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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Five Takeaways

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Hey there, Mane Landers! The opening day we’ve all been waiting for has come and gone. There were several surprises and I don’t think it was what anyone expected.

This Team Will Fight

Though play was sloppy at times, the players showed that they’re making changes and growing. There were a few passes that left me scratching my head, but the fight to get it back seemed to be more aggressive than last season. Alex De John on the defense proved he’s come to play, throwing his entire body (face included) into getting the ball out of there as quickly as he could. They were fun to watch. Maybe that’s just my optimism but the chemistry seems wildly improved among players.

The Attack is Better

Chris Mueller is still the king of heart. First goal of the season, non-stop on the pitch, and named Man of the Match by the fans (and by us). It’s clear that Mueller took the time to grow this off-season. He seemed more confident and ready to play.

Josué Colmán was making moves and trying things out yesterday. I’ve always said he seems to lack confidence on the finish. In the opener he looked calm, cool, and finally confident. Chipping little shots past NYCFC players and beating them on the sprint back to it was just the injection of energy the team so desperately needed. Seeing Nani, Dom Dwyer, and Colmán out there together was a special kind of magic…that we should have seen for 90 minutes. Once Dom and Nani are fully match fit, we just might.

The Offense Will Run Through Nani

Nani was a huge signing and the brief play we got to see against NYCFC was nothing short of exciting. His control of the ball and of himself is apparent. He’s a powerhouse on the field and it seemed the other team knew it. He saw Dwyer’s run before he made it and delivered a perfectly weighted ball to set up the tying goal. His instincts are special.

The Full House Helped

The supporters are the real show. The Wall was packed and the fans were hungry. For a club that saw a mass exodus of supporters at the end of last season, there seems to be some serious energy fueled by the new signings and the promise of things to come. This team looks like it will continue to fight, and yesterday the supporters let the Lions know they will be right there with them each step of the way.

The Refs Still See Purple

While the fouls and cards were nearly even, the refs blew a huge call that would have likely seen Orlando City go ahead late in the game. Dwyer was able to get his head on a cross from Mueller only for the shot to be stopped by NYCFC defender Maxime Chanot’s hand. Supporters of this club are no strangers to questionable calls, but the latest entry may have robbed us of an opening day win. New season, same inability to make what seems to be an obvious call, even with the aid of video review. I’d be remiss not to at least mention stopping play because an assistant referee was injured. Only at Orlando City Stadium.


Those were my my five takeaways. What were your big takeaways? Let us know in the comments.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions do in Orlando City’s 5-0 loss to Inter Miami?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City’s 5-0 loss to Inter Miami Saturday at Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale tied for the Lions’ worst loss in club history. The Herons took an early commanding lead, going up 2-0 after 10 minutes, and the Lions showed little bite from then on. The rough start to the 2024 MLS regular season continues, only claiming one point in the first two games. 

Here’s how I saw the individual performances in an embarrassing display by the Lions.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 4.5 — Gallese gave up five goals on six shots in this game, the most he’s conceded since joining Orlando City. However, most of the goals were more a result of poor defending than poor goalkeeping. Regardless, giving up five goals on six shots is an awful day for any goalkeeper. The Lions’ number one also completed 77.8% of his 18 passes and five of his nine long balls.

D, Rafael Santos, 5 — Santos’ 61 touches were the second-most on the team in this game. He completed 81.8% of his 44 passes, which were third-most on the team. He also completed one of his two crosses and failed to complete his lone long ball. Defensively, Santos had one interception, but no other defensive stats before being replaced by Kyle Smith in the 58th minute.

D, Robin Jansson, 5.5 — Jansson was the more dependable of the two center backs, even if he didn’t have a great game. The Lions captain finished the game with two tackles, one clearance, and one blocked shot. He completed 92.3% of his 52 passes and two of his five long balls. He was part of the fourth goal but was unlucky when his clearance off the line hit the crossbar, enabling Lionel Messi to scuffle it in.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 4.5 — Schlegel was at fault for two of the first three goals. He stepped up early on the second goal, leaving Luis Suarez behind, and failed to get his head on the chip. He was also at fault on the third goal, keeping Robert Taylor onside by stepping up late. Schlegel was active defensively with one tackle, six interceptions, and five clearances, but his two early mistakes in the back put the game out of reach. Going forward, the center back completed 90.5% of his 42 passes and two of his three long balls.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 5.5 — Thorhallsson was one of the few bright spots for the Lions in this game. Defensively, he had two tackles, two interceptions, and two clearances. He completed 92.5% of his 40 passes, including a key pass, and had three successful dribbles going forward.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5 — Araujo led the team with 79 touches, but had a tough game defensively. His early pass for Jansson bounced off Suarez and the defensive midfielder failed to pick up the forward’s run, enabling the fellow Uruguayan to open the scoring. He also failed to keep up with Jordi Alba in the second half, contributing to Miami’s fourth goal. Araujo did have five tackles and two interceptions. He completed 91.9% of his 62 passes and three of his four long balls, which brings his grade up a bit.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 5 — It was another short appearance for Cartagena, who was replaced at halftime for the second consecutive game by Nico Lodeiro. While in the game, the defensive midfielder had two tackles and completed 87.5% of his 40 passes. However, all four of his long balls didn’t find their target. He drew two fouls but did little else before leaving the game.

MF, Facundo Torres, 5 — Torres is usually an offensive force for the Lions, but he did little in this rivalry game. He wasn’t very involved in play, recording 46 touches, and completed 86.7% of his 30 passes without any key passes. All three of his crosses were incomplete and he only took one off-target shot.

MF, Martin Ojeda, 5.5 — Ojeda was one of the few bright spots, starting as the number 10. He made the most of his 50 touches, completing 86.2% of his 29 passes with three key passes. He only completed one of his nine crosses, but all four of his long balls. He also hit the target with his only shot, one of only three shots on target by Orlando City. The playmaker played 73 minutes before being replaced by Felipe.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 5 — Angulo was absent for most of the game, recording 40 touches and completing 84.6% of his 26 passes. He had one cross and one long ball, both of which were incomplete. He also contributed once defensively with an interception. At least he wasn’t at fault for any of the goals.

F, Duncan McGuire, 4.5 — Similar to Angulo, McGuire was barely in the game. He only had six touches and completed his four pass attempts. The striker took one off-target shot and was replaced at halftime by Luis Muriel.

Substitutes

F, Luis Muriel (46’), 5 — Muriel was an improvement on McGuire up top, even if he didn’t do much offensively. He had 26 touches and completed 79% of his 19 passes. He took one shot in his 45 minutes, being one of the three players to actually hit the target.

MF, Nico Lodeiro (46’), 6 (MotM) — Lodeiro came on at halftime for Cartagena and did his best to make an impact. He touched the ball 56 times, sixth most on the team and the most by an attacking player. He completed 79.5% of his 39 passes, including one key pass, four of his seven crosses, and two of his four long balls. He didn’t take any shots but had a tackle defensively. Despite only playing the second half, Lodeiro gets my Man of the Match.

D, Kyle Smith (58’), 5 — Smith came on in the 58th minute for Santos, getting 26 touches on the ball. He completed 87% of his 23 passes but didn’t complete his only cross. He recorded a clearance defensively, but no other statistics.

F, Ramiro Enrique (58’), 5 — Enrique came on for Angulo in the 58th minute, recording 15 touches in 32 minutes. He completed nine of his 10 passes (90%), but didn’t complete his one cross. His one shot was on target and one of three to be on frame. Additionally, his three successful dribbles were tied with Thorhallsson for most on the team.

MF, Felipe (73’), 5 — Felipe came on for the final 17 minutes, replacing Ojeda, and had 13 touches. The midfielder only completed 75% of his 12 passes, but had one key pass. He completed one of his three long balls and his one through ball, the only one attempted by Orlando City.


An honorable mention goes to backup goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar, who didn’t play but stood up to Suarez when the Miami striker was verbally attacking the assistant referee heading into halftime. It was one of the few moments of excitement by the Lions.

This is how I saw the individual performances of the Orlando City players in a terrible game. Most players get around a 5 out of 10 because they weren’t at fault for the loss, but did little to contribute to any success. Let us know what you thought of the players and have a go at voting for your Man of the Match.

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Lion Links: 3/4/24

Lions lose big, Tigres is up next, the USWNT wins, USMNT news, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. No, I’m not feeling very merry either, but it’s a tradition at this point. The good news is that we don’t have to wait long for Orlando City to get a chance to make us forget about Saturday. In an effort to help with that, let’s get to the links, but first, let’s wish Orlando Pride rookie Ally Lemos a happy birthday.

Massacre in Miami

If you’re like me, you turned off Saturday’s Orlando City match at some point. It was easily the worst showing by an Oscar Pareja-coached Orlando City team. Typically, these Lions are mentality monsters and do not give up. I’m not saying that any of the coaches or players will say they did, but the results speak for themselves. I think it best to just put it behind us and move on to the Tigres match, but if you want to revisit it — or if you were fortunate enough not to watch but still want the details — you can read our match recap.

Up Next: Tigres

The early part of the season doesn’t get any easier for Orlando City as the Lions are set to face Liga MX giant Tigres UANL in a Round-of-16 match in Concacaf Champions Cup. Our own Nic Josey touched on the upcoming match. Unlike the previous matches against Cavalry FC, the Lions will play the first leg at home. The match is tomorrow night at 9 p.m. at Inter&Co Stadium. Tigres is coming off a 2-1 loss to Toluca in Liga MX competition. Hopefully, the Lions can shake off the Miami result and take it to Tigres.

USMNT News

It couldn’t happen before the Orlando City match, but Inter Miami is reportedly trading DeAndre Yedlin to FC Cincinnati. Good timing, guys.

In happier news, Malik Tillman scored a very nice goal for PSV against Feyenoord in the 2-2 draw. Tillman made a nifty move through the defender and then slotted it inside the left post.

Tillman isn’t alone in scoring for the Eredivisie club, as both Ricardo Pepi and Sergino Dest have also scored goals this season. In all, the three have 24 goal contributions so far. That ties Mexico for the most by players from another country.

Brentford will be looking to replace departing striker Ivan Toney, and Norwich City striker Josh Sargent is a contender to make the move. Sargent has 11 goals for Norwich so far this season. Christian Pulisic received online death threats after he goaded two Lazio players into receiving red cards in AC Milan’s 1-0 win over the Serie A opponent.

USWNT Rebounds, Blanks Colombia 3-0

The USWNT bounced back from a 2-0 loss to Mexico in the group stage to defeat Colombia 3-0 in a quarterfinal match in the Concacaf W Gold Cup. The U.S. started early with a converted penalty kick by Lindsey Horan. Former Orlando Pride player Alex Morgan drew the foul in the box for the USWNT. Jenna Nighswonger and Jaedyn Shaw added two more goals in the first half. There were no second-half goals, nor were any needed. The U.S. will face Canada in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Free Kicks

  • Xabi Alonso’s Bayern Leverkusen moved 10 points clear atop the Bundesliga after their 2-0 win over Cologne. It’s a little bit funny that Harry Kane made the move to Bayern Munich and the club might not win a trophy because of Leverkusen’s amazing season.
  • NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman spoke about the growth of women’s soccer in the U.S. amid the joint bid with Mexico for the 2027 Women’s World Cup.
  • In a result that everyone hated other than Manchester City fans, Manchester United wasn’t able to help out the rest of the world, falling 3-1 to City on Sunday.
  • Catarina Macario scored a goal in her first match back from injury in Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Leicester City.
  • The match between Real Madrid and Valencia ended in a 2-2 draw. It also ended on a controversial call when the referee blew the whistle just as Jude Bellingham was scoring what would have been the winning goal.

That will do it for today. Check back for our coverage of the upcoming Tigres and Minnesota United matches later this week. Vamos Orlando!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from a thoroughly unenjoyable outing in South Florida?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Well. Orlando City’s second league game of the season was a thoroughly unenjoyable one, as the Lions got played clean out of South Florida by Inter Miami. As much as I hate to do it, we need to talk about this one, so what follows are my five thoughts from a horrific showing in SoFlo.

Early Mistakes Seal Orlando’s Fate

The Lions barely had a chance to get their feet underneath them before Pedro Gallese was picking the ball out of his net. Cesar Araujo received the ball in Orlando’s defensive third and immediately tried to play a blind pass backwards, but it went straight to a Miami player. Once the ball made its way from Lionel Messi to Julian Gressel to Luis Suarez, the latter made no mistake and scored to put OCSC into an early hole from which it would never recover.

Tough Night for Two Lions

Speaking of mistakes, that wasn’t the only one that Araujo made during this game. Miami’s second goal came as a result of Rodridgo Schlegel getting pulled out of position and Araujo failing to track the run of Suarez, who found it all too easy to fire past Gallese and double the deficit for Orlando. Schlegel was also culpable for the third goal, as he was too slow to step up with the rest of the back line, and prevented the tally from being called back for offside as a result. Almost no player in purple had a good game, but it was a particularly rough night for two guys who are normally so good for OCSC.

Offensively Anemic

The Lions didn’t look bad going forward for a lot of this one. They managed to get the ball into some good areas, but just had trouble getting the final ball right that would lead to a chance. The introduction of Luis Muriel and Nico Lodeiro after halftime helped provide a spark early in the second half, but Orlando ultimately couldn’t find a way through and the score only got more and more lopsided as a result. When OCSC finally did fashion a clear-cut chance for Ramiro Enrique, the forward didn’t place his shot far enough in the corner and Drake Callender made a good save as a result.

Lack of Effort Worsens Scoreline

Somewhere around the 53rd minute, things really started to devolve for the Lions. Multiple turnovers in the team’s own half led to chance after chance for the home team, and Miami eventually made Orlando pay. The fifth goal will make for extremely unpleasant viewing, as Dagur Dan Thorhallsson decided to not close down Suarez on the wing, giving him way too much time to put the ball on a plate for Messi to head home, while the rest of the team took their time jogging back as Miami broke forward in transition. Orlando kept coming forward doggedly, but the lack of effort on display at times at the back was shocking and uncharacteristic to see.

Wake-Up Call

I have no idea what happened in this match. As soon as the first goal went in, almost the entire team looked slow, out-of-sorts, and on its heels when Miami had the ball. That sort of thing is unacceptable in any game, but especially in this particular fixture. Yes, the match against Tigres is looming large on Tuesday, but the lineup Oscar Pareja put out was not one that suggested the Lions were punting on this game to throw everything they had at Tigres. Instead, an almost first-choice XI turned in perhaps the worst performance we’ve ever seen from an Orlando team coached by Oscar Pareja. It’s possible that we’ll look back on this game as the moment that this team came together and kicked onto bigger things, but in order for that to happen the Lions need to take a good, hard, brutally honest look in the mirror.


I’m sorry to say that’s the worst Orlando City performance I’ve seen in a very long time. Thankfully, the season is a long one and the Lions have plenty of time to right the ship and get back to playing in the manner we’re used to seeing. I think we’ll learn a lot about what we should expect from this team on Tuesday against Tigres. OCSC has a chance to respond the right way and make a statement, and you can bet I’ll be looking for one. Until then, vamos Orlando.

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