Photo courtesy of Orlando City B
MELBOURNE, Fla. – For two sides that are trying to affirm their presence in the upper half of the Eastern Conference standings, they didn’t do too much to help their causes as Orlando City B and the visiting Charlotte Independence played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday at the Titan Soccer Complex. Charlotte’s Brian Brown opened the scoring off of a Lewis Hilton free kick assist and Orlando’s Michael Cox responded with an equalizer early in the second half. Orlando extended its unbeaten streak to four games (2-0-2), moving to 6-6-4 (22 points) overall and 3-4-4 at home. Charlotte, which had posted back-to-back wins entering Saturday’s game, is now 2-2-3 on the road and 7-4-4 (25 points) overall.
24’ – CLT – Brian Brown (Lewis Hilton)
47’ – ORL – Michael Cox (Zach Ellis-Hayden)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. It wasn’t the cleanest of goal-scoring sequences, but Charlotte was still rewarded for its first-half attack in the 24th minute. Lewis Hilton’s dangerous free kick was sent in about a yard or two in front of the six, where OCB goalkeeper Mark Ridgers and Devron Garcia both collided, while Charlotte’s Brian Brown also went up among the scrum and got his head on the ball. His deflection didn’t have much pace on it, but with Orlando’s two closest defensive options on the ground, the shot trickled in over the goal line for a 1-0 Independence lead. Brown now has four goals in the season to tie for the team lead with Caleb Calvert, Jorge Herrera and Enzo Martinez. Hilton, who has mostly been a reserve presence this season, notched his first assist of the campaign.
2. Orlando needed an early boost to turn around its fortunes after the opening half, and OCB was quick to respond as Michael Cox tallied his team-leading sixth goal of the season. In the 47th minute, Zach Ellis-Hayden provided a superb cross from the right side. Ellis-Hayden needed to play it on a hop and volleyed with his shin inside the right post to tie the score at 1-1. It was Ellis-Hayden’s first assist of the season.
3. OCB still holds the series lead with a 1-0-1 record against Charlotte. Orlando earned a 2-1 victory against the Independence in the first meeting between the two sides on May 28 at the Titan Soccer Complex.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Michael Cox, Orlando City B – With the early second-half equalizer, Cox helped Orlando extend its unbeaten streak to four games as the host side recovered from a slow start against Charlotte.
Orlando City B at Rochester Rhinos – July 10, 6:05 p.m. ET, Rhinos Stadium
Charlotte Independence vs. Wilmington Hammerheads FC – July 9, 7 p.m. ET, Ramblewood Soccer Complex