Orlando City B (5-6-7, 22 points) trailed for over 70 minutes against the Tampa Bay Rowdies (7-5-7, 28 points) but Danny Deakin’s penalty kick tied it, 1-1, in stoppage time of the first I-4 Derby at Orlando City Stadium.
“Obviously proud of the players for the way they kept going. They didn’t give in,” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said. “Having said that, this is going to sound strange but I’ve just said it to [the players], I’m really disappointed because I felt like there was a game there for the taking. I felt like we controlled the game for long stretches. I felt the least we deserved was a point.”
The Rowdies got on the board in the 21st minute when Joe Cole slipped the ball through for Martin Paterson, who rifled a shot off the bar and in. Paterson played for Orlando City in its inaugural MLS season.
After a lengthy stalemate in the midfield, a trio of second-half substitutions sparked the resurgence for the Lions. Rookie Albert Dikwa entered the match in the 64th minute in place of Tony Rocha and Ben Polk came on for Austin Martz. The two immediately elevated the pace play with dashing runs at the Rowdies back line.
Deakin entered the match in the 82nd minute for captain Lewis Neal. Then in the sixth of seven minutes of added time, Richie Laryea turned the corner on his run into the box and was dragged down, earning a penalty kick. Deakin stepped up, sent Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens the wrong way and equalized in the shadow of The Wall. The goal was Deakin’s first as a Lion and his first as a pro.
It appeared as though Tampa Bay would steal the victory after all when Earl Edwards, Jr. saved Tamika Mkandawire header off the line. The rebound was fired in but the play was ruled off for offside.
In addition to Edwards, Rocha and Laryea, the match saw First Teamers Léo Pereira, Seb Hines and Hadji Barry in the starting XI. Conor Donovan was in the 18-man lineup.
This was the second meeting of the season between the two sides, following Tampa Bay’s win on March 25. The two rivals will meet again in the regular season finale on Oct. 12 in Orlando City Stadium.
OCB has two weeks before its next game on Saturday, July 29, when it visits the Charleston Battery. The Lions return home on Aug. 2 when they host the Harrisburg City Islanders. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Tickets to all Orlando City B home matches can be purchased at orlandocityb.com/tickets or by calling 855-ORL-CITY.