In a partial rematch of the epic 2011 USL Final Orlando City B remained winless with a 1-0 loss to the Harrisburg City Islanders in Melbourne. The Lions have one draw and three losses now in USL play having been outscored 7-2 in the four games.
Orlando City B is largely a mix of young players looking to develop into players that can play at the MLS level but also features club legend Lewis Neal. Thus the club is a work in progress and while results aren’t good, at this level when the parent club is competing in MLS, winning and losing isn’t always as important as player development.
The Lions did start this match well denying Harrisburg who were also looking for their first win of the season any real opportunity to attack. But in minute 40, Orlando’s Tony Rocha was issued a straight red card for a challenge on City Islanders’ Shawn McLaws. Rocha is developing a reputation for reckless play having also been sent off earlier in the month against Charleston.
Orlando’s defense held solid despite being down to ten men until a spate of Harrisburg chances between minutes 58 and 60. Mark Ridgers the Lions Goalkeeper made an excellent save off a Bobby Warshaw header in the 58th minute but two minutes later Ridgers was finally beaten as Cardel Benbow provided a spectacular goal that was certainly worthy of winning any game.
Lewis Neal was eventually sent off after two yellow cards the second being alleged retaliation for an incident started by Harrisburg City’s Aaron Wheeler a former Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers forward. Orlando thus ended the game on nine men and will be without Neal or Rocha for this Friday’s trip to Pittsburgh to face the Riverhounds. Kickoff time for that match is 7pm eastern on Friday April 22.