OCB Loses 1st-ever Match to Tampa Bay Rowdies in Season-opener

Orlando City B started its second United Soccer League season with a loss.

Orlando City B defender Conor Donovan passes the ball during a 1-0 loss to the Tampa Ba Rowdies on Saturday, March 25, 2017. (Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)

Match Recap

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Entering Saturday’s bout with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Orlando City B head coach Anthony Pulis said the Rowdies had the best team, on paper, in the United Soccer League. After OCB (0-1-0, 0 points) suffered a 1-0 loss to the Rowdies (1-0-0, 3 points) at Al Lang Stadium, that sentiment was only reinforced.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to have watched ‘em in preseason. We’ve watched ‘em four or five times,” Pulis said after the match. “So we knew the quality that they had. And showed tonight, glimpses. They’re gonna do well this year. They’re certainly gonna be contesting for a championship.”

Tampa Bay scored the lone goal of the match on a penalty kick. The Rowdies penetrated the left side of OCB’s box, forcing goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. to come off his line to the ball. Edwards dove for the ball and fouled Leo Fernandes in the box, granting Georgi Hristov a penalty-kick chance in the 57th minute.

“Earl was fantastic. He’s been great since he’s been with us,” Pulis said. “He’s played the games, and when he’s been in training with our group, he’s been fantastic. I’ve been really, really pleased with him. And tonight, I thought he kept us in the game at times.

“Disappointed for him that he was the one to give the penalty kick away. On the whole, I thought he was outstanding.”

Tampa Bay dominated the first half of the match, out-shooting OCB 13-2 and holding 52 percent of the possession. The Rowdies also managed four corners while Orlando didn’t have any. Defender Tommy Redding chalked that up to Tampa Bay’s response to goal kicks.

“I think it was just difficult with the way that they pressed us on the goal kicks,” Redding said after the match. “So that’s something we’re gonna go back and look at. Yeah, they gave us problems, but I’m sure we’ll be able to fix it within the next week.”

Man of the Match: Georgi Hristov

Hristov scored the lone goal of the match on a penalty kick in the 57th minute. He tallied six total shots with two on-target chances. In total, he also completed 54.5 percent of his 22 passes and recorded a tackle.

What’s next?

OCB returns home to host Louisville City FC for the team’s USL home-opener on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Luke Boden Plays His Former Club

Rowdies left-back Luke Boden played his former club for the first time Saturday night. The Englishman didn’t forget where he played for the past six seasons.

“I was there for six years. If you don’t feel any emotion after six years, there’s something wrong with you,” Boden said after the match. “So, yeah, there definitely was some emotion. Now, I’m [with the] Tampa Bay Rowdies…and my job as a player for the Tampa Bay Rowdies is to win games, and, thankfully, we came out here, and we walked out with three points.”

Tampa Bay Rowdies left-back Luke Boden dribbles the ball during a 1-0 loss to the Tampa Ba Rowdies on Saturday, March 25, 2017. (Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)

On the pitch, Boden understands it’s competitive. But before the match, Boden had a chance to catch up with friend and OCB team captain Lewis Neal.

“I spoke to Lewis. I went to the hotel last night, and I went to go see Lewis Neal,” Boden said. “I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a very good friend of mine. And we chat, and we spoke about family—not really about football—we spoke about our families and things like that. Our families are very close. We’re really close.

“But, as I say, when we’re on the field, we’re competitive. That’s how we are. And after the game, I spoke to him again. As I say, he’s a very good friend of mine.”

Tommy Redding Embraces Chance to Play with OCB

On Friday, the club announced sending nine players from its Major League Soccer side on season-long loans to OCB. Among those players was Redding, an Orlando City homegrown player who started 16 matches last season.

For Redding, he’s embracing the opportunity to play with OCB, acknowledging his youth.

“To me, it’s no surprise. I’m still 20 years old,” Redding said. “No matter what happened last year, I just want to play games. Whether it’s with the first team or OCB, I just want to be on the field and getting better every day.”

Redding played all 90 minutes of OCB’s season-opener and completed 70.5 percent of his 44 pases.


NDR Notes

  • This was the first time Orlando City has lost to the Tampa Bay in club history. Previously, the club was on a six-match winning streak.
  • OCB started the match with eight MLS players on season-long loans.


Time Team Goal-scorer Assisted by
57’ Tampa Bay Rowdies Georgi Hristov PENALTY

Statistics and Starting Lineups

Goals Assists Shots Shots on Goal Possession %
Orlando City B 0 0 3 1 48.4%
Tampa Bay Rowdies 1 0 21 5 51.6%

 Orlando City B starting XI (4-2-3-1): Earl Edwards Jr. (GK); Victor “PC” Giro, Tommy Redding, Conor Donovan, Kevin Alston; Lewis Neal (C), Paul Clowes; Danny Deakin, Pierre da Silva, Richie Laryea; Michael Cox

Tampa Bay Rowdies starting XI (4-2-3-1): Akira Fitzgerald (GK); Luke Boden, Neill Collins, Damion Lowe, Darnell King; Martin Vingaard, Marcel Schafer; Michael Nanchoff, Joe Cole (C), Leo Fernandes; Georgi Hristov


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