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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Final Score 3-1 as Lions Fall on the Road Again in Weird Game

Kaká sent off while goofing around with his close friend seems about right at the end of whatever that game was.



Nick Leyva,The Mane Land

Where do I even start? I guess we’ll start with the most important part, as Orlando City (8-10-6, 30 points) fell 3-1 on the road against the New York Red Bulls (12-9-2, 38 points). That’s ultimately what matters most.

As for the rest of it…man, I don’t know.

The Lions came out hungry and pressing and looked like a completely different team than the one that took the pitch last weekend at Montreal. But, like they did in that game, they scored first, only to see the other team come back to win.

Carlos Rivas opened the scoring, but an own goal, a transition strike by Bradley Wright-Phillips, and a golazo by Sean Davis upended what was a much better performance from a team that wasn’t passive, wasn’t disinterested, and wasn’t apathetic. This team wanted to win and, more importantly, played like it. It didn’t, but not from lack of effort or generating the chances necessary to do so, as we’ve seen in the past.

But the final scrum in stoppage time saw Kaká give former Lion (and the captain’s good friend) Aurelien Collin a couple of playful face washes to break the tension from a chippy match. Referee Jorge Gonzalez ignored the smiles on both players’ faces upon video review and sent the captain off. He’ll miss a vital game next week against Columbus unless the MLS Disciplinary Committee correctly overturns the red card.

Orlando City Head Coach Jason Kreis wasted no time getting Designated Player signing Yoshimar Yotun into the lineup, slotting him into the left side of the diamond in his 4-4-2 lineup (despite the club’s graphic below — Kaká was mainly the 10, though the two swapped at times) and removing Cristian Higuita. Kreis raised some eyebrows by playing his two youngest center backs together in Leo Pereira and Tommy Redding with Jonathan Spector (knee) unavailable — likely due to Pereira being a natural left-sided defender while both Redding and Aja are righties. Rivas slotted in for the injured Dom Dwyer (nose surgery). Newbie Dillon Powers was on the bench.

The Lions came out pressing and playing with high energy, closing down the Red Bulls all over the pitch and generally making the hosts uncomfortable. Yotun showed the quality of his service early with a great ball over the top in the second minute to spring Rivas down the left. The Colombian fizzed a cross into the box for Cyle Larin but it was a bit behind. The Canadian went down after contact but no call was made.

Kaká sent Larin in at the six-minute mark but he showed too much of the ball on his right rather than firing with his left and Kemar Lawrence knocked it out for a corner. The Lions subsequently took the first of two frustratingly ineffective short corners.

The first New York opportunity materialized at the 10-minute mark when Michael Murillo headed a set piece cross off target and over the bar. Five minutes later, Alex Muyl headed a Tyler Adams cross well wide.

Two minutes later, Rivas was in all alone on Luis Robles with acres of space after being released by Larin, but he tried a chip shot and missed just a bit over the bar. Rivas made up for the gaffe a minute later after the ensuing goal kick. Will Johnson dispossessed New York’s defense and Larin picked up the ball and dished to Kaká in the middle. The captain sent Rivas in down the left and the Colombian smashed it this time to beat Robles and put the Lions on top at 18’.

Orlando City nearly made it 2-0 six minutes later, when Larin took a cross in the box, spun, and fired on frame to force a diving two-handed save from Robles.

Two minutes after that save, Larin was inches from getting onto Kaká’s free kick in space in the box, missing another opportunity to double the lead. That came back to haunt Orlando a few minutes later.

New York tied the game at the 30-minute mark when an Adams cross into the box was deflected past Joe Bendik by Pereira, who was trying to deny the pass.

The remainder of the first half consisted mostly of both teams building up but not able to quite craft a scoring chance. Redding did well in the 38th minute to make a vital clearance in the box as Wright-Phillips was going in on goal. Redding poked it away from behind and had to get his challenge just right to avoid conceding a penalty.

New York held 60% of the first-half possession, with Orlando owning a 3-2 advantage in shots (2-0 on target). With some new players in the side, the Lions’ passing was just 70% in the opening period. Yotun, however, completed 10 of his first 13 passes as a Lion in the half.

The Red Bulls started the second half by turning up the heat with their pressing and jumped on the Lions out of the break. Bendik was forced into two big saves early in the second half, first on Muyl, who got a fortunate deflection on a ball into traffic that fell perfectly for him. The second came on the ensuing corner kick when Murillo got a free header.

Minutes later, Will Johnson sent a corner kick that pinged dangerously around in the box but no Lion could get onto it. Then Redding nearly put Rivas in on goal in the 53rd minute, but the Colombian had it taken away before he could clear himself to shoot.

Muyl missed a couple decent opportunities in the 56th and 59th minutes, as Orlando struggled to deal with the New York press. A minute after Muyl’s second miss, it paid off.

Another turnover on the left led to a quick transition and a cross found a sliding Wright-Phillips who beat Bendik and collided with the Orlando keeper, stopping the game while Joe’s bloodied cheek was patched up.

Just like that, the hosts had the lead. It nearly became 3-1 at the 65-minute mark as Wright-Phillips made a sensational effort to bicycle kick a cross toward goal, but it hit off the woodwork.

The Lions didn’t sit back, though, to their credit. Orlando City poured forward looking for the equalizer. Felipe, who had been warned earlier in the game for persistent infringement, fouled Rivas to break up an Orlando attack and was shown a yellow card. Gonzalez showed incredible restraint when he didn’t send off Felipe for mocking him with fake applause.

Redding headed a free kick delivery well over the bar in the 70th as the attack resumed. Seconds later, Antonio Nocerino sliced a shot just inches wide of the left post. Then, in the 74th, Kaká nearly had an Olimpico on a corner kick but Muyl cleared it off the line.

A minute after that, Yotun nearly opened his Orlando City account. Rivas got in behind down the right side and his cross deflected out to the top of the box. Yoshi smashed it off the underside of the crossbar and it stayed out.

Just a few minutes later, Davis put the game away with 10 minutes to play on another Goal of the Week candidate.

That goal happened with Giles Barnes and Higuita waiting on the touch line to check in, but ultimately, the subs came too late. Nocerino was visibly tired from his pressing efforts and getting forward in the game. He turned outside and lost Davis on the last goal — as did Redding — and there was no help inside on that play.

Richie Layrea came on a few minutes later and produced the Lions’ final shot on goal, but he didn’t catch all of his shot and Robles got down to make the save.

New York tried to manage the game through possession the rest of the way and in stoppage time, the weirdness happened. Yotun ran into Redding and went down and Adams taunted the Peruvian with mock applause while he was down. Higuita took exception and gave Adams a light shove and the teams came together.

While yapping ensued, mostly fueled by Sacha Kljestan, Kaká spotted his good friend — I’m being serious here, they are really good friends — Collin, the former Lion, in the middle of the fray. With the Brazilian’s trademark grin, he mischievously reached out and rubbed the Frenchman’s face. Collin took exception until he turned around and saw Kaká’s grin, then he too started to laugh. Kaká gave him a second face wash for good measure.

Gonzalez spent several minutes talking to the assistant referee, then went to video review. When he came back, he rightfully booked Higuita and Davis, who came into the scrum, missed Adams somehow, and sent the incredulous captain off.

Seconds later, the final whistle mercifully blew on a performance that deserved more and flattered the home team a bit.

Orlando City returns home to face the Columbus Crew in a crucial Eastern Conference battle next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 10/2/23

Orlando City’s trophy aspirations, the Orlando Pride playoff hunt, OCB falls to Columbus Crew 2, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! Though I’m still reveling in the huge win over CF Montreal, I’m also looking ahead to a big week for both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. It’s such a great time of the year with MLS and NWSL matches, plus the European leagues, and American football. So much to watch, so little sleep to be had. Let’s get to the links.

Lions Looking for Hardware

Orlando City set a record for wins and points in a season with the win over CF Montreal on Saturday night. Hopefully it’s a record that will be extended over the final three matches of the regular season. The coaches and the players certainly think that Orlando City has an opportunity to win the MLS Cup. Where the Lions finish in the standings will go a long way towards reaching the final and that all starts Wednesday night.

The Pride’s Playoff Push

The Orlando Pride continue their push to make the NWSL playoffs for the first time since the 2017 season with a trip across the country to take on Angel City FC later tonight. It is the first of two away matches this week — the last road games of the regular season. The Pride sit just above Angel City in the standings with the clubs in seventh and eighth places, respectively. The game will be Marta’s 100th match over all competitions. Securing three points over Angel City would make a big difference in the Pride’s race to the playoffs. Keep an eye out for our preview later today.

OCB Penalized Out of the Playoffs

On The Mane Land PawedCast, we often describe Orlando City B matches as being “drunk.” OCB’s 2-1 playoff loss to Columbus Crew 2 will definitely be described as such. There were three red cards, two penalties, and Jack Lynn didn’t score a goal for once. There were some questionable calls by both the refs and by OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman, but conceding only from the penalty spot while outscoring the hosts in the run of play won’t (and shouldn’t) sit well with the Young Lions. While the result is disappointing, one should remember that OCB is a development squad, and one that made the playoffs to boot.

USMNT Players in Action Abroad

USMNT players made some noise this weekend. Christian Pulisic played 82 minutes and scored AC Milan’s winning goal in the club’s 2-0 victory over Lazio. It was one of two shots on target for the American. Striker Folarin Balogun missed not one, but two penalty shots in Monaco’s match against Marseille. Fortunately, Balogun scored an equalizer in the run of play and his teammate secured the 3-2 win. The win moves Monaco to the top of Ligue 1.

Over in the Eredivisie, Malik Tillman got his first start for PSV. Tillman provided an assist and scored the game winner late in second-half stoppage time to give PSV a 3-1 win over FC Volendam. It was a Man of the Match performance by the American. In less good news, Tyler Adams will miss more time with AFC Bournemouth as he has had a setback with his hamstring injury. How long he will be out is still to be determined.

Free Kicks

That will do it for today. It’s a busy week coming up with Pride matches tonight and on Friday, and the Lions playing on Wednesday and Saturday. Check back for all of our coverage of your favorite teams. 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’s 3-0 home win over CF Montreal?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City returned to its winning ways with a convincing 3-0 victory at home against CF Montreal. An own goal by Montreal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois got the scoring started in the first half. Facundo Torres and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson each scored nice team goals in the second half as the Lions cruised to victory against a Montreal side that hasn’t won since Aug. 26. The win set club records for both most points (54) and most wins (15) in a season since the Lions joined MLS in 2015.

Here’s how I saw each individual performance in Orlando’s dominant win at Exploria Stadium.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — The Peruvian had one of his quietest nights of the season and didn’t have to make a save until the second half. That first save was a great one though, as he parried away a sudden shot from Mason Toye with little room to spare in the 76th minute. His only other save was an easy catch shortly after off of a Mathieu Choiniere from outside the area. Gallese completed 61.8% of his 34 passes and seven of his 20 long balls found their man. El Pulpo likely won’t have many complaints about a slow night at the office as he earned his ninth clean sheet of the season, which ties his high in an MLS season, set last year.

D, Rafael Santos, 7.5 — The Brazilian left back was dangerous from start to finish in one of his best games as a Lion. He notched his third assist of the campaign with a low cross that zipped through traffic and found fellow fullback Thorhallsson’s run. It was a chance he sparked himself by winning the ball in the midfield before booking it out wide. His cross on the first goal was just as good, as he was both patient and clinical to find Torres open in the box. Of his four crosses, two were successful and the misses had some venom on them as well. He also completed three of his five long balls and had 51 passes at an 82.4% success rate. Santos was defensively sound, leading the Lions with four tackles, making an interception as well, and winning two of his three aerial duels. Santos flourished once Orlando had its wingers switch sides, allowing him to work in tandem with Torres with overlapping runs and room to work.

D, Robin Jansson, 7 — The Beefy Swede was as strong as always in the center of Orlando’s defense, although he didn’t have to put out as many fires in this one thanks to his defensive midfielders. Jansson had a tackle, an interception, and a clearance as he broke up plays and kept Montreal’s offense in check. His only miscue was a worrying turnover in the second half that he promptly rectified with a surgical sliding tackle in the box. A few charges forward and connecting on four of his nine long balls kept Montreal’s defense on its toes as well. He completed 86% of his 50 passes and didn’t commit a single foul in an efficient outing.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7 — Schlegel bounced back from a few underwhelming recent performances with a solid game in this shutout. His four clearances were the most on the team and he won both of his aerial duels. The center back also had a tackle and blocked a shot to make sure Montreal couldn’t get back in the match. His 62 passes were the second-most on the team and he completed 88.7% of them, while also succeeding on two of his four long balls. It was nice to see him calm, cool, and collected as he continues to fill in for Antonio Carlos.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 7.5 — Thorhallsson got the start again at right back and spent plenty of time in Orlando’s attack. That was more than evident shortly after halftime, when he made a superb run to bury a ball that skipped across the front of goal to double Orlando’s lead. He was credited with one shot (on target) but what must have been ruled a cross from a tight angle also appeared to be an on-target shot. The versatile player is improving with each match played at right back and completed all but one of his 33 passes for an excellent 97% success rate. Although neither of his two crosses were accurate, his lone long ball found its mark and he had a key pass as well. Defensively, he had just one interception, which is in part because of how much time he spent in the thick of things on offense. It was a great game from Thorhallsson, who was subbed out in the 82nd minute for Michael Halliday.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7.5 — Araujo was a Swiss army knife of sorts for Orlando, doing a little bit of everything to give the Lions an edge all over the field. The 22-year-old directed traffic while on the ball, covered for his defenders as needed, and won a team-high four fouls. His lone shot was a headed effort that went wide, but he got involved on offense by succeeding on four of his nine long balls, with two of those marked as key passes. Araujo’s 76 touches were the most on the team and he was accurate on 88.1% of his 59 passes. He served the role of defensive midfielder well, helping out with two tackles, an interception, a clearance, and plenty of pressure to make life as difficult as possible for Montreal.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 7.5 — Cartagena did well on both sides of the ball. The Peruvian was credited with an assist for springing Ivan Angulo forward on the third goal, and he had a key pass for setting Torres up for a chance on the volley soon after that with a quick ball out wide. He almost had a goal himself when a free kick found him open in the box, but his header went high for his only shot of the evening. Cartagena’s 63 passes were the most on the team and he completed 93.7% of them while also connecting on four of his five long balls. Defensively, Cartagena didn’t give Montreal’s players much breathing room and blocked a shot.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — The winger struggled when attacking for a majority of his time on the field before coming off in the 64th minute. A lack of vision and execution while on the ball, particularly in the first half, led to some squandered chances that Orlando didn’t end up regretting in the end. Both of his shots were in quick succession, the first saved in a chance he should have done better with and the second fired wide from outside the box with better options available. He scored an easy header on a play from an obviously offside Torres that was correctly flagged after the ball went in. It was far from horrendous from the Colombian though, as he often put himself in good positions to jump on errant passes, provide an outlet for teammates, or demand attention from Montreal’s defenders. His assist came in the second half after he made a nicely timed run and then unselfishly laid the ball off for Torres rather than going for goal himself. It salvaged a fairly forgettable performance that included 38 touches and 28 passes at a strong 89.3% success rate, and an inaccurate cross.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — The captain was often swarmed when on the ball and had little room to make some of the backbreaking passes he’s shown over the years. He completed four of his five long balls, one of his three crosses, and 83.7% of his 43 passes. Pereyra didn’t have any shots himself, but had two key passes and did well as a facilitator in tight areas to keep Orlando in possession. His free kick that found Cartagena’s head in the box was a good one and he was subbed off for fresher legs while leading.

MF, Facundo Torres, 8 (MotM) — Torres played like a man possessed, doing everything right and more in a dominant performance. Torres’ first of a team-high four shots (two on target) ended up with the ball in the back of the net, as his strike hit the post and then bounced off Sirois and in for an own goal. On his goal, he did well to control Angulo’s pass and slot it past Sirois for his 13th of the season. His movement in the buildup of Thorhallsson’s goal was also commendable, as he made a good run, quickly circled back onside, then slowed the pace of the play down for Santos to make his overlapping run before feeding him. Between those attacking moments and chasing down opponents while up three goals, it was easy to see why European teams are keeping an eye on him. He completed 82.8% of his 29 passes and connected on two of his four crosses, while both of his long ball attempts were unsuccessful. It’s hard to believe he only had 44 touches given the massive impact he had on the field.

F, Duncan McGuire, 7 — The rookie put in a strong performance up top and was credited with an assist for a subtle touch on Thorhallsson’s goal. McGuire made a cutting run to peel Gabriele Corbo towards the end line and then flicked Santos’s cross into the path of charging runs by Angulo and Thorhallsson. He also chested down a long ball from Gallese to Cartagena in transition to help set up Torres’ goal. His only shot of the match was flicked wide, but he had two key passes and showed some prowess in making small passes in the box for his teammates to have open looks. He had 19 touches and 12 passes at a 58.3% success rate, doing well enough in terms of hold-up. McGuire made great runs to keep defenders on their toes, applied pressure to pin Montreal in its own half, and helped out defensively by blocking a shot and clearing the ball on a corner kick.


MF, Martin Ojeda (64′), 6.5 — Ojeda came off the bench with Orlando up three goals and did his part in keeping Montreal’s defense honest, even if he didn’t wind up on the scoresheet. He completed all 15 of his passes and was accurate on both of his long balls. His only shot of the game was an attempt to get the better of Sirois from a tight angle in the box, but the goalkeeper came up with the save. All in all, it was an efficient outing from the Designated Player off the bench.

F, Ramiro Enrique (64′), 6.5 — Enrique came on alongside Ojeda and brought plenty of energy with him to keep the Lions in the driver’s seat. Both of Enrique’s shots were from outside the box, with one blocked and the other saved by Sirois. He completed four of his seven passes and finished the game with 13 touches. Despite his size, he won two of his three aerial duels as well. Enrique received a curious yellow card after beating Nathan Saliba to a sliding challenge and winning the ball.

MF, Gaston Gonzalez (75′), 6 — The winger received some more minutes and did well enough while on the field. He had eight touches and completed all three of his passes. Although he didn’t have any shots, crosses, or long balls, he did record a key pass for setting up a shot for Enrique. He didn’t make many runs forward, likely due to Orlando’s lead, but looked strong on the ball when he did and wasn’t afraid to take defenders on.

D, Michael Halliday (82′), N/A — The right back replaced Thorhallsson and did well on both sides of the ball. Halliday made a few sprints upfield to give Orlando’s attack another option, but was resolute on the defensive end, even though he didn’t record any stats for his efforts there. He was accurate on three of his four passes and finished with seven touches.

MF, Junior Urso (83′), N/A — The Bear made another cameo off the bench for Orlando. He had six touches and was successful on four of his six passes. Urso wasn’t on the field long enough to warrant a grade, but it was nice to see him get a run out at Explorias Stadium with just one home game remaining.

That’s how I saw the individual performances by the Lions. Let me know where you agree and disagree in the comments below and make sure to vote for your Man of the Match in our poll below.

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Five Takeaways

Here’s what we learned from Orlando City’s 3-0 win at home against CF Montreal.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City defeated CF Montreal 3-0 on a beautiful night at Exploria Stadium. The win gave Orlando City the club record for wins and points scored with three matches still to be played. The Lions remain in second place in the Eastern Conference and are sitting on 15 wins with 54 points. Here are my five takeaways from the record setting win over the Club Foots.

A Rare Sighting

Orlando City did something that the club usually does not do. The Lions scored a goal in the first half. Orlando City controlled the match from the start with the lion’s share of the possession. It finally paid off in the 19th minute when Cesar Araujo played Rafael Santos up the left side. Santos took one touch and then put a cross into the box for a well-positioned Facundo Torres, who put it past Jonathan Sirois. Unfortunately for Torres, the ball bounced off the post and then off of Sirois and into the net for an Orlando City lead. It was rightly given as an own goal, though it will be a Torres goal in my heart.

Missed Opportunities

Yes, Orlando City scored a first-half goal. However, there were so many more chances the club didn’t finish in the first 45 minutes. The Lions officially had four shots in the first half, though Ivan Angulo’s headed goal didn’t count because of an offside call. The first touch of several players wasn’t great, which stopped some nice build-up play from Orlando City. Fortunately, it didn’t come back to haunt the Lions in the end.

I’m a Dagur Dan Man

Dagur Dan Thorhallsson has taken the starting right back position and is not giving it back. He did well on the defensive side, but it’s his play up the wing that I think Oscar Pareja really likes. Thorhallsson is naturally a winger and he showed how effective he can be in the attack for Orlando City. He provided crosses, key passes, and of course the second Orlando City goal. Thorhallsson did what he was supposed to do on that goal. He was at the back post and just tapped it in when the ball found its way though everyone else.

Torres Makes Good

Torres may have not been credited with the first goal, but he made Orlando City’s third goal look easy. To be fair, it was easy. Unlike too many opportunities earlier in the match, Angulo followed the advice of Ted Lasso and made the extra pass. In this case, it was a perfect cross to Torres, who was so alone he had time to settle the ball and then take his time to put it past Sirois into the bottom left corner. Torres is getting hot when Orlando City needs him to do so, and he proved it again against CF Montreal.

Subs, Subs, Subs

With another match this coming Wednesday at Nashville and another next Saturday against the New England Revolution, getting the starters some rest was important. Scoring three goals before the 60th minute allowed Pareja to utilize all his substitutes to get Mauricio Pereyra, Duncan McGuire, Torres, Thorhallson, and Angulo some rest. As Orlando City fights for home field advantage in the playoffs, those minutes will be key to the Lions’ ability to have more performances like Saturday night.

That’s what I took away from Orlando City’s 3-0 win over CF Montreal. Let me know your thoughts on the match in the comments below.

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