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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Seattle Sounders: Final Score 2-1 as Heavily Rotated Lions Fall on the Road

A completely different starting XI can’t get it done on the road.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Well, that was certainly a soccer match. Orlando City (3-6-3, 12 points) lost its third consecutive game and is winless in its last four after a 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders (7-1-4, 25 points) at CenturyLink Field. With the loss, the Lions remain winless in five meetings (0-4-1) against the Sounders. The hosts improved to 6-0-2 at home this season.

Shockingly, I can’t say I was full of confidence when the Orlando City lineup came out an hour before kicking off against the Sounders. We all knew to expect some rotation because of the Lions having three matches in three different cities in an eight-day span. The keyword, however, is “some.” No one could have reasonably predicted an entirely different starting XI, including the MLS debut of Greg Ranjitsingh in goal.

Having said that, and considering that the Sounders put out a nearly full-strength lineup, things certainly should have been worse. Orlando City entered the match having conceded six goals in the first 15 minutes of games, the worst tally in Major League Soccer. On the flip side, Seattle led MLS with six goals scored in the opening 15 minutes.

As those initial 15 minutes passed, the Lions looked better than expected. The men in purple were maintaining around 40% possession, not terrible for a squad of bench players on the road against one of the league’s best teams. Sacha Kljestan took a slow-moving shot from distance in the ninth minute that went wide of the goal. Ranjitsingh came off his line decisively to grab a couple of crosses Seattle players put into the box. Then the 19th minute came, and it brought a Raul Ruidiaz goal for the Sounders with it.

Left back Brad Smith made a run into the box and was not shut down by Orlando City right back Kyle Smith. He then sent a nicely weighted cross rolling in front of the goal right to Ruidiaz’s foot. An unmarked Ruidiaz slotted it past Ranjitsingh and the Sounders went up 1-0.

In the 22nd minute, Uri Rosell took a shot from distance that, similarly to Kljestan’s earlier attempt, was wide and left of the goal. Rookie forward Santiago Patino made an excellent run down the left flank in the 24th, but was cleanly tackled by Seattle center back Roman Torres. Fellow rookie Benji Michel made a run down the right a few minutes later that resulted in a corner for the Lions. Midfielder Dillon Powers put a Carlos Rivas-style shot a mile into the stands after nothing was doing on the corner.

Surprisingly, the Sounders looked content with the one-goal lead for the last 20 minutes of the first half, though Orlando’s possession climbed closer to 50% as the half progressed. Rosell took another shot from 25 yards out in the 43rd minute, sending it over the crossbar. Seattle had one more chance to add a goal before the half when Brad Smith sent a cross right to the head of Jordan Morris. Morris tried to bounce it off the turf and ended up watching the ball skyrocket over the bar.

Seattle took its 1-0 lead to the locker room, leading in shots (7-4), shots on goal (2-0), passing accuracy (87%-83%), and possession (53.4%-46.6%).

Neither side made any changes at the half, and the Sounders came out pressing at the start of the second half, ready to maintain or build on the one-goal advantage. Young Designated Player Josué Colmán provided a chance for the Lions when he put in a good through ball to Danilo Acosta, who subsequently had his shot blocked. Morris went down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, forcing Seattle Head Coach Brian Schmetzer to pull him out for Handwalla Bwana in the 53rd minute.

Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan got past Orlando City center back Lamine Sane in the 56th minute to take a shot directly at Ranjitsingh. Ruidiaz couldn’t bring down an over-the top-pass from Bwana at minute 60, allowing Ranjitsingh the time to come out and make the save. Seattle right back Kelvin Leerdam decided to get in on the action in the 62nd minute, shooting from right outside the 18-yard box just over the bar.

Lions Head Coach James O’Connor had seen enough of Patino by the 63rd minute and subbed him out for Dom Dwyer. Harry Shipp took a shot that went right over the bar again in the 67th, then came off immediately after, when Schmetzer brought in Nouhou Tolo. Apparently, that change sparked something for the Sounders, as Bwana scored a minute later to make it 2-0 to Seattle. The play started from a turnover on a loose touch by Powers in the midfield and then Acosta lost Bwana in the box. The always astute Nicolas Lodeiro saw that, so he crossed a beautiful ball into the six-yard box that Bwana only had to redirect into the back of Ranjitsingh’s net.

A five-minute discussion and video review followed the goal to check for a handball on Lodeiro, but the goal was allowed. The goal was finally confirmed in the 73rd minute.

O’Connor subbed on Chris Mueller for Colmán during the video review delay. Mueller looked to make an impact off the ensuing kickoff. Bwana gave the ball away to Kljestan, not far from the top of Seattle’s 18. The midfielder then passed to Mueller just above the six-yard box, but he fluffed the shot, sending it high.

Mueller made up for it in the 75th. He made a run to the top of the 18 and took a low, driven shot past Stefan Frei and into the bottom right corner of Seattle’s goal to make it 2-1. The goal snapped a 327-minute scoring drought for Orlando City and it was the first goal scored by a Lion other than Nani in 534 minutes.

In the 84th minute, Ranjitsingh quickly came way off his line to clear a dangerous through ball. He did the same thing again four minutes later. The 85th minute saw O’Connor sub in Joao Moutinho for Acosta, followed by a Seattle sub of Alex Roldan for Smith a minute later.

It looked like the Sounders made it 3-1 in the third minute of stoppage time. Orlando City center back Shane O’Neill hit a header straight up into the air and then had a terrible moment that led to Ruidiaz scoring. Thankfully, the goal was instantly called back for an obvious handball on the Seattle striker. The Lions had a couple of other crosses find their way into Seattle’s box during the last five minutes of the long stoppage to no avail.

Seattle finished with a 14-10 advantage in shots (3-1 on target), and slightly more possession (50.7%-49.3%), with the teams each completing 84% of their passes.

Unfortunately, the 2-1 loss means Orlando City will return home on Sunday with no points from the two-game road trip. Hopefully, that will be all the motivation the team needs to take all three points in the team’s first ever meeting against FC Cincinnati. The match kicks off at 3 p.m.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 1-1 home draw against the Herons?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Draws are never satisfying but there’s at least a much better feeling when your team scores the final goal that earns the point rather than conceding so the other team takes two away. Thus was Orlando City’s 1-1 draw at home against Inter Miami on Sunday. It feels better to score the last goal, despite the fact that the same number of goals are scored either way. It’s a grand illusion.

Duncan McGuire’s blast through the legs of Drake Callender at least kept the Pepto-Bismol-colored team from winning at the purple palace and added another point to Orlando’s fine 2023 total.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances from a feisty affair at Exploria Stadium.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 7.5 — It was another standout game from the Peruvian shot stopper, who made four saves on the night, including a big one to stop a Leonardo Campana attempt from just a couple yards out. Gallese couldn’t do much about the lone goal conceded, as it came off a rebound of a wicked Josef Martinez shot, offering Gallese little opportunity to control the rebound due to the angle and pace. El Pulpo also recorded a clearance and passed at an 81.8% rate, connecting on five of his nine long balls.

D, Rafael Santos, 6.5 — After a couple of somewhat underwhelming performances, the Brazilian had a solid night. He didn’t have a shot attempt, but he managed two key passes despite completing only 71.4% of his passes. He connected on three of his eight long balls and one of his four crosses, but that latter number says more about his teammates not getting onto some good-looking balls into the area. Defensively, he provided two clearances and an interception, committing just one foul and completing a dribble. He even led the team in touches (60).

D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 (MotM) — In the first half, Jansson was the best player on the pitch and, in my opinion, it wasn’t close. The Beefy Swede vaccuumed up almost everything sent forward by Miami that was intended for Campana and Martinez on his side of the field. He finished the night with two tackles and two interceptions but it seemed like more than that. His passing was magnificent, as he completed 89.4% of his 47 passes, including six of seven long balls and his only through ball attempt. He had a key pass as well. He didn’t attempt a shot but he completed one dribble and drew a foul as he stymied the Miami attack. He did his best to cover Martinez’s quick, incisive run to the opposite side but couldn’t block the shot with his sliding effort. His biggest blemish was getting yet another yellow card for dissent — something he’s mostly been able to avoid this season.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 5.5 —While I thought Schlegel had a much better night Sunday than he had in the previous two games, it was far from where he was just a week or two earlier. The quick transition gave him a tough choice of backing off Campana and allowing a dangerous shot or doing what he did — stepping out and allowing a through ball. His closeout wasn’t tight enough. His marking on set pieces also left a lot to be desired at times. His passing was mostly accurate (91.5%), and he connected on two of three long balls, but there were a few dicey ones in his own end. He recorded two aerials won, one tackle, two interceptions, and a clearance. He committed three fouls and picked up a yellow card, conceding a dangerous free kick. His lone shot attempt was an off-target header.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6.5 — After a couple of tough games, the Icelandic midfielder-turned-fullback acquitted himself pretty well, considering Inter Miami attacked his side quite a bit. He passed well, connecting 82.5% of the time with one key pass and hitting the target once on two crosses, four times on six long balls, and sent a marvelous through ball that should have resulted in an Ivan Angulo goal, but the winger flubbed his lines. His lone shot attempt was a difficult one and did not threaten goal. He did not record a single defensive stat, although much of the time his opponent curled in toward the top of the area and was passed off to another defender.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5.5 — The young Uruguayan had a quiet night, without recording any defensive statistics in his 45 minutes before being subbed out at the break for Martin Ojeda. He managed only 23 touches and his passing rate of 73.3% was much lower than his usual standard and he completed one of his two long balls. He also drew two fouls and completed a dribble. He simply wasn’t able to impact the game to the extent we’re used to seeing.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 7 — It was a good night for the Peruvian midfielder, who was constantly getting under the opponents’ skin. He drew yellow card fouls on Dixon Arroyo and Benjamin Cremaschi — the latter after a slick nutmeg move — and had a steal that was set to ignite the break called back for a foul that I don’t agree was committed. Defensively, he recorded a tackle, a clearance, and an interception. He passed at a 91.1% success rate, created one scoring chance, and completed both of his long-ball attempts.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 5 — Whether it’s a lack of confidence and/or composure or being intimidated by a good goalkeeper, the Ivan Angulo who shoots in warmups is not the same guy in front of goal once the game is underway. He completely flubbed his lines when Thorhallsson sent him in behind for a 1-v-1 chance against Callender. The number of times he gets into dangerous spots and either a bad pass, shot, or decision keeps Orlando City from generating a scoring chance from it is maddening. Angulo failed to get any of his three shot attempts on target. His passing rate was just 60%, he did not have a single key pass, and neither of his two crosses were on target, although his single long ball was. He also didn’t record a single defensive statistic. There are many things Angulo does well, and his speed is tantalizing, but the final product is often lacking.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 — The captain had a mostly quiet match except when he was scissored down from behind by David Ruiz, somehow only producing a yellow card for the Miami midfielder. Pereyra produced only one key pass and no shot attempts, starting at central attacking midfielder before dropping into central midfield in the second half to pull the strings from a deeper position. He passed at an 80.5% success rate, completing one of three crosses and two of five long balls. He did not record any defensive stats and committed two fouls while drawing three.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — Torres led the Lions in shots (4), putting two on target, contributing one key pass and winning an aerial. He passed pretty well overall (81.5%), though he did not complete either of his two crosses or his lone long ball. He contributed an interception and a clearance defensively. Miami concentrated on double-teaming the Designated Player whenever possible. Torres still created some opportunities for himself and others, but it was a fairly quiet night overall.

F, Duncan McGuire, 7.5 — The rookie is still getting back to form after returning from injury, so he managed only 18 touches on the night but he did well with the touches he had. Both of McGuire’s shots were on target and both were rockets. Unfortunately, both were right at goalkeeper Callender. Fortunately, the second of those went through the keeper’s legs for the equalizing goal — his ninth of the MLS season. He also created a chance with a key pass, completed 83.3% of his pass attempts, and connected on his only long ball. He even contributed a defensive clearance. It was a good night for the rookie striker, although he wasn’t able to get that many touches.


MF, Martin Ojeda (46′), 6.5 — The Argentine Designated Player came on at halftime for Araujo to give the Lions more attacking presence and an extra playmaker on the field. He continues to grow in recent games, as he put his only shot attempt on target, created a chance with a key pass, and completed two dribbles, although he did have four unstable touches and was dispossessed once. He completed 89.5% of his 19 passes and all three long balls, but missed on his only cross attempt. He helped with the ball back with two tackles, and added a clearance.

MF/F, Ramiro Enrique (74′), 5 — Enrique came on for Angulo, which I thought at the time was the exact sub that was needed, but the Argentine didn’t offer much for the second straight game after winning Player of the Matchday. He did not attempt a shot or create a key pass and managed only seven touches on the night, passing at an 83.3% clip. He chipped in a clearance.

D, Michael Halliday (77′), 5 — The Homegrown defender spelled Thorhallsson but didn’t offer much, despite completing all four of his passes on 13 total touches. He had two unstable touches and was dispossessed once, which is not what you want to see from your fullback in the final 15 minutes of the match. Defensively, he blocked a shot, but he also conceded an unnecessary late corner when he pulled up, thinking he’d won a foul that didn’t end up getting called.

MF, Gaston Gonzalez (84′), N/A — As the MLS U22 Initiative attacker works his way back to fitness, he got a late runout, replacing McGuire, which pushed Enrique to the top of the formation. He conceded a free kick, but I honestly thought his challenge was clean and should have led to an Orlando counterattack. He put his only shot on frame, but it was a weak dribbler right at Callender. He did not complete his only pass attempt of the match.

MF, Junior Urso (84′), N/A — The Bear entered for Pereyra and was active, gettin 12 touches in late. His 90% passing rate on 10 attempts was solid, missing only on his only attempted long ball. He didn’t record any defensive stats, but he also didn’t make any mistakes in his brief spell.

That’s how I saw the individual performances by Orlando City on Sunday night at the stadium. Let me know where I got things right or wrong in the comments below and be sure to vote for your Man of the Match in our poll below.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/26/23

Pedro Gallese honored, Orlando Pride and Lions celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Campeones Cup preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I won’t lie to you, I’m dragging a bit to start this week. I’m still recovering from being sick and frankly had to fight the urge to take Monday off. I’m soldiering on though, and there’s plenty of soccer happening this week to help keep me entertained and in good spirits. Let’s have a look at today’s links.

Pedro Gallese Recognized

Pedro Gallese turned in another superb performance during Orlando City’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami on Sunday, and he’s been rewarded with a place in the most recent edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. El Pulpo made four saves on the night, including a fantastic stop on a header from close range, and helped the Lions stay in the game until they could find the equalizer. Congratulations to Pedro, and here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Orlando Pride and Orlando City Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Orlando Pride defender Celia fielded questions for fans to learn more about both her and Spain. Celia is from Alicante, a port city in southern Spain, and shared her favorite food, music, and activity while in her home country. She also spoke on a common misconception about spices used in Spain being spicy.

Orlando City’s Facundo Torres also shared the meaning behind some of his tattoos, which include the Uruguayan flag and La Paz, the city he grew up in. Orlando City’s match with CF Montreal on Saturday will also be Hispanic Heritage Night at Exploria Stadium.

Campeones Cup Preview

You can be forgiven if you forgot that the Campeones Cup is still a thing, because I know I did. Here’s a little refresher on the annual match. It’s being played tomorrow night at BMO Stadium between LAFC and Tigres, which are the reigning MLS and Liga MX champions, respectively. The MLS representative has won three out of the four contests, with Tigres beating Toronto FC 3-1 in the first iteration of the competition in 2018. This match will also be a rematch of the 2020 Concacaf Champions League final, which saw Tigres emerge victorious 2-1 at Exploria Stadium.

Americans in Midweek Action

A number of Americans will be taking part in games for their clubs this week. Tim Weah and Weston McKennie’s Juventus will take on Lecce today in Serie A, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup. Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah have a league match when AC Milan plays Cagliari tomorrow. PSV Eindhoven has a game against Go Ahead Eagles tomorrow as well, which means Ricardo Pepi, Sergino Dest and Malik Tillman could all be involved. Friday closes out the week with Hoffenheim taking on Borussia Dortmund, which could see John Brooks matched up against Gio Reyna depending on Reyna’s fitness.

Spanish Players Will Testify Against Rubiales

Alexia Putellas, Irene Paredes and Misa Rodriguez have all been called to testify as witnesses in the case against Luis Rubiales. Jenni Hermoso’s brother and a friend of the player both testified on Monday afternoon, as Rubiales is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion. Rubiales has already testified and maintains he did nothing wrong amid uproar that has led to a number of Spanish players refusing to return to the team until changes are made, and a general overshadowing of Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup. Putellas, Paredes and Rodriguez will testify next Monday.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Photo Gallery

An album of images from Orlando City’s hard-fought draw at home against the Herons.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

The Lions brought much more roar on Sunday night to face their southern rivals but had trouble finding the net, allowing the Herons to nick a point even while short staffed. None of Miami’s high-priced talent traveled for the match after facing Toronto midweek, and physicality ensued, firing up the sold-out crowd at Exploria Stadium.

Talking with some of the other photographers on the sideline who had flown in for this match, they rated the Orlando atmosphere top-notch; in their experience, other cities don’t compare to the in-stadium fan enthusiasm.

The Lions were in “the net is lava” mode, with Duncan McGuire and Iván Angulo each missing prime one-on-one chances with Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender in each half, McGuire leaving it straight at Callendar, and Angulo badly missing the net after a missed first touch. So of course Miami struck first, with David Ruíz scoring early in the second half.

This fired the Lions up even more and Martín Ojeda pinballed McGuire in behind the Miami back line, allowing Duncan to do what Duncan does to draw the score level. The Lions generally looked the more dangerous team for most (but not all) of the night. However, it is scoring goals that actually counts, leaving both teams unchanged in their respective Eastern Conference standings. Orlando remains second at 14-7-9, while Miami stays in 14th at 9-15-5.

The Lions continue to control their own destiny in terms of getting a top-four finish as they look to lock up home field advantage for a best-of-three matchup in the MLS Cup playoffs.

With home dates left against Montreal and a sputtering-but-dangerous New England remaining, there’s still plenty of time to be part of that world-class gameday atmosphere by going out to support the team as they push for a strong finish.

We hope that you enjoy these images from a hard-fought, come-from-behind draw against Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium.

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