Four players belonging to the Orlando City MLS first-team saw playing time with its USL League One side, Orlando City B, in their match against against North Texas SC which ended in a 1-1 draw Thursday night at Osceola County Stadium.
Goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar, defender Michael Halliday and midfielder Jordan Bender (pictured above) –– all homegrown players — were named to Marcelo Neveleff’s OCB side.
Midfielder Joey DeZart, another MLS first-team player who was selected from Wake Forest as the 31st overall pick during the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, started and played 67 minutes with the Young Lions.
“They came in and they looked like they were always playing with the guys and that’s because also the way we try to play, we try to emulate the first team,” Neveleff said on the MLS players. “The only thing that they saw differently I guess at times was different faces. The movement and what we’re trying to do is something they are familiar with.”
For Stajduhar, who signed a homegrown deal with the Lions in November 2015, the match marked his first official appearance for any Orlando City team, USL or MLS.
“Like I said before, a couple of life circumstances happened, a couple of hardships and then this year with COVID but to finally get to suit up in purple, even though obviously I don’t wear purple, to get to suit up for Orlando City is something really special,” said Stajduhar.
Stajduhar, 22, spent most of 2019 on-loan with USL Championship side Tulsa.
“It felt amazing, first time I’ve played this year,” he added. “It’s hard just training everyday, but you have to keep a good attitude and keep going and improving everyday. To come out and be able to show tonight, it’s fun. I’m very grateful.”
The four MLS players were loaned down to OCB, with the team having the right to recall. Per MLS roster rules: “If a player is loaned from an MLS club to a USL affiliate with a right of recall incorporated into the loan agreement, then that player may be recalled by the MLS club at any point during the MLS Regular Season subject to MLS roster guidelines (e.g., available international roster slots, roster space). There are no restrictions on the number of times such a player may be recalled.”
The match, played behind closed-doors, had Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja along with Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi in attendance.
OCB Match Report
24′ – Oscar Romero (PK) – (NTX)
30′ – Jose Quintero, assisted by Wilfredo River (ORL)
How the Lions lined up
Orlando City B XI: Mason Stajduhar; Mateo Rodas ©, Franklin Carabali, Juan Pablo Monticelli (Thomas Williams, 83’), Michael Halliday; Jordan Bender (Jonathan Rosales, 90+6’), Joey DeZart (Adam Ozeri, 67’), Jose Quintero; Moises Tablante, Wilfredo Rivera (Kenji Tanaka, 68’), Mason Lamb (Theodore Ndje, 67’)
OCB Bench: GK Austin Aviza
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