VIDEO: Eastern Florida State Defeats Orlando City B 1-0 In Preseason Matchup
By Orlando City B // March 20, 2016
ABOVE VIDEO: Sights and sounds of Saturday’s matchup between Eastern Florida and Orlando City B’s exhibition matchup in Melbourne.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Orlando City B saw its preseason come to a close on Saturday afternoon, playing a rain-soaked and weather-delayed battle at Eastern Florida State College.
The Lions controlled possession and opportunities for much of the match, despite the inclement conditions, but Eastern Florida’s JJ Donnelly was the only one to find the back of the net, giving the home team the 1-0 advantage.
“I was pleased [with our play today]. Obviously the result’s not ideal, but I’ve just told the players you sometimes get easily sidetracked by results and it can cloud your thoughts and emotions after a game,” said Orlando City B Head Coach Anthony Pulis.
“I thought our performance today was really good, especially the second half. I thought we moved the ball really well. The pleasing thing from my point of view was the amount of chances we created.”
Early in the match, after a quick give-and-go between Pierre da Silva and Mikey Ambrose, Ambrose sent a low cross in from the left side, finding William Eyang open in the middle. However the forward’s one-timed shot sailed high of the net in the 18th minute.
Just before the halftime break, Tony Rocha looked to give OCB the advantage with a powerful shot from the outside, but Titan goalkeeper Nate Himes was able to punch the ball away.
With the sound of the first half whistle, the teams entered the locker room on a weather delay, returning to the pitch over 30 minutes later in search of the game’s go-ahead goal.
Both clubs had chances in the first moments of the second 45, with OCB first putting a powerful header on frame that Himes was able to save. The host Titans responded with a shot from Micah Smoak that was cleared just before the goal-line by Tyler Turner.
Rocha tested Himes again in the 53rd minute, driving through the Titan defense but the ‘keeper came up with a punching save, sending the ball over the bar for a Lions’ corner kick. On that kick, 6-5 defender Craig Nitti came inches from breaking the deadlock, only to be denied by the crossbar on his headed attempt.
The Lions’ were able to beat Himes in the 77th minute, but Richie Laryea’s equalizer goal was reversed after an offside call.
Joshua Donnelly’s goal came in the 55th minute with a shot from 22 yards out that pinpointed the right post and deflected in past Mark Ridgers to put Eastern Florida up 1-0.
The home team had an opportunity to double its lead just five minutes later, but defender Kyle Callan-McFadden came up with a big defensive play, using a well-timed tackle to clear the ball away.
With under 20 minutes remaining in the match, City’s Eyang continued to be a threat on the offensive end and had eyes on the equalizer. The Cameroon native took a distance shot in the 72nd minute, with the ball fluttering just wide of the Titans’ net.
With the 2016 USL Regular Season on the horizon, OCB will turn its attention to the home-opener on March 26 against the Wilmington Hammerheads.
Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. match at Titan Soccer Complex are available at OrlandoCityB.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY.