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Orlando City vs. D.C. United, U.S. Open Cup: Final Score 1-1 with Lions Advancing on Penalties

The Lions are through to the quarterfinals!

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Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

After 120 minutes, Orlando City and D.C. United played to a 1-1 draw in U.S. Open Cup round of 16 action at the Maryland SoccerPlex. But the Lions advanced on penalties, winning the shootout 4-2 after Josué Colmán’s spot kick clinched it for Orlando.

Justin Meram canceled out Luciano Acosta’s early goal and both teams came within inches of finding a second, but neither could quite do it and so the lightning-delayed match went deep into the night before City came through in penalties.

Earl Edwards Jr. set the tone by saving Yamil Asad’s first attempt after Will Johnson had started the Lions with a penalty kick goal in the shootout. Edwards is no stranger to U.S. Open Cup shootouts, having outlasted the Charleston Battery deep into spot kicks back in 2015. That was the last time the Lions reached the quarterfinals, which they have done now for the third time in club history. Orlando will face the Philadelphia Union next.

Sacha Kljestan and Chris Mueller also hit their penalties for Orlando.

Bobby Murphy used his first ever lineup that wasn’t a 4-2-3-1 to start an MLS match, getting weird by playing a 3-4-3. Lamine Sané returned to the starting lineup for the first time in a few weeks, with Amro Tarek to his left and Jonathan Spector to his right. This was surprising, given that the team has a match Saturday against Montreal. Mohamed El-Munir and RJ Allen lined up as the wingbacks outside of midfielders Kljestan and Cristian Higuita, with a forward line of Meram, Stefano Pinho, and Mueller from left to right. Dom Dwyer did not dress, but right back Scott Sutter was in the 18 just days after returning to full training.

The game was just over five minutes old when the Maryland SoccerPlex’s obnoxious lightning alarm sounded, sending the game into a delay that lasted just over an hour and a half.

Once the game restarted, D.C. United came out flying and it didn’t take the hosts long to score. Darren Mattocks crossed in for Acosta in the 10th minute and no one tracked his run — Kljestan was busy pointing out the danger of Ian Harkes to his teammates while Acosta slipped by — allowing him to easily smash home the pass into the top of the net to make it 1-0.

United nearly doubled the lead a couple of times. In the 13th minute, Zoltan Stieber smashed a shot just wide of the post. Then, in the 14th minute, El-Munir misplayed the wet ball and allowed Stieber to get in behind but his shot was blocked on a fine save by Earl Edwards Jr.

The Lions struck back three minutes later. RJ Allen played the ball into the middle for Kljestan. Sacha laid a pass off for Meram, who blasted one toward net. It was right at Steve Clark, but the goalkeeper couldn’t handle the wet ball and it squirted in behind to tie the score at 1-1.

In the 19th minute, Kljestan played a superb through ball to Pinho, but the Brazilian hit his shot poorly and it went well wide of the target. A minute later, Mueller had a shot blocked by Steve Birnbaum at the top of the penalty area.

El-Munir stole a pass in the 23rd minute and was nearly off to the races, but he was brought down from behind by Oniel Fisher, who was booked for the foul. Nothing came of the set piece or an ensuing corner, however.

In the 28th minute, D.C. United won a corner and then the world went dark as the game stream died for everyone. It returned in the 43rd minute with the game still tied at 1-1. During the stoppage, Mattocks was played in behind the defense but the offside flag was up.

Late in the half, United was forced to make a change when Joseph Mora went down with an injury. Jalen Robinson came on and played right back, with Fisher moving to left back.

No further damage was done by either side and the teams went to the break all even. The Lions led in shots, 5-3 (1-2 on target, however), with D.C. owning 52% of the possession and an advantage in passing accuracy (84%-79%).

Neither team could find the net in a cagey second half, although both teams had excellent chances to do so. Kljestan sent a shot from above the area over the bar in the 61st on a powerful strike that he couldn’t keep down. Pinho nodded a header just inches wide in the 69th minute off a cross from Allen. Two minutes later, Allen had a go himself after cutting inside and again the attempt fizzed just wide of the post.

If Orlando was the more dangerous side from minutes 60 through 75, it was almost all D.C. United in the final 15 minutes of normal time. Acosta sent one shot just wide and hit the post with another attempt. He also forced a save in the 80th.

Asad was in on goal after a terrible giveaway by Sane in the 83rd, but Edwards made the save. Three minutes later, Fisher nearly got in on the back side but he was offside.

That was the last good opportunity of the second half and the teams went into extra time.

Orlando had several scoring opportunities in extra time but just couldn’t get it done. Mueller sent a high, arching header on frame but Clark scrambled back to catch it just two minutes into the extra period.

D.C.’s best opportunity in extra time came in the 98th minute off a corner kick, when Frederic Brillant’s header deflected off Meram and nearly squirted through Edwards’ legs, but he stopped it right on the line.

Substitute Colmán had a great opportunity in the 99th when he rounded Clark and shot from a tight angle, but he missed the net by inches. D.C. midfielder Chris Durkin was booked for the second time for a foul behind the play and United were down to 10 men for the remainder of the match. That allowed City to control the rest of extra time.

Colmán sent a curling effort on frame that forced Clark’s best save of the night, as he palmed it away at the last second to prevent the goal. It was the last action of the first half of extra time.

Orlando continued to be dangerous after the short break. Meram’s cross in the 107th minute found Johnson’s head, but the effort skipped off his noggin and out for a goal kick. In the 109th minute, Allen sent a dangerous cross whistling through the six but no teammates could get a touch on it. Then, in the 110th minute, there was a bizarre play in the box when a United defender went down under pressure from Allen. No whistle blew and Allen dug the ball out but it was deflected away and then Allen fell over Clark.

In the 112th minute, Meram got onto a header by Mueller but his shot was blocked by a defender, with Clark well out of the flight path of the ball. El-Munir was lucky not to be sent off for a foul in the closing moments, after which he kicked the ball at a D.C. player. He was booked but not shown a second yellow.

Colmán whistled a shot just over the bar in the 120th minute after a prolonged spell of possession by the Lions and that was the final chance for either side to find a winner before the game went to penalties.

Johnson sent Clark the wrong way on the first kick, and Edwards stretched to his left to keep Asad off the board on D.C.’s first shot.

Kljestan got cheeky and went down the middle, but scored, before Acosta hit the crossbar on United’s second-round effort. With a bit of a gap opening up, Mueller made it 3-0 before Harkes got D.C. on the board. Extra time sub Jose Villarreal saw his shot well saved by a diving Clark to keep United in it, and Patrick Mullins then beat Edwards.

Then Colmán stepped to the spot and calmly finished to send Orlando through, sending Clark the wrong way.

D.C. ended up with 54% of the possession, which is surprising since Orlando seemingly had it most of the extra period. The Lions out-shot United, 21-11, but D.C. got more on target (6-3). Orlando passed at a sloppy 77% to D.C.’s 84% for the game.

In the end, the only statistic that matters is that Orlando is through to the quarterfinals.


Orlando City will visit the Philadelphia Union on July 18 in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, with the winner taking on either the Chicago Fire or Louisville City FC. The Lions are back in MLS action on Saturday night at home against the Montreal Impact at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Cavalry FC, Concacaf Champions Cup: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions play their first competitive match of 2024 north of the border in the Concacaf Champions Cup.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night Concacaf Champions Cup matchup between Orlando City and Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League at Starlight Stadium in Langford, British Columbia at 10 p.m. (FOX Sports 2, TUDN). It’s the first meeting ever between the teams and Orlando City’s first ever match against a CPL team.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.

History

There isn’t any. These teams have never met, nor has Orlando City faced anyone in the Canadian Premier League before.

The Lions will be experiencing their fourth international cup competition and their second foray into Concacaf Champions League/Cup, having drawn twice against Tigres UANL last season. Orlando bowed out of last year’s competition due to the away goals tiebreaker. Orlando City has also competed twice in Leagues Cup.

Overview

Both teams will be playing their first competitive match of the 2024 season. Orlando City is coming off a 4-0-1 preseason, drawing 1-1 against Flamengo before reeling off four straight wins against Rhode Island FC, the New England Revolution, the Houston Dynamo, and the Colorado Rapids. City reached the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 2023 and is looking to build on its most successful season to date in MLS.

Cavalry FC is coming off a season in which it finished top of the table in the regular season, but fell 2-1 after extra time in the CPL championship match against Forge FC. As far as CPL teams go, the Lions will be facing one of the league’s best, as you’d expect in a competition called “Champions Cup.”

“We’re very proud and very happy to bring Orlando City to this beautiful city and this excellent competition,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “(We’re) Feeling proud of playing in Champions Cup in Concacaf and obviously aiming for the best prize, and here we are starting the season with obviously a very competitive game.”

Pareja is suspended for tonight due to his red card in the second leg against Tigres in 2023.


Projected Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Michael Halliday.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Nico Lodeiro, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Duncan McGuire.

Cavalry FC (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Marco Carducci.

Defenders: Bradley Kamdem, Daan Klomp, Eryk Kobza, Fraser Aird.

Defensive Midfielders: Charlie Trafford, Jesse Daley.

Attacking Midfielders: William Akio, Sergio Camargo, Ali Musse.

Forward: Myer Bevan.

Officials:

REF: Juan Gabriel Calderon (Costa Rica).
AR1: William Arrieta (Costa Rica).
AR2: Henri Pupiro (Nicaragua).
4TH: Keylor Herrera (Costa Rica).
VAR: Oscar Mejia (Mexico).
VAR1: Erick Miranda (Mexico).


How to Watch

Match Time: 10 p.m.

Venue: Starlight Stadium — Langford, British Columbia.

TV: FOX Sports 2, TUDN.

Streaming: The match can be streamed on FOX Sports GO, the FOX Sports app TUDN.com, and the TUDN app.

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).


Enjoy the match. Go City!

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Lion Links: 2/21/24

Orlando City takes on Cavalry FC tonight, Lions sign Jeorgio Kocevski, USWNT wins in Concacaf W Gold Cup, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you in Florida as we get to watch the Lions in action tonight in the Concacaf Champions Cup. There’s not much new with me this week other than staying busy covering high school basketball and hockey. Let’s also wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride forward Amanda Allen. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Takes on Cavalry FC Tonight

Orlando City will be in action tonight in the first round of the Concacaf Champions Cup, as it takes on Cavalry FC at Starlight Stadium at 10 p.m. This matchup will be the Lions’ first competitive match of 2024, with their MLS season opener against CF Montreal set for Saturday. The Lions were knocked out by Tigres due to away goals in last year’s Concacaf Champions League. Cavalry FC will make its debut in this competition tonight and qualified by winning the 2023 Canadian Premier League Shield. The second leg between these two sides will be on Feb. 27 at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando City Signs First-Round Draft Pick Jeorgio Kocevski

Orlando City signed 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick Jeorgio Kocevski to a contract through the 2024 season, with club options for 2025, 2026, and 2027. Kocevski scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time in Orlando’s final preseason match against the Colorado Rapids this past weekend. The midfielder was selected 21st overall in the first round of the 2024 MLS SuperDraft by the Lions in December. He played four years for Syracuse, recording seven goals and 18 assists in 71 matches. Kocevski is the only player the club has signed from the Lions’ 2024 draft class and will likely get some minutes with Orlando City B this season.

St. Louis City and Philadelphia Union Win in Champions Cup

Orlando City isn’t the only MLS team kicking off its Concacaf Champions Cup campaign this week. St. Louis City edged out the Houston Dynamo 2-1, with rookie Hosei Kijima scoring the winner in stoppage time. The Philadelphia Union were on the road in Costa Rica to face off against Deportivo Saprissa and won 3-2 thanks to a hat trick from Julian Carranza in the second half. As for other tournament matches this week, the New England Revolution face Independiente in Panama tonight, with Nashville playing Moca FC in the Dominican Republic and FC Cincinnati taking on Jamaica’s Cavalier SC tomorrow.

USWNT Beats the Dominican Republic in W Gold Cup

The United States Women’s National Team got its Concacaf W Gold Cup campaign off to a great start with a 5-0 win against the Dominican Republic in Group A. Olivia Moultrie scored her first USWNT goal to give her team an early lead, with Lynn Williams giving the U.S. another goal before halftime. Moultrie scored another in the second half to earn her brace, and Jenna Nighswonger converted a penalty for her first USWNT goal as well. Former Pride forward Alex Morgan replaced Mia Fishel on the roster due to injury and scored from the penalty spot in stoppage time. The USWNT’s next game will be against Argentina on Friday at 10:15 p.m.

UEFA Champions League Roundup

The UEFA Champions League had plenty of drama as the round of 16 continued. Inter Milan won 1-0 in its first leg against Atletico Madrid at home, with Mark Arnautovic scoring the only goal in the match. In the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund played to a thrilling 1-1 draw. The second legs for both matchups will be played on March 13. There is more Champions League action today, as FC Porto hosts Arsenal while Napoli takes on Barcelona.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS power rankings are out just before the regular season begins. Orlando City begins the season in the fifth spot.
  • Orlando City and the Orlando Pride announced fan experience upgrades at Inter&Co Stadium featuring Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in merchandise shops, stadium Wi-Fi upgrades, and a jersey history experience.
  • The MLS Players Association released a statement on the ongoing referee lockout.
  • Here is the list of MLS Season Pass commentator assignments for opening week.

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City Signs First-Round Draft Pick Jeorgio Kocevski

Orlando City signs its first-round draft pick Jeorgio Kocevski to a one-year deal with three option years.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City SC announced the signing of first-round 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick Jeorgio Kocevski today. The deal is through the upcoming 2024 season with club options for 2025, 2026, and 2027. The Lions selected the Syracuse midfielder with the 21st overall pick in the draft in December.

“Jeorgio has had a really strong preseason camp with us, demonstrating everything we saw in him when we were scouting him and analyzing his game in college,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “He’s done well working his way into the group, even starting in our friendly against Flamengo and holding his own against some of the best in Brazil, and we’re excited to have him with us this season.”

The box-to-box midfielder made three appearances this preseason, starting against Brazilian club Flamengo and the following scrimmage against USL Championship side Rhode Island FC. He came on at halftime against the Colorado Rapids last weekend, scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute.

Prior to being selected by the Lions, the Liverpool, NY, native made 71 appearances with 65 starts and logged 5,599 minutes for Syracuse in four years. He scored seven goals and recorded 18 assists, putting 33 of his 93 shots on frame. Additionally, he was part of Syracuse’s 2022 NCAA national championship team, playing 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw, but missing in the team’s victorious shootout over Indiana.

Kocevski had a breakout junior year, being named to the United Soccer Coaches’ All-South Region third team, All-ACC third team, NCAA All-Tournament team, and ACC All-Tournament team. During his senior year, he wore the armband for the Orange and was named All-ACC first team and ACC Co-Midfielder of the Year.

What It Means for Orlando City

Kocevski was the most likely pick from this most recent draft to be signed by Orlando City. The departure of club captain Mauricio Pereyra left a spot in the midfield and Head Coach Oscar Pareja seemed to feel the rookie could fill it from early on. His start against Flamengo was in the place of regular starter Cesar Araujo, who was on international duty with the Uruguay U-23 national team. He played against Flamengo’s best lineup and did quite well in almost an hour on the field in his first minutes of play at the professional level.

While a spot was open for the signing of Kocevski, he likely won’t see much of the field for the first team this season. In addition to being behind starters Araujo and Wilder Cartagena, the defensive midfielder will be behind Felipe on the depth chart. In all likelihood, the rookie will slot in with Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro to get some minutes, but there is room for him to start regularly with that team.

Kocevski is currently the only player signed by the club from the Lions’ 2024 draft class. West Virginia midfielder Yutaro Tsukada, Pittsburgh midfielder Filip Mirkovic, and Charlotte midfielder Riyon Tori remained unsigned, with the latter opting to return to school for his senior season.

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