Orlando City B secures USL playoff spot in the inaugural season
BETHLEHEM, Penn. (September 25, 2016) – Ahead of a must-win season finale, Orlando City B (9-13-8, 35 points) scored their fifth goal of the season and scored two goals to beat Bethlehem Steel FC (6-14-10, 28 points) ). 2-0 on Sunday at Goodman Stadium. Johnny Mendoza’s second goal in 2016 and Lewis Neal’s Screamer secured the eighth and final playoff spot in OCB’s inaugural United Soccer League (USL) season.
“I’m really happy for the players. They worked so hard all year long and it was a fantastic group to work with. I’m just happy that they have something to show for their hard work, ”said OCB head coach Anthony Pulis. “The game was not good sometimes today, but they defended well and I’m very happy that we kept our goal. We’ll enjoy that, but we’ll get back to work early next week and prepare for the Red Bulls. “
The Lions had to win today to keep their season alive after the Wilmington Hammerheads, one point behind OCB, beat the Richmond Kickers 2-0 on Saturday night.
City started the game with a sense of urgency and scored the opening goal early when Mendoza tipped Michael Cox’s centering pass home after the Lions’ top scorer tackled two defenders as he dribbled through the box in the ninth minute.
OCB took the insurance marker in the 58th minute with an incredible shot from Neal. The Lions captain coralized a rebounding ball 30 yards from goal, touched it over his defender and fired a shot that shot over a falling Matthew Perrella and under the crossbar.
While Bethlehem pushed to spoil the Lions season, goalkeeper Mark Ridgers delivered one of his best performances of the season. The 26-year-old, who started the game with 101 saves at the top of the USL, pounced on several threatening crosses from Steel FC and made five strong saves to keep Bethlehem off the scoreboard. In the 66th minute, Ridgers sprawled to his right for a hard shot from Justin McMaster.
Ridgers was helped by playing his backline, which featured first-team players Tyler Turner and Tommy Redding. Homegrown’s two defenders kept Steel FC’s various attack threats at bay for much of the night. Towards the end of the game and while Bethlehem continued to apply pressure, Turner made a large gap as the ball bounced dangerously around in the six-yard area.
OCB was also with the first team players, Harrison Heath, who returned to the line-up in the 73rd minute for his MLS colleague Devron García, 2016 MLS SuperDraft first-round selection Hadji Barry and Pedro Ribeiro, who was missing after several months works with a back injury. Midfielder Richie Laryea and defender Conor Donovan were also on the 18-man team.
This was the second meeting of the two teams this season. On May 7, Bethlehem jumped out on an early two-goal lead. Cox noted that Turner reduced the deficit in the 17th minute before Turner retaliated in the 54th minute for Cox and secured a 2-2 draw.
The Lions will travel to Harrison, New Jersey on Sunday, October 2, to face the number 1 seeded New York Red Bulls II in the Eastern Conference quarter-finals. Kick-off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET in the Red Bull Arena.
Summary of results:
OCB – Johnny Mendoza (Michael Cox) 9 ‘
OCB – Lewis Neal 58 ‘
Summary of the misconduct:
OCB – Tyler Turner (yellow card) 32 ‘
OCB – Kyle McFadden (yellow card) 52 ‘
OCB – Pedro Ribeiro (yellow card) 60 ‘
OCB – Andrew Ribeiro (yellow card) 66 ‘
BST – Anthony Fontana (yellow card) 84 ‘
ORL – Pierre Da Silva (yellow card) 89 ‘
BST – James Chambers (yellow card) 89 ‘
Lineups / substitutions:
Orlando City B – GK Mark Ridgers, D Tyler Turner, Tommy Redding, Kyle McFadden, Zach Hayden, M Lewis Neal, Harrison Heath (Devron García 73 ‘), Pedro Ribeiro (Andrew Ribeiro 62’), Johnny Mendoza (Marius Obekop 46 ‘ )), Pierre Da Silva, F. Michael Cox (Hadji Barry 70 ‘)
Deputy: GK Jake Fenlason, D, Conor Donovan, M Richie Laryea
Bethlehem Steel FC – GK Matthew Perrella, D Mark McKenzie, Nick Bibbs, Boluwatife Akinyode, Taylor Washington, M James Chambers, Derrick Jones, Leo Fernandes (Yosef Samuel 62 ‘), F Eric Ayuk (Anthony Fontana 80’), Justin McMaster ( Cole Missimo 73 ‘), Cory Burke (Amoy Brown 67’)
Substitutes: GK Tomas Romero, D Matthew Real, M Josh Heard
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
September 25, 2016
OCB – 4th
BTH – 19
OCB – 5th
BTH – 0
OCB – 3rd
BTH – 9