There’s a first time for everything.
After conceding first, Albert Dikwa’s first-ever professional goal salvaged Orlando City B a 1-1 draw against the Charlotte Independence on Saturday night in front of 1,512 in attendance at Orlando City Stadium.
“I thought it was a tale of two halves,” said OCB head coach Anthony Pulis moments after the game. “I thought first half we started sluggish… our press was too disconnected, a little bit too unorganized for my liking. We were a little bit too far often, and in possession I don’t think we were as crisp and our passing wasn’t really as fluid as we want it to be.”
After a scoreless first half, Charlotte (0-1-1, 1 points) took the lead in the 60th minute when Lewis Hilton struck from close range past goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr.
OCB (1-2-1, 4 points) equalized in the 70th minute when Scott Thomsen’s cross found 19-year-old Dikwa to tap the ball in for his first ever professional goal.
70′ | GOOOAAAALLLL! Albert Dikwa finishes off a great cross into the box.
1-1 | #ORLvCLT
💻 https://t.co/VzJAdKXIAe pic.twitter.com/jz1F7vaXSk
— Orlando City B (@OrlandoCityB) April 9, 2017
“I thought Dikwa was outstanding,” said Pulis. “For his first professional start, I thought he was a threat all night. I’m sure if you ask 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.”
Out of the MLSers playing Saturday night, Edwards and midfield Richie Laryea saw action. And for the first time this year, Pulis deployed a mostly USL-stacked lineup heading into the game against the Independence.
Pierre Da Silva, who was booked with a red card during last Tuesday’s game, did not play after the club originally appealed the red-card decision, but USL decided not to rescind the sanction.
OCB won their first game of the season last Tuesday during a 3-1 win over Toronto FC II.
Charlotte outshot Orlando 13-11 and had 51.9 percent percentage for the entire game.
Here’s Lineups Orlando City B utilized on Saturday:
Earl Edwards Jr.; Scott Thomsen, Zach Carroll (c), Leo Pereira, Zach Ellis-Hayden; Jordan Schweitzer, Ryley Kraft, Joe Gallardo, Austin Martz; Albert Dikwa, Richie Laryea.
OCB embarks on a three-game road trip, which includes a visit to 2016 USL champions New York Red Bulls II on Friday, April 14 at 7 p.m. OCB then travels to play Harrisburg City Islanders on Tuesday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m. before finishing their road skid at Bethlehem Steel on Sunday, April 23 at 4 p.m.
Orlando returns home to host Saint Louis FC on Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m.
You can purchase tickets by clicking here.
(Photo Courtesy of Joe Petro)