Photo courtesy Mark Thor / Orlando City B
MELBOURNE, Fla. – Orlando City B’s Michael Cox tallied a stoppage-time winner, just seconds after the club had conceded an equalizer, as the host side earned a thrilling 2-1 victory against Toronto FC II on Saturday at the Titan Soccer Complex. Cox assisted Orlando’s other goal by Lewis Neal, his first of the season. But the drama came at the end of regulation and in early stoppage time. Toronto’s Mitchell Taintor came through with a diving header in the 90th minute as TFC II appeared to have come in to steal a road point. But OCB wasted no time responding as second-half sub Pierre Da Silva set up Cox for the winner. With the victory, Orlando extends its unbeaten streak to nine games (4-0-5) as the club sits in the eighth spot of the Eastern Conference standings. Orlando improves to 8-6-7 (31 points) overall and 4-4-5 at home. Toronto falls to 6-13-5 (23 points) overall and 3-9-2 on the road. This marked the first meeting ever between the two clubs. They meet once more on Sept. 11 at the Ontario Soccer Centre.
57’ – ORL – Lewis Neal (Michael Cox)
90’ – TOR – Mitchell Taintor (Aidan Daniels)
90’+ – ORL - Michael Cox (Pierre Da Silva)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. It was high drama at the close of Saturday’s match. Toronto’s Mitchell Taintor had a beautiful diving header for a TFC II squad that did not generate much on the offensive end for much of the game. Toronto had little time to celebrate as shortly after the restart, second-half sub Pierre Da Silva – fresh off his U.S. U-19 Men’s National Team duties in Spain – set up Michael Cox at the near left post and he slotted it home for the winner in early stoppage time. Cox leads OCB with eight goals this season.
2. Considering Lewis Neal’s strong ties to Orlando, there certainly had to be a sense of extreme satisfaction for the 35-year-old captain in notching his first goal of the season. Neal spent the 2011 USL season with Orlando City SC before he then moved on to MLS with D.C. United and eventually Orlando City again last year during the club’s first MLS campaign. On Saturday, it was Cox who set him up with a rolling cross to the far left post. Neal slid in from a difficult angle and directed the shot inside the post for a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute.
3. Toronto goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo, making only his fourth appearance of the season, was called upon more so than his counterpart Mark Ridgers. With the match still scoreless, Orlando had amped up the pressure and created back-to-back chances in the 52nd and 53rd minutes. The first chance was off of a free kick as the ball was played to Neal above the box and he fired a left-footed shot, aiming for the left of the frame and Cavalluzzo stretched to pop the ball straight up and corral it. Then one minute later, OCB worked the ball horizontally to Richie Laryea for the shot and Cavalluzzo came up with the foot save. His efforts, though, would not be enough as Orlando finally broke through a few minutes later.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Michael Cox, Orlando City B – The team’s goal-scoring leader scored a thrilling winner in stoppage time and set up Lewis Neal’s first of the season.
Orlando City B at New York Red Bulls II – Aug. 12, 7 p.m. ET, Red Bull Arena
Toronto FC II vs. Harrisburg City Islanders – Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m. ET, Ontario Soccer Centre