Orlando City B Holds Off FC Montreal 1-0 After Finishing With 10-Men, Cox Scores Lone Goal
By Orlando City SC // May 2, 2016
Orlando City B Record (2-4-1)
ABOVE VIDEO: Replay of the Orlando City B vs FC Montreal game Sunday night. (USL Video)
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Orlando City B (2-4-1, 7 points) earned its first home victory of the season Sunday, defeating FC Montreal (0-5-0, 0 points) 1-0 despite being down a man for 72 minutes, riding a Michael Cox headed goal that capped off a superb team play in the ninth minute.
The Lions registered their second win in their past three games as they begin a stretch of three games in seven days.
“It was obviously hard work. It was a long 90 minutes for us. Obviously we get a man sent off again. This time we were a goal up, which makes a difference. We had something to hang on to, something to defend and I thought the guys did magnificently,” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said.
“We tweaked a couple things at half time and thankfully it worked. I thought our shape was good. I thought the discipline, the work ethic, stuff that we do on a daily basis with them that sometimes they think is boring but it’s important and it’s what got us a result tonight.”
“I’m delighted for the boys. Delighted for Michael Cox, he got his goal. I thought it was a just reward for his effort and his performance. I thought he was outstanding tonight,” said Pulis.
The match featured six Major League Soccer (MLS) players in the starting XI, including Generation adidas defender Conor Donovan, who returned to the pitch after missing nine months of action due to a torn ACL suffered in MLS play.
Orlando City Designated Player Bryan Róchez also started, as did Tyler Turner, Devron García, Harrison Heath and Richie Laryea.
“I thought Conor did great. Conor is a fantastic, fantastic boy. He’s got a great attitude. He’s the first in, last out every day. He lives for football and he does everything in his power to be a good player and to be the best player he can possibly be,” Pulis said.
“I thought he did great tonight. It’s not easy when you haven’t played for nine months but I thought he slotted in and did well.”
Michael Cox earned Man of the Match honors for his performance. He had a great headed attempt in the fourth minute on a cross from Mikey Ambrose, which required a diving save from Montreal goalkeeper James Pantemis.
Five minutes later, after a nice combination play between Bryan Róchez and Tyler Turner, Cox finished a Lewis Neal headed pass with a header of his own for the eventual game-winner and his second goal of the season.
The Lions were reduced to 10 men in the 18th minute after Devron García was given a red card for making a tackle as the last man back. Pulis adjusted accordingly, inserting defender Kyle McFadden for Tony Rocha in the 22nd minute.
Pulis later switched Bryan Róchez for Keegan Smith and Conor Donovan for Andrew Ribeiro at halftime.
City continued applying the pressure despite being down a man, particularly up the left wing with Mikey Ambrose. The El Paso, Texas native was a threat all evening, displaying his skill as he delivered several dangerous crosses into the box.
Goalkeeper Mark Ridgers made five saves to maintain the lead, his best of the night coming in the 79th minute when Charles Joly fired a shot from outside the box towards the upper corner, but Ridgers’ flying effort preserved the clean sheet.
The Scottish also made a miraculous save in stoppage time after a shot deflected to the left of goal, stopping the rebound effort.
Orlando almost doubled the lead in the 80th minute of play, when speedy attacker William Eyang recovered the ball two minutes after entering the game, surpassed Montreal’s backline on the counter and powerfully struck the ball to the near post, forcing goalkeeper James Pantemis to make a difficult save.