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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. D.C. United: Final Score 1-1 as 10-Man Lions Strike in Stoppage Time

Stefano Pinho’s dramatic first MLS goal pulls back a point for City after PC was sent off in the first half.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

After 10-man Orlando City’s unlikely come-from-behind 1-1 draw in the 2018 season opener, Justin Meram said he didn’t expect his first match here to feature a penalty against and a player sent off. Welcome to Orlando, Mr. Meram.

The Lions conceded on a set piece out of nowhere and then went down a man before rallying the troops and setting up Stéfano Pinho’s first MLS goal in the 93rd minute to send the sellout crowd of 25,527 home with a happy point. Pinho’s goal was his fourth in two games at Orlando City Stadium, but this time he was the hero instead of the villain as he lifted the Lions to a hard-fought point in a match fraught with adversity.

“I think this was a fantastic example of what our team is capable of,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said after the game. “There was some very good soccer tonight. We out-possessed D.C. United on a night when we were down a man for 60 minutes, so that says something. But I do believe that there’s still lots of room for improvement, obviously.”

The visitors sat back with the lead — provided by new boy and former Atlanta United midfielder Yamil Asad — and the extra man throughout the second half, and it proved their undoing.

With several regulars out with injury or suspension, Kreis turned in a lineup sheet that featured some surprises, including a pair of rookies and Victor “PC” Giro in the midfield. Joe Bendik was no surprise in goal, behind a back line of Mohamed El-Munir, Amro Tarek, Jonathan Spector, and Scott Sutter. Cam Lindley played holding midfield in his first MLS start behind Will Johnson and PC on either side of Yoshimar Yotun in the No. 10 role. Chris Mueller and Meram made up the strike force in the 4-4-2. The actual shape varied throughout the match, however, as players wove in and out, playing off of each other and it was sometimes interesting to see where everyone was on the pitch.

D.C. got on the front foot first, with a dangerous cross into the box just seconds into the match. Rookie Lindley then gifted the visitors a scoring chance with a turnover with perhaps his first touch. United broke in alone, 4-on-2. Ulises Segura got on the end of it and took a shot, but Spector recovered to force a bad attempt.

Orlando’s first good opportunity came in the seventh minute when a free kick nearly fell for Meram in the box, but it skipped away and D.C. cleared. From there, the Lions started climbing into the match and creating some half-chances but had trouble beating Steve Birnbaum and Frederic Brillant in the box.

United got the best early opportunity when video review overturned a no-call and awarded the visitors a penalty in the 19th minute for a Johnson handball just inside the box. It seemed a bit harsh, as Johnson was only a few yards away from Darren Mattocks.

“Initially I thought there would be no way that the penalty decision would go against us,” Kreis said, “because from my point of view it looked like arms were down and anytime there’s a ball that’s played that quickly from somebody’s foot to somebody’s arm in the penalty box on really what looks like a non-decisive situation…ask yourself a question, if it doesn’t hit his hand, where does it go? But I haven’t seen any video on it so I could be completely wrong.”

Joe Bendik came to Johnson’s rescue with a fantastic save to tip the ball off the crossbar. Spector dove to head the rebound out of danger.

D.C. broke through in the 32nd minute. Lindley was late on a challenge and caught Asad out wide of the penalty area. Asad took the ensuing free kick and it curled toward the back post, narrowly clearing two would-be United headers and it froze Bendik and skipped into the corner of the net to make it 1-0.

Late in the half, the game turned on another video review. PC caught Asad while in the air and referee Fotis Bazakos thought about it and eventually booked the Orlando midfielder. Then, just as D.C. was taking the ensuing free kick, a call from VAR Geoff Gamble prompted Bazakos to take a second look. For the second time, he changed his mind, showing PC a red card in the 41st minute for violent conduct.

“I think my player’s fouled first, honestly,” Kreis said of the challenge that sent off PC. “He was pushed from the back going up on an aerial challenge. Once he gets pushed from the back he’s just fighting to try to get his balance back. But sure, an arm was flailing and hit the opponent’s head.”

The Lions were able to see out the remainder of the first half, plus five added minutes, and go into the break down by a goal. Possession was nearly 50/50 at that point but United had a 7-4 advantage in shots (3-0 on goal). Paul Arriola’s 44th minute shot that Bendik stopped was the final good opportunity for either team in the first half.

Neither team made halftime changes and United felt comfortable to not press. The Lions took advantage, holding the ball for 61% of the second period and generating some excellent play through the midfield despite their numbers disadvantage.

The first warning sign for D.C. came in the 51st minute when Mueller smashed a shot from a tight angle off the outside netting. Meram nearly got to a cross from Mueller in the 54th but David Ousted’s outstretched arm got in the way and Bazakos gave a foul even though it was anyone’s ball and Meram had the better position.

Meram almost set up Yotun for the equalizer in the 57th minute. His cross fell onto Yotun’s left foot and only Brillant’s last-ditch intercession to clear it off the line kept the visitors on top.

Pinho came on a minute later for Mueller, making his MLS debut. Three minutes later, he appeared to be fouled by Birnbaum in the penalty area on a cross into the box and needed a minute to collect himself after a clash of heads got him just under the eye. Birnbaum appeared to get his arms up over Pinho’s back as the ball came in but no foul was called.

Meram and Yotun continued to work magic in the midfield, and Kreis sent Richie Laryea on for Lindley to try to add to the attacking flow. For about the next 10 minutes, it seemed the Lions were just a foot or so from finding the perfect pass or cross, but nothing quite materialized.

Then El-Munir made perhaps the play of the game to keep it a one-goal game.

After a cleared free kick, the ball fell for Mattocks already behind the defense around midfield but on his own side of the line, keeping him onside. Mattocks, one of the faster players in the league, seemed sure to have a breakaway chance on Bendik. But El-Munir ran him down at the end and knocked the ball away before the United striker could worry Joe with a shot.

“I’m speechless to be honest,” Meram said of the El-Munir recovery. “That’s pure determination, that’s pure heart of ‘I’m going to leave everything on the line for my teammates.’ Without that play we don’t tie this game.”

The ensuing corner kick pinged dangerously around the box before Bendik caught it.

Time wound down and the game entered five minutes of added time that proved to be D.C.’s downfall. In the 93rd minute, Spector got forward and played a give-and-go with Meram, who slotted a beautiful ball behind the defense. Spector had continued his run and the center back got all the way to the end line before squaring a perfect pass to Pinho at the top of the six. The Brazilian took just one touch to equalize.

“I’m so happy to score and help Orlando,” Pinho said. “I saw the fans go crazy. It was amazing for me.”

“That’s how we drew it up in training,” Meram joked about the tying play. “That’s a heads-up play by Spector to make a run and keep going and that just shows the determination and the heart of this team and I love that.”

The stadium erupted as the Lions scored their third opening day stoppage-time tying goal in four seasons. Neither team got a final good look for a game-winner but the draw definitely felt more like a win to Orlando City all things considered.

“Really pleased with the performance,” Kreis said after the match. “Really pleased with the effort level, the commitment level, the togetherness the team showed. The never giving up. The true grit that was shown by our squad was second to none. I couldn’t be happier. Obviously we ended up getting a point out of the affair, but had we not gotten that last-minute goal, I’d be just as happy.”

“It’s a great way to start the season when our backs were against adversity for a little bit,” added Meram.

Orlando City will be back in action next Saturday when Adrian Heath returns to the City Beautiful with Minnesota United.

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.



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?



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.


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.


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.



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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