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Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Final Score 4-3 as Sutter and Colmán Save the Lions

The Lions blew a late 3-2 lead but Sutter’s blast from outside the box off of Josué Colmán restored Orlando’s advantage.



Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

Orlando City is on the board. The Lions got a brace from Dom Dwyer in his season debut in a chippy 4-3 win over the New York Red Bulls (2-2-0, 6 points). The disappointing Easter weekend crowd of 23,257 was treated to an edgy game with plenty of offense, as Orlando (1-2-1, 4 points) fought back from two deficits and overcame a late equalizer.

Will Johnson and Josué Colmán also scored for the Lions, although the latter was originally credited to Scott Sutter. It was the Paraguayan’s first MLS goal even though he knew little about it, as Sutter’s blast hit Colmán on the way toward the net. The Lions improved to 3-4-1 in the all-time series, and 2-1-1 at home (2-0-0 at Orlando City Stadium).

“Really pleased from an effort and commitment point of view, no doubt,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said after the game.

“They came out hot and they came to play,” said Sacha Kljestan, who faced his old team for the first time. “I think we started a little bit slow and it took us some time to grow into the game but I’m really happy we got the win.”

Here’s the lineup Kreis started:

The visitors used a lineup filled with familiar faces, including center backs Tommy Redding and Aurelien Collin, and striker Carlos Rivas — all former Lions.

The game started poorly for the hosts, with Florian Valot scoring his first MLS goal in just the seventh minute, nodding home a perfectly placed cross from Kaku that just cleared Mohamed El-Munir’s head. The Lions were on the back foot already.

Orlando settled down and got back into the game, equalizing eight minutes later. Kljestan unlocked the defense with a ball that sent Justin Meram to the end line. The Iraqi international slipped his pass by Collin to a waiting Johnson, who tapped it in to make it 1-1.

Kljestan nearly helped the Lions take a lead in the 23rd minute with a set piece delivery that cleared Lamine Sané’s head by just inches. Just a touch would have made it 2-1. Instead, it was New York regaining the lead a minute later.

A turnover by rookie Cam Lindley in the midfield gave the ball to Valot, who slotted a through ball for Derrick Etienne. Sané didn’t quite have the pace to get there first, and Etienne fired a shot that nutmegged Joe Bendik and deflected in off his leg — a shot he’ll want back.

Orlando came right back at New York, quickly earning a corner in the 26th minute. A minute later, after Meram won a second corner in quick succession, the Lions leveled the score again. Yoshimar Yotun sent in a dangerous near-post ball that Dwyer got the side of his head onto and it was suddenly 2-2. Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles wanted a foul, as Dwyer had a hold of his shirt and muscled his way to his first goal of the year. Orlando City Stadium was treated to its first Dom flip of the year as well.

“I managed to get myself in front of Robles, and I don’t really know what part of my body it went off — the back of my head — but a goal’s a goal,” Dwyer said.

The game was already physical, but it got even more chippy from that point, with the biggest battle being waged between Dwyer and Collin. The two former teammates at Sporting Kansas City were in in each other’s face all day, with Collin getting booked once and perhaps lucky not to have received a second yellow moments later after sending Dom sprawling.

As much as the game was physical, it didn’t keep the match from being a wide-open affair. Sané made a vital 1-v-1 challenge to win the ball in his own penalty area, and when the Lions countered, Robles had to be quick off his line to keep Yotun from reaching it first and having a clear chance at goal. Yotun, for his part, seemed a bit off his game, misplaying a cross right onto his feet in the box in the 42nd minute. El-Munir then sent the ball over the net upon regaining possession.

Just before the half, the Red Bulls got a set piece, which Collin weakly nodded wide of goal. Lindley also was shaken up after an altercation with Red Bulls midfielder Kaku, who took exception to some jawing and light pushing with the rookie and swept his legs out from beneath him. None of the officials saw the play.

The teams went to the locker room tied at 2-2, with nearly exactly 50/50 possession and seven shots apiece (3-3 on target).

Just three minutes after the restart, the Lions took their first lead of the season. Dwyer made a heads-up run on a throw-in and El-Munir delivered a great throw to spring him into the box. Dwyer smashed it with his left and beat Robles to make it 3-2.

“Super to have [Dwyer] back,” Kreis said. “Tactically he gives us a little bit more of a true number nine and we’ve been kind of playing without one for the first three matches. So to have a true target there — a player there who is going to finish things — is real nice for us. Big, big credit to him for taking his goals.”

Rivas nearly pulled that goal back in the 51st when he rocketed one just wide of the far post.

Once the second half settled in a bit more, Orlando switched up to a 4-2-3-1 formation. With Lindley out at halftime for Colmán, Johnson and Yotun played in the defensive midfield behind Meram, Kljestan, and the Paraguayan teenager, with Dwyer up top alone.

Orlando got a set piece and Johnson’s shot was saved in the 59th minute. Kljestan poked the ball to Yotun, who stopped it and teed it up for Johnson, whose shot took a deflection. The ricochet took enough steam off the ball for Robles to correct his positioning and collect it. Yotun got down the left in the 61st and fired a shot but it was right at the Red Bulls keeper.

Chris Mueller came on for a cramping Dwyer in the 65th minute. Moments later, Amro Tarek pulled up with an injury and was eventually subbed out for RJ Allen, so the Lions were suddenly down to their emergency center back as Bradley Wright-Phillips checked in for New York.

Mueller nearly gave the Lions some insurance in the 73rd minute. Robles made a diving fingertip save to prevent the rookie’s first MLS goal after he nodded down a perfect Kljestan cross. A minute later, Meram headed the ball into the net but the flag was up. Orlando continued to press for insurance. Kemar Lawrence broke up a 3-v-2 Orlando break in the 77th minute.

An ill-advised foul on Johnson provided the Red Bulls with a chance to equalize and the visitors did. The free kick to the back post was nodded home by Aaron Long, who beat Sané with a tug and a shove and left the defender on the ground, asking why no foul was given.

But the Lions didn’t hang their heads after Long’s 82nd-minute goal. Orlando came right back on the attack and Mueller found himself in the box, trying to split two defenders. As he cut between the two, Valot swept at the ball and got Mueller’s right leg but no penalty was given. Still, Orlando kept fighting.

Off a throw-in, Kljestan found a wide-open Sutter on the far side of the field. Sutter took a touch and blasted a shot from outside the box that deflected off Colmán and beat Robles to make it 4-3 in the 86th minute.

From that point on, Orlando did well to hold possession, with Mueller, Yotun, and Colmán working well to keep the ball in the right corner to use up much of the remaining clock.

Finally, the whistle blew on City’s first win of the season. It was a deserved three points, with the Lions holding 54.4% of the possession, out-shooting the Red Bulls, 14-10 (8-4 on target), and passing at 71% compared to New York’s 66%.

“I wasn’t expecting a 4-3 game. Those don’t come around very often,” said Kljestan. “I’m glad we came out on the winning side.”

“Hard-fought win,” Kreis said. “Really, really difficult to get that result today for a lot of reasons. Big, big credit to all the players that participated in that match and put their absolute best foot forward, because I think without 100 percent commitment, we don’t walk out of there with all three points.”

Orlando City will host the Portland Timbers next Sunday.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/29/23

Pareja disappointed with draw, Julie Doyle returns from injury, OCB hosts Red Bulls II, and more.



Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! There is a whole lot of soccer to cover today, following a weekend full of news, including your local teams in purple having matches, although not the results we wanted with the Lions allowing a late goal to draw 1-1 and the Pride falling in Chicago. The English Premier League came to an exciting close Sunday. The Young Lions have a match of their own tonight. So, while Mondays can often bring the work week blues (for those who don’t have today off, anyway), at least you have a whole lot of soccer reading to get you up and at it this week.

But before we dive all the way in, please join me in wishing former Orlando City defender and current Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines a happy birthday. Now, let’s get down to it in the links!

Oscar Pareja Disappointed for Fans

Following the Lions late draw on Saturday night, Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja showed some strong feelings towards the disappointing result. He said the team has to do better for its supporters and grind out wins after good performances.

“I have to say that we played well today and I want to congratulate that group of players that pushed that match and that energy. That’s the team that we want to see. The other part is the frustration of giving up another goal at the end and not walking away with the three points. At that part, the equation gets through things, soccer, fútbol, concentration, many things. But we want to see that team more often and we want to see that energy more often. We want to see that Orlando City. And to our fans, that support deserves much, much more.”

Check out the full post game press conference, which also featured interviews with goal scorer Kyle Smith and Orlando City defensive midfielder Wilder Cartagena.

Pride’s Loss Mars Doyle’s Return to the Pitch

The Orlando Pride dominated play but could not score on Saturday night, and that led to the end of the club’s four-game unbeaten run. With her start, Marta tied former teammates Ashlyn Harris and Toni Pressley for most regular-season appearances in Pride history with her 81st league match. Meanwhile, forward Julie Doyle also made her return to the field as a second-half substitute. Doyle had not played since the beginning of April due to an ankle injury. Head Coach Seb Hines said he was disappointed with the result but glad to see Doyle return to the lineup. Here’s what Hines had to say about Doyle:

“She’s an exciting player, she’s always active. We felt like it was the right time to bring her in, chasing the goal. She’s always on the move, making defenders defend and it’s nice to have another attacking option come off the bench, along with Ally Watt and Summer Yates. It just shows that we were being more aggressive towards the end again to try and get ourselves back in it. We felt that with the likes of Julie and Ally, Adriana, Marta, and Summer, we had an opportunity to get back in the game and ultimately win the game at the end, but we fell a little bit short. I can’t fault the players’ efforts. They put a lot into it, they’re working extremely hard and we have to just keep going and look forward to the next game away at Houston.”

Orlando City B Hosts New York Red Bulls II

The Young Lions of OCB are ready to host the Young Red Bulls tonight at Osceola Heritage Park. Leading the way for the team is forward Jack Lynn in red-hot form. Lynn has found the back of the net three times in the last two matches, with a game winner against intrastate rivals Inter Miami CF II on Thursday night. Lynn now leads the Young Lions in goals scored this campaign, with five in 2023, and has 20 goals total in his MLS NEXT Pro career. OCB will look to maintain its unbeaten record at home this season tonight, entering the match with a 3-0-2 record at Osceola County Stadium.

Premier League Relegation Battle

Heading into Matchday 38 of the English Premier League campaign, one team was already sure of its fate regarding relegation. Southampton was a good distance behind Leicester City and Leeds United, but both of those clubs had a chance to jump Everton in the standings. Southampton didn’t go quietly into the night though, as the team played to a 4-4 draw against Liverpool. Ultimately, Leicester City and Leeds United were relegated from the EPL on the final day of the season after Everton ensured its own survival with a narrow victory on Sunday. Leicester City fought to a 2-1 victory over West Ham United, while Leeds suffered a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Everton extended its unbroken 69-year tenure in the English top flight as midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure’s stunning strike earned the Toffees a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth as they avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

Free Kicks

I hope you have a great week, Mane Landers. Do something special for someone today. And, best of luck to the Young Lions tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Atlanta United: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions individually perform in Orlando City’s 1-1 draw against Atlanta United?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City closed out a busy May with a frustrating 1-1 draw against Atlanta United at Exploria Stadium. The Lions played well throughout the match, but couldn’t double their lead and paid the price yet again, as Atlanta scored a late equalizer to leave Orlando with a point. Here’s how each Lion individually performed in this rivalry match.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5  — Gallese didn’t have much to do until the 86th minute, when he pushed a deflected shot out for a corner. El Pulpo made a superb save on Matheus Rossetto’s low shot from the corner kick, but couldn’t get a hand on Tyler Wolff’s strike after the rebound fell to him. His distribution was good, as he was accurate on four of his seven long balls and 81.6% of his 16 passes.

D, Rafael Santos, 6 — His passing needed to be a bit better. Completing 78.3% of his 46 passes isn’t bad, but there were a few turnovers from him that mirrored his mistake last week. Only two of his seven crosses were accurate, but the misses weren’t egregious and many were still delivered into good areas that were difficult to defend. Santos was accurate on three of his seven long balls as well. Atlanta wasn’t able to get too much going when attacking his side of the field, and he finished with two tackles and a blocked shot.

D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 (MotM) — The Beefy Swede was extra beefy in this one. Jansson was tasked with keeping Giorgos Giakoumakis quiet and did well marking him to prevent him from taking a shot for just the second match this season. Jansson had two tackles, two clearances, an interception, and blocked a shot from Thiago Almada. On the attacking side of things, Jansson was accurate on seven of his 11 long balls and had 35 passes at an 82.9% success rate. The center back was a major reason why the league-leading offense didn’t manage a shot on target until late in the match.

D, Antonio Carlos, 7 — Carlos was a force to be reckoned with in the air, as he won three of his four aerial duels and led the Lions with six clearances. While an early yellow card limited how physically he played, it didn’t stop his effectiveness when dealing with Atlanta’s attack. He had an opportunity to score early on off of a free kick, with Mauricio Pereyra finding him crashing the far post. Carlos got to it with clean contact, but the header was directly at Brad Guzan. His other shot was a header from a corner kick, but it was sent off target. The Brazilian center back was successful on 88.9% of his 36 passes and was accurate on four of his eight long balls. His next yellow card will result in a suspension for accumulation.

D, Kyle Smith, 7 — The right back scored his first goal of the year and fourth in MLS by being in a great position to bury a rebound from Facundo Torres’ shot. Smith was all alone at the far post after a series of passes and a blocked shot and smashed the ball between Brad Guzan’s legs before the goalkeeper could close them. He had another shot after Torres laid the ball off to him in the box, but his strike was blocked. Derrick Etienne beat him a couple of times and he wasn’t able to get a body on Tyler Wolff on the equalizer, but he was defensively sound for most of the match. Smith came up with four clearances, an interception, and a huge tackle against Almada late in the match. He also won both of his aerial duels. The 31-year-old completed all but two of his 30 passes for a great 93.3% success rate as well. Although his only cross of the match didn’t find its target, both of his long balls did.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — The 22-year-old was composed in this rivalry match and did well to connect Orlando’s attack and defense. He was fairly active on offense, particularly on the right wing alongside Torres in the second half. Araujo recorded a pair of key passes and didn’t miss by much with a swerving shot from range. Defensively, he chipped in with two tackles and blocked a shot. The Uruguayan had 42 passes at an 83.3% success rate and one of his two long balls found its mark. It was another solid outing from Araujo in his 11th consecutive match playing all 90 minutes.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — The Peruvian midfielder led the Lions with five tackles, taking advantage of the pressure his teammates applied to win the ball and get it to Orlando’s playmakers. Cartagena also only committed one foul while doing so. He led the Lions with 54 passes, completing them at a great 92.6% success rate, and was accurate on two of his three long balls. Both of his shots were from outside the box, with one blocked and the other sent high and wide of goal. Cartagena made a few great passes, but a few disappointing ones that could have spelled danger as well.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6.5 — The winger did well to help create Orlando’s first goal, beating his man and making the cutback pass to kickstart the pinballing in the box that led to Smith’s goal. It was nice to see some fruit from Angulo’s efforts on the left wing, as he used his speed and skill to surge into the box and earn set pieces. He wasn’t as clinical as he should be in the attack, taking no shots, making no key passes, and sending his only cross out of bounds. Although he was successful on all four of his dribbles, he also had six unstable touches and 28 passes at an 82.1% success rate. While he didn’t have any defensive stats, he was quick to collect loose balls or put a body on Atlanta players. He did well in this match for the most part, but made some mistakes and couldn’t capitalize on some of the chances he created.

MF, Facundo Torres, 7 — He wasn’t credited with an assist, but his shot in the box was deflected and fell for Smith to put away. It was his second shot of the match, with his other effort sent just over the crossbar. Torres also had two key passes and was successful on 83% of his 53 passes. Neither of his two crosses were successful, but both of his long balls were. His preference for his left foot continues to limit him, as defenders know he will cut back towards the middle. Still, Torres did well creating space for his teammates and was at his best when he had a fellow Lion making a run to his right or behind him. He led the Lions with 79 touches, completed six of his 12 attempted dribbles, and was fouled three times. Torres helped fuel Orlando’s press and he had a tackle and an interception in this one.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7 — Orlando’s captain didn’t show many signs of rust in his first start since April 22. Although he finished with 27 passes at just a 74.1% success rate and was accurate on just one of his four crosses, Pereyra was sharp and daring throughout the match. He was successful on six of his seven long balls to really stretch Atlanta’s defense. He did the dirty work in Orlando’s first goal, springing Angulo forward and then finding a good position for the return pass so he could slip the ball in for Kara. The 33-year-old also won a crucial race against Almada, snuffing out a counter attack and quickly turning the tables with a pinpoint long ball. His lone shot of the match had to be taken quickly right in front of goal and Guzan made the save. Defensively, he helped apply pressure and made a pair of tackles.

F, Ercan Kara, 6 — He wasn’t able to score, but still did well spearheading Orlando’s attack. The Austrian forward had two shots, putting one on target that required a good save from Guzan and having the other blocked. Kara contributed two key passes as well. He had 17 touches in 72 minutes of action and completed all but one of his seven passes. Atlanta had him in its sights, marking him well and fouling him three times in a physical match. On Orlando’s goal, he cycled the ball into the path of Torres for him to get a shot off.


MF, Martin Ojeda (63′), 6.5 — Ojeda came on for Pereyra in the second half and helped keep Orlando’s offense moving. He had a key pass and his only shot of the match was a venomous strike from outside the box that forced a save from Guzan for a corner. Ojeda completed seven of his 10 passes and one of his three crosses. Defensively, he helped out with two tackles. Ultimately, he wasn’t able to find that insurance goal for Orlando, but looked dangerous with the ball at his feet.

F, Duncan McGuire (72′), 6  — The rookie subbed in for Kara and had good vision to set up a nice shot for Araujo. It was his only key pass and his best chance to score came a few minutes earlier with a cross into the box he couldn’t get on the end of before Atlanta cleared it. McGuire had six touches, completed all three of his passes, and had a clearance.

F, Ramiro Enrique (87′), N/A  — The forward made another brief appearance, coming on late to give the Lions another attacker to chase a winning goal. Enrique only had two touches, completed his one pass, and was successful on a dribble.

That’s how I saw each performance from the Lions in their 1-1 draw at home to Atlanta United. It was a frustrating result, but many Lions had positive performances. Who was your Man of the Match? Make sure to vote in our poll and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Atlanta United: Five Takeaways

Here’s what we learned from Orlando City’s 1-1 draw vs. Atlanta United.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando faced off against local rival Atlanta United in the friendly confines of Exploria Stadium on Saturday night but a late goal conceded for the second time in as many home games led to two dropped points in a 1-1 draw. What can we takeaway from sharing points at home against a bitter rival?

Playing with Purpose

For a good majority of the first half and even into the second, the Lions’ tactics and drive seemed to connect from the back line to the forwards in an aggressive attacking style. In the first 15 minutes, Orlando dominated the ball and possession, but the Lions didn’t start to generate chances until after the first 20 minutes had gone. And while they ultimately did not come away with results to show for their aggression, the effort to come out on the front foot was not in vain and eventually led to Orlando’s first goal of the match. It also continued a coaching trend over the last several matches that demonstrated the team’s ability to dictate the pace of play as opposed to being forced to be reactionary.

Defense Delivers Again

For the second week in a row, Orlando City benefited from a goal from the back line. Instead of a screamer from Rafael Santos, as was the case last week against Miami, this week, Orlando City found its first goal from defender Kyle Smith. It was Smith’s first goal of the year and came in the 30th minute at the end of a team wide effort to put pressure on the goal. Finding the back of the net for defensive players has become a welcome trend over the last two weekends and spreading out the goals and getting them from less likely sources can only help the club moving forward.

Smith’s Travels

Although he played fullback according to the lineup sheet, Smith essentially played in the midfield against Atlanta. His work helped Orlando boss the middle of the pitch throughout the first half and much of the second, preventing Atlanta from building momentum in its attack. Smith’s position on the pitch was often inverted, playing where one might normally expect to see Facundo Torres. He did an excellent job of helping win the ball back and getting into spaces that Atlanta wanted to play into. It also helped create space down the right for Torres. It was an unusual game plan but it worked well and Smith did a fine job in playing his role.

Captain Back in the Fray

Orlando City captain Mauricio Pereyra rejoined the starting 11 for the first time in several weeks and he contributed one shot that was unfortunately deflected right into Brad Guzan’s hands. He passed well and even helped defensively with two successful tackles — one of which was a vital one to dispossess Thiago Almada in transition. While it may take a few matches to fully reintegrate the maestro back into the attack, it’s apparent that Pereyra’s ability to pull the strings helps drive the attack. The team needs its captain to be on the field as he unlocks more options in the attack, but more importantly, it will need to see a defensive effort throughout the remainder of the year like the captain registered on Saturday.

Failure to Launch

For the third time in three matches, Orlando City has taken an early lead. In two out of those three matches, the Lions only have two points to show for their efforts. To make matters worse, two of those three results came at home. In their last three matches, the Lions have mustered five points from a potential nine that they held in hand before coughing up late results against New York City FC and Atlanta United. Despite continuing to climb the standings with a draw, Orlando City is dangerously close to creating a habit which its season may not recover from…good teams cover at home, and great teams secure all three points. While a draw against a team who is ahead in the table isn’t the worst result in the world, being able to score a win against both main rivals one week apart would have been so…so…so much sweeter.

Those were my big takeaways from a match that felt like it slipped through the Lions’ fingers. What were your most important moments of the match? Let us know in the comments below.

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