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2018 Orlando City Season in Review: Donny Toia



Donny Toia entered his second season with Orlando City in a battle for the starting left back position — a spot he nailed down to the tune of 30 appearances and 29 starts in 2017. Acquired from Atlanta United in December of 2016 for a first-round SuperDraft pick, Toia provided the defensive stability the Lions lacked at left back for their first two years in MLS but the veteran wasn’t able to get forward much to help with the attack. As a result, Orlando went out and signed Mohamed El-Munir this past off-season.

Last year, due mainly to providing consistent coverage on the left side, we gave Toia a season rating of 6 for his first season in purple. His 2018 season was a lot quieter.

Statistical Breakdown

Toia appeared in only four MLS matches in 2018, including three starts, totaling just 238 minutes — one season removed from playing more than 2,500 minutes. Much of the year he didn’t even dress for the 18. He provided no goals but did have an assist, attempting one shot that was off target. He was an 80% passer with one chance created and defensively he averaged 1.5 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, and 1.8 clearances without a blocked shot. Toia stayed out of the referees’ books in 2018, drawing neither a yellow nor a red card.

He also appeared in one U.S. Open Cup match on July 18 at the Philadelphia Union. He played the full 90 minutes at right back — instead of his usual left back spot — in the match, attempting one shot and committing a foul in the 1-0 road loss. Toia completed 84% of his passes in the match and finished with one tackle, one interception, four recoveries, and three clearances.

Best Game

It’s tempting to pick the only game the Lions won with Toia in the lineup in this section, but he only played 13 minutes off the bench in the July 14 win over Toronto FC. Orlando City lost the other three MLS games and the U.S. Open Cup game in which Toia started and only one of them was close. The 1-0 loss to Philadelphia in USOC play was the only one-goal game in the bunch, with lopsided shutout losses at home to Montreal (2-0) and on the road to New York City FC (3-0). I’m going to pick the remaining game — a 4-1 loss at Los Angeles FC.

Toia assisted on the lone Orlando City goal in the match — well, the only Orlando City goal in the match that ended up counting, anyhow — rating a score of 6 from the bearded guy in our player grades for the match. He attempted one shot in the match, passed at a 74% rate, notching one key pass and an assist on a long through ball for Sacha Kljestan’s cool finish to make it 2-1 at the time.

Sure, it helped that Walker Zimmerman slipped on the play, but that takes nothing away from Toia’s lovely, perfectly weighted ball for Kljestan to run onto. With 58 touches on the night, he was the more active fullback for Orlando in the match. The Lions’ back line struggled quite a bit in that game but Toia led all Orlando defenders in tackles (2) and interceptions (3, tied with Amro Tarek), and he was just behind Tarek with three clearances to the center back’s four. You may recall that the game was still 0-0 when Jonathan Spector left with an injury in the 25th minute and was replaced by Chris Schuler. The back line took a while to settle in after the substitution but, by the time it did, it was 2-0. LAFC tacked on two late goals after Dom Dwyer’s apparent tying strike was disallowed. You can’t say anyone on the team played particularly great soccer that night, but Toia was the most solid piece along the back line and in a limited number of appearances, and a lack of opportunities to find any rhythm this season, his assist pushes this performance to the top of his 2018 list for me.

2018 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff give Toia an incomplete grade for the 2018 season. With fewer than 250 minutes under his belt, he simply didn’t see enough of the field to warrant a rating for the season. Toia gives reliably quiet, steady performances and it was clear in 2018 that Jason Kreis and James O’Connor were looking for more from the left back position. They opted to live with El-Munir’s periodic defensive lapses and turnovers to get more creativity going forward, more pace, and more crosses from the left side. We perhaps should have seen more of Toia on the right side while Scott Sutter was out with injury, but it just never materialized and the journeyman found himself on the outside of position battles, looking in.

2019 Outlook

Toia is under contract through next season according to Transfermarkt. Assuming that’s true, the Lions would do well to try to find the Arizona native a new home for 2019. At $125,000 per year, Toia isn’t that expensive and provides quality depth. He was a bargain playing 30 games in 2017, but he’s too expensive for only four appearances a year. He’s still in the prime of his career at age 26. If the plan is to play a defensive-oriented four-man back line, Toia is a solid guy to have on your roster. However, if O’Connor wants more dynamic players on the outside, either at fullback or wingback (and likely a combination of the two for flexibility in shape), he’s a bit of a square peg for a round hole. The Lions may opt to try to find a transfer for Toia this off-season but at his salary it wouldn’t be the end of the world to have him providing depth at outside back.

Previous Orlando City Season in Review Posts (Date Posted)

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Cavalry FC, Concacaf Champions Cup: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions play their first competitive match of 2024 north of the border in the Concacaf Champions Cup.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night Concacaf Champions Cup matchup between Orlando City and Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League at Starlight Stadium in Langford, British Columbia at 10 p.m. (FOX Sports 2, TUDN). It’s the first meeting ever between the teams and Orlando City’s first ever match against a CPL team.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.


There isn’t any. These teams have never met, nor has Orlando City faced anyone in the Canadian Premier League before.

The Lions will be experiencing their fourth international cup competition and their second foray into Concacaf Champions League/Cup, having drawn twice against Tigres UANL last season. Orlando bowed out of last year’s competition due to the away goals tiebreaker. Orlando City has also competed twice in Leagues Cup.


Both teams will be playing their first competitive match of the 2024 season. Orlando City is coming off a 4-0-1 preseason, drawing 1-1 against Flamengo before reeling off four straight wins against Rhode Island FC, the New England Revolution, the Houston Dynamo, and the Colorado Rapids. City reached the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 2023 and is looking to build on its most successful season to date in MLS.

Cavalry FC is coming off a season in which it finished top of the table in the regular season, but fell 2-1 after extra time in the CPL championship match against Forge FC. As far as CPL teams go, the Lions will be facing one of the league’s best, as you’d expect in a competition called “Champions Cup.”

“We’re very proud and very happy to bring Orlando City to this beautiful city and this excellent competition,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “(We’re) Feeling proud of playing in Champions Cup in Concacaf and obviously aiming for the best prize, and here we are starting the season with obviously a very competitive game.”

Pareja is suspended for tonight due to his red card in the second leg against Tigres in 2023.

Projected Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Michael Halliday.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Nico Lodeiro, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Duncan McGuire.

Cavalry FC (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Marco Carducci.

Defenders: Bradley Kamdem, Daan Klomp, Eryk Kobza, Fraser Aird.

Defensive Midfielders: Charlie Trafford, Jesse Daley.

Attacking Midfielders: William Akio, Sergio Camargo, Ali Musse.

Forward: Myer Bevan.


REF: Juan Gabriel Calderon (Costa Rica).
AR1: William Arrieta (Costa Rica).
AR2: Henri Pupiro (Nicaragua).
4TH: Keylor Herrera (Costa Rica).
VAR: Oscar Mejia (Mexico).
VAR1: Erick Miranda (Mexico).

How to Watch

Match Time: 10 p.m.

Venue: Starlight Stadium — Langford, British Columbia.

TV: FOX Sports 2, TUDN.

Streaming: The match can be streamed on FOX Sports GO, the FOX Sports app, and the TUDN app.

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).

Enjoy the match. Go City!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/21/24

Orlando City takes on Cavalry FC tonight, Lions sign Jeorgio Kocevski, USWNT wins in Concacaf W Gold Cup, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you in Florida as we get to watch the Lions in action tonight in the Concacaf Champions Cup. There’s not much new with me this week other than staying busy covering high school basketball and hockey. Let’s also wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride forward Amanda Allen. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Takes on Cavalry FC Tonight

Orlando City will be in action tonight in the first round of the Concacaf Champions Cup, as it takes on Cavalry FC at Starlight Stadium at 10 p.m. This matchup will be the Lions’ first competitive match of 2024, with their MLS season opener against CF Montreal set for Saturday. The Lions were knocked out by Tigres due to away goals in last year’s Concacaf Champions League. Cavalry FC will make its debut in this competition tonight and qualified by winning the 2023 Canadian Premier League Shield. The second leg between these two sides will be on Feb. 27 at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando City Signs First-Round Draft Pick Jeorgio Kocevski

Orlando City signed 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick Jeorgio Kocevski to a contract through the 2024 season, with club options for 2025, 2026, and 2027. Kocevski scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time in Orlando’s final preseason match against the Colorado Rapids this past weekend. The midfielder was selected 21st overall in the first round of the 2024 MLS SuperDraft by the Lions in December. He played four years for Syracuse, recording seven goals and 18 assists in 71 matches. Kocevski is the only player the club has signed from the Lions’ 2024 draft class and will likely get some minutes with Orlando City B this season.

St. Louis City and Philadelphia Union Win in Champions Cup

Orlando City isn’t the only MLS team kicking off its Concacaf Champions Cup campaign this week. St. Louis City edged out the Houston Dynamo 2-1, with rookie Hosei Kijima scoring the winner in stoppage time. The Philadelphia Union were on the road in Costa Rica to face off against Deportivo Saprissa and won 3-2 thanks to a hat trick from Julian Carranza in the second half. As for other tournament matches this week, the New England Revolution face Independiente in Panama tonight, with Nashville playing Moca FC in the Dominican Republic and FC Cincinnati taking on Jamaica’s Cavalier SC tomorrow.

USWNT Beats the Dominican Republic in W Gold Cup

The United States Women’s National Team got its Concacaf W Gold Cup campaign off to a great start with a 5-0 win against the Dominican Republic in Group A. Olivia Moultrie scored her first USWNT goal to give her team an early lead, with Lynn Williams giving the U.S. another goal before halftime. Moultrie scored another in the second half to earn her brace, and Jenna Nighswonger converted a penalty for her first USWNT goal as well. Former Pride forward Alex Morgan replaced Mia Fishel on the roster due to injury and scored from the penalty spot in stoppage time. The USWNT’s next game will be against Argentina on Friday at 10:15 p.m.

UEFA Champions League Roundup

The UEFA Champions League had plenty of drama as the round of 16 continued. Inter Milan won 1-0 in its first leg against Atletico Madrid at home, with Mark Arnautovic scoring the only goal in the match. In the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund played to a thrilling 1-1 draw. The second legs for both matchups will be played on March 13. There is more Champions League action today, as FC Porto hosts Arsenal while Napoli takes on Barcelona.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS power rankings are out just before the regular season begins. Orlando City begins the season in the fifth spot.
  • Orlando City and the Orlando Pride announced fan experience upgrades at Inter&Co Stadium featuring Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in merchandise shops, stadium Wi-Fi upgrades, and a jersey history experience.
  • The MLS Players Association released a statement on the ongoing referee lockout.
  • Here is the list of MLS Season Pass commentator assignments for opening week.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.

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Orlando City

Orlando City Signs First-Round Draft Pick Jeorgio Kocevski

Orlando City signs its first-round draft pick Jeorgio Kocevski to a one-year deal with three option years.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City SC announced the signing of first-round 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick Jeorgio Kocevski today. The deal is through the upcoming 2024 season with club options for 2025, 2026, and 2027. The Lions selected the Syracuse midfielder with the 21st overall pick in the draft in December.

“Jeorgio has had a really strong preseason camp with us, demonstrating everything we saw in him when we were scouting him and analyzing his game in college,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “He’s done well working his way into the group, even starting in our friendly against Flamengo and holding his own against some of the best in Brazil, and we’re excited to have him with us this season.”

The box-to-box midfielder made three appearances this preseason, starting against Brazilian club Flamengo and the following scrimmage against USL Championship side Rhode Island FC. He came on at halftime against the Colorado Rapids last weekend, scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute.

Prior to being selected by the Lions, the Liverpool, NY, native made 71 appearances with 65 starts and logged 5,599 minutes for Syracuse in four years. He scored seven goals and recorded 18 assists, putting 33 of his 93 shots on frame. Additionally, he was part of Syracuse’s 2022 NCAA national championship team, playing 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw, but missing in the team’s victorious shootout over Indiana.

Kocevski had a breakout junior year, being named to the United Soccer Coaches’ All-South Region third team, All-ACC third team, NCAA All-Tournament team, and ACC All-Tournament team. During his senior year, he wore the armband for the Orange and was named All-ACC first team and ACC Co-Midfielder of the Year.

What It Means for Orlando City

Kocevski was the most likely pick from this most recent draft to be signed by Orlando City. The departure of club captain Mauricio Pereyra left a spot in the midfield and Head Coach Oscar Pareja seemed to feel the rookie could fill it from early on. His start against Flamengo was in the place of regular starter Cesar Araujo, who was on international duty with the Uruguay U-23 national team. He played against Flamengo’s best lineup and did quite well in almost an hour on the field in his first minutes of play at the professional level.

While a spot was open for the signing of Kocevski, he likely won’t see much of the field for the first team this season. In addition to being behind starters Araujo and Wilder Cartagena, the defensive midfielder will be behind Felipe on the depth chart. In all likelihood, the rookie will slot in with Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro to get some minutes, but there is room for him to start regularly with that team.

Kocevski is currently the only player signed by the club from the Lions’ 2024 draft class. West Virginia midfielder Yutaro Tsukada, Pittsburgh midfielder Filip Mirkovic, and Charlotte midfielder Riyon Tori remained unsigned, with the latter opting to return to school for his senior season.

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