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Orlando City vs. Houston Dynamo: Final Score 0-0 as Lions Held Scoreless for Third Straight Game

Orlando City is now 1-16-3 in its last 20 matches.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City (7-18-4, 25 points) continued a couple of trends tonight after drawing against the Houston Dynamo (8-13-8, 32 points), 0-0, in front of 23,723 fans in Orlando City Stadium. No Orlando City player has ever scored a goal against a Texas team in MLS — the lone goal for Orlando was a Tyler Deric own goal against Houston in a 1-0 Orlando City win in 2015. Orlando has now also failed to score in three straight games dating back to Sept. 1 off of Scott Sutter’s 91st-minute equalizer against the Philadelphia Union.

The Lions did break their losing streak, snapping it at just two, although this now makes one win in the last 20 matches for Orlando (1-16-3). The Lions also managed just their second clean sheet of the season, and the first since April 13 — a 2-0 win over the Union.

“I think there were some lovely passages of play,” Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor said. “I think the intensity was better. I think the final third just eluded us today. I thought we had some half-decent chances. I thought we were the better team tonight. Obviously, some positives, keeping the clean sheet gives us a strong foundation to hopefully go on and build from.”

The starting XI that came out was one that former head coach Jason Kreis wished he had, but injuries forced him to go different routes. The back four was the ideal first choice since the off-season, with Mohamed El-Munir and Sutter as fullbacks and Jonathan Spector and Lamine Sané — who made his first start since June 30 — as center backs. This forced Carlos Ascues to move into a defensive midfield role, partnering with Uri Rosell. 

The biggest surprise was in net. Joe Bendik was on the bench, but instead of Earl Edwards taking the starting role, Adam Grinwis made his first ever MLS start. Edwards was out of the 18 due to a “coaches decision.” Grinwis had a great debut, picking up a clean sheet, making three total saves, and was a key part in helping the Lions earn a point.

“There were some nerves, definitely,” Grinwis said. “Once the whistle blew it was the same game that I’ve always played. I’ve played on this field a lot of times. I’ve actually had my debut with Saint Louis FC last year in a 0-0 draw against OCB so it was kind of cool to come back here and make my MLS debut and have a similar result.”

The first exciting part of the match came in the 15th minute. Grinwis received a ball off a Dynamo player and took his time controlling it outside the box as Romell Quioto closed in on him. Grinwis got back into the box and fell on it. Quioto kicked it away, then put the ball into the back of the net. It was originally ruled a goal on the field, but the decision got reversed after a video review and Grinwis was lucky to still have his clean sheet. 

“I felt like I got on top of it and all of a sudden it squeaked out,” said Grinwis. “I was confused because I thought I had control of it. I really wasn’t concerned about it. Obviously, it’s a nervy moment and I’m sorry for everyone else that had to go through that with me but that would’ve been a real black eye on the debut so I’m really happy that justice was served on that one.”

In the 24th minute, the Lions connected on a good bit of passing that brought Orlando City from inside its own third into an attacking area, before a turnover ended the threat. Houston went on the counter and Spector made a perfect tackle on Quioto just outside the 18. However, referee Baldomero Toledo called a foul and gave Spector a yellow for added measure. On the free kick, Quioto hit the ball right into the wall. 

In the 31st, the Lions had their best scoring chance of the half. Rosell popped a ball over the top for Ascues, who cut it back for Sacha Kljestan. Sacha hit it toward the net, forcing a diving save from Joe Willis.

Towards the end of the half, the Lions had a few chances. Yoshimar Yotún played a good through ball to Kljestan, who slid but didn’t make good connection on it. El-Munir played a good ball in to Dom Dwyer, but the striker’s header went over the bar. In the 41st minute, Will Johnson tried a shot from distance that forced Willis to make a diving save. Two minutes later, Yoshi, from the right wing, put a great ball in but Dwyer could not control it.

The first half ended with no goals. Orlando looked comfortable for much of the half and had a few good passing spells. When Houston got the ball, the Dynamo were quick to counter and almost caught the Lions a few times. Orlando had more possession (54%-46%), shots (6-4), shots on target (3-1), and corners (2-1), but continuously stalled in the final third. The play was good in non-threatening areas, yet when Orlando got into scoring positions the play became too slow and too predictable, combined with a poor half from Dwyer. 

“I think tonight we had a lot of good passages of play and we did trouble their back four,” said Spector. “Maybe just the final decision or the final ball was lacking a little bit of quality but at times we were able to cut through them from back-to-front.”

The second half started the same way as the first ended, but even fewer chances were created from each team. The ball was played largely in the middle of the field and neither team was able to break into the attacking areas. Houston sat back and defended, then went on the counter. Orlando held possession, built the play up, but was still too slow into the final third. 

The best chance for Houston in the game came in the 58th minute. Quioto made a good run and got one-on-one with Grinwis. The ‘keeper stayed big, closed down the angle, and made a one-handed save. Houston got the ball back and shot toward the open net as Grinwis ran back into position but Spector was there to make the save with a diving header.

Orlando’s first shot on target in the second half came in the 70th minute. Yotún put an out-swinging corner right to Dwyer on the top of the six-yard box. It was a powerful redirect, but the header went right into the hands of Willis. The Yoshi-Dwyer connection was attempted again three minutes later. Yotún hit a ball over the top of Houston’s defense but it was too powerful, and Dwyer couldn’t bring it down. 

The last 15 minutes of the game, Houston finally started get into the attack. The Dynamo had a couple of corners, but the Lions were able to defend them. Just after the 80th minute, Orlando had three corners in a row but was unable to get any shots off from them. 

In the 90th minute it looked – for a moment – like the Cardiac Cats were back. Stefano Pinho played a great ball to Yoshi that started a counter. The Peruvian got down the field, cut inside, and passed it back to Pinho. The Brazilian took a shot right at the Houston defender, though, and the chance was over. 

“The positive is the clean sheet,” O’Connor said. “That’s the second this year and it’s nice to get that and it gives a platform to hopefully spring from. I think that the movement in the midfield was good and we created some openings. On another night I think we get maybe a few decisions that maybe, I don’t want to say too much, but I think on another night we get little more luck. And equally the decision making in the final third can we just get the last bit off quality to go finish it off.”

The match ended goalless but Orlando City led in almost every statistical category. The Lions finished with more shots on target (4-3), passes (446-376), possession (54%-46%), and corners (7-4). Orlando also had a very impressive passing accuracy percentage of 88%, but the team struggled once when it entered the final third of the field.

Orlando City has next week off and then plays again on Oct. 6 against FC Dallas in Toyota Stadium.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/29/23

Orlando City prepares for CF Montreal, learning more about Duncan McGuire, Jack Lynn named to MLS NEXT Pro Best XI, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

It’s Friday, which means we’re just one day away from a pretty busy weekend of Orlando soccer. It should be a pretty fun next few days, with Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B all in action. I don’t have many weekend plans beyond working and getting some writing and reading done. Let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Prepares for CF Montreal

Orlando City hosts CF Montreal tomorrow night in a showdown between two Eastern Conference teams with just four games remaining this season. It’s the second match between the two teams this year, with Montreal beating the Lions 2-0 in Canada on May 6. In the time since that game, the Lions have only lost three games this season and have not been defeated at home since April 22. Orlando’s next win will be Head Coach Oscar Pareja’s 60th with the Lions, and tomorrow’s match could also break club records for most wins and points in a season. A win for the Lions would be massive to put some breathing room between them and the other top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Get to Know Duncan McGuire

Orlando forward Duncan McGuire was the latest to go under the microscope as part of the club’s video series to learn more about the players. The rookie spoke on his upbringing as a middle child, as well as how he turned to soccer after struggling in other sports. McGuire also talked about his acrobatic goal celebrations and a clip is included of a time he didn’t quite stick the landing after scoring for Creighton. It’s a pretty fun interview, as he gave some details on how Mason Stajduhar is a quick learner when it comes to golf and how he wants to go out to dinner with Ana de Armas.

Jack Lynn Makes MLS NEXT Pro Best XI

Orlando City B forward Jack Lynn was named to the MLS NEXT Pro’s Best XI for the second straight year. Lynn fueled OCB’s offense this season, scoring 19 goals to help the Young Lions claim a spot in the playoffs. No MLS NEXT Pro player has scored more goals since the league’s inaugural season last year than Lynn, who has 34 goals under his belt. The 23-year-old is joined on the front line of this year’s Best XI with the two players he tied with for the Golden Boot, New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2 forward Remi Cabral.

Orlando City B Takes On Columbus Crew 2 This Sunday

The Young Lions will play their first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game this Sunday when they face Columbus Crew 2 on the road at 5:30 p.m. It will be the third and final match between the two sides this year, with each claiming a big win over the other earlier in the season. No team that qualified for the playoffs has lost more road games than OCB this season, which may be why Columbus elected to face Orlando. However, Orlando’s offense has been electric at times this year thanks to Lynn, Shak Mohammed, Wilfredo Rivera, and others. Sunday may be another wild game with the Young Lions involved and you can check it out on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.

Tahir Reid-Brown Called Up for Training Camp

United States U-17 Men’s National Team Head Coach Gonzalo Segares called up 20 players for a training camp in Brazil to prepare for the U-17 World Cup in November. OCB defender Tahir Reid-Brown was the lone Orlando representative called up for this camp. The 17-year-old was called up to the U-17 team earlier this April for a training camp in Florida. He’s had an impressive year, earning a spot in the MLS NEXT All-Star Game and making 10 appearances for OCB. The U.S. will take on Brazil on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6 in a pair of friendlies during this camp.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City center back Rodrigo Schlegel unveiled the meaning behind his tattoos, including the ones for his parents and his biggest moments as a Lion.

That’s all I have for you today. Hopefully the weather plays nice this weekend and you’re able to do everything you have planned. Have a great Friday!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to earn all three points against CF Montreal this Saturday in Exploria Stadium?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City hosts CF Montreal in the second-to-last home match of the 2023 MLS regular season at Exploria Stadium this Saturday night. The Lions have already secured a spot in the playoffs but are now fighting for home field advantage. Montreal is currently sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and is fighting for a playoff spot.

What does Orlando City need to do to secure three important points against the Canadian Club Foots?

Time to Make the Donuts

It had been a minute since Duncan McGuire scored a goal for Orlando City — and by a minute I mean since July 29. McGuire had a few opportunities against Inter Miami and managed to get one to equalize for the Lions and ensure a point at home. I do think he might have scored on another of those chances if he was fully back in form after his injury time, but I’ll take the goal. 

My hope is that getting that goal will remind him that he can score goals when given the opportunity, and he will be better about finishing the chances he gets against Montreal. Sometimes it just takes getting that first goal to open up the muscle memory and to unlock the confidence needed in a striker. It’s time for Duncan to score more goals, and the match against Montreal is the first and best opportunity to do so since Montreal starting center back Joel Waterman will be serving a red card suspension.

Switch up the Lineup

I propose a change to the starting lineup — something Oscar Pareja does not do very often. Due to injuries and other factors such a move wasn’t possible earlier in the season, but I think it could work now. I have a ton of respect for Mauricio Pereyra, but he could probably use a rest to be fresh for the playoffs as the regular season winds down. 

I suggest letting Martin Ojeda get the start in the 10 spot, moving Dagur Dan Thorhallsson up the wing, and having Michael Halliday take over at right back. Ojeda’s play as of late has been much improved, and with Halliday healthy again, why not take advantage of Dagur Dan’s versatility along the wing. I think this move provides energy, a surprise for opposing defenses, and allows Facundo Torres more freedom. 

Same Old Effective Defense

Orlando City’s defense has only allowed 37 goals this season — which is good enough to tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. On the flip side, Montreal has only scored 30 goals so far — which is only better than Toronto at 24 goals. Montreal has a goal differential of -15.If the Lions play their normally solid defense in front of the outstanding goalkeeping of Pedro Gallese, Montreal should not get too many opportunities to score. There’s no doubt that we will see Robin Jansson and Rodrigo Schlegel paired together with Rafael Santos on the left and either Dagur Dan — or Michael Halliday as I suggested — on the right. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena can stop most attacks before they get to the back line. If Orlando City plays defense as well as the club did against Miami, things should be fine.

That is what I will be looking for this Saturday as the Lions take on the boys from North of the border. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/28/23

Ajax is reportedly scouting Facundo Torres, Orlando Pride focus on upcoming matches, Houston Dynamo win U.S. Open Cup, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this work week has gone smoothly for you as we get ready to bid farewell to September. It’s been a hectic week for me, but I started and then promptly devoured all of Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. It was a nice read, albeit a bit intense at times. I’m not sure what I’ll read next as most of my reading list is packed up for a move, but if you have any recommendations then let me know in the comments below. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Ajax Reportedly Interested in Facundo Torres

Orlando City forward Facundo Torres has reportedly garnered the interest of Dutch club Ajax according to Fabrizio Romano.

It’s not too surprising that Ajax, which currently sits in 14th in the Eredivisie with just seven goals from five games, has scouts keeping tabs on Torres. The 23-year-old has scored 12 goals this season, powering Orlando to second in the Eastern Conference. It wouldn’t be the first time Torres has received attention from European clubs and likely won’t be the last as he continues to impress with the Lions

Orlando Pride Focus During Playoff Push

The Orlando Pride are back in action on Monday for a crucial road match with Angel City FC. Both teams have 25 points this season, one point from the sixth and final playoff spot currently held by the Washington Spirit. It will be the first of three remaining games for the Pride this season, with matches against fellow playoff hopefuls Racing Louisville and the Houston Dash set for later in October. As a result, there’s not much margin for error if the Pride wish to make the playoffs and Kylie Strom talked about how the team is focused for these games.

MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs Begin This Weekend

The first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs kicks off this weekend with six matches that can all be watched on MLS Season Pass. Unlike last year, Orlando City B will be taking part and is set to face off with Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Although the Young Lions have struggled on the road against Columbus, Jack Lynn and Shak Mohammed can make things difficult for the hosts. Hopefully we’ll see OCB make Columbus regret its choice of opponent in the postseason. I like the wrinkle and mind games to the playoffs the new rule gave and am interested to see which of the lower seeds plays with a chip on their shoulder. The playoffs begin on Friday when Sporting Kansas City II hosts Austin FC II in a battle between the third and fourth seeds of the Western Conference.

Houston Dynamo Win U.S. Open Cup

The Houston Dynamo have lifted the U.S. Open Cup trophy after winning 2-1 on the road against Inter Miami. A pair of goals in the first half were enough for Houston to win its second U.S. Open Cup title after also winning in 2018. A goal in stoppage time from Josef Martinez made things interesting, but the Dynamo defense did well to secure the win and deny Miami its second tournament title this year. It was a strong end to a solid tournament campaign from the Dynamo, as they beat four MLS sides before taking down Miami in the final.

Albertin Montoya Hired as Bay FC Head Coach

Ahead of its inaugural NWSL season next year, Bay FC named Albertin Montoya as the club’s first head coach. Montoya, who has lived in California for most of his life, served as the interim coach for the Washington Spirit in 2022 and also coached the U.S. U-17 women’s national team in 2011. Bay FC General Manager Lucy Rushton spoke on how Montoya’s name came up often while the club searched for a head coach, as well as how his skill at developing players will help build the club’s foundation.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja called for the supporters to continue filling Exploria Stadium and pushing the Lions forward for the team’s remaining home games this season.
  • St. Louis City midfielder Njabulo Blom won MLS Goal of the Week for his winner against Minnesota United. It was also the 23-year-old’s first professional goal.

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

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