ORLANDO, Fla. (July 2, 2016) – In the teams’ second meeting of the season, Orlando City B (6-6-4, 22 points) earned a 1-1 draw against the Charlotte Independence (7-4-4, 25 points) on Saturday evening at Titan Soccer Complex. Zach Hayden made a precise cross to Michael Cox who finished clinically at the start of the second half to level the match and goalkeeper Mark Ridgers made two saves to secure the Lions’ fourth point in two games against the Independence.
“Charlotte caused us some problems first half, I have to give credit to them. I was pleased to get [the players] in at halftime. We had to tweak a couple of things tactically. They took that on board and in the second half were better,” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said. “Obviously we got the goal really early [in the second half]. I thought, ‘well this is brilliant. Maybe this gives us the impetus and we can get try and get the winner’ and it just wasn’t to be. I thought tonight, on the balance of play, a draw was a fair result. ”
The Lions, captained by midfielder Andrew Ribeiro, showed strong defensive posture early on. Charlotte was able to get several shots off, but none posed a serious threat to Ridgers, who entered the game leading the United Soccer League (USL) with 49 saves. The Scotsman finished with two saves, his best coming on an in-swinging shot to the far post from inside the box in the 34th minute.
Charlotte opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Lewis Hilton lofted a ball into a crowd in the box. The ball bounced off Brian Brown, trickled under Ridgers and rolled into the net.
OCB responded quickly, though, as Richie Laryea made a great cross from the right wing into Michael Cox, who directed the ball on frame but right at well-positioned goalkeeper John Berner. Laryea had a good opportunity to equalize at the stroke of halftime, but sent Mikey Ambrose’s cross over the bar.
Down by a goal, OCB got off to a quick start to the second half. Just moments after Cox forced Berner into a charging save, Zach Hayden sprinted onto a pass down the right wing and curled a nice ball in between two defenders to Cox, who fired the ball into the top corner off the volley to equalize just two minutes into the second half. It was Hayden’s first assist of the season and Cox’s team-leading sixth goal of the season.
The Lions almost took the lead in the 86th minute when Conor Donovan got a close-range header on target, but Berner made a leaping save to keep the game level.
In their previous meeting, OCB defeated Charlotte on May 28, riding a strong outing from goalkeeper Jake Fenlason and Craig Nitti’s 71st-minute goal and to a 2-1 win.
OCB returns to action on Sunday, July 10, when it visits the Rochester Rhinos for a 6:05 p.m. ET kickoff. The Lions face a three-day turnaround before heading to the Charleston Battery on Wednesday, July 13. OCB returns to Titan Soccer Complex on Sunday, July 24 to host on the Wilmington Hammerheads. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Tickets to all OCB home matches are available at OrlandoCityB.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY. Follow the latest Orlando City news and updates via Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and YouTube.
CHA - Brian Brown (Lewis Hilton) 24’
ORL - Michael Cox (Zach Hayden) 47’
ORL - Mikey Ambrose (Yellow Card) 40’
CHA - Enzo Martinez (Yellow Card) 51’
CHA - Lewis Hilton (Yellow Card) 54’
ORL - Tony Rocha (Yellow Card) 67’
CHA - Paul Clowes (Yellow Card) 72’
Orlando City B - GK Mark Ridgers, D Zach Hayden, Devron García, Conor Donovan, Mikey Ambrose, M Richie Laryea (Marius Obekop 77’), Johnny Mendoza (Tyler Turner 83’), Andrew Ribeiro, Tony Rocha, Pierre Da Silva, F Michael Cox
Substitutes: GK Jake Fenlason, D Kyle McFadden, M Antonio Matarazzo, Alejandro Garcia, F William Eyang
Charlotte Independence - GK John Berner, D Bilal Duckett, Patrick Slogic, Joel Johnson, Henry Kalungi, M Lewis Hilton (Paul Clowes 67’), Enzo Martinez (Jorge Herrera 67’), F Caleb Calvert (Zach Pfeffer 72’), Brian Brown (Norberto Ochoa 89’), David Estrada (Jack Metcalf 74’)
Substitutes: GK Cody Mizell, D Alec Bartlett
Details of the Game
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Scattered showers
July 2, 2016
ORL - 6
CHA - 8
ORL - 2
CHA - 3
ORL - 2
CHA - 1