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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union: Player Grades and Man of the Match



Well, it wasn’t a loss. Orlando City fought hard against a hot Philadelphia Union side and even when an unfortunate deflection gave the visitors a late lead, the Lions didn’t quit. Scott Sutter’s strike leveled things in stoppage time and gave the Cardiac Cats a point.

The Lions looked much better in the first half, and James O’Connor wasn’t happy with the team’s second-half energy for the second straight week, but Orlando City will take the point and keep trying to move forward.

Now let’s get to those performances.


GK, Joe Bendik, 5.5 — Joe was a bit shaky early on his passing. He couldn’t do much about Burke’s goal in the 32nd minute. He wasn’t tested too often in the first half, as Philadelphia got only three on frame in the opening period, of which Joe stopped two but neither were difficult. In the second half, Bendik continued to have issues trying to play out of the back and he and his defenders seemed at odds over it at times. The deflection off of Shane O’Neill wrong-footed him a bit on the late goal that briefly put Philly ahead.

D, Jonathan Spector, 7 — Specs got a run-out at fullback and although he added some much-needed stability to the back line on that side, his lack of pace created a bit of a gulf in the attack at times. Yoshimar Yotún simply had nowhere to go to on the left most of the time in the attack and had to look to cut balls back inside toward traffic. Spector led the team in tackles (4), with two interceptions, and one clearance. He also created a scoring chance, fired in two crosses, and passed at 89% — not bad for a fullback.

D, Carlos Ascues, 6.5 — The Peruvian got his first start on the back line and had a mixed night. He had a pair of defensive-half turnovers while trying to dribble the ball forward, putting his teammates under pressure and forcing Bendik to punch away a shot from Haris Medunjanin on one occasion. Ascues had a tackle, two interceptions, four clearances and a pair of blocked shots and passed at a 95% clip. He also made a few crucial 1-v-1 plays that prevented Philadelphia scoring chances.

D, Shane O’Neill, 6 — O’Neill appeared to lose his footing as the cross came in from Borek Dockal on Burke’s goal and was on his way to the ground, helpless to do much about it. It’s debatable on whether he was out-muscled or simply slipped, but either way he was culpable. He was an unfortunate victim on the second goal, trying to block Fafa Picault’s shot but only succeeding in deflecting it to a spot where Joe couldn’t get it. He had a good passing rate (94%), with three tackles, an interception, and a team-high five clearances.

D, Scott Sutter, 7.5 (MotM) — Sutter looked to get into the attack often in the first half, and nearly earned himself a penalty early in the match. He had a pinpoint cross-field switch to Yotún midway through the first half that was like porn for passing enthusiasts. Sutter’s late game-tying goal was vital, of course, and he finished with two shots (one on goal) and a passing rate even better than Spector’s (95% — he was accurate on all six of his long-ball attempts). He also produced two tackles and two clearances and mostly kept his side of the pitch quiet when the Union were attacking.

MF, Oriol Rosell, 5.5 — Uri played a quietly solid game in the defensive midfield, finishing with two tackles, three interceptions, and three clearances. His 90% passing rate was pretty good but at times he tried to force some passes into difficult spots. Overall, I thought Rosell was mostly solid but we’ve seen better from him in a few recent games.

MF, Will Johnson, 5.5 — Will combined well early on the right with Sutter. He drew the free kick that led to Orlando’s opening goal. Tracked back well in the 61st minute to break up a Union attack. His 83% passing rate was a bit average, his one shot was off target, and he didn’t create any scoring chances. He produced an interception and a clearance defensively, and gave his usual blue collar work rate, but even that waned in the second half before he was subbed off.

MF, Yoshimar Yotún, 7.5 — The Peruvian provided excellent free kick service on Dom Dwyer’s header goal. He created four chances in the first half alone, as his passing was deadly accurate, even when he was trying something audacious. After halftime, he created three more scoring chances and practically had to hold down the left-sided attack by himself most of the night. His 88% pass percentage was decent and five of his 11 crosses were accurate. His one shot was off target. Defensively he made two tackles. He’d surely have been Man of the Match if not for tiring noticeably over the last half hour and he just had nothing left in the tank to give. This was evident in trying and failing to tackle Picault prior to the second Philadelphia goal. Still, it was a good night overall for the Peruvian and if he hadn’t had the last three weeks off — one via bye week and two via suspension — he may have had more left in his tank in the second half.

MF, Sacha Kljestan, 5 — I’ll give Sacha credit for trying to come back after only a few training sessions but the rust was evident on this night. He created no chances, attempted one shot, which was off target, and only completed 77% of his pass attempts. He contributed one clearance on defense.

MF, Cristian Higuita, 6.5 — Cristian was a surprise return from an adductor injury and was all over the pitch in the first half. His 24th-minute effort from a tight angle could have made it 2-0, but he hit the far post. He had a terrible giveaway in the 52nd minute and then had to foul to concede a free kick. His passing and play in the second half wasn’t nearly as crisp and he was subbed off for Josué Colmán in the 57th minute.

F, Dom Dwyer, 7 — He scored his 12th goal of the season in the ninth minute, shaking free of his marker and placing his header where Andre Blake couldn’t get to it. He generally created mayhem throughout the first half with his runs in behind the defense. Dom could have gotten a second goal late in the first half but missed the target with his header. He led the team in shots (3) but only the goal was on frame. His 65% passing rate isn’t great but he raised it from 50% at halftime and was one of the few players who was active throughout the entire 90 minutes. He also helped out on defense with an interception and a clearance.


MF, Josué Colmán (57’), 6.5 — The Paraguayan disappeared at times but he also had several moments of individual brilliance. He assisted on the game-tying goal, created two scoring chances, passed at an 88% clip, and attempted a shot. He didn’t repeatedly dribble into dead ends in this match as he’s done often in the past (though he did so a couple of times). He even came up with a tackle.

F/MF, Stefano Pinho (76’), 4.5 — The Brazilian didn’t do a lot in his 14 minutes. He did manage a weak header on goal that forced a Blake save and probably could have drawn a penalty since he was undercut by Jack Elliott on the play. He generally hustled and tried hard, bringing some much-needed energy onto the pitch where it was severely lacking. He also blocked a shot. However, he only got six touches on the ball and attempted one pass, which he completed.

MF, Chris Mueller (76’), 5 — As usual, the rookie worked his tail off and provided energy. His passing was OK, at 80%, (4/5) but he only got in eight touches. He didn’t attempt a shot but he did make a tackle defensively. It’s fair to say that he brought some energy into the attack, and he gave the Philadelphia back line something extra to worry about, but he didn’t accomplish a great deal in his 14 minutes.

That’s how I saw the match. What did you see? Please give us your vote for Man of the Match below and provide your arguments in the comments section.

Polling Closed

Dom Dwyer10
Yoshimar Yotún21
Scott Sutter44
Josué Colmán3
Jonathan Spector4
Other (comment below)1

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Five Takeaways

Here’s what we learned from Orlando City’s 1-1 draw at home against Inter Miami.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City returned to Exploria Stadium after a midweek loss to New York City FC and had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Inter Miami. The Lions did well to equalize after conceding first, but will likely feel that they left opportunity knocking as the Eastern Conference remains tight near the top. Here are my five takeaways from the third Tropic Thunder clash this year.

Lack of Execution Plagues the Lions

Orlando’s offense struggled to put the ball in the back of the net in this match. That’s not to say they didn’t create quality chances, as the Lions served up good crosses and dangerous long balls throughout the match. Only three of Orlando’s 16 crosses found their mark in the end. The execution just wasn’t there when it came to finishing attacks, whether it be poor decision-making when the time came to play the final ball or just missing the target completely. Of Orlando’s 13 shots, six were on target and only a couple of those gave Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender much difficulty. Ivan Angulo missing the goal entirely after Dagur Dan Thorhallsson picked out a perfect pass for him stands out. Expecting every promising attack to end with a goal is unfair, but weak finishing cost the Lions from claiming a big win at home.

Corner Kicks Gave the Lions Headaches

While the Lions didn’t have any corner kicks in the match, Inter Miami had seven and created some of its best chances with them. In the 61st minute, a corner kick taken by Robert Taylor found Leonardo Campana all alone in the center of the box. The Ecuadorian forward’s header mercifully went wide, but it was indicative of how Orlando had its hands full on set pieces. Pedro Gallese had to come up with a remarkable save in the first half as well after Campana barreled through Cartagena to head the ball at goal. Even though the Lions didn’t concede from a set piece, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something focused on this week just to ensure the team is organized enough to overcome uncalled fouls without needing its star goalkeeper or some luck.

Plenty of Physicality in Rivalry Match

It was easy to tell these two teams didn’t care much for each other, as they both fought hard on and off the ball. There were 27 fouls and seven yellow cards handed out by referee Armando Villarreal. Miami committed 16 of those fouls and received five of the yellow cards as they did whatever it took to slow down Orlando’s progress. Facundo Torres suffered the brunt of it and was fouled four times so that he couldn’t work his magic against Miami’s defense. It was the kind of physical match that can be expected of two rivals and made for an intense match that will likely have players from both sides seeking an ice bath. The Lions did well to stay composed for a majority of a very chippy match.

Duncan McGuire Shakes Off the Rust

Forward Duncan McGuire got back to his scoring ways with a crucial equalizer for his ninth goal of the MLS season. It was an important goal for reasons beyond the scoreline as well, as McGuire had squandered a golden opportunity to score earlier in the match by not being able to get his shot past Callender. He was also kicking himself for not getting on the end of a few other chances as well. His 84 minutes on the field were the most from him in one game this season, and the Lions will need him more often now that Ercan Kara is in Turkey. It was the rookie’s first goal since July and, although not perfect, the kind of performance to build upon moving forward.

Orlando Showcased Its Depth and Versatility

Head Coach Oscar Pareja switched things up at halftime, replacing Cesar Araujo with Martin Ojeda and having Mauricio Pereyra sit a bit deeper in the midfield to potentially create chances on the break a bit quicker using his service. Although Ojeda didn’t get a goal or an assist, his presence was notable on both sides of the ball and he played a key role in Orlando’s goal. Having a player of his caliber able to come off the bench has been a boon for Orlando this season, letting Pareja really kickstart the changes he wants to make to the team. Similar things could be said about Orlando’s other substitutes: Junior Urso, Ramiro Enrique, Gaston Gonzalez, and Michael Halliday. Their energy and skill kept Orlando pushing for more and gave the sense that a winner would have come had the game lasted a bit longer.

That’s what I took away from Orlando’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami. Let me know what you gathered from the match in the comments below

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/25/23

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Viviana Villacorta out for the season, OCB wins last game of the regular season, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Last night’s Orlando City match wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. It’s a pretty fitting feeling on a Monday, as we all get back into the swing of the work week after a nice weekend of soccer. There are plenty of ups and downs from a rollercoaster Sunday, so let’s dive right into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws With Inter Miami

In the latest edition of the Tropic Thunder rivalry, Orlando City and Inter Miami split the points at Exploria Stadium in a 1-1 result. Miami struck first, but the Lions did well to find an equalizer, even though they couldn’t find a winner in the end. It wasn’t Orlando’s best game by any means, but it was a decent response to a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Orlando now has 51 points, tying its club record for the most points in a season, set in 2021. The Lions will have a chance to break that record on Saturday when they host CF Montreal.

Viviana Villacorta Out for the Season

Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta will miss the remainder of the NWSL season after suffering an ACL tear in her left knee during training. The 24-year-old was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, but was not able to make her debut until 2022 due to sustained an ACL tear in her right knee that kept her out for all of the 2021 season. This year, she has 21 appearances across all competitions for the Pride and notched the first assist of her career in a big road win against the San Diego Wave on April 29. This is a tough blow to the Pride’s midfield with just three games remaining as she has ended her season early due to injury for the third straight year. The Pride are only a point out of a playoff spot and are back in action on Oct. 2 against Angel City FC.

Orlando City B Wins On Decision Day

On the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, Orlando City B won 2-1 at home over FC Cincinnati 2. The Young Lions had already clinched a spot in the postseason heading into this match, but the win secured their spot as the fifth seed. Jack Lynn briefly held the Golden Boot lead after scoring, but ended up tied at 19 goals with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2’s Remi Cabral. The trio ended in a three-way tie for the league’s Golden Boot honors. OCB will hit the road for its first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game, although the opponent is not yet known thanks to the new rule where higher seeds choose which team they want to face.

USWNT Wins in Megan Rapinoe’s Final Match

The United States Women’s National Team beat South Africa in a 2-0 win at Soldier Field. Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett scored and the defense did well to secure its second shutout against South Africa after a 3-0 win this past Thursday. This game also marked forward Megan Rapinoe’s final game with the USWNT, with the 38-year-old subbed off for the last time in the 54th minute. These were solid wins from the USWNT following the World Cup and it will aim to keep the momentum rolling next month in a pair of friendlies against Colombia.

Free Kicks

  • Three Orlando City academy sides came up with shutout victories this weekend.
  • Before the USWNT’s friendly with South Africa, U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker stated that plans remain in place for a new head coach to be at the helm in time for the training camp in December
  • American midfielder Yunus Musah did well in his AC Milan debut, playing all 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Verona.
  • A match in the Netherlands between Ajax and Feyenoord had to be abandoned due to fans throwing fireworks onto the field while Feyenoord led 3-0. According to police, tear gas had to be used to stop unrest outside the stadium after the match, and Ajax later fired Sven Mislintat, its director of soccer.
  • Newcastle became the first English Premier League team to have eight different players score in a match after crushing Sheffield United, 8-0.
  • Atletico Madrid ended Real Madrid’s perfect start to the season by beating its rival 3-1, with Alvaro Morata bagging a brace.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have an easy Monday and rest of your week!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Final Score 1-1 as McGuire’s Goal Lifts Lions to Home Point

Miami’s new stars didn’t play and the Lions will feel they should have beaten the rest of the Herons instead of having to come back to earn a point.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Inter Miami sat its three new big stars but still managed to steal a point from Orlando City in a 1-1 draw in front of a sellout crowd of 25,527 at Exploria Stadium. David Ruiz gave Miami (9-15-5, 32 points) the lead early in the second half, but rookie Duncan McGuire equalized 14 minutes later for Orlando City (14-7-9, 51 points). Neither side could break the stalemate, and the Lions missed a big opportunity to add to their point total.

Orlando City went 1-0-1 in the season series and 1-1-1 in all competitions against the Herons. The Lions remain second in the Eastern Conference with four matches remaining.

“A very competitive match,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the game. “Many times the game became very rocky, and we could have more clarity in the two boxes when we were attacking and being clean to make a decision and not having to suffer that much to score a goal.”

Pareja’s lineup featured Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena manned the central midfield behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, and Facundo Torres, with Duncan McGuire returning to the starting lineup up top.

The opening 12 minutes were mostly played between the penalty areas, with the Lions probing for an opening and pressing high when they didn’t have the ball. Miami was able to create very little and was content to foul whenever there was a danger of someone getting behind. The Herons looked to hit over the top or with long diagonal balls and came close to connecting on a couple. Jansson had a strong first half, winning a number of balls forward that were intended for Miami’s forwards.

A chaotic sequence led to Orlando’s first attempt on goal in the 16th minute, as Angulo ran onto ball from McGuire in the middle of the penalty area, but his shot was blocked. A minute later, Cartagena dispossessed Ruiz and dribbled toward goal but referee Armando Villarreal pulled it back for a foul on the Peruvian, though there didn’t appear to be anything in it.

Miami defender Tomas Aviles picked up four fouls in the first half and three of them were of worthy of yellow cards — the first coming in the opening minutes. He got a talking to from Villarreal on what surely would be a yellow card in most games and then did pick up a yellow in the 23rd minute on his next such tactical foul. He did it again later in the half but Villarreal lacked the courage to send him off and instead merely gave him a second lecture.

Gallese made a comfortable save on a shot from distance by Leonardo Campana in the 26th minute.

Orlando City won several set pieces from the wings throughout the half but couldn’t produce anything from them. Schlegel got onto a cross in the 29th minute but headed well over the bar. Seconds later, the Lions got their best chance of the half when Jansson sent a gorgeous through ball past the defense and found McGuire. The rooke smashed a shot from the top of the area but Drake Callender made the save. Torres picked up the rebound but his follow shot was blocked.

Benjamin Cremaschi went into the book moments later when Cartagena nutmegged him and rounded him. The young midfielder reached out and grabbed his counterpart to earn the yellow card.

In the 38th minute, Thorhallsson tried to hit a shot on the half volley after the defense cleared a long throw from Araujo. The shot bounced harmlessly wide as the Icelandic fullback didn’t hit it cleanly.

Gallese made a terrific save to keep the game scoreless in the 42nd minute. Campana bowled over Cartagena to free himself for a header on a corner kick and nodded on target but Gallese denied him with a clutch save.

Josef Martinez sent a shot sailing into the stands late on the last chance of the half, and the teams went to the break scoreless.

The visitors held more first-half possession (53.7%-46.3%), put more shots on target (2-1), won more corners (3-0), passed more accurately (82.7%-78.9%). The Lions attempted more shots (7-4).

“We knew that they were going to crowd the middle with this defense of five and the three midfielders,” Pareja said of attacking Miami’s system. “Normally, when you have these eight players in front of you, there’s not much space there.”

Pareja subbed Martin Ojeda on for Araujo at halftime, dropping Pereyra to central midfield. Miami made two defensive subs, removing Aviles and Sergii Kryvstov, who was injured late in the half, and brought on Kamal Miller and Ryan Sailor.

The Herons opened the scoring in the 52nd minute off of what appeared to be a foul on Torres, but no call was made and Miami broke in transition. Martinez ended up with the ball on the left and sent a shot on goal that Gallese stopped but Ruiz swooped in to tap in the rebound, making it 1-0.

A couple of minutes after the goal, Ruiz picked up a yellow card that was perhaps fortunate on an ugly looking foul from behind on Pereyra. Pareja referred to the foul as “insane” after the match. DeAndre Yedlin then picked up a yellow during the same stoppage in play for time wasting as Jansson tried to retrieve the ball from him for the restart.

Ojeda sent a good shot through traffic in the 59th minute, but Callender saw it and was able to get over to make the save. A minute later, Schlegel was booked after an aerial challenge as the chippiness of the game continued. The teams combined for 27 fouls, with the visitors picking up 16 of them.

Angulo should have equalized in the 63rd minute. The Lions sprung a good transition and Thorhallsson sent a marvelous through ball that sent the speedy left winger in behind. He tried to fool Callender and sent it toward goal but got it wrong and sent it wide of the target.

Two minutes later, Thorhallsson sent in a wicked cross just in front of goal but McGuire couldn’t get his foot on it and Callender caught it before it could cause any more mischief.

McGuire tied the match moments later. Cartagena sent Ojeda up the right side and the midfielder tried to cut back to his left for a shot but it was poked away. The ball fell kindly for McGuire to run onto and he smashed it through Callender’s legs to tie the match at 1-1 in the 66th minute. It was the rookie’s ninth league goal of the season.

“I saw the guys making a lot of good runs forward, opening up spaces, and I was left one-on-one with the defender,” McGuire said. “Luckily the ball bounced into my path and I saw my chance and took it.”

Robert Taylor cut inside on his right foot and fired a shot in the 70th minute but hit it right at Gallese.

Pareja sacrificed Angulo to send on Ramiro Enrique in the 73rd minute as the Lions looked for a winner.

Santos ended up on the right side after a long-range free kick attempt for Orlando and it nearly paid off. With his weaker right foot, the Brazilian sent in a good cross to Torres, who headed it on frame but the Uruguayan couldn’t get much power on it and that made for an easy save.

Pareja emptied his bench over the next few minutes and sent on Michael Halliday, Gaston Gonzalez, and Junior Urso for a visibly tiring Thorhallsson, McGuire, and Pereyra.

Neither side could find a good look at goal for a potential winner in the final minutes of normal time plus a seemingly short amount of stoppage — just four minutes. The two Tropic Thunder rivals had to settle for splitting the points.

Orlando City’s desire to win the game was reflected in the final statistics. The Lions finished with more possession (51.2%-48.8%), shots (13-9), shots on target (6-5), and passing accuracy (83%-82.6%). The Herons ended up with more corners (7-0), as the Lions failed to earn a single one. The Lions had way more touches inside the opponent’s penalty area (21-10), but failed to produce much in the way of final quality aside from McGuire’s strong finish.

“At the end, I think we pushed. We played well,” Pareja said. “I don’t like to say (we) deserved more because that in soccer is not a good phrase. What I want to say is we have to be clearer in this type of game where there’s not many options, the gaps are closed, and we had our moments to finish it out. But we’ll take the point.”

“We’re definitely not satisfied yet,” McGuire said. “We still want to get more points. We want to keep pushing. And definitely we want to make a deep run in the playoffs and win the entire thing.”

After three matches in nine days, Orlando City has more of a normal week of work before welcoming CF Montreal to Exploria Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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