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Orlando City B battled with a man down for most of the second half to to take a share of the points against Charleston Battery in another rain affected match on Friday evening at the Titan Soccer Complex.
The match set off on the wrong note as rain and lightning made another appearance at a game on the East coast just as the National Anthem was being sung. The players left the field and fans were asked to leave the ground for around 30 minutes to allow the weather conditions to pass. It was the third game running that the conditions have caused delays.
The statistics will show that the Battery were the stronger team as they registered 21 shots and only a fine performance from OCB’s debutant Scottish goalkeeper Mark Ridgers (pictured above) kept them at bay. Ridgers was named Man of the Match for his efforts in frustrating the Battery as he registered six saves in a commanding display of goalkeeping that saw the Lions keep their first clean sheet since returning to USL soccer.
The 25-year-old’s most outstanding saves came early in each half – by denying attacker Ricky Garbanzo’s open strike from inside the box in the eighth minute and stopping a well-struck low effort from 14-yards out with an impressive dive toward his left side 10 minutes into the second half.
Orlando, meanwhile, offered very little throughout the game and four minutes into the second half, the Lions went down to 10 players after Tony Rocha received his second yellow card of the fixture for a foul on Battery’s Zach Prince. OCB’s best chance came in the first half when skillful winger Pierre Da Silva managed to get a powerful strike from the edge of the box, but Charleston’s keeper Alexander Tambakis controlled the shot from the Orlando City Academy product.
Charleston almost took the points home five minutes from the end as Michael Chang’s low effort bounced off the far post and the rebound was deflected for a corner kick after a timely sliding challenge from OCB’s Tyler Turner.
“I thought the boys defended absolutely fantastic all night long. We were very disappointed with the sending off, but these things happen and we have to get on with it. The attitude, the intensity, the willingness of the boys to put their bodies on the line I thought was fantastic,” said OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis. “We could’ve ended up nicking it in the end on a couple of counters, but we’ll take the point, it gets us going, a clean sheet is fantastic.”
“We’re disappointed because we got a little bit of a favor there with the second yellow, and then you’d like to be able to put them away with some of the chances we missed,” said Battery Coach Mike Anhaeuser. “But then too, the goalkeeper had a pretty good game. Getting a draw on the road, in conditions like that, most of the time you feel pretty good about it. We think we could have done better.”
It was hard to disagree with him.
Orlando City B hits the road for the first time this season on Saturday, April 9, with a visit Louisville City at the Louisville Slugger Field. Kickoff is set at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Orlando City B GK Mark Ridgers, D Zach Ellis-Hayden, Craig Nitti, Tyler Turner, Michael Ambrose, M Tony Rocha, Andrew Ribeiro, Lewis Neal (Johnny Mendoza 30’), Pierre DaSilva (Marius Obekop 58’), Richie Laryea (Keegan Smith 58’), F William Eyang (Bryan Rochez 71’)
Substitutes: GK Jake Fenlason, D Jack McCloskey, F Michael Cox
Charleston Battery – GK Alexander Tambakis, D Quinton Griffith, Taylor Mueller, Shawn Ferguson, O’Brian Woodbine, M Maikel Chang, Zach Prince (Dante Marini 67’), Justin Portillo, Ataullah Guerra (Neveal Hackshaw 73’), F Ricky Garbanzo, Heviel Cordovés (Romario Williams 65’)
Substitutes: GK Odisnel Cooper, D Forrest Lasso, Emmanuel Adjetey, M Neveal Hackshaw, F Austin Savage
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com