Photo courtesy Mark Thor/Orlando City B
After reaching the USL Cup Playoffs in the club's inaugural season, Orlando City B saw improvement in all areas as the club managed more wins, more draws, and fewer losses in 2017. All of that wasn't enough to earn a second consecutive trip to the postseason, however, as a defeat in the club's final game of the regular season saw it miss out by two points.
Interestingly, it was a poor home record that cost OCB its second consecutive trip to the playoffs as the side won just three matches at Orlando City Stadium. By contrast, a squad made up of some extremely bright young talent and veteran hands impressed on the road. OCB claimed seven victories away from home, which tied with Louisville City FC for the most in the Eastern Conference, and including a victory against Louisville itself that was part of a club-record 12-game undefeated streak in the middle of the season.
Record: 10-10-12, 42pts
Place: Ninth in the Western Conference
Goals For: 37
Goals Against: 36
USL Cup Playoffs: Did not qualify
2017 leaders: Hadji Barry (10 goals), Pierre Da Silva (7 assists), Earl Edwards Jr. (80 saves)
OCB's defensive record was among the best in the league, with 36 goals against in the regular season putting it tied for seventh overall, allowing the side to remain in games and use its speed on the counterattack, a strategy that proved particularly effective on the road. The club would have liked its 12-game undefeated streak to contain a couple more wins than it did, but the determination the side showed on a game-in and game-out basis also provided a platform for the likes of Hadji Barry and Pierre Da Silva – who took the No. 1 spot on the 2017 USL 20 Under 20 in midseason – to thrive when they got the ball in space.
While the club's road record propped things up, OCB's struggles at Orlando City Stadium were added to by a hit-and-miss attack that finished with the fourth-fewest shots on goal in the league (109). OCB converted chances at a consistent clip, finishing seventh in the league with a shot conversion rate of 16.59 percent, but too often didn't create enough in the attacking third that would have provided the additional wins to earn a playoff place.
A good passing move against Ottawa Fury FC finds Hadji Barry at the top of the penalty area. His first touch nutmegs his defender and sends him into the penalty area for a crisp low finish into the right corner of the net that aided OCB's home victory.
Earl Edwards Jr. had a standout season in goal for OCB, and against the club's in-state rival produced a tremendous tipped save to deny the Tampa Bay Rowdies' Joe Cole on a clever chipped finish at Al Lang Stadium.