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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Sporting Kansas City: Final Score 1-0 as Lions’ Road Woes Continue

Lions have just one win in 18 games now.



Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

The Lions continue living in the pit of misery. Orlando City (7-17-3 24 points) now has just one win in 18 matches (1-15-2) after suffering a 1-0 loss at Children’s Mercy Park in a rough homecoming of sorts for Dom Dwyer and Uri Rosell. Felipe Gutierrez provided the only goal.

Dwyer had the two best scoring chances of the game but Sporting Kansas City (14-7-6, 48 points) was the team that put the ball in the net. A decent defensive effort by the Lions went for naught as the Orlando attack couldn’t sustain much of anything and Tim Melia denied Dwyer 1-v-1 on two occasions.

It was Orlando’s 10th consecutive road loss in league play dating back to April at Colorado, and Orlando City is now winless in eight (0-6-2). If you want a silver lining, the Lions allowed fewer than two goals for the first time since July 14.

James O’Connor mainly stuck with last weekend’s lineup, although Yoshimar Yotún was not available due to being away on international duty with Peru.

The first half was mostly played in Orlando City’s half of the pitch. The Lions’ plan to keep possession and frustrate the hosts could not work because SKC’s pressure continually forced turnovers and kept Orlando on the back foot. The same problems playing out of the back were evident, as the defenders and goalkeeper Joe Bendik could not pass precisely enough to escape the pressure.

The hosts had the first opportunity three minutes in when Gerso Fernandes beat Scott Sutter and sent a ball through the box that hit Shane O’Neill and forced Bendik to make a stop.

Two minutes later, Rosell fired a gorgeous ball over the top that fell perfectly for Dwyer. Dom took a touch and was in alone on Melia, but his shot was stopped by the Sporting keeper. Dwyer may have been able to simply speed past Melia and score into the empty net but instead it ended up deflecting out for a corner.

Krisztian Nemeth fired a weak shot at Bendik in the 25th as Sporting began seeing more and more of the ball. The Orlando keeper spilled the shot but nobody on the home team was there to pounce on the mistake.

Dwyer fired a laser on a 27th-minute free kick but missed the target just after he’d earned a free kick on a foul by Andreu Fontas.

The final 18 minutes of the half mostly consisted of Orlando City players cutting crosses out or clearing them with their heads. Other than a weak header by Nemeth that went over the bar, there weren’t many chances for either side, although SKC was clearly the dominant side in a scoreless first half.

Orlando was out-shot, 5-3 (1-1 on target) and Sporting Kansas City held the advantage in possession (65%-35%) and passing accuracy (89%-80%).

The second half started much like the first ended. Yohan Croizet cut inside from the right and fired a shot wide with his left just two minutes into the second half.

Sporting finally broke through in the 53rd minute. after Croizet found Gutierrez at the top of the box and he slotted home past Bendik. SKC had the ball after a turnover caused by a lengthy hold of Dwyer by Fontas that went uncalled.

Ilie Sanchez had a free header in the 58th but got under it and sent it over the bar as the SKC pressure continued. Moments later, the flag went up as Bendik made a terrific reaction save on Nemeth.

The Lions nearly tied it in the 60th. Cristian Higuita sent a perfect through ball to release Dwyer into the area. Melia came out and made himself big and Dwyer’s shot again hit the keeper instead of the netting.

That started Orlando’s best spell of the second half, which saw Sutter send a blast over the net in the 65th minute and Higuita get under the ball on a header off a Sutter cross in the 71st minute. Second-half sub Josué Colmán then sent a drive right at Melia after Kljestan slipped him down the right side in the 73rd.

From that point on, Sporting Kansas City regained control of the match and Orlando City could really get nothing going, despite bringing on Stefano Pinho for Will Johnson. O’Connor never used his third substitution.

After another decent save by Bendik on Croizet, the match was over and Orlando City had yet another loss in a season full of them.

Sporting out-shot Orlando, 16-8 (5-3 on target), out-possessed the Lions, 58%-42%, and was the more accurate passing team (88%-82%).

It was a game where Yotún’s absence was certainly felt by Orlando but also a match the Lions might have taken something from if they’d cashed in on the two good opportunities for Dwyer.

Orlando City will line up and do it again at Chicago next Sunday against the Fire.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Photo Gallery

An album of images from Orlando City’s hard-fought draw at home against the Herons.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

The Lions brought much more roar on Sunday night to face their southern rivals but had trouble finding the net, allowing the Herons to nick a point even while short staffed. None of Miami’s high-priced talent traveled for the match after facing Toronto midweek, and physicality ensued, firing up the sold-out crowd at Exploria Stadium.

Talking with some of the other photographers on the sideline who had flown in for this match, they rated the Orlando atmosphere top-notch; in their experience, other cities don’t compare to the in-stadium fan enthusiasm.

The Lions were in “the net is lava” mode, with Duncan McGuire and Iván Angulo each missing prime one-on-one chances with Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender in each half, McGuire leaving it straight at Callendar, and Angulo badly missing the net after a missed first touch. So of course Miami struck first, with David Ruíz scoring early in the second half.

This fired the Lions up even more and Martín Ojeda pinballed McGuire in behind the Miami back line, allowing Duncan to do what Duncan does to draw the score level. The Lions generally looked the more dangerous team for most (but not all) of the night. However, it is scoring goals that actually counts, leaving both teams unchanged in their respective Eastern Conference standings. Orlando remains second at 14-7-9, while Miami stays in 14th at 9-15-5.

The Lions continue to control their own destiny in terms of getting a top-four finish as they look to lock up home field advantage for a best-of-three matchup in the MLS Cup playoffs.

With home dates left against Montreal and a sputtering-but-dangerous New England remaining, there’s still plenty of time to be part of that world-class gameday atmosphere by going out to support the team as they push for a strong finish.

We hope that you enjoy these images from a hard-fought, come-from-behind draw against Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium.

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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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