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Orlando City at Philadelphia Union: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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Well, Orlando City isn’t going undefeated in 2016. And the first loss of the season almost didn’t happen tonight. The Lions were staring down the barrel of a 1-1 road draw in icy Philadelphia tonight until Tranquillo Barnetta’s unstoppable free kick gave the hosts a 2-1 victory.

The Lions (2-1-2, 8 points) were just moments away from a vital point but just like last year, a set piece did them in. And you could see it coming, as they failed to defend set pieces well all night, although, in fairness, there was nothing anyone could really do about Barnetta’s kick. Philadelphia (3-2-0, 9 points) knocks Orlando out of the East’s top spot and improves to 2-1-0 against the Lions in three MLS meetings.

The question everyone will be asking is about substitutions. The obviously tired, but shorthanded, Lions (down four starters after midfielder Cristian Higuita picked up a groin injury) were in a good position but were decidedly outplayed after Jim Curtin made two midfield substitutions in the second half. Adrian Heath never countered and from that point on, the Union controlled the game.

Sports can be dumb and make you feel things you’d rather not feel, but here are our grades and Man of the Match from a tough loss in Philly.

Starters

GK, Joe Bendik, 7 — There was nothing he could do about either Philadelphia goal. Was left out to dry by his defense on Sapong’s second-minute tally and would have had to have been Superman and Batman rolled into one to even get a touch on Barnetta’s late free kick. Despite people moaning on Twitter about how “he didn’t try,” Bendik is a professional keeper and knew he had no shot. He made a vital save on Chris Pontius in the 38th minute. He also punched away a cross late in the first half that could have created problems just moments after Orlando City tied the match. Second half he stopped a shot from point-blank range with his face. He worked hard for his paycheck tonight.

D, Luke Boden, 6 — Mixed night for Bodz, who didn’t do a whole lot wrong but yet didn’t do that much very well, either. Passed at only a 71.7% clip and managed three crosses. Made just one tackle but it was an important one, breaking up an attack by taking the ball from C.J. Sapong after he’d been beaten on the dribble.

D, Seb Hines, 6.5 — Was easily the best of a very nervy back line but that doesn’t mean he played up to the level of Sunday, when he was magnificent. Offensively, Seb got onto some crosses but couldn’t get any of his headers on target. On defense, he doesn’t look comfortable playing with Aurelien Collin and the two ended up in the same spot on multiple occasions, so perhaps there’s simply just not good communication between the two. Managed seven clearances and blocked two shots.

D, Aurelien Collin, 5.5 — Tied Hines with seven clearances and had a team high five interceptions but it was hardly a good outing for the Frenchman, who nearly duplicated Ramos’ early gaffe with a similar one in the second half. He had a few nervous moments with the ball in the box, in defending set pieces, passed at only a 71.1% clip, and and he doesn’t look comfortable, although he has only played one and a half games.

D, Rafael Ramos, 3 — Despite this grade, I feel like I’m being generous. Rafa’s early howler led to Sapong’s goal, as he touched a Keegan Rosenberry cross right onto the foot of the Union striker. An early cross went out of play on one of Orlando’s first forays into Philadelphia territory. His service was generally poor and he tried to bring down a ball in the box that nearly ended up in his own net in the second half. He continues to argue when calls don’t go his way, while the play is going on behind him. With his performance this season, it may only be a matter of time before we see Kevin Alston.

MF, Antonio Nocerino, 3.5 — Wasn’t very sharp and gave away a few dangerous turnovers in his own half. At one point in the first half he was seen signaling back and forth with Carrasco, as the two are still learning to get on the same page. He’ll wear the goat horns for giving away the free kick late in the game (seconds after Ceren committed a similar foul 10 feet away but the ref played on), but he should have been subbed out as you could see the fatigue. Did send a marvelous ball forward for Kaká in the second half and you can see there is skill, but it’s all still coming together for the Italian. That doesn’t excuse his dreadful 69.2% passing accuracy, even if four of his seven long balls were accurate.

MF, Darwin Ceren, 5 — Not the usual performance we get from the Salvadoran. He turned the ball over far too cheaply, conceded two free kicks in his own half and nearly had a third but the ref played on. Didn’t come close to goal on his one shot. Generally passed well, but gave the ball up in bad spots a couple of times, too.

MF, Servando Carrasco, 6 — Spent a lot of the game tracking back and covering for his defenders, blocking crosses and helping clear the box. Made two interceptions, two clearances and passed at an 83% clip. It was a neutral sort of night for Servando, who quietly did his job but nothing spectacular.

MF, Kevin Molino, 6 — Set up Winter’s goal in the 43rd minute with the right pass. Earned free kicks and corners and linked up well both in the attacking half and with right back Rafael Ramos. Like Nocerino, he seemed to tire midway through the second half and was less effective. He passed fairly well at 83.9% but didn’t produce as much danger as we’ve seen so far this year, with only one key pass (on Winter’s goal).

MF, Adrian Winter, 7.5 (MOTM) — Put in his usual workmanlike shift and was rewarded, but also robbed. His finish on the tying goal in the 43rd minute was smooth and on another night he may have earned a lot more fouls for his efforts, but referee Jair Marrufo let the teams play through a lot of contact. Was denied by Andre Blake early in the second half and was absolutely robbed with a late rocket off the volley by a diving Blake. Look for that on your MLS Save of the Week candidates. Winter had five total shots and the only three shots on target for Orlando.

FW, Kaká, 7 — Lined up in the middle of the front line in a 4-3-3 and, while it’s clear he’s not a striker, the Brazilian was still vital in the attack, completing a team high 85.7% of his passes. His pass to Molino started the break that led to Winter’s goal. Set up Winter with a great chance early in the second. Was second to Winter with four shots but none were on frame. Just not enough help up top for the captain tonight, who worked hard, did a good job in possession and passed well but couldn’t produce a moment of true magic on a cold night in Philadelphia.

Substitutes

FW, Julio Baptista (90′), N/A — “The Beast” made his first appearance for Orlando City but it was far too late to do much of anything other than run a bit.

MF, Carlos Rivas (90′), N/A — Had one insanely good cross in his three minutes on the pitch, which Winter nearly converted, and would have, if not for a superhuman save by Blake.

Those are my grades. Feel free to yell at me or post your own below and vote in our poll for your Man of the Match.

Polling Closed

Player Votes
Joe Bendik 35
Seb Hines 3
Kevin Molino 2
Adrian Winter 152
Kaká 18
Other 5

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Nashville SC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions close out a two-game road trip with a visit to Tennessee.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night matchup between Orlando City (8-9-6, 30 points) and Nashville SC (6-9-8, 26 points) at Geodis Park in Nashville, TN (8:30 p.m., FS1, free on Apple TV+). It’s the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season, with Nashville set to make the return trip to Orlando on Aug. 31.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.

History

The Lions are 2-2-4 against Nashville in MLS regular-season matches and 4-3-5 in all competitions. Orlando is 1-0-3 on the road in the series in league play and 2-1-3 away in all competitions.

Orlando City last met Nashville SC at Geodis Park on Nov. 7, 2023 in the second game of a best-of-three, first-round playoff series. The Lions got an early goal from Ivan Angulo in a 1-0 win to sweep the series. Orlando City drew first blood in the series by beating Nashville 1-0 on Oct. 30, 2023 at Exploria Stadium. Wilder Cartagena’s blast from outside the area hit the underside of the crossbar near the right corner and bounced in for the game’s only score.

The teams last met in the regular season on Oct. 4, 2023 with Orlando City stealing a 1-0 win in Music City on Duncan McGuire’s goal just before halftime. That was one of only two shot attempts by the Lions all night and the only one on target. Orlando played well defensively and Pedro Gallese didn’t have to make a save as the hosts didn’t put any shots on frame.

Nashville visited Orlando back on April 1 of last year at Exploria Stadium and it was the visitors who made fools of the Lions, as Nashville won, 2-0. Fafa Picault and Hany Mukhtar did the damage for Nashville.

The teams did not face each other in regular-season play the year before, meeting only in the U.S. Open Cup in Orlando on June 29, 2022. Mukhtar scored in the second half, and that looked like it would be enough until Rodrigo Schlegel equalized deep in stoppage time. After a scoreless 30 minutes of extra time, the Lions won the ensuing penalty shootout, 6-4.

These sides met in the 2021 postseason in Tennessee, with Orlando scoring first through Daryl Dike’s early goal, but Nashville won 3-1 on Nov. 23, 2021 to knock the Lions out of the playoffs. Mukhtar tied it up before halftime on a fluky deflected goal off of Antonio Carlos and then put his team up in the 74th minute on a counterattack. Jhonder Cadiz put things away deep in stoppage time.

The teams met in Orlando on Oct. 31, 2021 and ended in a 1-1 draw after referee Allen Chapman’s Halloween Heist chalked off Andres Perea’s apparent stoppage-time winner. The referee’s excuse for overturning the goal was an imagined foul on Dike, who, if anything, was the fouled party. The decision cost the Lions a valuable home playoff match, which instead sent Orlando to Nashville. Mukhtar scored for Nashville to equalize in the second half after Dike’s first-half goal.

The teams met in Nashville on Sept. 29, 2021 with a late rally by the Lions earning the team a 2-2 road draw at Nissan Stadium. The hosts had taken a 2-0 lead on goals by Mukhtar — scoring off the rebound of his own saved penalty — and Randall Leal, but a penalty by Dike and a stoppage-time own goal by Brian Anunga turned the game around. On Aug. 18 of that season, the teams finished in another 1-1 draw. C.J. Sapong put the hosts ahead in the first half and Carlos leveled the score in the second half. The Lions, who played poorly in the opening 45, were the better team throughout the second half and Tesho Akindele’s shot off the crossbar was inches from providing a winner for Orlando.

The teams met on Decision Day of 2020 at Exploria Stadium, with Orlando melting down late, allowing two goals from the 88th minute on, and falling 3-2 at home on Nov. 8, 2020 — the team’s only home loss on the season. Dike and Nani goals sandwiched a strike by Daniel Lovitz, giving the Lions a lead until late. Headers by Mukhtar (in the 88th minute) and Cadiz (in the 93rd minute) turned the game on its head.

In the Lions’ first trip to Nissan Stadium, the teams played to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 2, 2020. Benji Michel put the Lions ahead with a stunner of a goal, but Leal knotted things up and that’s the way the match ended.

That 1-1 draw came a week after a 3-1 Orlando City win on Aug. 26 at Exploria Stadium. Dave Romney had opened the scoring for Nashville with a header off a free kick but Orlando scored the last three. Dike took a star turn for Orlando City, scoring a brace, and Chris Mueller also scored for the Lions.

Overview

The Lions are coming off a 3-1 win Saturday at New England. That was Orlando City’s first win over the Revolution at Gillette Stadium in club history. Facundo Torres’ brace put him on the MLS Team of the Matchday and gave him four goal contributions in his last five matches. Ramiro Enrique also scored, filling in for McGuire, who is away with the U.S. Olympic team. The Lions have won three straight games and four of their last five, and have a 5-4-3 road record on the season.

Tonight’s hosts are coming off a 2-1 away loss to D.C. United. Nashville is 4-3-5 at home, but has lost its last four games, but the three most recent losses have come on the road. The last home match was a 2-1 loss to Inter Miami. Mukhtar leads Nashville in goal contributions with 12 (five goals, seven assists), and has four goals and five assists against the Lions in his career. You should never bet your house on anything, but if you did, betting on Mukhtar to have a goal contribution against the Lions seems a near certainty. Meanwhile, forward Sam Surridge paces the Tennessee side with eight goals in 2024.

As it usually is, this matchup should be a tightly contested battle to the end.

“Every game has its own context, whether we have memory of, or feelings of, what happened in the prior games. In this case, with Nashville SC, we have had good experiences, and last year, we succeeded on the things that we wanted and our gameplan,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the match. “But we always say that every game brings different challenges and different things that we need to prepare (for), because the game is dynamic, it moves, and they have changed their coach. All those things add up in preparation, but most important is that we can continue our line of improvement. That’s what we’re focusing on now.”

In addition to McGuire, Orlando City will be without Michael Halliday (knee) and Mason Stajduhar (lower leg). Nashville will be without Walker Zimmerman (Olympic duty), Julian Gaines (ankle), Anibal Godoy (lower body), Randall Leal (hip), and Lukas McNaughton (ankle), while Surridge (ankle) is listed as questionable.

Match Content


Projected Lineups:

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson.

Defensive Midfielders: Wilder Cartagena, Cesar Araujo.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Martin Ojeda, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Ramiro Enrique.

Nashville SC (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Joe Willis.

Defenders: Daniel Lovitz, Jack Maher, Josh Bauer, Shaq Moore.

Defensive Midfielders: Dru Yearwood, Sean Davis.

Attacking Midfielders: Sam Surridge, Hany Mukhtar, Tyler Boyd.

Forward: Teal Bunbury.

Referees

REF: Pierre-Luc Lauziere.
AR1: Jeffrey Greeson.
AR2: Ben Pilgrim.
4TH: Matt Thompson.
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
AVAR: Jozef Batko.


How to Watch

Match Time: 8:30 p.m.

Venue: Geodis Park — Nashville, TN.

TV/Streaming: FS1, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+ (free).

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Mega 97.1 FM (Spanish).

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).


Enjoy the game. Go City!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/17/24

Orlando City’s attendance is up, Viviana Villacorta signs new contract, USWNT draws Costa Rica, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane land

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s match day for Orlando City as the Lions hit the road once again for a match against Eastern Conference foe Nashville SC. We will have your preview and full coverage of the match later today. To pass the time until then, please enjoy these links.

Orlando City Attendance on the Rise

So far in 2024, attendance at Orlando City matches has averaged 22,632, which is more than last season’s 20,804 average. That total is good enough to put the Lions at 11th best in MLS attendance this season. Attendance is up across the league this season, with some citing the Lionel Messi effect, but I’m partial to the idea that more people are simply finding out about the beautiful game. I also think that the last few successful seasons for Orlando City have much more to do with the increase at home.

Villacorta Signs New Contract

Haley Carter and the Orlando Pride front office continued their trend of locking down current players by extending Viviana Villacorta’s time in purple with a new contract through the 2025 season with an option for 2026. Villacorta has had a rough go of it due to injuries, but the talent is there for her to contribute to the project Seb Hines is building.

Pride Top the Olympic List

The NWSL will send 56 players to the Olympics, setting a record for most players from any women’s league in the world. The Orlando Pride tied NJ/NJ Gotham FC for the most players participating on the women’s side, with seven. The Pride players making the trip are Barbra Banda and Grace Chanda with Zambia, Emily Sams for the USWNT (as an alternate), and four of the Pride’s Brazilians — Marta, Adriana, Rafaelle, and Angelina (as an alternate). If seeing all of those excellent players compete against each other in the Olympics doesn’t get you excited, you should probably see a doctor.

Orlando City/Pride to Host Olympics Watch Parties

If you were wondering where to watch the Orlando City and the Orlando Pride players representing their individual nations, then wonder no more. Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are hosting watch parties in Orlando. If you want to support the club’s internationals, like Duncan McGuire for the USMNT U-23s, and all of the Pride players, you can do so with your fellow Orlando City and Orlando Pride supporters. There will be four watch parties in total. Check out the schedule and venues here.

USWNT Draws, U-20 USWNT Wins

The United States Women’s National Team played its final friendly before the start of the Olympics against a stubborn Costa Rica side at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Despite having 80% possession and taking 26 shots — with 12 shots on target — the wasteful Yanks were unable to find the net, playing to a scoreless draw. Costa Rica’s low block was effective, as was goalkeeper Noelia Bermúdez, but the U.S. simply squandered too many opportunities. The USWNT will next play against Banda’s Zambian squad in the Olympics.

The U-20 USWNT defeated the U-20 Mexico Women’s National Team 3-0 at the Jack Turner Soccer Complex at the University of Georgia in Athens. Ally Sentnor provided a brace, and Riley Jackson added the third. The Pride’s Ally Lemos got the start in this match and played just over an hour after subbing on in the team’s most recent match on July 13.

Free Kicks

  • Gareth Southgate will torment England supporters no longer as he has stepped down, having failed to “bring football home.”

That will do it for today. Don’t forget to follow @themaneland on Twitter for updates during the match tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/16/24

Facundo Torres named to Team of the Matchday, Colombian soccer president arrested, transfer rumor roundup, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I had a slightly subdued start to my week, as my beloved Colombia was unable to get past Argentina to win Copa America. Life goes on though, and with a pair of Orlando City games this week, as well as an Orlando City B match, things will continue to be very busy around here. As usual, we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get started on today’s links.

Facundo Torres Makes MLS Team of the Matchday

Facundo Torres’ efforts in Saturday’s victory were recognized with a place in the MLS Team of the Matchday, along with an MLS Goal of the Week nomination to boot. Torres gets the nod on the left wing following the brace he scored to help the Lions come back to win over the New England Revolution. His second goal was nominated for the best one of the matchday, as he beautifully curled a first-time strike into the side netting to double Orlando’s advantage. Here’s hoping this run of form continues.

Colombian Federation President Arrested

As if losing the Copa America final 1-0 to Brazil wasn’t painful enough, Ramon Jesurun, the president of the Colombian Football Federation, was arrested in the hours after the game ended. Jesurun faces three felony counts of battery on a specified official or employee. His son was also arrested, and faces the same charges in addition to a misdemeanor battery charge. The specified incidents seem to have occurred while the final was taking place, with the event as a whole being marred by massive security and overcrowding issues.

Transfer News Roundup

We’ve got plenty of transfer news to catch up on, and we’ll get started in Major League Soccer. The Colorado Rapids have sold goalkeeper Marko Ilic to Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade. Sticking with the Rapids, Tom Bogert reports that the team is in talks with Lyon over selling Canadian defender Moise Bambito to the French side. Moving to Europe, Everton has reportedly made contact with Juventus about signing Weston McKennie. Arsenal and Aston Villa are both reportedly interested in signing Mikel Merino from Real Sociedad following his strong Euro 2024 showing with Spain.

International Retirements Abound

A number of high-profile players have retired from international play following the conclusion of this summer’s international tournaments. Olivier Giroud has called time on his international career, confirming what he had said before the start of the tournament. He retires as France’s all-time leading scorer, with 57 tallies in 137 matches. Xherdan Shaqiri has retired from playing for Switzerland, and he bows out as the only Swiss player to appear in seven major tournaments. Finally, like Giroud, Angel di Maria stuck to what he said prior to the start of Copa America, and has retired from playing for Argentina after winning the latest edition of the tournament.

Free Kicks

  • New Orlando Pride player Grace Chanda stopped by to take a look at her new home.
  • Orlando City rose one spot to 14th in ESPN‘s MLS power rankings.
  • Former Orlando Pride player Chioma Ubogagu has signed with USL Super League side Dallas Trinity.
  • Cristian Arango has been suspended four games for violating MLS’ Anti-Harassment Policy. He will serve one game of the suspension during the MLS All-Star Game, which is…weird.

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

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