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Intelligence Report: Scouting Orlando City vs. New England Revolution



The good thing about having an unbeaten streak snapped is that the next game presents an opportunity to start a new one. Orlando City will try to do just that when the New England Revolution visit the Citrus Bowl tomorrow afternoon. The Lions have yet to beat the Revs, so it’ll take a full team effort for 90+ minutes to get it done.

New England is off to a 1-1-4 start, with those four draws helping the Revolution sit just one point behind Orlando in the Eastern Conference table. A draw is the best that the Lions have done so far against the Revs. The teams met twice last season, with Orlando City rallying from a 2-0 deficit in the final 17 minutes to draw 2-2 at the Citrus Bowl last April, getting goals from Cyle Larin and Aurelien Collin. New England won the return leg 3-0 against a depleted Lions side missing Kaká, Larin, Brek Shea and Darwin Ceren — in addition to having lost Kevin Molino early in the year.

Here to help us scout the Revolution is Jake Catanese from SB Nation's New England blog, The Bent Musket. I've answered Jake's questions as well, and you can check those out here.

Who are New England’s key off-season additions and subtractions that we should know about and how have they affected Jay Heaps‘ team and approach so far in 2016?

Jake Catanese: Gershon Koffie and Je-Vaughn Watson are the two big additions that have made a major impact for the Revs already. Yes, both Koffie and Watson have served red card suspensions but the depth of the Revs at right back and holding midfield allowed them to overcome those absences. Koffie has effectively replaced Jermaine Jones as the starting CDM next to Scott Caldwell and, while the Revs offense isn’t clicking like it was with Jones in 2014, the Revs have been playing fairly well. They just don’t have the results yet to show for it. Koffie in particular was stellar last week against Toronto, completing over 90% of his passes and, for the most part, keeping Giovinco out of dangerous areas to limit his chances on the field

Watson has come in and solidified a right back position that was a revolving door last season with a platoon of London Woodberry, Kevin Alston and Jeremy Hall covering for the long-term injury to utility defender Darrius Barnes. Alston is now with Orlando (jerks) while Hall is with the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies. Woodberry filled in well for the two games Watson missed for international duty with Jamaica and his suspension and Barnes is back from injury but has yet to feature for the Revs, though he is a regular on the subs bench.

New England has four draws in six matches to stay in the race early but only one win so far this season. Why haven't the Revs been able to get over the hump in these close games early in the season?

JC: The easy answer is that the Revs haven’t been finishing well to start the season. They’ve created good chances but have either fired them wide or straight at the opposing keepers. Part of this could be due to the inconsistency of the starting striker up front, where Juan Agudelo, Charlie Davies, and Teal Bunbury have all seen time, with a minor knock keeping Agudelo out last week and Davies welcoming twins into the world. But the group as a whole hasn’t been capitalizing on chances.

On the flip side, they haven't been getting much help from the referees on the offensive end either. The two (deserved) red cards aside, the Revs had multiple penalty shouts against Houston and Toronto go unnoticed, as well as a legitimate goal disallowed in stoppage time last week. While the Revs were able to battle to a draw with 10 men against NYCFC, it's hard to get over the hump when three or four chances from the penalty spot aren't awarded to you. Referees aside, the Revs just have to finish better, plain and simple. They've played well enough in most of the draws to scrape out wins and just haven't been able to do it and, as we've seen this year, you can't rely on the referees to bail you out.

What kind of formation and tactics can we expect from the Revolution against Orlando City, and what do you view as the game's key match-up?

JC: Basically, the Revs use a standard 4-2-3-1, with fullbacks Chris Tierney and Watson providing service, and Caldwell and Koffie recycling the ball around to the advanced midfielders. I want to see the Revs break out on the counter more but it seems like MLS is figuring out that you don’t want to see Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, and Kelyn Rowe running unopposed downfield. While the Revs’ build-up play has improved, they have struggled at times to get shots and chances against a packed defense.

Last week, the Revs scored a wonderful goal from Watson sending in a cross to Kelyn Rowe unmarked on a back-post run, so, while shutting down Lee Nguyen in the middle of the field is a must, taking away the second chances and service from the fullbacks in particular will go a long way to Orlando keeping the Revs off the score sheet.

What is your anticipated starting XI, key injuries/suspensions, and score prediction for Sunday?

JC: No suspensions, but Juan Agudelo missed last week with a minor knock, and while he could likely feature off the bench on Sunday, I'll play it safe and keep him out of the starting lineup.

Bobby Shuttleworth; Chris Tierney, Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, Je-Vaughn Watson; Gershon Koffie, Scott Caldwell; Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe; Charlie Davies

Just one change, as the Revs put Davies back up front, though it wouldn't shock me if Teal Bunbury starts the game at striker or at right wing coming off a solid game against Toronto, especially with the hold-up play that Davies is more known for. The Revs desperately need a win, but the draw train continues, 1-1 in Orlando.

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Big thanks to Jake from The Bent Musket for giving us some insight on the New England Revolution.


Lion Links

Lion Links: 12/8/23

Orlando City will play Flamengo in preseason friendly, Kylie Strom signs new deal, USMNT’s Copa America group draw, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Friday! The work week is almost over and I’m really looking forward to the weekend. I’ll be celebrating a friend’s birthday and knocking out most of the holiday shopping that I haven’t gotten around to just yet. Hopefully the malls aren’t too chaotic. Regardless, it should be a nice next few days. But for now, let’s get to the links!

Orlando Will Face Flamengo in 2024 FC Series

Orlando City’s first preseason game will take place on Jan. 27 when it takes on Flamengo at Camping World Stadium as part of the 2024 FC Series, which was previously known as the Florida Cup. Going up against one of Brazil’s powerhouses should be great preparation for the Lions after a record season in 2023 that earned them a spot in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup. It will be the second meeting between the two sides after a 2015 friendly in Brazil that Flamengo won 1-0. It will be nice to see the Lions in action at Camping World Stadium again and the kickoff time for next month’s match will be unveiled at a later time.

Kylie Strom Signs New Deal With Pride

Defender Kylie Strom, who was a free agent following the 2023 season, will return to the Orlando Pride after signing a three-year deal with the club. She joined the Pride in the summer of 2021 from Atletico Madrid and started in 26 games this past year, holding down the left back position. The Pride now retain their starting back line heading into 2024 and have full protection in Tuesday’s expansion draft. Although the defense struggled at times, it improved as the season wore on and the Pride nearly made the playoffs. Jordyn Listro is now the only free agent left from last year’s squad.

NWSL Announces Blueprint for 2024 Schedule

The framework for the 2024 NWSL season was revealed and the 182-match regular season has been formatted so that NWSL games don’t take place during international breaks. The biggest change is that the NWSL Challenge Cup is no longer a tournament and now just a match between the NWSL Shield winner and the NWSL champion, meaning San Diego Wave FC will play NJ/NY Gotham FC on March 15. However, there will be a weekend tournament organized by the league for all 14 teams during a break in the regular season while the Summer Olympics take place. The playoffs will feature eight teams and won’t include byes this year, with the quarterfinals starting on Nov. 9 and the NWSL Championship set for Nov. 23. Clubs can begin their preseason camps as early as Jan. 22 and no later than Jan. 29.

Copa America Teams Learn Their Groups

The United States Men’s National Team will take on Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia in its group in the 2024 Copa America. Uruguay was one of the strongest opponents the U.S. could get drawn against, as the South American team has scored 13 goals so far in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying. The important match between the USMNT and Uruguay will take place on July 1 in Kansas City. We’ll see how much Orlando City winger Facundo Torres plays for Uruguay in the tournament. As for Orlando’s Peruvian pair of Pedro Gallese and Wilder Cartagena, Peru is in a tough group against Argentina, Chile, and whichever nation prevails between Canada and Trinidad & Tobago.

We also have a clearer idea on which teams will be playing in Orlando. Two games will take place at Exploria Stadium, with Chile playing either Canada or Trinidad & Tobago on June 29 before Bolivia and Panama face off on July 1.

Gisele Thompson Signs With Angel City FC

Angel City FC signed young defender Gisele Thompson to a three-year contract that had this year count as the first year, with an option for an additional year in 2026. She turned 18 earlier this month and turned down an offer to play at Stanford to instead sign with Angel City, meaning the club did not need to use a draft pick for her to join. Gisele is the sister of Alyssa Thompson, who Angel City traded up to select with the first pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft. They are the youngest players on Angel City’s roster and will become the second pair of sisters to play in the league.

Free Kicks

  • The Colorado Rapids are reportedly in talks with American goalkeeper Zack Steffen to sign him from Manchester City.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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Orlando City

2023 Orlando City Season in Review: Favian Loyola

The Homegrown midfielder spent most of the year with OCB but made his MLS debut in July.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City signed midfielder Favian Loyola to a Homegrown Player deal through 2025 on Dec. 2, 2022, with club options for 2026 and 2027. The OCSC Academy product became the club’s 13th all-time Homegrown signing and it was no surprise after his fantastic 2022 season. The Camp Lejeune, NC, was coming off a breakout year in the club’s youth system, which culminated with his selection to the 2022 MLS NEXT All-Star Game, in which he was named MVP. After starting the 2022 season on an academy contract, Loyola earned an MLS NEXT Pro deal, signing it last August. When he signed his Homegrown deal in December he became the first player to climb the club’s developmental ladder from the academy, to the current OCB setup in MLS NEXT Pro, to the first team.

Let’s take a look back at Loyola’s 2023 campaign, which was abbreviated due to surgery on his arm to remove a blood clot on Aug. 27.

Statistical Breakdown

Loyola played in just one MLS match with the Lions, making his first-team debut July 1 in a 3-1 home win over the Chicago Fire. The 18-year-old came on as a substitute in the third minute of stoppage time for Facundo Torres and is officially credited with one minute played, although that match went to nine minutes of stoppage. In that short amount of time he managed six touches and attempted six passes, completing all of them — one of them being a key pass. Loyola did not attempt a shot or record any defensive stats, but he did commit one foul, but he was not booked for it.

The bulk of Loyola’s 2023 season was spent with Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro, where he was a key player off the bench for Martin Perelman’s side. He appeared in 20 of the team’s 28 matches, starting seven, and logging 732 minutes. He scored two goals and added three assists, putting 10 of his 21 shots on target during the year. Loyola completed 80.3% of his passes with OCB, served up seven key passes and six successful long balls, and completed three crosses. He recorded four tackles and three interceptions, committed 11 fouls while drawing 10, and was booked three times.

Best Game

With just the one MLS match to his credit, Loyola’s MLS debut against Chicago was his best game of the 2023 Major League Soccer Season. It was a memorable match, as he subbed on for Torres, who set the tone for the Lions with a brace that night, and it was also the game in which Mauricio Pereyra made his 100th appearance with Orlando City. Loyola made the most of his short amount of time on the pitch, despite committing a foul during his first minute of MLS play. He settled in and completed all six of his passes and created a scoring chance just seconds after his foul, when he sent a ball to Ramiro Enrique, although the Argentine had his shot attempt blocked from a tight angle.

2023 Final Grade

As Loyola came up short of the minimum total of 450 minutes played to receive a rating on our 1-10 scale, The Mane Land has no choice but to mark his grade as incomplete for the 2023 season. If his meteoric growth continues, Loyola will likely have much more than one appearance next season as his skills at passing and finding pockets of space translate well to the next level. He wasn’t able to return to the pitch after the surgery for his blood clot, but he should be ready to go for 2024.

2024 Outlook

With Loyola being just 18 years old and the club having him under contract, I would expect his role to be the same in 2024. He’ll be learning the ropes with OCB, playing most of the season with the club’s reserve side in MLS NEXT Pro, where he will continue to be a key player. However, if he continues to develop his game, he could push for more late substitute appearances with the first team or even get a start if the Lions draw a lower-league team in the U.S. Open Cup. One thing Loyola will need to work on is controlling the ball, as he turned the ball over 15 times with OCB in 2023.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

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Orlando City

Orlando City to Play Friendly vs. Brazilian Side Flamengo

The Lions will face the Brazilian giants for the first time since November 2015.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Orlando City announced its first preseason match of the 2024 season this morning. The Lions will square off against Brazilian Serie A side CR Flamengo in a friendly on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024 to kick off the team’s preparations for the 2024 MLS season. The match, which will take place at the club’s former home grounds at Camping World Stadium, will be OCSC’s second meeting with Flamengo and is part of the 2024 FC Series (formerly known as Florida Cup). Kickoff time will be officially announced later this month.

“This is both an exciting way to open the new year for our supporters and a great test for our team, as we look toward a 2024 that also includes Concacaf Champions Cup early on,” Orlando City SC Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “We’re excited to have the eyes of the Nação on Orlando during this time and are hopeful that this match will be the springboard for a very successful 2024 for our team and fans.”

“We are thrilled to return to our traditional January preseason window focused on top South American clubs,” FC Series / Florida Cup CEO Ricardo Villar said in the press release. “We look forward to delivering a first-class experience to Flamengo while in town and welcoming the Orlando City fans back to Camping World Stadium, where the club’s MLS campaign began back in 2015.”

The two sides met after the MLS season in 2015, when the Lions traveled to Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 15 of Orlando City’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer. Flamengo claimed a 1-0 win at the Maracana that day on a goal by Luis Antonio on a free kick that deflected off of Orlando City midfielder Darwin Ceren and left trialist goalkeeper Thierry Graca unable to recover. That match could have gone differently had Lions striker Bryan Rochez converted a first-half penalty, but he had a weak effort saved.

The match should serve as a good early test for the Lions, who are coming off their most successful season in Major League Soccer play and reached extra time all square with MLS Cup finalist Columbus despite being down a man in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Flamengo is one of Brazil’s most storied clubs, having won eight Serie A championships, three Copa Libertadores titles, four Copa do Brasil crowns, and one Intercontinental Cup.

“This preseason in the United States, including games with MLS (conference) semifinalists, is a great opportunity to grow the Flamengo brand inside the very important American market, where we will play in the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup,” Flamengo Vice President for Communications and Marketing Gustavo Oliveira said in the press release. “With the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the investments that are being made by the country, world football has in the United Stated, a new, enormous point of attention. Flamengo, as major European clubs, are alert to this and will, more and more, reinforce their presence in the country, may that be with work on social media focused on the American public, may it be by way of in-person events of the Flamengo brand, as this pre-season will be.”

Ticket information for groups and individuals can be found at Public tickets go on sale Tuesday, Dec. 12. Orlando City Season Ticket Members will have a match ticket presale and will be contacted directly by their ticket representative at a later date.

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