The Young Lions now know where, when, and who they’ll play in 2023.
This afternoon, the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro schedule for Orlando City B was released. It also included 26 other teams participating this year. The Young Lions will play 28 regular-season games, a four-game increase from the league’s inaugural season in 2022. They’ll play 14 games at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee and 14 games away from home. OCB’s second season in the league starts on Sunday, March 26 against Philadelphia Union II at Subaru Park and ends on Sunday, Sept. 24 against FC Cincinnati 2 in Kissimmee.
The delay in the schedule release was due to the league waiting to see what would happen with Rochester New York FC, the league’s lone independent club. On March 10, however, the club announced that it would be ceasing its operations. Therefore, the Young Lions will face no other MLS reserve teams during the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro.
This year’s MLS Championship sees several new MLS-affiliated MLS teams joining the league. Atlanta United 2, LA Galaxy II and New York Red Bulls II join the league from the USL. Austin FC II and Crown Legacy (Charlotte FC), Huntsville City FC(Nashville SC), Los Angeles Football Club 2, are brand new teams. 27 of the 29 MLS clubs now have second teams in MLS NEXT Pro. The only teams missing are D.C. United, which sold its controlling interest in the USL Championship’s Loudoun United, and CF Montreal’s second team, which plays in its local Premiere Ligue de Soccer du Québec.
The Young Lions remain in the Eastern Conference’s Central Division alongside Chicago Fire FC II, Columbus Crew 2, FC Cincinnati 2, and Inter Miami II. This season, they’re joined by two new arrivals in Atlanta United 2 and Huntsville City FC, increasing the division size from five to seven teams.
OCB will play only Eastern Conference teams for the second consecutive season. It will be facing division foes Atlanta United II (Chicago Fire FC II), FC Cincinnati 2, Inter Miami II II (three times), and all other Eastern Conference foes twice. They will face Atlanta and Cincinnati twice at their home and Chicago, Miami and Miami twice away. They’ll face each of the other teams once at home and once away.
May and July will be the busiest months of the year for the team. OCB will be playing five games each month. The Young Lions have four games in April and June, as well as August, September, and February only. They will play 17 games on Sundays, which is expected as most MLS matches are on Saturday. Additionally, they’ll play twice on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, four times on Friday, and once on Saturday.
The expansion of the playoffs has seen an increase in teams. It went from eight teams to fourteen. The two conference division champions will be joined in the playoffs by the five next-highest points clubs. This will result in seven clubs each conference reaching the postseason. The playoffs will consist of three rounds and will end in the MLS NEXT Pro Cup.
The playoffs will be rearranged this year. This year, the top two seeds of the conference quarterfinals (second- and third seeds) will decide who their opponent will host. Based on their standings, the remaining teams from each conference will be matched. In the conference semifinals the number 1 seed will decide which team it would like to host among the two lowest seeds.
In 2023, the new rules that were introduced last season will be reinstated. The new rules will include penalty kicks to determine who gets an additional point and players being allowed to leave the field for three minutes following treatment lasting at least 15 seconds. Red cards against the same team are also permitted. The league wants to minimize delays by giving substitute players only 10 seconds to leave field during substitutions. The league will hold the substitute for 60 seconds if they take longer than 10 seconds off the field to make their substitution.
The majority of regular season games in MLS NEXT Pro this season, including all Decision Day games, will be aired on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass. All remaining games will be streamed on mlsnextpro.com.
Orlando City B’s 2023 Schedule
- Sunday, March 26, at Philadelphia Union II, 3.
- Friday, March 31 at Huntsville City FC, 7:15 p.m.
- Sunday, April 9, Inter Miami FC at 6 p.m.
- Sunday, April 16th at Atlanta United 2 at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, April 23rd, NYCFC II, 7:45 p.m.
- Sunday, April 30 vs. Toronto FC II, 6 p.m.
- Friday, May 5th, Crown Legacy FC, 7:15 p.m.
- Sunday, May 14, at Columbus Crew 2, 2.
- Friday, May 19, Atlanta United 2, 7:45 p.m.
- Thursday, May 25, at Inter Miami II at 7 p.m.
- Monday, May 29 at 7 p.m. vs. New York Red Bulls 2.
- Sunday, June 4th, at Toronto FC II at 8 p.m.
- Sunday, June 11 vs. FC Cincinnati 2, 6 p.m.
- Thursday, June 15, at Chicago Fire FC II at 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, June 28, vs. Philadelphia Union 2, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, July 2nd at FC Cincinnati 2, 7 pm
- Sunday, July 9, Huntsville City FC at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, July 16 at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, July 23 at 7:45 p.m.
- Monday, July 31st, at 7 p.m. in New York Red Bulls
- Saturday, Aug. 5, Inter Miami II at 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, August 9 at 6 p.m.
- Sunday, August 13th, NYCFC II, 7:15 p.m.
- Sunday, August 27, vs. Columbus Crew 2, 7.
- Sunday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. Crown Legacy FC
- Sunday, September 10, at New England Revolution II 7 p.m.
- Friday, September 15th, at Chicago Fire FC II at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 24 vs. FC Cincinnati 2, 2 p.m.
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