ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City B (5-6-6, 21 points) looks to close out its three-game homestand on Thursday, July 13, when it hosts the I-4 Derby rival Tampa Bay Rowdies (7-5-6, 27 points). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.
The match will be streamed at http://www.OrlandoCitySC.com/LIVE.
“We’re really excited. It’s a huge game. Obviously there’s more than points at stake for this one, it’s local pride. We know how much this means to the supporters,” OCB head coach Anthony Pulis said. “I think we’re a lot better team than we were at the beginning of the season. Hopefully we can perform similarly to we did against Pittsburgh the other night but just take our chances.”
This is the second I-4 Derby of the season. On March 25, OCB visited St. Petersburg and fell, 1-0, following Georgi Hristov’s penalty kick conversion in the second half. Earl Edwards, Jr. made four saves, including an excellent push over the bar on Joe Cole’s chip shot. Orlando City SC is 6-1-0 all-time against Tampa Bay, which joined the United Soccer League (USL) this season. Pulis and assistant coach Rob Valentino both played in the Derby before becoming coaches.
OCB is coming off of a 0-0 draw against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday. Edwards made two huge saves to lock in the Lions’ fifth clean sheet of the season. Forward Hadji Barry looked dangerous in the attacking third, finishing the match with two shots and a header off the post.
Edwards sits third in the USL with 50 saves and has tallied five clean sheets this season. 2016 MLS SuperDraft first-round picks Richie Laryea and Barry are tied with rookie Albert Dikwa for the team lead with three goals. Midfielder Pierre Da Silva is tied for second in the league with six assists, but will be unavailable as he serves the final match of his three-game suspension following a red card earned on July 1 against Cincinnati.
Tampa Bay won its last match, 2-1, against FC Cincinnati on Thursday, July 6. The Rowdies took the lead early with two goals in quick succession just before halftime and goalkeeper Matt Pickens racked up five saves for the clean sheet.
Hristov leads Tampa Bay with six goals in 17 appearances. Midfielder Michael Nanchoff has four assists in 13 appearances this season.
OCB will face off against two former Lions in Luke Boden and Martin Paterson. Boden played six years for Orlando City and was teammates with Pulis and Valentino, while Paterson was on the Lions’ inaugural MLS squad in 2015.
OCB will have two weeks off before it hits the road on Saturday, July 29, when to take on the Charleston Battery at 7:00 p.m. ET at MUSC Health Stadium. The Lions return to Orlando City Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 2, to host the Harrisburg City Islanders. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.