Orlando City B Battles to 1st Draw with Charlotte

Even without team captain Lewis Neal and its 2016 leading goal-scorer Michael Cox, OCB managed to its first draw of the season.

Orlando City B forward Albert Dikwa falls forward after being tripped up by the Charlotte Independence goalkeeper during a 1-1 draw at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, April 8, 2017. (Photo by Joe Petro / Orlando City SC)

Match Recap

ORLANDO, Fla. – Coming hot off its first victory of the season, Orlando City B played its third match in the span of 10 days. After losing one and winning one, OCB (1-2-1, 4 points) tied the third of those three matches 1-1 with the Charlotte Independence (0-1-1, 1 point) at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday in front of a crowd of 1,512.

“I thought it was a tale of two halves, to be honest,” OCB head coach Anthony Pulis said after the match. “I thought first half we started sluggish. Our press was too disconnected, a little bit too organized for my liking. We were a little bit too far off them. And then in possession, I don’t think we were as crisp in our passing as really as—as fluid as what we want it to be.

“But second half, to be fair, I thought we upped it. I thought in possession, we were crisper, we were sharper. We had a little bit more purpose to our play, and our press was a lot better. We kinda tweaked a couple of things and reinforced some messages, and I thought it was better second half.

“I thought, all in all, point was probably a fair result.”

With the match tied at 1-1 in added time, OCB conceded one final foul in its left corner, giving Charlotte one last opportunity to score a match-winner. The ensuing virtual corner kick landed on the head of Alex Martinez, whose shot went into the arms of OCB goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr.

Charlotte struck first in the 60th minute when Charlotte substitute Lewis Hilton scored from the right part of OCB’s box. The chance was initiated by Martinez, who serviced the ball into Hilton near the six-yard box where he struck it high and past Edwards .

OCB was quick to retaliate, though, when Albert Dikwa, who was making his first professional start, scored just 10 minutes later. Scott Thomsen crossed it from Charlotte’s left part of the box to Dikwa, who was waiting in the middle of the box for the tap-in equalizer.

Orlando City B midfielder Richie Laryea dribbles the ball during a 1-1 draw at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, April 8, 2017. (Photo by Joe Petro / Orlando City SC)

“I thought it was very good,” OCB midfielder Richie Laryea said after the match. “We started playing better once we went down a goal, I think. So, everyone just got lifted. I remember just looking around and just telling everyone, ‘Let’s go. Let’s go.’ Like, still a lot of the game to go. And then we scored shortly after that.”

Man of the Match: Albert Dikwa

Dikwa scored his first professional goal in his professional start. He finished the match with two shots (two on-target), completing 82.4 percent of his 34 passes. He also added two tackles.

“I thought Dikwa was outstanding tonight. For his first professional start, I thought he was a threat all night,” Pulis said. “I’m sure if you asked their defenders, they hated every minute of playing against him. His work rate is phenomenal. His hold-up play was good tonight, and he looked dangerous. I mean, he took his goal really well. Possibly could’ve had a penalty kick, but I was really, really pleased. I thought he was excellent tonight. He can be pleased with that.

“But that’s a good start for him now. It’s important to make sure he kicks on ‘cus he’s definitely got a lot more to give.”

What’s next?

OCB travels to face New York Red Bulls II on April 14 at 7 p.m.

No Lewis Neal, Michael Cox

Neither team captain Lewis Neal nor OCB’s leading goal-scorer in 2016 Michael Cox made appearances for OCB tonight. For Pulis, it was a matter of rest for the former; for the latter, it was a tactical issue.

“Lewis, I wanted to give him a complete rest tonight,” Pulis said. “I mean, he’s 35. He’s gonna be 36 in July, so, with his age, it’s something I was mindful of. And I knew I was gonna rest him for one of the games this week, and we decided, obviously, to play him against Toronto, which I was pleased to have made that decision ‘cus he scored. And then we were always gonna completely rest him tonight knowing that we got that trip coming up.

“And then Cox was a tactical decision not to play him. And I was pleased that we made the decision to give Dikwa a start.”

In Neal’s stead, defender Zach Carroll got the captain’s armband. For the first-year OCB player, it was a proud moment.

“It’s big pride for me,” Carroll said after the match. “This is the first time in my professional career, and, as a player, you work towards things like this, and, you know, it’s just about going out there and trying to lead the team, and I thought it was a good game.”

Yellow Cards Not an Issue for Anthony Pulis

Five yellow cards were issued to OCB players in the team’s 1-1 draw with Charleston. Ryley Kraft got it started early with a booking in the 12th minute. Zachary Ellis-Hayden earned his in the 50th minute, Laryea got his in the 66th minute, Jordan Schweitzer earned one in the 75th minute, and Dikwa collected his in added time.

For Pulis, it’s not a concern of his.

“Some of them I thought were a little bit harsh,” Pulis said. “Some of them probably deserved it. It’s a competitive game. You’re always gonna get bookings, so there’s no real concern on that from my part, to be honest.”

Laryea, on the other hand, chose not to comment.

“I don’t want to comment on that referee,” Laryea said laughing. “I’ll leave it at that.”


NDR Notes

  • Neal was not listed on the starting lineup or on the bench for the match against Charlotte.
  • Dikwa scored his first professional goal in his professional start.


Time Team Goal-scorer Assisted by
60’ Charlotte Independence Lewis Hilton Alex Martinez
70’ Orlando City B Albert Dikwa Scott Thomsen

Statistics and Starting Lineups

Goals Assists Shots Shots on Goal Possession %
Orlando City B 1 1 11 3 48.1%
Charlotte Independence 1 1 13 4 51.9%

Orlando City B starting lineup (4-4-2): Earl Edwards Jr. (GK); Scott Thomsen, Léo Pereira, Zach Carroll (C), Zachary Ellis-Hayden; Joe Gallardo, Ryley Kraft, Jordan Schweitzer, Austin Martz; Richie Laryea, Albert Dikwa

Charlotte starting lineup (4-4-2): Cody Mizell (GK); Joel Johnson, Callum Ross, Dennis Castillo, Luke Waechter; Alex Martinez, Yann Ekra, Henry Kalungi, Jun Marrques Davidson; David Estrada, Casey Townsend