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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact: Final Score 1-0 as Lions are Eliminated from the Postseason

Despite a wealth of possession and a lopsided shot advantage, the Lions can’t find a breakthrough, falling to the Impact for the first time in 2016.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Orlando City was desperately in need of a win but it was the Montreal Impact that played with desperation. The Impact sat deep and defended for 90+ minutes, hoping for a moment of magic on the counter. They got exactly that with Dominic Oduro’s 56th minute, 1-v-1 opportunity. Oduro beat Joe Bendik and ended Orlando’s playoff hopes in a 1-0 Montreal win.

The Lions finished the season series 2-1-0 against the Impact, but the one loss seems to more than cancel out the two wins — two of only seven times Orlando has collected all three points this season.

In the end, it didn’t matter that the Lions held the ball for 66.8% of the game (74.2% of the second half). It didn’t matter that Orlando (7-11-14, 35 points) out-shot the Impact, 22-4. It didn’t matter that City won more duels, passed more accurately, or had 12 corners to Montreal’s one. All that matters is that it’s another loss for the lads in purple, and this one hurts more than all the others because it puts a finality to even the faintest glimmer of postseason hopes.

“In my opinion we did everything other than finish our chances,” said Head Coach Jason Kreis after the match. “And if we’d have finished one of our chances, I think the game would have been much different.”

Oduro’s one moment of magic was all that Montreal (11-10-11, 44 points) wanted. And Impact Head Coach Mauro Biello even acknowledged after the game that he’d have been satisfied with a single point in a 0-0 draw. But he did get that moment – on his team’s only shot on target of the game, no less – and he has to feel like he’s sneaking out of Orlando having committed the great train robbery.

The Lions peppered 19 second-half shot attempts toward Evan Bush’s goal and not one of them fell favorably. Five of the 22 total OCSC shot attempts were blocked and 12 were off-target, leaving only five on frame, with Bush stopping all of them, including two of the Save-of-the-Week variety.

Give credit to Montreal. The Impact came in with the bus already parked and their game plan worked to perfection, as the Lions missed the target, rushed shots, or hit Bush squarely, with only a couple of exceptions. Only two denied first-half appeals for penalty kicks could have made a difference, but neither was awarded. Even without those, you’d have to think the Lions generated sufficient chances to bulge the net at least once or twice. They didn’t.

Neither team did much through a sleepy first half. Montreal was content to give Orlando City possession, which the Lions were happy to take, holding the ball 62.2% of the first half to the Impact’s 37.8%. To Orlando’s credit, there weren’t a lot of turnovers leading to dangerous counters, but the Lions also failed to threaten goal much, finishing with three first-half shots and none on target.

The Lions also largely wasted five corner kicks, either failing to find a teammate or not even beating the first defender with the cross. However, Jose Aja got onto a Matias Perez Garcia corner cross in the 20th minute and directed his headed shot toward goal. The ball appeared to take a deflection and went over the end line. The Lions protested for a handball but the ref awarded a goal kick.

In the 23rd minute, a nice bit of build-up led to a near chance but Kaká over-hit the pass and Bush came quickly off his line to beat Cyle Larin to the ball.

In the 41st, Kaká got to the end line and tried to cross the ball in. It deflected off a defender and again the captain and the crowd howled for a penalty but to no avail. A minute later the Lions got their best opportunity of the half as Larin turned and blasted from the top of the box, but his shot was just wide. That summarized Larin’s afternoon.

Kreis brought Julio Baptista on for an ineffective Kevin Molino at the half and Orlando’s attacking mentality certainly changed. However, David Mateos sustained a right knee injury and forced a second substitution early in the second period, as Seb Hines came on.

Hines’ first touch served to send Kaká up the left flank, where the Brazilian crossed in for Larin, but the Canadian couldn’t quite get onto it. He may have been pushed, but there was no whistle from Armando Villarreal — a theme that played throughout the day.

In the 54th minute, Kevin Alston’s long throw found Baptista in the box, but he couldn’t control it and it was cleared as far as Luke Boden, who shot just over the bar from the top of the box. Within a minute, Larin turned around Laurent Ciman and sped toward goal. Ambroise Oyongo appeared to foul Larin just outside the box but Villarreal saw nothing in the challenge and what was more or less a breakaway went without even an attempt at goal. A minute later, Kaká tried a shot but it went straight at Bush, much like his attempt late at Toronto found Alex Bono.

A minute after that, Oduro ripped the hearts out of the 26,041 at Camping World Stadium, finishing a 1-v-1 opportunity against Bendik. Patrice Bernier found room on the right side and centered for Matteo Mancosu. The Italian’s one-time pass took an unlucky deflection off Hines and right into the path of the onrushing Oduro, who easily out-paced Boden and found the upper right corner of the net.

Kreis didn’t fault Hines on the goal or suggest that had he not been forced to sub out the inured Mateos the outcome would have been any different.

“I honestly don’t think that had much to do with (the goal),” Kreis said. “We let that break happen with the player on the ball where he was allowed a little too much time and space. And then Oduro makes a run that we should have held our line and we didn’t hold our line. When you do that and you end up with a player with that kind of pace behind you, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Orlando had an opportunity in the 60th with the ball pinging around in Montreal’s box after a corner kick, but every Lion shot or pass attempt was deflected by a Montreal boot and you just knew it wasn’t City’s day.

That became even more evident in the 62nd minute. Antonio Nocerino sent a lovely ball to the left corner for Boden, who one-timed a perfect cross into the six-yard box for Larin. The Canadian got it on frame but Bush made a point-blank save to somehow keep it out.

Kreis withdrew Servando Carrasco for Carlos Rivas in the 64th minute, going all-out in the attack. Just four minutes later, Rivas sent in one of his incredible crosses from the left flank that found Baptista’s head but he nodded off target. Baptista again missed the target in the 69th, firing just over the bar after an Alston cross into the box deflected right onto the Brazilian’s foot.

Rivas sent a free kick just inches over the bar in the 72nd minute, as it looked for all the world like a shot eventually had to find the net. He fired just over the bar again in the 80th, however, and you started to realize that Bush could leave the stadium and somehow the ball would stay out. But he didn’t leave the stadium, instead robbing Larin on a header off a corner kick in the 88th.

There were six minutes of stoppage time to try to at least pull a goal back, but the best chances were already behind the Lions and the Impact saw out the clean sheet for Bush.

“Obviously we’re all very, deeply disappointed,” Kreis said. “I think we all put in a tremendous amount to that game, really gave our hearts and souls to it in the buildup the past several days. I couldn’t be happier with the work everybody’s done and the effort everybody’s given, but soccer can be a cruel game and that’s what we saw today.”

The Lions are left to play two lame duck matches – two weeks from today at Philadelphia and again three weeks from today at home against D.C. United.

“We want to finish well,” Kreis said. “This group has worked extremely hard and it would be a real shame not to not give ourselves the respect and our fans the respect to do everything we can to get points and wins in these last two matches. I think we’re all too good of professionals to ever look at these games this way.”

Orlando City

2023 Orlando City Season in Review: Jack Lynn

The 2022 draft pick spent most of his time with Orlando City B during his second year in purple.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Jack Lynn joined Orlando City through the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, when he was selected in the first round by the Lions with the No. 18 overall pick. He was then signed to a one-year deal in February of last year with options for the next three years. Much of his time during his first season was spent with Orlando City B, although he did make a few appearances for the first team.

Let’s take a look back at Lynn’s second year in purple.

Statistical Breakdown

Lynn made three appearances in Major League Soccer with the senior side, all of which came as a substitute, and finished with 33 minutes on the field. Defensively, he recorded one interception and two clearances, while committing one foul. Offensively, he won four aerial duels, took one shot, which was on target, drew two fouls, and completed three long balls while passing with 76% accuracy. He did not score a goal or assist on one.

As in 2022, the majority of Lynn’s season was spent in MLS Next PRO with Orlando City B. He had a phenomenal year in the developmental league, and his campaign finished with him being named the league’s MVP and winning the Golden Boot. He played in 27 games for the young Lions, 20 of which were starts, and racked up 1,826 minutes. Defensively, he recorded three interceptions, committed 16 fouls, and was shown four yellow cards. On offense, he took 72 shots and put 40 of them on target, scored 19 goals, drew 15 fouls, and passed with 74% accuracy while completing 13 long balls and 12 key passes but no assists.

Best Game

There weren’t a lot to pick from, but I’ve gone with his longest appearance of the year, which was a 20-minute shift during Orlando City’s 4-3 comeback win over the Columbus Crew. He didn’t record many statistics on the night, as he won two aerial duels, committed a foul, and passed with 50% accuracy. However, he provided a big target up front as the Lions continued to lump the ball forward in search of goals, and he factored in on Facundo Torres’ goal, pulling players away so Ramiro Enrique could collect the ball and start the move that ended with the ball in the back of the net. Michael Citro graded him as a 5 out of 10 in our Player Grades piece, the only game this year in which he received a grade.

2023 Final Grade

As he fell well short of the 450 minute threshold that we require for a player to be given, Lynn has been given a grade of incomplete for the 2023 season. After spending the bulk of his time with Orlando City B in his first two seasons as a Lion, we still don’t have a great idea of what he might be able to contribute to the first team, and we simply need to see more of him to get a better read on his abilities.

2024 Outlook

Lynn remains fairly young and inexpensive, has option years left on his contract, and just tore up MLS Next PRO with Orlando City B. With there being some whispers about overseas teams scouting Duncan McGuire, and the Lions already a little thin at the striker position, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Lynn’s option year exercised. What sort of role he’ll have will then likely depend on what he’s able to show during preseason, but if nothing else he should remain a key part of OCB.

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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.

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