), Bobby Warshaw, Mouhamed Dabo, Jose Barril, F Paul Wilson, Craig Foster (Aaron Wheeler 70’)
Substitutes: GK Keagel Broome, D Shane Campbell, Shane Johnson, M Matthew Bolduc, F Brett Jonkouskas
HAR - Cardel Benbow 59’
OCB - Devron Garcia 30’ (Yellow Card)
OCB - Tony Rocha 42’ (Red Card)
HAR - James Thomas 50’ (Yellow Card)
OCB - Richie Laryea 55’ (Yellow Card)
OCB - Lewis Neal 82’ (Yellow Card)
OCB - Shane Campbell 89’ (Yellow Card)
OCB - Lewis Neal 90+’ (Second Yellow Card)
Date: April 16, 2016
Time of Match: 7:30 p.m. ET