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TFC II vs. Orlando City B: Preview, live stream & game thread

The Young Reds square off for a rematch against the Young Lions on Wednesday at noon

USL TFCII v Louisville City Angelo Cavalluzzo action shot
It’s a bird, it’s a plane... It’s Angelo Cavalluzzo rising up to deny Louisville
Louisville City FC PR

Toronto FC II will seek to put the lessons and positives from Saturday's 1-1 draw against Pittsburgh to good use when a fellow second team rolls into town on Wednesday.

The single point against the Riverhounds was good, but Jason Bent and company would have liked to have taken more, given the number of chances created and the fact they there were mere minutes away from earning all three on offer.

And though the point puts them within striking distance of the two sides directly above them on the table, the lot would have seen Toronto move into a three-way tie, a welcome change after a lonely season of staring up the table.

Aided by the inclusion of several first teamers, TFC took the lead through Tsubasa Endoh, but despite the heroics of Angelo Cavalluzzo and a last-gasp look from Ben Spencer on the doorstep, Romeo Parkes late equalizer would extend the winless run to twelve matches.

Wednesday offers a new shot at ending that blight, as Orlando City B will make their way into town for the second encounter between the two this season – OCB having taken the first by a 3-1 scoreline back in April.

Paul Clowes put the home side in front after 18 minutes, only for Malik Johnson to respond on the half-hour mark. But Hadji Barry reinstated Orlando's lead before half-time and Lewis Neal added a third at the start of the second frame to round out the scoring.

Currently sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference, Orlando have been a peculiar side, bucking the trend by struggling at home – winless in four at the new Orlando City Stadium (since that April victory over TFC II as a matter of fact), but excelling on the road – where they have taken points from Charlotte, Harrisburg, Bethlehem, and Cincinnati.

Currently sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference, Orlando have been a peculiar side, bucking the trend by struggling at home – winless in four at the new Orlando City Stadium (since that April victory over TFC II as a matter of fact), but excelling on the road – where they have taken points from Charlotte, Harrisburg, Bethlehem, and Cincinnati.

They enter Wednesday's match unbeaten in two overall, as well as winners of their last three away, unbeaten in four on their travels.

And they will be relatively well rested, having had the weekend off following a 1-1 draw at home against Rochester last Wednesday. Barry was set up by Richie Laryea in the 23rd minute, but the Rhino's responded two minutes later through Antonio Correia, thanks, in part, to a Josh Saunders error.

With sixteen points through twelve matches, head coach Anthony Pulis will be looking to put that road form to good use with trips to Toronto and Ottawa six days apart, in hopes of solidifying their hold of the final playoff spot in the conference. Five teams are currently huddled on that tally, with three in and three out; separating oneself from that pack would be quick advantageous.

Numerically speaking, it has been a bizarrely even season: four each of wins, draws, and losses, having conceded and scored fifteen goals apiece. Orlando City B is an indication of how narrow the margin of error is in USL – a few goals here, a few less there, and every thing changes dramatically.

With Canadian striker Michael Cox, who led the side in goals last season taking a back seat – he has made just five appearances this year – Orlando has spread out their goal-scoring, with three players – Barry, Laryea, and Albert Dikwa each chipping in three goals each, in five, nine, and twelve appearances, respectively.

Most curiously, all fifteen goals scored by Orlando, including the one penalty kick, have all come from inside the box. Whether one would take that to mean that shots from range are not a threat is another matter entirely. But suffice it to say, OCB are at their most dangerous inside the area.

For more on the Young Lions, check out WTR's preview ahead of the last meeting, as well as all the latest OCB news at SB Nation sister site, The Mane Land.

Being another school day affair, the match is set to kickoff at noon, and can be streamed at YouTube:

Having ended their losing streak, but still mired in that long winless run, Bent will be looking to see a good outing from his charges ahead of a lengthy break, where no doubt finding the back of the net, while maintaining defensive shape, will continue to be the focus.

The side will have a full ten days after Orlando to rest and reassess ahead of their next match away to the Charleston Battery.

Fresh off an improved result against Pittsburgh, drawing where they had previously lost, Bent and TFC II will be looking to take those lessons forward.

“It's very similar to the game against Pittsburgh, where we know the opposition is dangerous on counter, so organization behind the ball is critical,” said Bent after training on Tuesday. “The last time we played against Orlando a couple of their goals came directly from that: the second and third goal. That organization, making sure our lines are compact from back to front, so that if the ball turns over we're in good spots to oppose with pressure.”

Toronto did look to respond to that humbling at the hands of Tampa Bay in Orlando, and after falling behind drew level, but then little mistakes snowballed into a 3-1 defeat. But in the scope of a season, that was a long time ago.

“We let in a soft first goal which put us behind the eight-ball,” said Angelo Cavalluzzo. “Other than that, we were in that game. It was still early days with the system we're playing. We're a lot better adapted now, defensively really honed in on what's working. Tomorrow will be a much different game than the first one. I think we'll do well.”

The Canadian Laryea will be a particular threat, having made an impact in the last meeting and only gotten more settled in the professional game since then.

“We have to know of his position at all times, especially when we're attacking,” cautioned Bent. “The second goal was a situation where he found some space, the ball turned over and quickly he was attacking our back three. A lot of communication. Sometimes he'll push high from attacking midfielder up to a second striker, other times he'll drop off the front. Sometimes he'll be the responsibility of the centre-backs, sometimes the holding midfielders.”

Not just Laryea, but the dynamism of the Orlando attack is a threat, according to Cavalluzzo: “Up top they've got a lot of pace, so we're going to have to watch the ball going into the channel, keeping them wide, and try not to give them too much depth in behind us. That's the big one.

Toronto will welcome Anthony Osorio back into the fold, having served his three-match suspension, but the injury struggles of Jelani Peters and Ricardo John remain question marks.

And whether the cabal of first teamers who featured on the weekend will still be available, given the heavy schedule ahead for Toronto FC between MLS and Voyageurs Cup matches, remains to be seen, though Bent did state, cryptically, “We still have a few of them with us.”

Expect to see Cavalluzzo, who earned yet another Man of the Match nod on Saturday, remain between the pipes.

A final word from the captain, Mitch Taintor, on the differences between the match then and now: “We're more prepared. That was our third game of the season; wasn't the result we wanted. The boys are ready, everyone is motivated. We're ready to go.”

Unfortunately, your faithful scribe will be in transport when the match is played, so will be unable to provide live coverage in the threads. The recap may be slightly delayed as well.