The starting lineup Orlando City B set against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday drastically differed from the group second-year head coach Anthony Pulis was used to all preseason. In a 1-0 loss to the Rowdies, Pulis’ side started eight Major League Soccer players that were on season-long loans with the United Soccer League side. Of those players, only goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. and defender Kevin Alston had trained extensively with the team.
For Pulis, he understands the dynamic of the relationship between the B team and the MLS side.
“It’s not easy. I’m not gonna stand there and moan and groan about it,” Pulis said after the loss Saturday. “It is what it is. This is the dynamic of this group. Yes, we’ve had a group of players working with us for five and a half weeks, and then you get a substantial amount for two or three days before the season. It’s not ideal. But it is what it is. We just have to get on with it.
“We still prepared them well, in my opinion. So, we’ll dust ourselves down and get ready for a big game Thursday night.”
Edwards only considers the change in OCB’s squad as a poor excuse. For Edwards, it’s simply a matter of adjustment.
“I would consider that an excuse at this point,” Edwards said after the loss Saturday. “But I think that’s something that is going to happen throughout the year, and I think something we need to adjust to. So, I think it just kind of goes with the nature of the system.”
Among the players that were sent on season-long loans were Edwards, defenders Alston, Tommy Redding, Conor Donovan and Victor “PC” Giro, midfielders Richie Laryea, Danny Deakin and Pierre da Silva, and forward Hadji Barry.
OCB will return to Orlando to host Louisville City FC in its home-opener on Thursday.