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2018 Orlando City Season in Review: Amro Tarek



Orlando City brought in Amro Tarek on a season-long loan from Egyptian Premier League side Wadi Degla to shore up the team’s center back depth. Though Amro had yet to earn a starting job at his previous clubs, he surprised many with his quality in purple and quickly made a name for himself.

The American-born, Egyptian-raised center back enjoyed a fantastic run of form to begin the season. Tarek was asked to step in while Jonathan Spector and Lamine Sané were at times unavailable and locked down a starting role for himself. His positive play caught the eye of Egypt’s manager at the time — Héctor Cúper — who handed Amro his first national team call up in several years ahead of the World Cup.

But Tarek didn’t make the final Pharaohs roster for Russia and wasn’t quite the same upon his return to Orlando. The team as a whole struggled but the back line especially so en route to allowing a league-worst number of goals over the course of the season. The summer window saw new boss James O’Connor bring in two more central defenders in Carlos Ascues and Shane O’Neill and Tarek’s place in the side was in question. However, he bounced back after injuries forced him back into the lineup and he ended the season on a solid run of form.

Statistical Breakdown

Amro appeared in 20 matches during the season, 19 of which were starts. Tarek was unfortunately last among center backs when it came to passing efficiency, completing just 78.2% of his attempts. Amro had a habit of trying to play long balls over the top, though, which hurt his numbers there. He did manage to create a scoring opportunity once every 10 matches, but that was equivalent to center backs like Sané and O’Neill and behind Spector.

Defensively, the numbers were very similar to his fellow central defenders according to WhoScored. Tarek averaged 1.6 tackles per game, 2.5 interceptions per game (good enough for third on the team), and 4.2 clearances per game (second only behind Sané). Amro also tied Carlos Ascues for the team lead for blocked shots with both stopping one opposition attempt every match on average.

Tarek was credited with a goal in Orlando’s wild 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution, though the ball might not have found the back of the net without some help from Revs keeper Matt Turner.

He registered no assists and attempted six shots, four on goal. He committed 11 fouls, drawing nine, and saw three yellow cards but no reds.

Best Game

While Amro had several stellar performances to start the year, his matches were often a mixed bag. He would prevent a goal or two with some display of athleticism or great defending but also put a few chances on a platter for the opposing attack. His most complete performance came in Orlando’s 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union back in April.

While Tarek didn’t set any season highs for his defensive statistics, he was clutch when it mattered, racking up three interceptions, five clearances, and a block. Most importantly, the Egyptian combined with Sané to help record one of Orlando City’s two clean sheets against a threatening Union attack.

Amro also nearly scored the first goal of the match after some fantastic play from Orlando, but ultimately his attempt was cleared off the line by Jack Elliott.

2018 Final Grade

While Tarek’s early performances jump-started his international career with Egypt, it was overall a rocky year in Orlando. The Mane Land staff gave Amro a composite grade of 5.5 for his 2018 performance. The 26-year-old was incredibly streaky and could save the day or give the match away depending on the day. His match grades throughout the year in our individual assessments ranged anywhere from 3.5 to 7.5.

Amro at his best could go toe-to-toe with most forwards in MLS and showed his potential as a player, but there were too many times when careless giveaways or poor positioning allowed the opposition to take advantage.

2019 Outlook

Amro’s loan from Wadi Degla is set to conclude at the end of this season. Orlando City has an option to buy Tarek permanently from the Egyptian club but it remains to be seen whether the OCSC brass will bring the Egyptian international back after James O’Connor seemed to favor O’Neill over Amro as the season wound down. Tarek made eight appearances under the Irishman, though he was away with Egypt and hampered with an injury during that stretch.

Purchasing Amro would likely come with a raise on his reported $88,333.37 total compensation, especially with Javier Aguirre consistently calling him up for Egypt. Combined with the transfer fee to purchase him from Wadi Degla, financials could play a big role in whether or not the big center back is in purple in 2019.

Should Tarek return, he has shown the potential to step in and be a capable starter in MLS with all of the physical tools to shut down attackers. The question remains whether he can be consistent enough to be relied on every week.

Previous Orlando City Season in Review Posts (Date Posted)

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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