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Orlando City

Orlando City at Colorado Rapids: Player Grades and Man of the Match



Orlando City had a tough task going out to Colorado to play the league’s stingiest defense in the thin Rocky Mountain air. But the Lions responded by playing outstanding team defense and earned a much-needed point to send the team above the red line, at least until D.C. United and New York Red Bulls play on Sunday afternoon in the nation’s capital.

While three points is always better than one, a nice traveling contingent from Orlando visited Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and saw their side hold the Rapids scoreless while nearly nicking a late game winner on chances by Cyle Larin and Tony Rocha. The way the team had been conceding goals, it was a nice first step toward righting the ship for the stretch run and a good way to open a stretch of three games in nine days.

Let’s get to tonight’s grades.


GK, Joe Bendik, 6 – Joe didn’t have to work as hard as usual, as the Rapids got only one of their 13 shots on frame. But he was aggressive coming off his line to challenge for balls in the air and generally did what he needed to do in earning his third clean sheet of the season. While it’s hard to give him a high score for what he had to accomplish, it’s still a shutout and he kept his back line — featuring two new starters — organized. He didn’t put a foot wrong but he didn’t have many opportunities either.

D, Mikey Ambrose, 6.5 – Making his first MLS start, Ambrose played a solid if unspectacular game at left back. He handled the defensive end very well, getting into passing lanes, forcing his man back toward the top of the box, and grabbing a few key takeaways on the sideline. He was cautious going forward and didn’t involve himself much in the offense, but that’s OK. He is a defender first and an attacker second and tonight reflected that. He tied Jose Aja for the team high in interceptions (5), blocked two shots and connected on 82.7% of his passes. A bright start for Mikey.

D, David Mateos, 6 – David made several one-on-one defensive plays that kept the Rapids from generating excellent scoring chances. It started in the 18th minute, knocking the ball out for a corner off of Marlon Hairston and dispossessing Eric Miller in the 34th. Was fortunate not to be sent off in the 65th minute, sacrificing himself to take down a streaking Kevin Doyle. What likely saved him is Doyle not having possession and the hustle of Servando Carrasco who may have been able to get into the shooting lane by the time Doyle tracked down the ball. Made a great play in the 72nd minute to break up a counter. Finished with 88.9% passing accuracy, three tackles, four interceptions, four clearances and two blocked shots.

D, Jose Aja, 6 – A solid start for the Uruguayan, who struggled in passing a bit (77.4%) but made five interceptions and four clearances to help keep the sheet clean. He did get beat to a cross by Kevin Doyle but thankfully the glancing header was off target. Picked up a booking for kicking the ball at an opponent and that will be worth watching this week considering Antonio Nocerino’s suspension for the same infraction, but Aja’s looked far less intentional.

D, Kevin Alston, 6.5 – One of Kevin’s better defensive games in a while, he finished with an interception and three clearances and generally did a nice job of limiting Marc Burch’s effectiveness on the flank. He passed at an extremely efficient 90.2%, one key pass and two of his three long balls were accurate on a night in which he was conservative in the attack, just as Ambrose was on the other side.

MF, Antonio Nocerino, 7 (MOTM) – The Italian continues to grow more confident as he sees more minutes and that is translating into instinctual running to spots where he knows he should be. He beat Doyle to a ball in the 42nd minute and earned a free kick. He hustled back on defense all night and still managed to be part of the attack. His two tackles, four interceptions and a clearance on defense paired nicely with his 86.9% passing accuracy, one key pass, one accurate cross and a shot (well off target, however). On a night where a lot of players turned in similarly solid performances, Nocerino’s two-way play and his team high 78 touches earn him the nod from me.

MF, Servando Carrasco, 5.5 – Servando continues to hustle and work hard, which is going to earn him minutes, but his passing was a bit off on this night. His percentage was 81.4% doesn’t seem so bad, but none of his four long balls or three crosses were accurate. He was dispossessed once and gave up a very dangerous set piece in the second half before being subbed off. To his credit, he did head the free kick behind for a corner.

MF, Kaká, 5.5 – While it wasn’t a terrible night for Kaká, it was hardly one of his best. Credit Colorado for surrounding the Brazilian all night and making his life difficult, but he was also hampered a bit by playing next to Julio Baptista (more on him in a minute). The captain completed a low (especially for him) 78% of his passes, coughed up the ball twice, and shot off target in his lone attempt at goal. Neither of his two crosses or his two long balls were accurate.

MF, Julio Baptista 4.5, – The Beast is officially not a midfielder. With Kevin Molino unable to play and Matias Perez Garcia coming off a quad injury, the Brazilian started in the middle of the attacking midfield, although he and Kaká swapped spots a few times. He looked slow to 50/50 balls all night, completed only 68.2% of his passes, and touched the ball just 36 times before being replaced by MPG in the 62nd minute. He did make three interceptions and draw three free kicks, but he just didn’t seem to link up well with his teammates.

MF, Brek Shea, 5.5 – Although he still didn’t provide the kind of performance Orlando City needs out of him on the offensive end, Shea was better tonight than the last two games. He got both of his shots on target but unfortunately both were straight at his USMNT teammate, Tim Howard. His help on the defensive end was much better tonight than we’ve seen recently, blocking crosses, making clearances and stealing the ball twice. His passing rate of 83.3% was an improvement as well. Nearly sent in Cyle Larin in the second half but couldn’t quite clear Axel Sjoberg. Took a yellow card for the team by delaying a quick Colorado restart on a throw-in.

F, Cyle Larin, 4.5 – Kid Fantastic had a rough night. Although he worked hard, the service to him was largely nonexistent due to the stifling Rapids defense. He managed just 32 touches, got neither of his shots on target and led the team in bad touches (5). He passed at a 61.5% clip and only drew one free kick. About the best thing he did was work hard. His hustle earned a corner at the start of the second half and he certainly put in the work. It’s just that the service in to him was cut off and it took him out of the game. Still, he could have been a hero had he gotten his late shot on target in the 78th minute. He may also have been able to set Shea up for a tap-in with the right pass on the play.


MF, Matias Perez Garcia (62’), 5.5 – While MPG was an instant upgrade over Baptista, he didn’t get much accomplished in about 30 minutes of play. He did complete 92.9% of his passes but he didn’t have a key pass, or connect on a cross or a long ball. He drew only one foul.

MF, Tony Rocha (70’), 6 – The young midfielder completed all 17 of his passes after subbing on for Servando Carrasco and had a late chance to be a hero, stepping into the attack and firing just wide of the post in the third minute of stoppage time. Another solid outing for the former OCB player.

D, Tommy Redding (75’), 5.5 – The Homegrown Player came on for a cramping Aja for the final 15 minutes plus stoppage time and helped his team keep a clean sheet. He only completed 66.7% of his passes but he’s hurt by a small sample size (six total passing attempts). He finished with two tackles and a clearance in a solid if unspectacular appearance, coming into a difficult situation.

That’s how I saw the performances from tonight’s match. Who stood out to you, both good and bad? Please vote for your Man of the Match in the poll below.

Polling Closed

Mikey Ambrose20
David Mateos22
Antonio Nocerino111
Kevin Alston3

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/27/23

Orlando City falls in power rankings, OCB will take on Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro playoffs, U.S. Open Cup final preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There’s not much new with me, I’m just staying busy at work lately and hoping to catch some soccer this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Drops Two Spots in Power Rankings

The latest MLS power rankings have been released and Orlando City fell two spots to fourth. The Lions lost their midweek matchup 2-0 on the road against New York City FC last Wednesday and closed out the weekend with a 1-1 draw against rival Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium. It wasn’t all bad this past week for the Lions, as Duncan McGuire scored his 11th goal of the year across all competitions. Despite losing to NYCFC a week ago the Lions remain in second place in the Eastern Conference and are two points ahead of the Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, Atlanta United, and the New England Revolution.

OCB Will Take On Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs

Orlando City B’s opponent for the first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs was announced on Tuesday, as it will go on the road to take on defending champion Columbus Crew 2 on Oct. 1 at Historic Crew Stadium. As part of the new playoff format that lets higher seeds choose their opponents, Columbus chose to host OCB in the quarterfinals. The Young Lions closed out their regular season this past weekend with a 2-1 win against FC Cincinnati and finished fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Columbus Crew 2 finished its regular season with a 3-2 win against Atlanta United 2 to place third. The clubs split the regular season series, with OCB winning 4-1 on Aug. 27 and Columbus winning 4-0 on May 14. The conference semifinals will be on the following weekend, and the MLS NEXT Pro Cup final is set for Oct. 22.

U.S. Open Cup Final Preview

The 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will conclude tonight with the final at DRV PNK Stadium as Inter Miami takes on the Houston Dynamo. The match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. and you can watch the match on Paramount+ or CBS Sports Network. Inter Miami’s journey included edging out Nashville SC 2-1 in the Round of 16 and needing to go all the way to penalties to knock out FC Cincinnati after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the semifinals. The Houston Dynamo began its run with a pair of 1-0 wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Sporting Kansas City. Since the Round of 16, the Dynamo cruised past Minnesota United, the Chicago Fire, and Real Salt Lake to get to the final. Houston was on a seven-match unbeaten run before losing to Sporting Kansas City this past weekend. The Dynamo will look to add another U.S. Open Cup title after winning it back in 2018. Lionel Messi will reportedly be a game-time decision for tonight’s final after he didn’t play in Miami’s draw with Orlando.

Spain Wins First Home Match Since World Cup Victory

Spain’s women’s national team won its first match since lifting the World Cup trophy last month, cruising to a 5-0 win against Switzerland in a UEFA Nations League matchup. After dealing with the fallout of former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales and players boycotting call-ups to the national team before a deal was reached last week, the team wore wristbands that read “Se Acabo,” meaning “this is over,” and players from both teams held a banner with the same phrase before the match. Spain celebrated its win in front of a record-breaking crowd of 14,194 fans that came out to support the team at Nuevo Arcangel Stadium.

Free Kicks

  • Carrie Lawrence and the Orlando Pride were hard at work preparing for the match on Monday against Angel City FC.
  • Angel City exercised its club option to extend former Pride forward Sydney Leroux’s contract through the end of the 2024 NWSL season.
  • The Canadian Women’s National Team defeated Jamaica 4-1 on aggregate to book a spot in next summer’s Olympics.
  • The Seattle Sounders have unveiled their new crest for next year.

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

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Orlando City

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

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 1-1 home draw against the Herons?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Draws are never satisfying but there’s at least a much better feeling when your team scores the final goal that earns the point rather than conceding so the other team takes two away. Thus was Orlando City’s 1-1 draw at home against Inter Miami on Sunday. It feels better to score the last goal, despite the fact that the same number of goals are scored either way. It’s a grand illusion.

Duncan McGuire’s blast through the legs of Drake Callender at least kept the Pepto-Bismol-colored team from winning at the purple palace and added another point to Orlando’s fine 2023 total.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances from a feisty affair at Exploria Stadium.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 7.5 — It was another standout game from the Peruvian shot stopper, who made four saves on the night, including a big one to stop a Leonardo Campana attempt from just a couple yards out. Gallese couldn’t do much about the lone goal conceded, as it came off a rebound of a wicked Josef Martinez shot, offering Gallese little opportunity to control the rebound due to the angle and pace. El Pulpo also recorded a clearance and passed at an 81.8% rate, connecting on five of his nine long balls.

D, Rafael Santos, 6.5 — After a couple of somewhat underwhelming performances, the Brazilian had a solid night. He didn’t have a shot attempt, but he managed two key passes despite completing only 71.4% of his passes. He connected on three of his eight long balls and one of his four crosses, but that latter number says more about his teammates not getting onto some good-looking balls into the area. Defensively, he provided two clearances and an interception, committing just one foul and completing a dribble. He even led the team in touches (60).

D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 (MotM) — In the first half, Jansson was the best player on the pitch and, in my opinion, it wasn’t close. The Beefy Swede vaccuumed up almost everything sent forward by Miami that was intended for Campana and Martinez on his side of the field. He finished the night with two tackles and two interceptions but it seemed like more than that. His passing was magnificent, as he completed 89.4% of his 47 passes, including six of seven long balls and his only through ball attempt. He had a key pass as well. He didn’t attempt a shot but he completed one dribble and drew a foul as he stymied the Miami attack. He did his best to cover Martinez’s quick, incisive run to the opposite side but couldn’t block the shot with his sliding effort. His biggest blemish was getting yet another yellow card for dissent — something he’s mostly been able to avoid this season.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 5.5 —While I thought Schlegel had a much better night Sunday than he had in the previous two games, it was far from where he was just a week or two earlier. The quick transition gave him a tough choice of backing off Campana and allowing a dangerous shot or doing what he did — stepping out and allowing a through ball. His closeout wasn’t tight enough. His marking on set pieces also left a lot to be desired at times. His passing was mostly accurate (91.5%), and he connected on two of three long balls, but there were a few dicey ones in his own end. He recorded two aerials won, one tackle, two interceptions, and a clearance. He committed three fouls and picked up a yellow card, conceding a dangerous free kick. His lone shot attempt was an off-target header.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6.5 — After a couple of tough games, the Icelandic midfielder-turned-fullback acquitted himself pretty well, considering Inter Miami attacked his side quite a bit. He passed well, connecting 82.5% of the time with one key pass and hitting the target once on two crosses, four times on six long balls, and sent a marvelous through ball that should have resulted in an Ivan Angulo goal, but the winger flubbed his lines. His lone shot attempt was a difficult one and did not threaten goal. He did not record a single defensive stat, although much of the time his opponent curled in toward the top of the area and was passed off to another defender.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5.5 — The young Uruguayan had a quiet night, without recording any defensive statistics in his 45 minutes before being subbed out at the break for Martin Ojeda. He managed only 23 touches and his passing rate of 73.3% was much lower than his usual standard and he completed one of his two long balls. He also drew two fouls and completed a dribble. He simply wasn’t able to impact the game to the extent we’re used to seeing.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 7 — It was a good night for the Peruvian midfielder, who was constantly getting under the opponents’ skin. He drew yellow card fouls on Dixon Arroyo and Benjamin Cremaschi — the latter after a slick nutmeg move — and had a steal that was set to ignite the break called back for a foul that I don’t agree was committed. Defensively, he recorded a tackle, a clearance, and an interception. He passed at a 91.1% success rate, created one scoring chance, and completed both of his long-ball attempts.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 5 — Whether it’s a lack of confidence and/or composure or being intimidated by a good goalkeeper, the Ivan Angulo who shoots in warmups is not the same guy in front of goal once the game is underway. He completely flubbed his lines when Thorhallsson sent him in behind for a 1-v-1 chance against Callender. The number of times he gets into dangerous spots and either a bad pass, shot, or decision keeps Orlando City from generating a scoring chance from it is maddening. Angulo failed to get any of his three shot attempts on target. His passing rate was just 60%, he did not have a single key pass, and neither of his two crosses were on target, although his single long ball was. He also didn’t record a single defensive statistic. There are many things Angulo does well, and his speed is tantalizing, but the final product is often lacking.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 — The captain had a mostly quiet match except when he was scissored down from behind by David Ruiz, somehow only producing a yellow card for the Miami midfielder. Pereyra produced only one key pass and no shot attempts, starting at central attacking midfielder before dropping into central midfield in the second half to pull the strings from a deeper position. He passed at an 80.5% success rate, completing one of three crosses and two of five long balls. He did not record any defensive stats and committed two fouls while drawing three.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — Torres led the Lions in shots (4), putting two on target, contributing one key pass and winning an aerial. He passed pretty well overall (81.5%), though he did not complete either of his two crosses or his lone long ball. He contributed an interception and a clearance defensively. Miami concentrated on double-teaming the Designated Player whenever possible. Torres still created some opportunities for himself and others, but it was a fairly quiet night overall.

F, Duncan McGuire, 7.5 — The rookie is still getting back to form after returning from injury, so he managed only 18 touches on the night but he did well with the touches he had. Both of McGuire’s shots were on target and both were rockets. Unfortunately, both were right at goalkeeper Callender. Fortunately, the second of those went through the keeper’s legs for the equalizing goal — his ninth of the MLS season. He also created a chance with a key pass, completed 83.3% of his pass attempts, and connected on his only long ball. He even contributed a defensive clearance. It was a good night for the rookie striker, although he wasn’t able to get that many touches.


MF, Martin Ojeda (46′), 6.5 — The Argentine Designated Player came on at halftime for Araujo to give the Lions more attacking presence and an extra playmaker on the field. He continues to grow in recent games, as he put his only shot attempt on target, created a chance with a key pass, and completed two dribbles, although he did have four unstable touches and was dispossessed once. He completed 89.5% of his 19 passes and all three long balls, but missed on his only cross attempt. He helped with the ball back with two tackles, and added a clearance.

MF/F, Ramiro Enrique (74′), 5 — Enrique came on for Angulo, which I thought at the time was the exact sub that was needed, but the Argentine didn’t offer much for the second straight game after winning Player of the Matchday. He did not attempt a shot or create a key pass and managed only seven touches on the night, passing at an 83.3% clip. He chipped in a clearance.

D, Michael Halliday (77′), 5 — The Homegrown defender spelled Thorhallsson but didn’t offer much, despite completing all four of his passes on 13 total touches. He had two unstable touches and was dispossessed once, which is not what you want to see from your fullback in the final 15 minutes of the match. Defensively, he blocked a shot, but he also conceded an unnecessary late corner when he pulled up, thinking he’d won a foul that didn’t end up getting called.

MF, Gaston Gonzalez (84′), N/A — As the MLS U22 Initiative attacker works his way back to fitness, he got a late runout, replacing McGuire, which pushed Enrique to the top of the formation. He conceded a free kick, but I honestly thought his challenge was clean and should have led to an Orlando counterattack. He put his only shot on frame, but it was a weak dribbler right at Callender. He did not complete his only pass attempt of the match.

MF, Junior Urso (84′), N/A — The Bear entered for Pereyra and was active, gettin 12 touches in late. His 90% passing rate on 10 attempts was solid, missing only on his only attempted long ball. He didn’t record any defensive stats, but he also didn’t make any mistakes in his brief spell.

That’s how I saw the individual performances by Orlando City on Sunday night at the stadium. Let me know where I got things right or wrong in the comments below and be sure to vote for your Man of the Match in our poll below.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/26/23

Pedro Gallese honored, Orlando Pride and Lions celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Campeones Cup preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I won’t lie to you, I’m dragging a bit to start this week. I’m still recovering from being sick and frankly had to fight the urge to take Monday off. I’m soldiering on though, and there’s plenty of soccer happening this week to help keep me entertained and in good spirits. Let’s have a look at today’s links.

Pedro Gallese Recognized

Pedro Gallese turned in another superb performance during Orlando City’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami on Sunday, and he’s been rewarded with a place in the most recent edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. El Pulpo made four saves on the night, including a fantastic stop on a header from close range, and helped the Lions stay in the game until they could find the equalizer. Congratulations to Pedro, and here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Orlando Pride and Orlando City Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Orlando Pride defender Celia fielded questions for fans to learn more about both her and Spain. Celia is from Alicante, a port city in southern Spain, and shared her favorite food, music, and activity while in her home country. She also spoke on a common misconception about spices used in Spain being spicy.

Orlando City’s Facundo Torres also shared the meaning behind some of his tattoos, which include the Uruguayan flag and La Paz, the city he grew up in. Orlando City’s match with CF Montreal on Saturday will also be Hispanic Heritage Night at Exploria Stadium.

Campeones Cup Preview

You can be forgiven if you forgot that the Campeones Cup is still a thing, because I know I did. Here’s a little refresher on the annual match. It’s being played tomorrow night at BMO Stadium between LAFC and Tigres, which are the reigning MLS and Liga MX champions, respectively. The MLS representative has won three out of the four contests, with Tigres beating Toronto FC 3-1 in the first iteration of the competition in 2018. This match will also be a rematch of the 2020 Concacaf Champions League final, which saw Tigres emerge victorious 2-1 at Exploria Stadium.

Americans in Midweek Action

A number of Americans will be taking part in games for their clubs this week. Tim Weah and Weston McKennie’s Juventus will take on Lecce today in Serie A, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup. Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah have a league match when AC Milan plays Cagliari tomorrow. PSV Eindhoven has a game against Go Ahead Eagles tomorrow as well, which means Ricardo Pepi, Sergino Dest and Malik Tillman could all be involved. Friday closes out the week with Hoffenheim taking on Borussia Dortmund, which could see John Brooks matched up against Gio Reyna depending on Reyna’s fitness.

Spanish Players Will Testify Against Rubiales

Alexia Putellas, Irene Paredes and Misa Rodriguez have all been called to testify as witnesses in the case against Luis Rubiales. Jenni Hermoso’s brother and a friend of the player both testified on Monday afternoon, as Rubiales is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion. Rubiales has already testified and maintains he did nothing wrong amid uproar that has led to a number of Spanish players refusing to return to the team until changes are made, and a general overshadowing of Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup. Putellas, Paredes and Rodriguez will testify next Monday.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there!

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