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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. LA Galaxy: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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Orlando City gave up a lead on the road again, this time falling to the LA Galaxy, 4-3 in a tough loss. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat trick to lead the Galaxy to victory as Orlando just was not able to keep up in the slugfest. In spite of not getting a result, the Lions played well offensively and here is how each Lion rated individually in the match.

Starters

GK, Earl Edwards Jr., 6.5 — Started the match strong and had his first real taste of the Galaxy attack in the seventh minute on an Ibrahimovic shot directly at him. Earl had an amazing cross-hand save in the 43rd minute on a header from Ola Kamara. He had numerous great saves against Zlatan, but possibly none better than the one-on-one save after Zlatan striped the ball away from Chris Schuler in the box and ended up alone with just Edwards to beat. Not a lot Earl could do on most of the goals as the back line left him high and dry.

D, Victor “PC” Giro, 5.5 — Starting at the left back position again, PC looked extremely shaky in the first half. He did get forward on the wings and was able to track back when required, the chaos of the back line left him isolated numerous times with Zlatan, who he stood up well once but could not out-jump him on the Galaxy’s second goal. His defensive positoning was questionable, but I am not sure if it was all on him, or simply a byproduct of the lack of cohesion on the back line. Also, 93% passing.

D, Amro Tarek, 5 — Tarek was beaten in the air on the buildup to Zlatan’s second goal and then got beat in a race into his own area by Ibrahimovic, who finished a diving header off of Kamara’s cross. Had a great chance in the later stages of the match on a set piece, but could not get his header down. Unfortunately, his clearance header in the 71st minute went to a wide open Zlatan for his third, and the goal that gave the Galaxy the 4-3 lead.

D, Chris Schuler, 5 — Rough night for the defensive line, and Schuler certainly showed it. Although he finished the match with an 88% passing success, he was slow to recover on the dangerous Galaxy counters, was out of position too often, and the failed pass attempts were in dangerous positions and most led to LA chances. He also failed to get much distance on his headed clearances, leading to more sustained LA pressure in the second half.

D, Scott Sutter , 5.5 — It is certainly good to have Sutter back in the starting XI, but his lack of minutes was apparent. It was a bit quiet on the right side for the Lions, in fact the match, as most of the action was focused on the Lions’ left. He was the typical workhorse we have come to expect, but he started to look a bit tired after about the 65th minute.

MF, Cristian Higuita, 7 — How long will we be discussing that 18th minute passing and goal? Higuita was a man possessed on the pitch, leaving little open in the middle, with his one misstep seen in the challenge on Giovani Dos Santos at the top of the box in the 63rd minute It is amazing to watch his growth and progression, and you could certainly see the positive strides he has made in skill and attitude, plus a goal, 91% passing, and two shots.

MF, Tony Rocha, 6 — Played very well in the middle, completing 93% of his passes and three successful tackles. As with many of the other defensive-minded players, there were moments of being caught out of position and Rocha was not immune to this. Also, Rocha had a shot blocked in the 67th minute when he should have pushed the ball out to the left into wide open space. That block allowed a dangerous LA counter.

MF, Mohamed El-Munir, 7 — Although he has openly said it is not his favorite position to play, El-Munir looked like a natural playing the left midfield spot. Between the overlaps with PC, the interchange with Kljestan and Yoshi, and driving the end line, looking for Dom, as well as getting back to help the defense, it was also refreshing to see a Lion have no problem taking a shot on goal, and El-Munir ended the match with four shots, one on target with two blocked, and an assist.

MF, Sacha Kljestan, 7.5 (MotM) — As stated above, how long will we be talking about the interplay between Kljestan and Higuita on that first goal? That is what we have been waiting for from the league assist king, and he certainly showed up. Cannot argue that he got a bit lucky on the Michael Ciani own goal as he honestly should have put his laces through the ball and taken the shot, but if not for Ciani’s own goal, his pass would have hit Yotún in stride. He finished with just 81% passing accuracy, but held almost six percent of the Lions’ possession, and certainly helped to drive the offense. This was easily his best match in a long time, even on those tired legs.

MF, Yoshimar Yotun, 7 — Still running around on the pitch like a man with a chip on his shoulder, Yoshi started this match on the right side of the midfield, but didn’t play there the entire match. In fact, he seemed to be on the left infinitely more than on the right. His passing accuracy was a bit lower than normal at 83%, but he also held almost seven percent of the Lions’ possession. He was easily one of the most dangerous players for the Lions and it was obvious that the Galaxy were marking him closely.

F, Dom Dwyer, 7 — Dwyer was barely mentioned or seen in the first half, but the second was a completely different story. In the 54th minute, Dom was able to get that separation he is known for, rising for a cross from El-Munir, and burying a header in the back of the net, leaving David Bingham flat-footed. Possibly the biggest moment for Dom was in the 85th as he was pulled back in a two-armed bear hug trying to get under a ball in the box with no call. It was the perfect opportunity for a review, as it certainly looked like Dom was fouled.

Substitutes

M, Will Johnson (74’), 6.5 — Johnson came on for Huigita and had the same tireless work ethic we have come to expect. Completed all eight of his passes and made one tackle.

F, Stefano Pinho (79’), 5 — Pinho came on with about 10 minutes left in the match to try to inject some energy in the offense. He had a great chance in the 88th on a cross from Yoshi that should have been on frame, but he headed it over the bar. The hustle was there, but the quality just has not surfaced yet.

M, Josué Colmán (84’), N/A — Dangerous from the moment he stepped on the pitch. It is almost impossible to grade him in the time allowed, but he certainly made every effort to positively affect the match, and certainly made the right side dangerous despite flubbing a late cross from Kljestan that he should have been able to send back across the box.


That is how I saw it, with a little help, and suggestions, from fellow contributors. It was an exciting match, and one that the Lions should have secured points in, but the hectic July schedule may have just caught up to them in the second half. How would you rate the players this match, and who was your Man of the Match? Vote below, and let me know how you rated the squad in the comments.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Dom Dwyer1
Cristian Higuita45
Earl Edwards Jr.28
Sacha Kljestan35
Yoshimar Yotún7
Other10

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Nashville SC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions close out a two-game road trip with a visit to Tennessee.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night matchup between Orlando City (8-9-6, 30 points) and Nashville SC (6-9-8, 26 points) at Geodis Park in Nashville, TN (8:30 p.m., FS1, free on Apple TV+). It’s the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season, with Nashville set to make the return trip to Orlando on Aug. 31.

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

History

The Lions are 2-2-4 against Nashville in MLS regular-season matches and 4-3-5 in all competitions. Orlando is 1-0-3 on the road in the series in league play and 2-1-3 away in all competitions.

Orlando City last met Nashville SC at Geodis Park on Nov. 7, 2023 in the second game of a best-of-three, first-round playoff series. The Lions got an early goal from Ivan Angulo in a 1-0 win to sweep the series. Orlando City drew first blood in the series by beating Nashville 1-0 on Oct. 30, 2023 at Exploria Stadium. Wilder Cartagena’s blast from outside the area hit the underside of the crossbar near the right corner and bounced in for the game’s only score.

The teams last met in the regular season on Oct. 4, 2023 with Orlando City stealing a 1-0 win in Music City on Duncan McGuire’s goal just before halftime. That was one of only two shot attempts by the Lions all night and the only one on target. Orlando played well defensively and Pedro Gallese didn’t have to make a save as the hosts didn’t put any shots on frame.

Nashville visited Orlando back on April 1 of last year at Exploria Stadium and it was the visitors who made fools of the Lions, as Nashville won, 2-0. Fafa Picault and Hany Mukhtar did the damage for Nashville.

The teams did not face each other in regular-season play the year before, meeting only in the U.S. Open Cup in Orlando on June 29, 2022. Mukhtar scored in the second half, and that looked like it would be enough until Rodrigo Schlegel equalized deep in stoppage time. After a scoreless 30 minutes of extra time, the Lions won the ensuing penalty shootout, 6-4.

These sides met in the 2021 postseason in Tennessee, with Orlando scoring first through Daryl Dike’s early goal, but Nashville won 3-1 on Nov. 23, 2021 to knock the Lions out of the playoffs. Mukhtar tied it up before halftime on a fluky deflected goal off of Antonio Carlos and then put his team up in the 74th minute on a counterattack. Jhonder Cadiz put things away deep in stoppage time.

The teams met in Orlando on Oct. 31, 2021 and ended in a 1-1 draw after referee Allen Chapman’s Halloween Heist chalked off Andres Perea’s apparent stoppage-time winner. The referee’s excuse for overturning the goal was an imagined foul on Dike, who, if anything, was the fouled party. The decision cost the Lions a valuable home playoff match, which instead sent Orlando to Nashville. Mukhtar scored for Nashville to equalize in the second half after Dike’s first-half goal.

The teams met in Nashville on Sept. 29, 2021 with a late rally by the Lions earning the team a 2-2 road draw at Nissan Stadium. The hosts had taken a 2-0 lead on goals by Mukhtar — scoring off the rebound of his own saved penalty — and Randall Leal, but a penalty by Dike and a stoppage-time own goal by Brian Anunga turned the game around. On Aug. 18 of that season, the teams finished in another 1-1 draw. C.J. Sapong put the hosts ahead in the first half and Carlos leveled the score in the second half. The Lions, who played poorly in the opening 45, were the better team throughout the second half and Tesho Akindele’s shot off the crossbar was inches from providing a winner for Orlando.

The teams met on Decision Day of 2020 at Exploria Stadium, with Orlando melting down late, allowing two goals from the 88th minute on, and falling 3-2 at home on Nov. 8, 2020 — the team’s only home loss on the season. Dike and Nani goals sandwiched a strike by Daniel Lovitz, giving the Lions a lead until late. Headers by Mukhtar (in the 88th minute) and Cadiz (in the 93rd minute) turned the game on its head.

In the Lions’ first trip to Nissan Stadium, the teams played to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 2, 2020. Benji Michel put the Lions ahead with a stunner of a goal, but Leal knotted things up and that’s the way the match ended.

That 1-1 draw came a week after a 3-1 Orlando City win on Aug. 26 at Exploria Stadium. Dave Romney had opened the scoring for Nashville with a header off a free kick but Orlando scored the last three. Dike took a star turn for Orlando City, scoring a brace, and Chris Mueller also scored for the Lions.

Overview

The Lions are coming off a 3-1 win Saturday at New England. That was Orlando City’s first win over the Revolution at Gillette Stadium in club history. Facundo Torres’ brace put him on the MLS Team of the Matchday and gave him four goal contributions in his last five matches. Ramiro Enrique also scored, filling in for McGuire, who is away with the U.S. Olympic team. The Lions have won three straight games and four of their last five, and have a 5-4-3 road record on the season.

Tonight’s hosts are coming off a 2-1 away loss to D.C. United. Nashville is 4-3-5 at home, but has lost its last four games, but the three most recent losses have come on the road. The last home match was a 2-1 loss to Inter Miami. Mukhtar leads Nashville in goal contributions with 12 (five goals, seven assists), and has four goals and five assists against the Lions in his career. You should never bet your house on anything, but if you did, betting on Mukhtar to have a goal contribution against the Lions seems a near certainty. Meanwhile, forward Sam Surridge paces the Tennessee side with eight goals in 2024.

As it usually is, this matchup should be a tightly contested battle to the end.

“Every game has its own context, whether we have memory of, or feelings of, what happened in the prior games. In this case, with Nashville SC, we have had good experiences, and last year, we succeeded on the things that we wanted and our gameplan,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the match. “But we always say that every game brings different challenges and different things that we need to prepare (for), because the game is dynamic, it moves, and they have changed their coach. All those things add up in preparation, but most important is that we can continue our line of improvement. That’s what we’re focusing on now.”

In addition to McGuire, Orlando City will be without Michael Halliday (knee) and Mason Stajduhar (lower leg). Nashville will be without Walker Zimmerman (Olympic duty), Julian Gaines (ankle), Anibal Godoy (lower body), Randall Leal (hip), and Lukas McNaughton (ankle), while Surridge (ankle) is listed as questionable.

Match Content


Projected Lineups:

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson.

Defensive Midfielders: Wilder Cartagena, Cesar Araujo.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Martin Ojeda, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Ramiro Enrique.

Nashville SC (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Joe Willis.

Defenders: Daniel Lovitz, Jack Maher, Josh Bauer, Shaq Moore.

Defensive Midfielders: Dru Yearwood, Sean Davis.

Attacking Midfielders: Sam Surridge, Hany Mukhtar, Tyler Boyd.

Forward: Teal Bunbury.

Referees

REF: Pierre-Luc Lauziere.
AR1: Jeffrey Greeson.
AR2: Ben Pilgrim.
4TH: Matt Thompson.
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
AVAR: Jozef Batko.


How to Watch

Match Time: 8:30 p.m.

Venue: Geodis Park — Nashville, TN.

TV/Streaming: FS1, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+ (free).

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Mega 97.1 FM (Spanish).

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


Enjoy the game. Go City!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/17/24

Orlando City’s attendance is up, Viviana Villacorta signs new contract, USWNT draws Costa Rica, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane land

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s match day for Orlando City as the Lions hit the road once again for a match against Eastern Conference foe Nashville SC. We will have your preview and full coverage of the match later today. To pass the time until then, please enjoy these links.

Orlando City Attendance on the Rise

So far in 2024, attendance at Orlando City matches has averaged 22,632, which is more than last season’s 20,804 average. That total is good enough to put the Lions at 11th best in MLS attendance this season. Attendance is up across the league this season, with some citing the Lionel Messi effect, but I’m partial to the idea that more people are simply finding out about the beautiful game. I also think that the last few successful seasons for Orlando City have much more to do with the increase at home.

Villacorta Signs New Contract

Haley Carter and the Orlando Pride front office continued their trend of locking down current players by extending Viviana Villacorta’s time in purple with a new contract through the 2025 season with an option for 2026. Villacorta has had a rough go of it due to injuries, but the talent is there for her to contribute to the project Seb Hines is building.

Pride Top the Olympic List

The NWSL will send 56 players to the Olympics, setting a record for most players from any women’s league in the world. The Orlando Pride tied NJ/NJ Gotham FC for the most players participating on the women’s side, with seven. The Pride players making the trip are Barbra Banda and Grace Chanda with Zambia, Emily Sams for the USWNT (as an alternate), and four of the Pride’s Brazilians — Marta, Adriana, Rafaelle, and Angelina (as an alternate). If seeing all of those excellent players compete against each other in the Olympics doesn’t get you excited, you should probably see a doctor.

Orlando City/Pride to Host Olympics Watch Parties

If you were wondering where to watch the Orlando City and the Orlando Pride players representing their individual nations, then wonder no more. Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are hosting watch parties in Orlando. If you want to support the club’s internationals, like Duncan McGuire for the USMNT U-23s, and all of the Pride players, you can do so with your fellow Orlando City and Orlando Pride supporters. There will be four watch parties in total. Check out the schedule and venues here.

USWNT Draws, U-20 USWNT Wins

The United States Women’s National Team played its final friendly before the start of the Olympics against a stubborn Costa Rica side at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Despite having 80% possession and taking 26 shots — with 12 shots on target — the wasteful Yanks were unable to find the net, playing to a scoreless draw. Costa Rica’s low block was effective, as was goalkeeper Noelia Bermúdez, but the U.S. simply squandered too many opportunities. The USWNT will next play against Banda’s Zambian squad in the Olympics.

The U-20 USWNT defeated the U-20 Mexico Women’s National Team 3-0 at the Jack Turner Soccer Complex at the University of Georgia in Athens. Ally Sentnor provided a brace, and Riley Jackson added the third. The Pride’s Ally Lemos got the start in this match and played just over an hour after subbing on in the team’s most recent match on July 13.

Free Kicks

  • Gareth Southgate will torment England supporters no longer as he has stepped down, having failed to “bring football home.”

That will do it for today. Don’t forget to follow @themaneland on Twitter for updates during the match tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/16/24

Facundo Torres named to Team of the Matchday, Colombian soccer president arrested, transfer rumor roundup, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I had a slightly subdued start to my week, as my beloved Colombia was unable to get past Argentina to win Copa America. Life goes on though, and with a pair of Orlando City games this week, as well as an Orlando City B match, things will continue to be very busy around here. As usual, we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get started on today’s links.

Facundo Torres Makes MLS Team of the Matchday

Facundo Torres’ efforts in Saturday’s victory were recognized with a place in the MLS Team of the Matchday, along with an MLS Goal of the Week nomination to boot. Torres gets the nod on the left wing following the brace he scored to help the Lions come back to win over the New England Revolution. His second goal was nominated for the best one of the matchday, as he beautifully curled a first-time strike into the side netting to double Orlando’s advantage. Here’s hoping this run of form continues.

Colombian Federation President Arrested

As if losing the Copa America final 1-0 to Brazil wasn’t painful enough, Ramon Jesurun, the president of the Colombian Football Federation, was arrested in the hours after the game ended. Jesurun faces three felony counts of battery on a specified official or employee. His son was also arrested, and faces the same charges in addition to a misdemeanor battery charge. The specified incidents seem to have occurred while the final was taking place, with the event as a whole being marred by massive security and overcrowding issues.

Transfer News Roundup

We’ve got plenty of transfer news to catch up on, and we’ll get started in Major League Soccer. The Colorado Rapids have sold goalkeeper Marko Ilic to Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade. Sticking with the Rapids, Tom Bogert reports that the team is in talks with Lyon over selling Canadian defender Moise Bambito to the French side. Moving to Europe, Everton has reportedly made contact with Juventus about signing Weston McKennie. Arsenal and Aston Villa are both reportedly interested in signing Mikel Merino from Real Sociedad following his strong Euro 2024 showing with Spain.

International Retirements Abound

A number of high-profile players have retired from international play following the conclusion of this summer’s international tournaments. Olivier Giroud has called time on his international career, confirming what he had said before the start of the tournament. He retires as France’s all-time leading scorer, with 57 tallies in 137 matches. Xherdan Shaqiri has retired from playing for Switzerland, and he bows out as the only Swiss player to appear in seven major tournaments. Finally, like Giroud, Angel di Maria stuck to what he said prior to the start of Copa America, and has retired from playing for Argentina after winning the latest edition of the tournament.

Free Kicks

  • New Orlando Pride player Grace Chanda stopped by to take a look at her new home.
  • Orlando City rose one spot to 14th in ESPN‘s MLS power rankings.
  • Former Orlando Pride player Chioma Ubogagu has signed with USL Super League side Dallas Trinity.
  • Cristian Arango has been suspended four games for violating MLS’ Anti-Harassment Policy. He will serve one game of the suspension during the MLS All-Star Game, which is…weird.

That’s all I have for you today. Vamos Orlando!

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