The Failures of Orlando City B

Oct 13, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Orlando City midfielder Richie Laryea (6) an New England
Oct 13, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Orlando City midfielder Richie Laryea (6) an New England / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City B, Orlando City's second team playing in the USL, played three full seasons in its original run. The team had basically no success on the field, but that doesn't matter. Reserve teams do not exist to win trophies or pack stadiums, but to foster young talent and find hidden gems for the first team.

That was the real failure of OCB.

The reserve team model was popularized by the New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake, two of the strongest academies in Major League Soccer and best player development clubs in the country. Those reserve teams helped produce the likes of USMNT starters Tyler Adams and Aaron Long, and quality MLS players like Pablo Ruiz and Alex Muyl.

Having a reserve team between the academy and first team, as well as serving as a place to scout talent and find hidden gems at a low risk to the club. Orlando moved quickly to establish OCB, which started play in 2016, one year after the club's MLS debut.

Despite that perceived organization and planning, OCB failed. The team was an expensive experiment that did little to effect either the Orlando academy or first team.

Between 2016 and 2019, the reserve team produced zero quality starters for the first team. Some players, most notably Richie Laryea, never developed with OCB, but found success later in their career, with Layrea's breakout coming after a position switch.

OCB never maximized the talent available or helped young players develop. Several promising young players, including Laryea, Tommy Redding and Pierre Da Silva spent time at OCB, but the extra time with the reserves did little to improve their development.

The lack of quality development is not down to just OCB, as the club as a whole mostly failed in its first four years of MLS existence. The academy struggled to get off the ground, and the first team flopped around and became one of the worst teams in the league.

But the reserve team did nothing to aid the club before shuttering over the last two years. Let's hope this time around it has more of an effect.