- Gavin Rushnell
Orlando City B vs. Tormenta FC Review
Orlando City B start off their season with a 2-0 defeat to Tormenta FC.
(written by Charlotte Patterson)
41 Javier Otero (GK)
55 Juan Monticelli (D)
64 Jonathan Rosales (D)
73 Jahlane Forbes (D)
56 Theodore Ndje (M)
49 Aleksandar Gluvacevic (F)
Points to know:
· 8 of the 11 starters were either drafted by Orlando City or have come out of its academy. With 1 more academy product on the bench coming on as a substitute
· The average age of the OCB squad is: 20.6 yrs
· Out of a roster of 20, 14 players are from Orlando City’s Academy
· This was Orlando City B’s first game under Marcelo Neveleff
With new management comes new goals and that is exactly what Orlando City B are aiming to do with the appointment of Luis Muzzi as Executive VP of Soccer Operations, Oscar Pareja as first-team manager, and Marcelo Neveleff as Orlando City B head coach. The three former FC Dallas men will be looking to bring their catalog of new backroom staff and wealth of experience and inject it into the development of youth talent at Orlando.
Over the last few years, there have been great expectations for developing future talent and Orlando City first-team players. This was the young lion’s first taste of 2020 soccer, one which they would have been languishing for after the emergence of Covid-19 swept across the globe and left behind a feeling of uncertainty of when we would have our beloved game back.
With an average age of 20.6 yrs across the roster and the arrival of various new faces, predominately from Orlando’s academy or 2020 MLS Superdraft picks, fans were eager to see what this years Orlando City B side would have to bring. But also excited to see the likes of Austin Amer, Jose Quintero, and Moises Tablante see more minutes following OCB’s lackluster performances in the 2019 season.
The official line up was announced as a 4-4-2 formation with 16-year-old Wilfredo Rivera starting up top with 6”1’ Julian Kennedy. However, during the game, the squad seemed to adopt more of a 4-1-3-2 formation with Austin Amer sitting back in his favored defensive midfield position. 2020 MLS Superdraft picks Nick O’Callaghan and Austin Aviza were also part of the starting line up and the Orlando City faithful would have been keeping their eyes out particularly on these two.
This was definitely a game of two halves, as the OCB side adopted a more defensive-minded approach and looked to develop chemistry with their respective teammates in the first competitive match. Nick O’Callaghan was a notable figure in Orlando’s backline. Sitting in at LB, he helped solidify the play between defense and attack. O’Callaghan and Tablante linked up fantastically along the left side, always looking to get forward and sitting in for each other if one decided to push forward. The two players showed great maturity and cohesion with each other, so it came as no surprise that the majority of Orlando’s attack and possession came on the left-wing.
Passing was an issue for OCB, which was particularly obvious in the midfield and attack. Whenever Orlando would get forward, players would make silly decisions to run at the Tormenta defense, rather than pass the ball to a teammate and replicate the much-beloved tiki-taka football we are seeing in the senior side under Pareja. Instead, we would see the young players brushed aside by the opposition or see wasted opportunities in the form of long balls being pumped up the pitch in an effort to include Kennedy upfront.
The 16-year-old Rivera was a bright spark for Orlando and looked very dangerous in the opposition half. Although you could argue he should have passed more instead of trying to run through the channels, Rivera won four fouls in the game, in positions usually just outside of the box. Unfortunately winning these free-kicks did not lead to any chances and usually led to a waste of possession.
Going in at half time, OCB could be proud of their performance. Keeping the game at 0-0. Austin Aviza had shown that he is someone who could be relied upon in goal, making some great diving saves to try and keep his side in it. He linked up well with his defense, registering 35 passes to his teammates, in an effort to play things from the back.
In the second half, Tormenta came out with renewed energy and determination. They came at the lions on the wings, seeking to cross into the box. However, it was in the 56th minute when Nils Vinalys got his first for the night. Wrapping his foot right around the outside of the ball from outside the box and sent it into the top corner. There was nothing Aviza could have done to stop this shot, it was hit with so much pace and accuracy that even top-level MLS keepers would have been lucky to stop it.
Following on from this, we saw OCB make their first changes of the night in the 60th minute. Bringing off Kennedy and Amer to bring on Rosales and Monticelli for some action. It was a difficult night for Kennedy, only registering five passes in his time on the pitch and no shots on goal. But this was very much due to the lack of service he received from his midfield and this only became more obvious in the second half, when OCB struggled to get out of their own half.
OCB was forced into another change when CB Franklin Carabali came off in the 65th minute with what looked to be a calf injury. Replacing him was Jahlane Forbes, someone who fans may be familiar with from last year.
After these changes, Orlando struggled to keep possession with passes going wayward or Tormenta stealing the ball away from their feet. Aviza was called into action a few more times to make saves to keep his side in it. But ultimately, the defense in front of him crumbled and we saw Vinalys get his second goal of the night.
For the remainder of the game, Orlando did well to keep the score down to 2-0. Further substitutions were made in the 80th minute when we saw Rivera and Ozeri make way for Noje and Aleksander Gluvacevic for the final moments of the game. The young side started to show some great passing play towards the end, starting with Gluvacevic clearing the ball from his own box before linking up with Quintero and Noje to get the ball forward. It was promising play from the B side.
Ultimately the game finished 2-0 and OCB failed to create in the attacking half. They did not register a single shot on target for the entire game and Tormenta’s goalkeeper Pablo Jara was never called into action.
It was a difficult game for the young lions, but one which would have been expected by fans. The roster is almost entirely comprised of new faces with a mixture of experiences and development. The team naturally needs more time to develop chemistry with each other and work out a system and formation that works to their strengths. As mentioned earlier, Orlando looked dangerous on that left side, with O’Callaghan and Tablante linking up well to get the ball forward. Orlando may be better suited to a 3-4-3 formation to allow support in attack and defend from the front. Mateo Rodas was a stalwart figure at the back, captaining the side and could be seen and heard commanding his players.
Overall it was a decent performance from the side and in time under new coach Neveleff they will develop a system that works best for them and fans shouldn’t be too worried after their first game of the 2020 season.
Players to watch: O’Callaghan, Tablante and Rivera
My man of the match for OCB: O’Callaghan