Connect with us

Orlando City

Orlando City at San Jose Earthquakes: Player Grades and Man of the Match



For the third time in three years Orlando City and the San Jose Earthquakes failed to produce a winner — this time in a 1-1 draw at Avaya Stadium in the wee hours East Coast time. Considering a huge rotation of the squad by Head Coach Jason Kreis, a point is not a bad result. But, considering the Lions led on a goal in the 81st minute, it still feels like a letdown.

Nevertheless, it’s another point in the standings and a chance to come home with several starters fresh for Sunday’s match with New York City FC.

Here are my individual ratings for Orlando City’s participants in the match.


GK, Joe Bendik, 6 — Joe made two saves on a night when the Quakes didn’t threaten the goal much, with 11 shots but only three on target. He perhaps could have gotten out to square up on Chris Wondolowski quicker but came in at an angle, allowing Wondo to poke in a floating cross off his arms for the equalizer. He got a hand to a free kick from Jahmir Hyka in the 26th minute on a ball that might have hit the bar or gone over but he did well to take no chances. Made a comfortable save on Marco Urena in the first half. His distribution wasn’t terrible but could have been a bit better. A solid if not spectacular game.

D, Victor “PC” Giro, 8 (MotM) — PC made his MLS debut and it was quite an introduction. His vision in setting up Rivas’ goal was extraordinary and he provided energy all night while maintaining integrity on defense for the most part. He started early, earning a free kick in the ninth minute with a nice overlap with Luis Gil. Nearly opened his account in the 32nd with a stunning strike that beat David Bingham but not the crossbar. He led Orlando in tackles (5) and interceptions (4) and his passing rate of 71.4% was pretty good. His game on this night was better than his previous appearances with OCB this year and he’s earned more minutes.

D, Leo Pereira, 6.5 — Like PC, the young Brazilian made his MLS debut at Avaya Stadium tonight and the moment certainly wasn’t too big for him. Leo played within himself throughout the game, winning balls in the air. He was forced to take a tactical yellow in the 25th minute after a midfield turnover by Servando Carrasco, conceding a dangerous free kick chance. His vital clearance of a cross by Marco Urena in the 43rd minute snuffed out a dangerous chance. In the 79th, he again bailed out Carrasco after a turnover. His passing rate of 67.7% could have been better but he led the team in pass attempts (65) and didn’t make any errors in tight spaces under pressure. He led the team in clearances (5), with two tackles, three interceptions and a blocked shot. Not a bad debut but he was the closest defender to Wondo on the corner kick and lost track of him.

D, Jose Aja, 6.5 — The young Uruguayan took a lot of abuse from the opponents and got very few calls out of it but he stayed focused, kept his anger in check, and played a sturdy game. His two interceptions and two clearances were OK, his passing rate of 73.1% was decent, and contributed a key pass and two shots on offense, one of which just missed a bit high. He paired up well on the right side with Scott Sutter to snuff out most of the danger that came from that side.  

D, Scott Sutter, 7 — Sutter may have been Orlando City’s best player in the first half. He was so cool and calm under pressure and in possession that you could chill your beer on his forehead. His long throw-in led to PC’s shot off the crossbar and he had an early cross for Luis Gil that was on target but a defender got there first. He recorded one tackle, two interceptions and three clearances, and connected well with Matias Perez Garcia up the right channel much of the game. His passing rate of 76.5% led the back four and he contributed one key pass while raining five crosses into the penalty area.

MF, Will Johnson, 7 — Will is probably going to take some heat from fans for keeping Wondo onside on the tying goal, but when the ball fell for Tommy Thompson, he retreated to guard the post and it was just unfortunate that the Earthquakes youngster mishit a shot attempt that somehow worked out for San Jose. His influence was noticeable throughout the game as he was often charged with starting possessions as Pereira and Aja fed him the ball deep to start the play. He passed at a solid 87.1% rate with the second most passes (62). In the 10th minute, he served in a free kick to Cyle Larin but the Canadian’s header was high. He finished with two key passes, four tackles, an interception, two clearances and generally ran his tail off all night.

MF, Servando Carrasco, 5.5 — I guess the word for Servando’s night is “workmanlike.” He finished with a passing accuracy of 89.7% — highest of all starters — but he also made the most glaring giveaways on the night. He had a terrible turnover in the 25th minute that started a San Jose break and forced Pereira to take a yellow and give up a dangerous free kick. He was dispossessed twice and both turned into scary moments for the defense as a result (the second came in the 79th minute). He finished with two interceptions, two clearances and one shot attempt. Overall he did a decent job of shielding the back line but will want to eliminate those giveaways.

MF, Luis Gil, 6 — Much of the night for Gil was spent providing coverage for the young Brazilian defenders behind him. Whenever the Quakes came forward, Gil was there to provide a second pressure point on the ball with PC and/or Pereira. But he wasn’t all defense, though he had two tackles and an interception. He played a nice give-and-go with PC early to set up a free kick when the latter was taken down. He had one key pass and got his one shot on target, though he didn’t get all of it as he tried to use a defender to screen his attempt from Bingham. His passing rate (68.4%) could have been better, though many of his attempts were with guys he hasn’t played with yet.

MF, Gile Barnes, 5 — The Jamaican didn’t leave much of a mark on the game offensively, with only a 40% passing rate and one shot that was off target — although that was the result of taking Fatai Alashe’s studs to his shin and didn’t get him so much as a free kick. His main contribution seemed to be gumming up the the works whenever San Jose tried to play out of the back. He gutted out much of the game after taking that horror tackle from Alashe. 

MF, Matias Perez Garcia, 6.5 — It certainly looked like MPG was in the mood against his old team. The pocket-sized Argentine started the game with a great deal of energy, getting under the skin of his former teammates. He could have played Larin in on goal in the 24th but put too much on his through ball. Started a break in the 44th minute that forced Anibal Godoy to take a yellow card for a tactical foul. He was quick to the ball throughout the match, winning a team high six fouls on the night. He had three key passes, one shot, two tackles, and two interceptions. However, his score could have been much higher if not for a 39.3% passing accuracy. This was one performance where the stats don’t tell the story of the player’s impact on the game.

F, Cyle Larin, 6 — If the Canadian ever figures out how to face a defender out wide and beat him off the dribble, he’ll be an unstoppable force, but too often the Quakes comfortably defended Orlando attacks when Larin got the ball wide. He maybe should have done better in the 10th minute on a free header off a free kick, but headed over the bar. His header in the 18th minute forced a diving save from David Bingham to keep it out of the bottom corner. He earned a couple of early second-half corners — one on a shot blocked by Florian Jungwirth and the other on a dangerous-looking cross. He passed at a 68.4% rate, but there were too many of the unsuccessful ones that could have been a final through ball for a scoring chance. Still, he had one key pass and three shots (one on target).


MF, Kaká (63’), 6.5 — While it wasn’t the captain’s best performance since his return, he did make a big positive impact. He got the hockey assist on Orlando’s goal by drawing two defenders toward him at the top corner of the box and played PC down the left channel for the cross. He had a couple giveaways but did well to track back to defend afterward with a tackle and a blocked shot. It was only a 64% passing night for the Brazilian and he had the game on his foot in the 91st but his shot couldn’t beat Bingham and maybe he could have squared it to a wide-open MPG for the finish there.

F, Carlos Rivas (63’), 7 — In less than half an hour of work the Colombian led the team with five shots and scored what looked like the game winner in the 80th minute. His pace made an impact on the game over the last half hour as he always looked dangerous in space. As usual, he wasted a few shots in the stands, but overall it was a good shift. He passed at an 83% clip created a chance with a ball to Kaká in the 91st minute. Those maddening shots over the net were the only blemishes on Carlos’ night.

MF, Cristian Higuita (85’), N/A — The Colombian came on for Carrasco and he didn’t get booked, which is the most important thing he did (or didn’t do) because he’s sitting on four yellows. He completed all eight of his passes but surprisingly didn’t record any defensive statistics. Not enough time on for a fair grade.

That’s how I saw it. What did you think? Vote for your Orlando City MotM below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Polling Closed

Will Johnson4
Scott Sutter8
Carlos Rivas40

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!

Continue Reading

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)

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading