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Orlando City vs. LA Galaxy: Player Grades

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Well, that was a lot of fun and we should do it again really soon, huh?

Orlando City had no trouble slicing apart the LA Galaxy defense in building a 4-0 lead to give Tally Hall — making his City debut — his first shutout in a purple kit. In fact, the back line and defensive midfield played so well that Hall faced only one shot on target and 10 in total, with most of those coming from far away.

This was a much needed three points for Orlando City, which was starting to get lost in the Eastern Conference standings. In the New England-DC-LA trio of games, the Lions took four of a possible nine points, which isn’t bad against three of the leagues blue bloods.

We’ll have much more to come from tonight’s win, so let’s get to the performances by tonight’s lineup:

Player Grades

G, Tally Hall, 7.5 — It’s hard to judge a keeper who wasn’t tested much, but Hall did what he was supposed to do in his first game with Orlando. He made no errors, stopped LA’s single shot on goal and kept crosses from reaching their targets. One game, one clean sheet.

D, Luke Boden, 7 — Other than a few issues controlling the skilled Stefan Ishizaki, Boden played well again at left back. His crosses are nearly always dangerous and his awareness and team play make him an asset to both the defense and the attack.

D, Sean St. Ledger, 7.5 — He and his central defense partner made the plays they needed to make when called on. They played within themselves. Adrian Heath called them “excellent” in his postgame presser.

D, Seb Hines, 7.5 — See St. Ledger, Sean. In his return from a quad injury, Hines didn’t show any signs of rust. He made perhaps the two biggest plays by the back line with an early tackle and a blocked shot in the first half. Hines had a few games where he was victimized one-on-one but his positioning tonight was sound.

D, Rafael Ramos, 8 — Each game, Rafa seems to have one or two inexplicable defensive lapses, but he generally makes up for them. His cross and movement on the first goal was outstanding and he kept Baggio Husidic occupied and harassed Leonardo.

MF, Darwin Ceren, 9 — Man of the Match for me, and Heath said the same in his presser. Ceren worked hard for 90 minutes and made things difficult for LA’s midfield and attack force throughout the night. He also got forward in attack more than he has in previous games and had a rocket shot tapped over by Jaime Penedo. Nevertheless, he got his first MLS goal later on a hard, low shot that took a deflection.

MF, Cristian Higuita, 8.5 — If Ceren wasn’t MotM, then Higuita may have been. The young Colombian was all over the pitch, making the Galaxy miserable with interceptions and hard-won takeaways. Like Ceren, he got more involved in the attack tonight to go along with his tireless work on defense.

MF, Brek Shea, 8 –– It wasn’t a perfect game for Brek, but he looked much sharper overall. With the exception of a few passes that were a bit off, Shea was dangerous. He showed outstanding vision to head across for his roommate, Eric Avila, on the first goal. He also made great crosses and helped Boden defensively down the left side. His best game to date at midfield for City and earned a deserved first assist in a purple shirt.

MF, Kaká, 8.5 –– After a few rough games, the maestro is back, with a key assist and his fourth goal (second on a PK). This was possibly Kaká’s best game in an Orlando shirt. He looked determined and involved and linked up well with everyone on the pitch. He made Tommy Meyer miserable on the Larin goal and sent the through ball to Ramos that ended in Avila’s goal. He tortured LA players by shielding the ball and keeping possession. On any other night he might have been my MotM, but for the way the defensive midfielders played.

MF, Eric Avila, 7.5 — Avila looked comfortable on the right side for the first time and opened his account with a timely run into the box. He doesn’t get a ton of credit for his work rate and doing the little things well in the midfield that he probably deserves, but he was very good tonight and scored his first MLS goal since 2013.

F, Cyle Larin, 8 — The Canadian international continues to get into dangerous spots and to score goals. Took a lesson from Kaká after over-hitting a long chip attempt and looked up for his teammates more after that, leading to the give-and-go with the Brazilian that resulted in Larin’s fourth goal in as many games (in all competitions). His control and runs are improving and he was strong all game.

Substitutes

D, Amobi Okugo, 5.5 — Came on at 75′ and was steady. He made no major errors but did nothing particularly noteworthy either. A fairly typical display for 15 minutes in defensive midfield against a team that had largely stopped pushing forward due to the lopsided scoreline.

MF, Carlos Rivas, N/A — Entered at 78′ and didn’t make much impact. With a big lead, Rivas was never going to be asked to do much other than keep the ball when possible and make lonely runs so his teammates could look for a potential long ball.

F, Martin Paterson, N/A — Making his debut in the 83rd minute, Paterson showed his veteran presence by trying to set up teammates rather than take bad-angle shots. But it’s hard to judge a guy who played seven minutes in a 4-0 game, so we’ll skip a grade this time out.

* * *

If Orlando City can duplicate tonight’s performance going forward, there are a lot of good results in the team’s future. For now, the club must find a way to put back-to-back wins together. Be sure to vote for your Man of the Match in the poll below.

The Lions get a week to rest but have a cross-country trip coming up for Sunday’s 7 p.m. game at the San Jose Earthquakes.

Polling Closed

Player Votes
Darwin Ceren 141
Kaká 96
Cristian Higuita 20
Brek Shea 7
Cyle Larin 15
Rafael Ramos 7
Other (Specify in the comment section) 4

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/12/24

Leagues Cup forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup win, USMNT U-23 loses to Japan, NWSL expansion options, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. The USMNT plays tonight in Orlando, and I hope that you have tickets. If not, we can still watch as we wait for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday. On a personal note, this Friday will mark my ninth anniversary with The Mane Land. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m glad you’ve been there with us. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s get to the links.

Leagues Cup Forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Win

Orlando City is playing in the Leagues Cup starting at the end of July and here’s a nice guide to Orlando’s group for the tournament. Of course, the Leagues Cup organizers want you to be pumped so that you watch and buy tickets. I think that is something we should do simply to support the club. However, I don’t think they went about promoting the competition in quite the right way. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the tournament’s social media team stated the Leagues Cup would be Orlando’s chance to win its first trophy. Did you catch the mistake? Taylor Twellman did.

Good on you, Taylor. Facundo Torres was indeed brilliant in that match, as was Benji Michel. Of course, there were others that caught the faux pas as well.

I think we should also be mentioning the USL Championships, but what do I know? Evidently, more than the Leagues Cup’s social media team.

USMNT to Honor Pulse Victims

There’s plenty of fake, corporate shows of support for Pride Month , but in general I think that the USMNT and USWNT have done a good job of being legitimate allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Tonight, the USMNT will play a friendly against Brazil at Camping World Stadium on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The players will be wearing Pride jerseys to honor those that lost their lives so senselessly eight years ago.

In terms of the game, the USMNT will be without Josh Sargent for the match, and Tyler Adams will only get limited minutes if he plays, as both are coming back from injuries. Get well before the Copa America, lads.

Lions on International Duty

The United States U-23 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan in its final friendly match before the Olympics. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire found himself on a bit of an island up top as the U.S. had difficulty moving the ball through the midfield. Hopefully, the U.S. got such play out of their system heading into the Olympics.

OCB’s Wilfredo Rivera made the most of his time playing in Puerto Rico’s World Cup qualifier against Anguilla, scoring a brace in the 8-0 victory. This win comes after a scoreless draw with El Salvador last week and Puerto Rico’s remaining group games during this round of qualifying will be next June.

Exploring NWSL Expansion Options

The NWSL will be expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with many cities vying for the next franchise. The leaders include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville are potential choices as well. If it was to be given to either Atlanta or Jacksonville they would be regional rivals for the Orlando Pride. The league is expected to make a decision by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to the United States U-15 Women’s National Team, which won 4-0 over Germany.
  • Did you ever have one of those dreams that was a little scary, but also absolutely hilarious? This preview of Inter Miami’s new mascot is a bit like that. To misquote Jaws: “Ever seen an Inter Miami mascot’s eyes, Chief? He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.”
  • The Cayman Islands Men’s National Football Team forfeited its match against Cuba because many of its players are on visas in the United States. If those players were to travel to Cuba, the U.S. may have canceled those visas due to travel restrictions.
  • This is one of the most ridiculous no-calls I’ve ever seen. India got royally hosed.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday night. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America tomorrow at Camping World Stadium, right here in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early on in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up last night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage by a score of 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team Nani FC fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

Free Kicks


That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/10/24

Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo won’t play for Uruguay in Copa America, Pride and OCB draw, USMNT drilled by Colombia, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Alex Corrie

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well down in Florida. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend and managing the broadcast operations for the NISA league’s matches last night. The Lions were off this weekend, but we had the Orlando Pride and OCB in action. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Torres and Araujo Not On Uruguay Squad for Copa America

Uruguay National Team manager Marcelo Bielsa confirmed his roster for the 2024 Copa America over the weekend, and Orlando City’s Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo didn’t make the final roster.

Torres and Araujo played briefly in the second half in Uruguay’s 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly match last week. Uruguay will now prepare for its upcoming group stage matches in the Copa America against Panama, Bolivia, and the United States. Torres and Araujo will be back with Orlando City this week to get ready for their upcoming matchup against LAFC on Saturday.

Orlando Pride, San Diego Wave Play to 1-1 Draw

The Orlando Pride drew 1-1 Friday against the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium and saw their NWSL record win streak end at eight matches. Julie Doyle scored the opener for the Pride, but the Wave were able to grab an equalizer in the second half as both sides got a point. The Pride remains unbeaten this season in the NWSL. After this weekend’s results across the league, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are tied with 28 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will be on the road again this weekend to take on the North Carolina Courage Saturday.

OCB Draws at Home vs. Carolina Core FC, Snags Shootout Point

On Friday, Orlando City B drew 2-2 against Carolina Core FC at Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions were off to a poor start early in the match, trailing 2-0 in the first half. In the second half, OCB got things back on track with goals from Alex Freeman and Imanol Almaguer to tie the match. It went to penalties after finishing tied. OCB won the extra point with a 6-5 shootout win over Carolina. That result puts the Young Lions back in the playoff hunt in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. OCB will be back in action Thursday at home against Chattanooga FC.

Colombia Dominates USMNT in Friendly Action

The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 5-1 to Colombia Saturday at FedEx Field and suffered its heaviest defeat under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. It wasn’t good from the start as the USMNT conceded two goals in the first 19 minutes of the match in the first half. Tim Weah pulled one back for the U.S. before Colombia added three more goals towards the end of the second half to seal the win. Colombia is on a seven-match winning streak and is unbeaten in 22 matches. The last time the USMNT gave up this many goals was in the 2009 Gold Cup final in a 5-0 defeat to Mexico. The U.S. needs to improve fast with its Copa America opener less than two weeks from now. It will be a quick turnaround for the Americans as they take on Brazil Wednesday at Camping World Stadium in their final friendly match before Copa America starts.

Free Kicks

  • FC Dallas has announced the departure of Head Coach Nico Estevez. Assistant Coach Peter Luccin will lead the team on an interim basis while the club begins its search for a new head coach. FC Dallas is 13th in the Western Conference with 14 points.
  • The Chicago Red Stars broke an NWSL attendance record in their match over the weekend as 35,038 fans showed up at Wrigley Field, but the Red Stars lost 2-1 to Bay FC.
  • Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney is renewing his efforts to lure former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale out of retirement to join the club. He also stated that the club’s offer is still on the table.
  • In Jesse Marsch’s second match as Canada’s head coach, Canada held France to a scoreless draw in a friendly match on Sunday.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Monday and I’ll see you next time.

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