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Orlando City at Real Salt Lake: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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Orlando City SC was taken down for the first time on the road in the 2019 Major League Soccer season, as the Lions lost 2-1 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium, in Sandy, UT. The Lions, who have been alternating from losses to wins over the last five matches, conceded two goals before Nani came off the bench and scored one, but were unable to get another one before the final whistle.

Here are our player grades in a night in which Orlando struggled with some individual defensive mistakes.

Starters

GK, Brian Rowe, 6 – The goalkeeper couldn’t really do much to avoid either of RSL’s goals, even if Sam Johnson’s finish was near him — but way too powerful. He did make a pair of important saves in the second half on low shots from Jefferson Savarino that kept the Lions alive in the game.

D, Kamal Miller, 6 — The Canadian tried to cover Ruan and was easily beaten by Sam Johnson inside the penalty box on RSL’s first goal. The opponents repeatedly found space behind him and, not by coincidence, scored the second on a play that started on the left side of Orlando’s defense. He finished with a tackle, an interception, a clearance, and a blocked shot.

D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — The Swede lined up as the centerpiece of Orlando’s back line and had a busy night, trying to cover both Miller and O’Neill when they were beaten on the run, registering three clearances. He was the best passer among the starters with an 89.2% rating.

D, Shane O’Neill, 5.5 — O’Neill had trouble with Johnson’s pace for most of the night, but still managed to lead the team in clearances, with four. He had a decent chance to tie the game near the end, but misplaced his header big time. He had one interception and blocked one shot but his passing was at just a 66% rate.

WB, Joao Moutinho, 6 — The Portuguese showed some disconnection with Miller when defending Orlando’s left flank, but still managed to have three interceptions and three clearances. Offensively, he made an interesting run into the penalty box in the first half, but couldn’t place his header on target. He was a 72% passer on the night with one tackle, a team-high three interceptions, and three clearances.

MF, Sebas Mendez, 7.5 (MotM) — The Ecuadoran showed good energy in the center of the field and helped the Lions on both sides of the ball with a team-high six tackles and a smart and simple distribution (89%). He created a dangerous opportunity after winning the ball in Orlando’s attacking third and linking it with Sacha Kljestan, who failed to score.  

MF, Will Johnson, 5.5 — The veteran didn’t have a terrible night, but it’s baffling that a player of his experience could be naïve enough to complain with the referee after a free kick and allow Damir Kreilach to quickly restart the match behind his back (Kljestan also did this). It began the play that resulted in Real Salt Lake’s goal. He was also one second late when trailing Kreilach. His passing was just 75% for the match and he made one clearance with no interceptions or tackles, but he did have one vital deflection to deny a cross.

MF, Sacha Kljestan, 6 — The captain tried to organize the team’s offense, but couldn’t really connect his final passes. He should have done better in the 31st minute, when he had a clear chance to tie the match, but fired right on Nick Rimando weakly, though it appeared he may have slipped a little while gearing up to take the shot. He played a little deeper in the second half, but it didn’t change much his performance. He was an 83% passer and made one tackle.

WB, Ruan, 5.5 — The Brazilian was very active at the start of the match with numerous runs down the right side, but didn’t manage to be really dangerous with his shots or crosses. On the defensive end, he seemed to have missed his step and made a weird mistake on RSL’s first goal. He was embarrassed by Albert Rusnak on a play near the sideline later in the match. He finished with three tackles and two clearances but only one of his eight crosses was accurate on a 78% passing night.

F, Chris Mueller, 5.5 — Cash was granted a starting spot after two impressive performances coming off the bench and wasn’t nearly as effective. The 22-year-old forward played on the left side of the field, but was taken off after being repeatedly dispossessed and with no shots fired towards RSL’s goal. He was a 69% passer with only one accurate cross on seven tries.

F, Tesho Akindele, 5 — The forward was nearly invisible in the first half, in which he had just 18 touches, which was a product of poor team play in the final third all night. The situation didn’t change to start the second half and Tesho was subbed out when James O’Connor decided to bring Dom Dwyer and Nani into the game. Akindele was just a 68% passer and he created one scoring chance on the night.

Substitutes

F, Dom Dwyer (56’), 6.5 — The striker entered the game with the team down two goals and seemed to be a little nervous, with multiple complaints with the referee and some arguments with RSL players. He never stopped fighting though, and forced RSL’s defense into some mistakes and drew the free kick that resulted in Nani’s goal. He took one shot but didn’t get it on frame and completed his only pass attempt.

F, Nani (56’), 7 — The veteran tried to instantly bring some energy off the bench and had a dangerous volley from outside the box in his first minutes, but kind of faded after it, struggling to create from the left side. He returned to his best in an important moment when he converted a free kick to put the Lions back in the game. He finished with the team’s best passing percentage (minimum two attempts) at 93%, and created one scoring chance.

MF, Josue Colman (77’), 5.5 — The young Paraguayan was tasked with providing a more reliable offensive threat on the right side for Orlando, but didn’t manage to produce either by combining with Ruan or when trying to dribble. He did create two chances but his passing overall was poor (29%).

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This is how I saw the performances as the Lions headed west to play Real Salt Lake. Let me know where you agree and/or disagree in the comments below and be sure to vote for your Orlando City Man of the Match in the poll below.

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Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Sebas Mendez23
Nani34
Robin Jansson0
Joao Moutinho2
Other3

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.

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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.

History

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.

Overview

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.

Officials:

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 TUDN.com, 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.

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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 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 in Orlando.

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 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.

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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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