Orlando City B’s (10-10-12, 42 points) playoff hopes came to end Thursday night after a 2-0 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rowdies (14-7-11, 53 points).
Georgi Hristov opened the scoring board capitalizing off a Marcel Schafer assist in the 72nd minute and a last minute stoppage-time goal netted by Sebastian Guenzatti sealed the victory for the visitors.
Thursday night’s I-4 Derby was the last chance the USL lions had to earn a win in order to still be eligible to compete for a spot in the 2017 USL playoffs.
Overall Orlando entered the field very energetic but was simply not able to finish off any of its seven shot attempts. On the other hand, Tampa Dominated the game with 56 percent of ball possession and had five shot attempts.
“I don’t want to talk about the match. I want to talk about how proud I am of the players, the work that they’ve put in on a daily basis it’s been absolutely phenomenal,” said OCB head coach Anthony Pulis. “The attitude that they show in training and in games. The way they are around the facility and on the road. It is very difficult for me to put into words how proud I am to have led them for the past two years. Some of those guys I’ve led for two years, some it’s been one year, but it’s been an incredible journey.”
Apart from emphasizing on how proud he is of his team, Pulis also shared his biggest takeaway of the season.
“I think the level of performance this year has been really, really good. Over a 32 game season, I could probably count on one hand the amount of times we’ve been disappointed,” said Pulis. “On an individual level, we’ve improved drastically this year, and over the course of the two years. I’ll use Zach Hayden as an example, came in the start of last season as a rookie, never kicked a ball in professional soccer, and the way that he’s grown and improved over the two years, and that just an example. You can throw others, like Pierre da Silva, Richie Laryea, Tony Rocha, who’ve improved drastically through this program and it has been an absolute privilege to have coached them.”
Despite not making the playoffs, Orlando ended the season with 37 goals, two more than the previous year when it made the playoffs.
Forward Hadji Barry ended the season leading in most goals scored, totaling 10 goals in 18 appearances. Midfielder Pierre da Silva, ended the season with most assists, 7 in 26 appearances.
Here’s how Orlando lined up:
Orlando City B XI: Jake Fenlason, Zachary Ellis-Hayden, Zach Carroll, Kevin Alston (Ben Polk 78’), Timbo, Lewis Neal, Pierre da Silva, Jordan Schweitzer (Austin Martz 55’), Tony Rocha, Hadji Barry (Danny Deakin 66’), Michael Cox.
Orlando Substitutes: Conor Donovan, Austin Martz, Danny Deakin, Joe Gallardo, Clowes, Earl Edwards Jr., Ben Polk.
(Photo Courtesy of Orlando City)
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