Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Michael Cox had a pair of goals and Orlando City B extended its undefeated streak to 11 games with a 3-0 victory against Louisville City FC on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 8,251 fans at Slugger Field. Orlando almost took the lead in the fifth minute as Austin Martz had a shooting chance, but had it turned away by Louisville goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh. The visitors took the lead 10 minutes later, however, as Michael Cox’s speed opened up a chance on the right, and the forward’s low finish caromed in off the left post. Cox doubled OCB’s advantage in the 27th minute as he latched onto Jordan Schweitzer’s through-ball and rifled his finish into the right corner of the net. Louisville almost hit back 10 minutes before halftime as Niall McCabe’s diving header was saved by OCB goalkeeper Jake Fenlason. OCB added its third goal eight minutes into the second half as PC’s corner kick found Fernando Timbo for a header at the top of the six-yard area. Louisville hit the post through Cameron Lancaster in the 61st minute as his header came off the right upright as the hosts looked to get back into the game. Fenlason also made a pair of good saves moments later, a tipped save to deny Louisville’s Guy Abend the better of the two. Louisville’s Tarek Morad also hit the crossbar with 15 minutes to go, but Orlando closed out the victory as it recorded its third shutout in the past four games.
15’ – ORL – Michael Cox (Fernando Timbo)
27’ – ORL – Michael Cox (Jordan Schweitzer)
53’ – ORL – Fernando Timbo (PC)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Orlando City B’s undefeated streak has kept the side solidly in playoff contention, but none of the results in the 3-0-7 mark it had recorded prior to Saturday’s visit to Louisville really made you sit up and take notice. With an impressive victory against the Eastern Conference leaders despite missing regular starting goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. and leading scorer Hadji Barry, OCB certainly has everyone’s attention now. While last season the side almost backed into the USL Cup Playoffs, and was summarily dismissed 4-0 by 2016 USL Cup champion the New York Red Bulls II in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, this year OCB might be a side no-one wants to match up with when the postseason arrives.
2. Having been Orlando City B’s leading scorer a season ago with 11 goals, Michael Cox’s chances to shine have been fewer and farther between this season. But making his eighth start of the season, the Canadian made the most of his chance with a pair of outstanding finishes that put OCB on top in the first half. While Hadji Barry has been the main man in attack for OCB this season, Cox made a good case for more opportunities moving forward.
3. Louisville suffered its second loss in as many games to Orlando City B at Slugger Field, with OCB the last team to defeat City at its home venue before FC Cincinnati’s victory last month. As strongly as the hosts pushed to get back into the game, it proved to be one of those nights after a run of 20 goals in their past six outings. The woodwork twice denied Louisville as Cameron Lancaster and Tarek Morad both went close in the second half, but if there was a silver lining for the hosts it was the out-of-town scoreboard. With the Charlotte Independence and Charleston Battery both suffering defeats, Louisville gets to hold onto first place in the Eastern Conference ahead of Charleston’s visit next weekend.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Michael Cox, Orlando City B – Cox’s outstanding pair of goals – his first of the 2017 season – provided the platform for OCB to take a remarkable road victory.
Louisville City FC vs. Charleston Battery – September 2, 5 p.m. ET, Slugger Field
Orlando City B vs. Bethlehem Steel FC – August 31, 7:30 p.m. ET, Orlando City Stadium