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Orlando City vs. Houston Dynamo: Final Score 4-0 as Tired Legs and Too Much Speed Dooms Lions

In a match that saw a number of changes from Orlando’s side, City never found a way into a game dominated by the Dynamo.

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Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

The speed of the Houston Dynamo and the tired legs of the Lions were a bad combination, as Orlando City was blown out, 4-0, at BBVA Compass Stadium. The club suffered consecutive losses for the first time all season, after dropping both matches on its two-game road trip. Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas (twice), and Romell Quioto provided the goals for Houston.

Orlando City (6-3-0, 18 points) played away to Houston (5-3-1, 16 points) for its third game in just eight days and second game in as many time zones just three days apart, and despite squad rotation, the Lions looked tired and slow throughout the match.

Jason Kreis made several changes, dropping Kaká and Carlos Rivas from the starting lineup and dropping Jonathan Spector from the 18. Giles Barnes started up top with Cyle Larin, atop a midfield of Antonio Nocerino at the bottom of the diamond, Luis Gil and Will Johnson on the wings, and Matias Perez Garcia at the tip. The back line consisted of Donny Toia, Tommy Redding, Jose Aja — in his return to the field — and Scott Sutter.

One noticeable name out of the starting XI for Houston was Cubo Torres, the league’s leading goal scorer. Houston wouldn’t need him.

The Dynamo were able to take advantage early, as they earned a corner kick in the first three minutes and were inside the 18 with the ball three times in that same time frame but were unable to test the MLS Player of the Month for April, Joe Bendik. Unfortunately, that didn’t last.

Toia gave away a bad foul on his own end line on the outside, right of the box early. Houston hit the ensuing free kick well, but fortunately Aja cleared it away. The ball was immediately fed back into the middle of the field, and Houston’s Manotas hit a scary ball just wide of the post. With the pressure never ceasing, the ball was turned over by the Lions again and Houston broke away to earn a penalty kick on a Johnson foul. Manotas took the shot and hit the ball wide left as Bendik was diving the opposite way, giving the Lions a momentary reprieve.

Orlando needed a break and Manotas’ miss seemed the perfect opportunity for Orlando City to take a deep breath and try to work back into the game. But it wasn’t happening for the Lions as they could never really find possession of the ball — Houston was beating them to everything and continued to dominate the game. This proved costly in the 23rd minute, as Elis beat Toia wide and fired a shot on goal that beat Bendik inside the near post on a shot that perhaps the keeper should have stopped.

Orlando City has three losses on the season and all of them came after conceding the first goal. So Elis’ strike was a bad omen.

The best threatening moment of the first half for Orlando City finally came in the 29th minute on a nice build-up, but a turnover from Sutter in Houston’s 18-yard box resulted in a fast break for the opposition. Houston pushed and managed a shot but Orlando’s Redding prevailed and the counter was squashed as the ball sailed over the goal post.

Orlando City finally earned a corner in the 35th minute of the game but it resulted in nothing positive for the men in purple as the ball was easily hit away from being any real threat. It did however, finally seem that Orlando City was pushing further up the field, resulting in better touches and more pressure against the Houston defense. The Dynamo, after 35 minutes of pressing, finally seemed fatigued and Orlando was doing a better job of making things happen at this point.

The story of the first half is simple — Houston dominated all but seven, maybe eight minutes of the game as Orlando City struggled to find its footing. The Dynamo were more than likely wondering how they didn’t score more goals, especially with a missed penalty kick. The Lions had to be thankful they didn’t get scored on more as they looked fatigued and not too much excited about playing within the first 45 minutes.

Orlando City started off the second half a little bit better, even producing its first shot on target in the 47th minute. Johnson fired a shot with a lot of pace but Houston keeper Joe Willis was not bothered as he made a comfortable save. A mere two minutes later, Houston was on the attack as Alex broke down Toia and assisted a beautiful touch pass to Manotas, who hammered the ball into the net. Bendik was able to get a piece of the ball under his leg but the shot was just powerful enough to find its way into the net.

Just before subs Kaká and Rivas made their way into the game, Barnes found an open opportunity in the middle of the 18, but the shot was taken on his weaker foot and ended up sailing away from the goal.

Kaká and Rivas finally made their way onto the field in the 58th minute with hopes of changing the tide of the game. Those hopes would seemingly dissipate rather quickly as Quioto found what seemed to be an entire field of space. Quioto came up with a transition opportunity in the 64th minute but Bendik made an amazing save in a one-on-one situation that could have put Houston up 3-0.

But then the 65th minute came, and Quioto again found himself wide open on the left flank, breaking away with great speed. This time, however, Quioto laid the ball off to a wide open Manotas, who clanked the ball in off the right post, scoring his second goal of the game.  

Larin finally got his first real chance of the game in the 71st minute, an opportunity that came in front of the goal but Willis pushed the ball back into the middle of the 18, where no Orlando City player was able to capitalize.

Kreis subbed Cristian Higuita on for Johnson in the 71st minute. A minute later, Kaká wiggled his way through defenders and set up Gil, who scuffed his shot and Orlando’s opportunity to find a way into the game.

In the 75th minute, Quioto again found himself in acres of space on the left side of the field, where his pace again left defenders in his wake, as he put away his opportunity with a well-placed shot in the top right corner, chipping Bendik. This put Houston up 4-0 and put a cap to the scoring on the night.

The last 15 minutes of the game were played out with Orlando City looking to get a consolation goal, but the final touch was missing as the Lions were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. Houston earned many of the same opportunities where they could have run up the score but Bendik was able to prevent the game from getting further out of hand than it already was.

Orlando City never found its stride in the game and along with that looked fairly fatigued. The motor we are used to seeing was absent from the players and the end result was domination from the Houston Dynamo.


The Lions are back in action at home next Saturday against Sporting Kansas City at 7:30 p.m.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/23/24

Ivan Angulo makes Team of the Matchday bench, Americans in action, Sergino Dest to miss Copa America, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was an excellent weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, as the three sides took seven of the nine points on offer. There’s no rest for the wicked this week as the Orlando Pride travel to play the Washington Spirit on Friday, Orlando City hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, and Orlando City B finishes things up at home against Toronto FC II on Sunday. Let’s take a look at today’s links.

Ivan Angulo Earns Recognition

Ivan Angulo has been named to the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. The Colombian got the start on Saturday up in Montreal, and had a good game, going the distance and completing 82% of his passes and putting one of his two shots on target. That shot was an important one, as it gave the Lions a late equalizer and helped them salvage a valuable point on the road. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 in his player grades from the match, a rating that likely would have been higher had Martin Ojeda’s pass been accurate enough to allow Angulo to grab a possible winner just a few minutes after he equalized. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of Americans taking part in big games this week, and the good people over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with the whole rundown. First up, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, and Juventus will try to advance to the Coppa Italia final this afternoon, as they enter the second leg of the semifinal against Lazio with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Tomorrow sees Monaco and Folarin Balogun meet Lille in Ligue 1 action, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League. Things wrap up on Friday in Serie B when Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessman, and third-place Venezia face Cremonese as they try to overtake Como and finish in one of Serie B’s two guaranteed promotion places.

Sergino Dest Sidelined Long Term

Following up on a story from yesterday’s Lion Links, The Athletic is reporting that the knee injury suffered by Sergino Dest will keep him out of Copa America, and sideline him for the rest of the year. That would be a big blow for the United States Men’s National Team, as Dest has been the nailed-on starter at right back since winning a place in the team during the qualifying cycle for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks aren’t without options at the position, as Joe Scally could step in for Dest, or Gregg Berhalter could try deploying Weah there, but neither of the two possesses Dest’s level of offensive threat.

Inter Milan Wins Serie A

Inter Milan dispatched rival AC Milan 2-1 guaranteed that Inter will win its 20th Serie A title in club history. Fikayo Tomori’s goal in the 80th minute was the closest Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s club could get to leveling the score, and Inter is now a whopping 17 points clear of AC Milan with five games left to play. Inter has been imperious on its way to a 20th Scudetto, scoring the most goals in the league while also conceding the fewest and losing only once this season.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City hosted a clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day on Monday.

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 2-2 draw with CF Montreal?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City / Mark Thor

Orlando City scored in second-half injury time for the second consecutive weekend to claim points. However, this time it was an equalizer as the Lions drew CF Montreal 2-2 north of the border. The Lions ended their two-game road trip with four points and extended their points streak to four games after dropping three straight. It’s an improvement as they look to climb up the Eastern Conference standings.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances in the draw.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 5.5 — Gallese conceded a pair of goals in this game, though neither were necessarily his fault. The first was a breakaway after Robin Jansson kept Mason Toye onside and the second was blocked wide, but Kyle Smith was caught flat-footed. However, he did concede twice while saving three of Montreal’s five shots on target. Additionally, the Lions’ goalkeeper completed 55.6% of his 27 passes, including eight of his 20 long balls.

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — Smith had a solid game other than one specific play. The left back had a team-high 86 touches and completed 78.3% of his 60 passes, including five of his 12 long balls. Defensively, he recorded two tackles, two clearances, an interception, and a blocked shot. Unfortunately, his most impactful play was getting caught watching on a Gallese block while Ariel Lassiter beat him to the rebound to give the hosts a late lead. That play lowers his grade for this otherwise quality performance.

D, Robin Jansson, 5.5 — Similar to Smith, Jansson had a solid game apart from one play. He had 72 touches and completed 79.7% of his 59 passes, including a key pass and three of his 14 long balls. He added a tackle, an interception, a blocked shot, and a team-high seven clearances to his stat sheet. But his failure to step up in the 16th minute enabled Toye to get behind the back line and score the opening goal, lowering his grade.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo has proven himself to be the first-choice partner for Jansson and he was arguably the better center back in Montreal. The Slovenian international had 53 touches and completed 85.1% of his 47 passes, including two of his five long balls. The defender recorded two tackles, an interception, and three clearances defensively in a strong performance.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson was in his usual right back position for this game, playing 90 minutes and recording 44 touches. He completed 82.8% of his 29 passes, but only one of his four long balls and neither of his two crosses. He cleared the ball twice and didn’t really get into the attack, but was solid in his defensive duties.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 (MotM) — This was possibly Cartagena’s best performance of the season. His 85 touches were second-most on the team and he completed 76.5% of his team-high 68 passes, including a key pass and two of his six long balls. It was his shielding of Nathan Saliba and strong pass forward for Duncan McGuire that started the last goal, though he didn’t get an assist. The defensive midfielder was also active defensively with five tackles and three interceptions, and he won a pair of aerial duels. His overall performance earns him my Man of the Match.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — Araujo had a similar performance to Cartagena, but fewer touches and more accurate passing. He recorded 55 touches and completed 93.9% of his 49 passes, including a key pass. He was less active than his partner defensively, recording three tackles, and was booked in the 63rd minute.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo had one of his better performances in this one, recording 48 touches and completing 82.1% of his 39 passes. His biggest impact on the game came two minutes into second-half stoppage time, when he connected with an excellent Martin Ojeda cross to even the game at 2-2. He nearly scored a winner five minutes later, but the pass from Ojeda was just a bit too far for him. His goal was one of his two shots and the only one on target.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6 — Lodeiro’s 45 touches were the fewest of the Orlando City midfield, but he did the most with them. The playmaker completed 91.4% of his 35 passes, including a key pass, but couldn’t connect on his long ball or either of his two crosses. He was also caught offside and dispossessed twice before being replaced by Ojeda in the 77th minute.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres’ 65 touches were the most in the Lions’ midfield and the fourth most on the team. He completed 83.7% of his 49 passes, but didn’t connect on his two crosses or four long balls. The attacker took three shots and put one on target. In the 22nd minute, the midfielder stepped up and buried his second penalty of the season and ninth as a Lion, continuing her perfect record from the spot.

F, Luis Muriel, 6 — While Oscar Pareja had previously been starting Muriel behind McGuire, the forward got the start alone up top for the second consecutive game. He had 34 touches and completed 68.4% of his 19 passes, including his lone long ball but neither of his two crosses. His biggest impact on the game came in the 20th minute, when he tipped the ball past Montreal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois, drawing the penalty that resulted in the first equalizer. He also had a shot of his own, but it was off target.

Substitutes

F, Duncan McGuire (63’), 6 — McGuire came on in the 63rd minute for Muriel. He had 16 touches in 27 minutes, completing eight of his 10 passes (80%) with a key pass. His lone shot came in the 90th minute, when Jansson headed the ball over to him and he probably should’ve equalized, but his volley was just wide. The striker also won three aerial duels.

MF, Martin Ojeda (77’), 6.5 — Ojeda came on in the 77th minute for Lodeiro and, similar to Lodeiro last week, made a big difference. He had 15 touches and completed four of his six passes (66.7%), including a key pass. Two minutes into second-half injury time, his excellent cross found Angulo, who touched it in for the equalizer. Five minutes later, he had another great cross that nearly found Angulo for the winner, but was just out of his reach.

D, Rafael Santos (85’), 6 — Santos came on in the 85th minute for Torres as the Lions looked to see out a point. He had nine touches and completed two of his three passes (66.7%), but didn’t connect on his cross or long ball. Coming on to assure the defense, Santos did his job as he recorded a tackle, an interception, and two clearances.


This is how I saw Orlando City’s 2-2 draw with CF Montreal. Let us know how you saw the game and don’t forget to vote for your Man of the Match.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/22/24

Orlando City draws CF Montreal, Pride and OCB win, FA Cup drama, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City drew, while the Pride and OCB both won over the weekend. I had friends in town, so I went to Wrigley Field to check out a Cubs game and show them around Chicago. Let’s wish former Orlando City midfielder Kaka and Pride defender Brianna Martinez a happy birthday! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Draw at CF Montreal

Orlando City again had to overcome a 2-1 deficit on the road when it faced CF Montreal Saturday night. The Lions needed a late stoppage-time goal from Ivan Angulo to walk out of Stade Saputo with a 2-2 draw. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last four matches. Orlando City will face CF Montreal again on July 26 in the MLS Leagues Cup during the competition’s group stage. The Lions’ next match will be Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium as it takes on Toronto FC.

Orlando Pride Defeat San Diego Wave

The Orlando Pride shut out the San Diego Wave 1-0 on Friday at Inter&Co Stadium and got their second consecutive win with that same scoreline. Summer Yates scored the lone goal in the first half to seal the win for Orlando. Zambian international striker Barbra Banda made her debut for the Pride, coming off the bench in the second half. The Pride remain undefeated through five league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table with nine points. The team will be on the road to face the Washington Spirit Friday.

OCB Wins on the Road at Crown Legacy FC

Orlando City B got a 2-0 win against Crown Legacy FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Friday. Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored for the Young Lions, and Javier Otero made six saves. OCB completed its two-match road trip, securing four out of a possible six points, and has kept its unbeaten streak on the road alive at four matches. OCB is in fifth in the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference with nine points, while Crown Legacy is winless in five matches. OCB will be back in action this Sunday as it hosts Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium.

Manchester United and Manchester City Advance to FA Cup Final

Manchester United won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to the final. It was a thrilling match at Wembley as United had a 3-0 lead before Coventry City rallied to get back into the match. USMNT forward Haji Wright scored the equalizer to tie the match 3-3 late into stoppage time. Coventry City thought it scored the game-winning goal late into extra time from Victor Torp, but it was ruled offside after video review. Casemiro missed his penalty for United, while Wright and Torp gave Coventry City a 2-1 advantage. United converted four straight penalties while Coventry City missed two to seal the win for the Red Devils. Manchester City edged past Chelsea 1-0 in their semifinal matchup, with Bernardo Silva scoring the lone goal in the second half. The FA Cup final will be played at the end of May and will feature a Manchester Derby for the second consecutive time.

Free Kicks

  • In case you missed it, check out this video on Orlando City’s social media page on Ivan Angulo’s equalizer to tie the match in stoppage time against CF Montreal on Saturday.

According to OptaJack, the Pride have secured the most points at home during the regular season since last May, with 26.

  • USMNT defender Sergino Dest suffered a knee injury during training with PSV Eindhoven over the weekend. Dest will miss the remainder of the Eredivisie season and could miss the 2024 Copa America this summer.
  • Real Madrid came back from being 2-1 down to defeat Barcelona 3-2 and stay ahead of its rivals by 11 points with six league matches left.
  • Bayer Leverkusen extended its unbeaten run to 45 matches after scoring a late goal from Josip Stanisic in stoppage time to get a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Serie A side Udinese is reportedly set to hire former Juventus and Real Madrid player Fabio Cannavaro as its next head coach.

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

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