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Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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The Lions took on the Chicago Fire today, and once again came away with no points in the 4-0 loss. The loss was arguably one of the worst games Orlando has played all season with no energy at all. With the poor performance as a whole, how did the Lions fare individually in Chicago?

Starters

GK, Joe Bendik, 3 — This is a pretty favorable grade for Bendik after this match. He gave up four goals and was at least partly responsible for most of them, especially the second goal in which he gave away possession and basically gave a free goal to Aleksandar Katai. Bendik has had a rough season and this game was just a representation of how the season has gone for him.

D, Jonathan Spector, 5 — Spector played a pretty solid match, playing multiple positions on the back line in this one. Spector was the best passer on the back line and also cleared the ball out of the danger area seven times. Within a poor defensive line, Spector was a bright spot.

D, Carlos Ascues, 3.5 — Ascues had a rough game on the back line, much like his teammates around him. The third goal of the match for the Chicago Fire was mostly because of terrible defense from Ascues, and the game as a whole for Ascues was just poor. He had the most blocked shots, with two, but besides that, not many positives came from his performance.

D, Shane O’Neill, 4 — O’Neill wasn’t the greatest player on the pitch on Sunday, but he also wasn’t the worst. His defensive play was subpar along with his passing, but it was also hard to evaluate him after being subbed out at the start of the second half. Not a terrible outing for the center back but definitely could have been better.

D, Scott Sutter, 5 — Sutter was probably the second best defensive player on the pitch behind Spector, but he also had his moments at right back. Sutter was involved in creating offensive chances with numerous crosses into the penalty area, but none of them resulted in legitimate scoring chances. He was beaten by Katai a few times but held up for the most part in an average outing.

MF, Uri Rosell, 5.5 — Rosell had a very solid match as he was involved in all facets of the game on both sides of the pitch. He had nice tackles in the midfield along with three clearances to go with them. Rosell also read opposing passes well with three interceptions to shut down what could be shut down from the Chicago Fire. Rosell has been playing very well as of late and kept it up on Sunday.

MF, Yoshímar Yotún, 5 — Yotún had a very slow game with offensive production. He only took one shot in the game, which was not on goal. He was fouled three times during the match, which set up scoring chances that were just never taken advantage of. Yotún has had a pretty good season overall but he didn’t do anything spectacular at all against Chicago.

MF, Sacha Kljestan, 4.5 — Kljestan had a pretty average game for his caliber. He took one shot but it wasn’t on target. The 33-year-old made some solid passes throughout but created minimal scoring chances for the offense. He didn’t do much with his 56 touches and can’t really be blamed for the loss, but as a leading player he had to be held accountable.

MF, Josué Colmán, 4 — Colmán took one of the two shots on target for the Lions, but his poor decision trying to back heel and losing possession to Dax McCarty led to Chicago taking the advantage early on. The Paraguayan was one of the players who seemed to just go through the motions rather than showing any sort of care or energy. With him being subbed off, the Lions didn’t get much better, but getting a player who seemed to not care much off the pitch was a positive.

MF, Mohamed El-Munir, 6 (MotM) — El-Munir was the best player on the pitch during the match for Orlando, in my opinion. Placed at a winger spot to start the game, El-Munir once again showed his versatility, creating numerous offensive chances and shutting down attacks on the wings. He cut off passing lanes as well as clearing the ball out of the danger area, but his production wasn’t enough to even get his team on the board. He moved to left back after the first half. Despite an poor overall team effort, El-Munir had a productive match.

F, Dom Dwyer, 4.5 — Whenever the offense does poorly, Dwyer usually has had a bad game. Dwyer easily led the team with six shots, but only one hit the target and was easily saved by Richard Sánchez, with the striker smashing the ball right off the goalkeeper’s chest on a 1-v-1 situation. Dwyer struggled throughout the match in multiple areas, from his poor shooting accuracy to his minimal amount of touches. It was a rough outing for Dwyer and the scoreline showcased the struggles of the entire offense.

Substitutes

MF, Chris Mueller, 5.5 (46’) — Mueller brought a sense of energy on to the pitch with his entrance, but he still struggled to get anything going. Mueller’s passing accuracy was a poor 68% and he only took one shot, so not much came out of the rookie off of the bench, even though he was one of the few players to show some urgency.

MF, Pierre Da Silva, 3.5 (69’) — Not much came from Da Silva, except that his first involvement of the game resulted in a Chicago goal. His lazy back pass to Yotún was easily picked off by Raheem Edwards, starting a 2-v-1 with Nemanja Nikolic against Spector. Nikolic then padded the score line with his second goal of the match. Other than that, Da Silva’s presence was never really felt at any point in the match. He didn’t do much wrong coming on for James O’Connor — after the early turnover — but he couldn’t force a comeback effort either.


Who was your Man of the Match in the loss to the Chicago Fire? Let us know in the comments.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Mohamed El-Munir24
Jonathan Spector12
Uri Rosell3
Chris Mueller11
Other18

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/13/24

Orlando City B hosts Chattanooga FC tonight, USMNT earns draw against Brazil, MLS’ Juneteenth celebrations, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Between my cat finally deciding I’m worth hanging out with and reading a pair of books that have been collecting dust on my shelf, I’ve been having a pretty good week. I’m looking forward to the feast of soccer both in Orlando and abroad over the next few days as well. But for now, let’s get this Thursday started with today’s links!

Orlando City B Hosts Chattanooga FC Tonight

In an enticing midweek match tonight at 7 p.m., Orlando City B will take on Chattanooga FC at Osceola Heritage Park. If not heading to watch OCB in person, you can catch the game on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+. The last time these two teams squared off was on May 4, with Chattanooga winning the penalty shootout for an extra point after a 1-1 draw in Tennessee. The Young Lions are coming off of a 2-2 draw with one of the league’s worst teams this season, Carolina Core FC, but winning the shootout after a late rally could give them the kind of momentum needed to take down Chattanooga. Beating one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference would be quite the statement from OCB during what’s been a middling season so far.

USMNT Draws With Brazil in Orlando

Playing in Orlando at Camping World Stadium, the United States Men’s National Team drew 1-1 against Brazil in a friendly billed as the Continental Clasico. Brazil scored first, but Matt Turner and the USMNT didn’t collapse under the pressure and earned the team’s first ever draw against the South American powerhouse. All in all, it was a much better result than the USMNT’s 5-1 loss to Colombia on Saturday. This was the USMNT’s final match until Copa America later this month. The Yanks will start their campaign against Bolivia on June 23 before playing Panama on June 27 and Uruguay on July 1.

MLS Announces Initiatives for Juneteenth

In partnership with Black Players for Change and Adidas, MLS announced some of the ways the league will be celebrating Juneteenth. Pre-match shirts acknowledging the change players can provide will be worn during warm-ups and fans can buy their own shirts as well, with a portion of the proceeds going toward organizations focused on racial equity and social justice. There will also be a campaign highlighting the connection between professional and academy players, as well as educational content across the league’s social media to raise awareness of the holiday.

Euro 2024 Kicks Off on Friday

A loaded gauntlet of summer tournaments finally begins Friday, as Germany hosts Scotland for the first match of Euro 2024. From Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential swan song to a brutal group that includes Spain, Italy, and Croatia, storylines abound for the tournament and each team brings something worth watching to the table. For Orlando City fans, defender David Brekalo was called up by Slovenia, which was drawn in a group with England, Denmark, and Serbia. I’m looking forward to seeing which underdogs prevail and which players make a name for themselves in this tournament.

2026 World Cup Schedule Revealed

The full schedule for the 2026 World Cup was unveiled, which gives a slight glimpse at the paths each host nation could take in the tournament. If the U.S. wins Group D after matches in Los Angeles and Seattle, it will stay on the West Coast for a knockout game in San Francisco before a potential round of 16 game in Seattle and quarterfinal in Los Angeles. Mexico and Canada have similar incentives to win their groups, as they will then host in their country until heading to the U.S. for the quarterfinals, should they make it that far. Here in Florida, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami will serve as the venue for four group games, a round of 32 match on July 3, a quarterfinal on July 11, and the third-place match on July 18.

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  • Orlando Pride Assistant Coach Yolanda Thomas was announced as a panelist for the Black Soccer Coaches’ summer symposium on July 22. She will also have a field session at the event to discuss the role of the midfield when building out of the back.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/12/24

Leagues Cup forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup win, USMNT U-23 loses to Japan, NWSL expansion options, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. The USMNT plays tonight in Orlando, and I hope that you have tickets. If not, we can still watch as we wait for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday. On a personal note, this Friday will mark my ninth anniversary with The Mane Land. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m glad you’ve been there with us. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s get to the links.

Leagues Cup Forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Win

Orlando City is playing in the Leagues Cup starting at the end of July and here’s a nice guide to Orlando’s group for the tournament. Of course, the Leagues Cup organizers want you to be pumped so that you watch and buy tickets. I think that is something we should do simply to support the club. However, I don’t think they went about promoting the competition in quite the right way. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the tournament’s social media team stated the Leagues Cup would be Orlando’s chance to win its first trophy. Did you catch the mistake? Taylor Twellman did.

Good on you, Taylor. Facundo Torres was indeed brilliant in that match, as was Benji Michel. Of course, there were others that caught the faux pas as well.

I think we should also be mentioning the USL Championships, but what do I know? Evidently, more than the Leagues Cup’s social media team.

USMNT to Honor Pulse Victims

There’s plenty of fake, corporate shows of support for Pride Month , but in general I think that the USMNT and USWNT have done a good job of being legitimate allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Tonight, the USMNT will play a friendly against Brazil at Camping World Stadium on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The players will be wearing Pride jerseys to honor those who lost their lives so senselessly eight years ago.

In terms of the game, the USMNT will be without Josh Sargent for the match, and Tyler Adams will only get limited minutes if he plays, as both are coming back from injuries. Get well before the Copa America, lads.

Lions on International Duty

The United States U-23 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan in its final friendly match before the Olympics. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire found himself on a bit of an island up top as the U.S. had difficulty moving the ball through the midfield. Hopefully, the U.S. got such play out of its system heading into the Olympics.

OCB’s Wilfredo Rivera made the most of his time playing in Puerto Rico’s World Cup qualifier against Anguilla, scoring a brace in the 8-0 victory. This win comes after a scoreless draw with El Salvador last week and Puerto Rico’s remaining group games during this round of qualifying will be next June.

Exploring NWSL Expansion Options

The NWSL will be expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with many cities vying for the next franchise. The leaders include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville are potential choices as well. If it was to be given to either Atlanta or Jacksonville they would be regional rivals for the Orlando Pride. The league is expected to make a decision by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to the U-15 United States Women’s National Team, which won 4-0 over Germany.
  • Did you ever have one of those dreams that was a little scary, but also absolutely hilarious? This preview of Inter Miami’s new mascot is a bit like that. To misquote Jaws: “Ever seen an Inter Miami mascot’s eyes, Chief? He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.”
  • The Cayman Islands Men’s National Football Team forfeited its match against Cuba because many of its players are on visas in the United States. If those players were to travel to Cuba, the U.S. may have canceled those visas due to travel restrictions.
  • This is one of the most ridiculous no-calls I’ve ever seen. India got royally hosed.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday night. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America Wednesday night at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up Monday night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team, Nani FC, fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

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

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