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Orlando City vs. New England Revolution: Final Score 3-3 as Lions’ Rally Twice

Orlando’s playoff chances have one foot in the grave after earning only one point in a crucial home match.

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Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Orlando City’s playoff chances are either dead or the vital signs are so faint as to be undetectable after a 3-3 draw against the sixth-place New England Revolution. The Lions (7-14-2, 23 points) rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficit against the Revs (7-7-8, 29 points), as Orlando City remains unbeaten at home against New England (2-0-3).

Dom Dwyer and a Matt Turner own goal got the Lions back into the game after sloppy play allowed Juan Agudelo and Cristian Penilla to stake the Revs to an early lead, but a back line that leaked all night did so one too many times, allowing second-half sub Teal Bunbury to put the Revs back on top. Scott Sutter got the last word with a header goal off a set piece in the third minute of stoppage time to pull Orlando level.

“Obviously delighted to get a point, especially so late in the game,” Head Coach James O’Connor said after the match. “Massive, massive thank you to the supporters tonight because I think they really helped us to come back in the game and get that point.”

O’Connor made only one change from the lineup that lost at the Galaxy last weekend, subbing out Chris Schuler in central defense for Shane O’Neill, who returned from his red card suspension.

Although Orlando City looked sharp from the opening whistle, it was New England that scored early off a routine play. Just a regular throw-in was flicked softly toward goal by Agudelo and somehow Earl Edwards Jr. completely whiffed on keeping it out. It was by far the softest goal Edwards has allowed in his MLS career and one that he’ll definitely want back.

After the goal, the Lions became too deliberate and even though they held some possession, they weren’t very threatening. New England, meanwhile, was content to allow possession and press for opportunities. Edwards was forced to come off his line and make a big save on Diego Fagundez in the 16th after the latter split the defense with a good run and Penilla found him with the pass.

New England doubled the lead in the 19th minute when Sutter opted to play a square ball to a well-covered O’Neill instead of trying to turn or passing back to Edwards. O’Neill had virtually no chance, as Caicedo arrived at the same time as the ball. He poked it away and it allowed Penilla to break in and scored uncontested on Edwards to make it 2-0.

Fagundez had a chance to make it 3-0 in the 23rd minute, dancing past the Orlando back line and firing a shot that Edwards saved.

City tried to regroup thereafter and got a few opportunities. In the 25th minute, a Yoshimar Yotún free kick found O’Neill, but his header went just wide of the net. Two minutes later, Dwyer got in behind the defense but tried to go near post and Turner made the save. PC got into the area in the 29th minute but his shot was blocked by the defense.

Those missed opportunities looked like they’d immediately bite the Lions as the Revs shredded the back line again in the 30th minute and Scott Caldwell got around Edwards but saw Amro Tarek save his effort off the line at the last second.

Six minutes later, Edwards had a second major mistake in the game, passing the ball directly to Fagundez, but Cristian Higuita tracked back and somehow dispossessed the Revolution attacker without conceding a penalty.

Sacha Kljestan went down on an ugly challenge from behind by Brandon Bye in the 37th minute. Bye was booked for the infraction but Kljestan had to sub out minutes later for Josué Colmán.

Just before the break the Lions pulled a goal back. Yotún sent Tony Rocha up the left flank and Rocha’s cross picked out Dwyer in front of goal. Dom played it first time and sent it over Turner to make it 2-1 in the 45th minute for his 10th goal of the season.

“It was huge,” O’Connor said of the timely goal. “Really well played ball for him from Tony but I think Dom’s finish is excellent and that gave us a lot of hope.”

“It gave us a little bit of confidence knowing we only needed one goal and we were right back in it,” Rocha said.

Shots were even at the end of the first half at 6-6 (5-2 on target for New England). The Lions held 72% possession and held a passing percentage advantage (86%-69%).

“We really felt at halftime that we could go on and win the game,” said O’Connor.

Orlando City came out aggressively after the break and earned the first decent look at goal. Higuita found Rocha in the box and the midfielder turned and fired just wide, hitting the outside netting in the 51st minute. Six minutes later, Dwyer forced a diving save from Turner on a shot through traffic. A minute later, Colmán fired a shot into the the box that Turner spilled but it fell just a bit wide for Dwyer to get onto it and slam home.

New England continued to try countering whenever possible, with Fagundez fizzing a shot just over the bar in the 61st.

Orlando nearly sprung Dwyer in behind in the 66th minute but the flag went up on a very close play and the whistle blew. You’d expect the assistant referee to keep the flag down on close plays these days and let video review sort out any problems, but in this case the flag went up right away despite replay showing the play was extremely close.

Penilla fired a shot through traffic off a corner kick in the 69th minute that took a deflection, but Edwards was able to track it through the forest of players and make a diving save.

The Lions finally leveled the game in the 71st minute. Yotún delivered a free kick into the box that Tarek headed off the left post. The ball skipped back across the front of goal and Turner knocked it into the net with his hand. The goal was given to Tarek with an assist to Yotún but it’s hard to imagine it won’t be changed to an own goal. If it sticks, it’ll be Tarek’s first MLS goal.

With the game tied, Brad Friedel sent Bunbury into the game for Caldwell in the 74th minute and the move paid dividends almost immediately. Bunbury got on the ball on the right side and roasted Tarek, getting in behind and slotting in the Revs’ third goal of the night in the 76th minute.

“It has to stop,” O’Connor said about the defensive issues of his team, which has given up seven goals in two matches. “You can’t score three goals again and we get a tie this week. You have to stop. You can’t give goals away like that. We’re 2-0 down in the blink of an eye. When you’re giving up the goals that we are giving up — it’s not like teams are having to work for the goals. I’m waiting for a game where a team is so generous and gives us the type of goals that we’re giving teams, and I look forward to when that happens.”

Two minutes later, Penilla rang one off the crossbar as he nearly put the game to bed. The Lions looked a bit shook after the third New England goal and it nearly cost them a fourth. It turned out to be a costly miss for Penilla.

The Revs kept looking more likely to score a fourth than Orlando to score a third, earning another quick corner kick after Penilla’s miss. Agudelo shot wide in the 83rd minute as New England tried to put the game away.

But the Lions stuck around and regained their composure. Yotún found Stefano Pinho in the 89th minute, but the Brazilian headed it well over the bar. Four minutes of stoppage time loomed for Orlando to take something from the game.

The Lions left it late, but the goal finally came in the 93rd minute. Pinho earned a set piece out to the right, and Yotún once again provided superb delivery, finding Sutter for the game-tying header. It honestly looked like a stoppable shot for Turner but he made a mess of it and it found the net to make it 3-3.

“It’s good that we got a point so late,” Sutter said. “Obviously we’re all disappointed because we wanted more from the game.”

On the restart after the goal, Dwyer was booked for a foul away from the ball — one of several fouls away from the ball on the night (making one wonder if Hilario Grajeda would have seen fouls actually on the ball) — and a fracas broke out at midfield. In the wake of a lot of pushing and shoving, Grajeda went to video review and sent off Yotún, who appeared to shove Jalil Anibaba. The replay doesn’t show much, but Yotún will miss next week’s match at D.C. as a result of the decision.

One would hope Grajeda had a different angle than that on which to base such a decision.

After it was all sorted out, neither team got a look at goal and the game finished knotted up at three apiece.

The Lions finished with 65% of the possession but were out-shot 14-13 (7-6 on target). Orlando held an 84%-73% edge in passing accuracy.

“I think the movement was very good. Tonight I thought Yoshi’s delivery was excellent,” O’Connor said. “I think we can still play better than that. We need to be braver…You score six goals in two games and you pick up a point?”


Notes:

  • Higuita made his 87th appearance for Orlando City to pass Cyle Larin for the most in the club’s MLS history.
  • O’Connor said after the match that Kljestan will be evaluated after getting his knee and ankle rolled up on the harsh challenge by Bye.
  • O’Connor also said Yotún was a question mark for the second half after getting fouled several times in the first half.
  • The Lions committed only 11 fouls but saw three yellow cards and a red, while New England committed 23 fouls and saw only one yellow.

The Lions visit D.C. United at Audi Field next Sunday at 8 p.m.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/24/24

Orlando City and Orlando Pride power rankings, USMNT player news, USWNT will host Costa Rica, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s that time of the week for some tasty links. Two seven-point weekends for Orlando’s soccer teams is nothing to sneeze at, unlike the pollen that coats my hometown of Tallahassee. It’s the time of the year that I make my money back with the unlimited car wash next to my work. Enough with my weather-related car issues, let’s get to the links.

Lions Move Up (and Down) in Power Rankings

There’s nothing that shows the value of “power rankings” better than when you can compare two different ranking lists for the same week for any given club. We all know Orlando City is undefeated in its last four matches thanks to the late heroics of Ivan Angulo to draw CF Montreal over the weekend. But, did you know that was both good and bad?

In ESPN‘s MLS power rankings, Orlando City dropped a spot from 16th to 17th despite “treading water” with a point on the road in Montreal. Meanwhile, the Lions roared ahead three spots from 21st to 18th in MLSsoccer.com’s power rankings. So, do you like that Orlando is 17th in the ESPN piece despite the drop? Or do you prefer the positivity of a three-spot jump to 18th in the MLSSoccer.com rankings?

Orlando Pride Rise in Power Rankings

Forget everything I wrote up there regarding power rankings — at least as far as the Orlando Pride are concerned. After starting the season with three draws, the Pride now have two wins in a row. As such, ESPN moved the Pride up three spots from eighth to fifth in its NWSL power rankings. Their move up the list is entirely deserved and the writer was correct in their assessment. Of course, I’m kidding but it’s still nice to see the Pride get recognized for their results. Now, we just need the Pride to continue the winning streak.

Keeping Up With USMNT Players Abroad

As we shared yesterday, Sergino Dest will likely miss this summer’s Copa America thanks to a knee injury suffered during PSV Eindhoven training. That means the USMNT has a right back situation to address and there are quite a few well known candidates to step in for Dest.

Meanwhile, Weston McKennie has reportedly rejected Juventus’ latest extension offer. I can understand his decision given it doesn’t include any additional salary. McKennie has been very good for Juve, with 10 assists on the season. He’s not the only American making a difference, as Tim Weah provided the assist on Arkadiusz Milik’s goal to send Juventus to the Coppa Italia final.

USWNT Olympic Send-Off Match

The United States Women’s National Team will play a match against Costa Rica at Audi Field on July 16. It will be the final match for the USWNT prior to the Olympics that start nine days later against Zambia. New coach Emma Hayes will join the team on June 1, which isn’t a ton of time before the Olympics start, but she has been a part of the process for months.

Free Kicks

  • The New England Revolution have acquired veteran defender Xavier Arreaga from the Seattle Sounders for a 2025 international roster slot, and up to $75,000 in General Allocation Money depending on performance.
  • Inter Miami’s Jordi Alba will be out for several weeks due to a hamstring injury. Fortunately, he is expected to be back in time for the match against Orlando City on May 15. Where did I put the sarcasm font?

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Pride’s match against the Washington Spirit this Friday, and Orlando City’s match against Toronto FC on Saturday. Vamos Orlando!

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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.

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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?

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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.

Starters

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.

Substitutes

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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