Connect with us

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Seattle Sounders: Player Grades and Man of the Match



It was a short week for the club, and the starting XI certainly showed as such. It would be easier to list the players and positions that didn’t change from the Atlanta match versus which ones did. The player rotation from Head Coach James O’Connor was so deep that every position, even the goalkeeper spot, saw a different player from the previous lineup. Some players even got to see their first minutes in MLS. So how did the Lions do in the trip out west to Seattle?


GK, Greg Ranjitsingh, 7 (MotM) — In his first start in MLS, Ranjitsingh turned in a good effort. His positioning on the first goal could be critiqued as being a little too deep towards goal, but the fact of the matter is, he was more than likely protecting the near post and leveraging the back line to take care of the rest. He was quick to come out, and made good choices throughout the evening. He certainly looked much more comfortable in the second half, and ended the match with one save and one tackle. He gets my vote for Man of the Match as he helped keep this team in the fight with how quickly, and correctly, he came off his line and stopped chances before they became dangerous.

D, Danilo Acosta, 5 — Acosta started in place of Joao Moutinho, and played well. He saw plenty of touches, and certainly was involved in the offense and the defense. He ended the night with one shot and a 93% passing success rate. One tackle accounted for all of his defensive statistics and he lost track of Handwalla Bwana on the second goal but it was otherwise a fairly solid outing.

D, Shane O’Neill, 6.5 — Although he had a somewhat quiet first half, aside from being late to close down Raul Ruidiaz on the first goal, O’Neill was a force in the second half, anchoring a brand new defensive line against a very potent Seattle attack. Were there some mistakes? Yes, but for the most part, I thought it was a very solid outing. He had three aerials and two tackles won, plus that double stop in the box late to keep the Lions in the match.

D, Lamine Sané, 6 — The short answer would be to just read O’Neill’s review above. The slightly longer answer would be a good outing. Sané led the match with a 95% passing success rate, as well as winning two aerials and two tackles, three interceptions, and two clearances. He communicated well with O’Neill for the most part and even had a shot on the offensive side. In fact, watching him move up and call for the ball as an extra attacker in the waning moments of the match should be a motivational moment for all.

D, Kyle Smith, 6 — There were some hiccups but overall it was a pretty good outing for Smith, considering that Seattle pushed Orlando’s right side more than the left. He ended the night with one aerial won and a passing rate of only 84%, but the three tackles and four clearances were key. He did struggle with Brad Smith and Harry Shipp’s quick 1-2 passing at times though, including on the opening goal.

MF, Uri Rosell, 7 — Rosell was almost on another level today, and was a top contender for some for the MotM honors. He was all over the midfield, running box to box, and showing the textbook example of a “professional foul” that led to a yellow card for him after a Moutinho turnover put the Lions in a bad spot. Without that foul, Seattle was on a counter attack and had numbers forward. He tied with Chris Mueller for most shots (2) and ended the night with a 91% passing rate, two aerials, two tackles, and was 7/7 on long ball passes.

MF, Sacha Kljestan, 6 — It was an up and down night for Kljestan, but it certainly was more up than down. The one really bad spot was the 81% passing percentage. This could be somewhat be explained by the new players around him, the fact that Seattle flooded the midfield, and perhaps some rust. Sacha looked a little slow at times, but don’t let that get in the way of the fact that he completed all of his long ball passes (5/5), won five aerials, and had four tackles, a key pass, and a shot.

MF, Dillon Powers, 6.5 — Every player wants to make a positive impact, especially after making a mistake. Powers showed just how important it is to shake off a mistake that led to the second Seattle goal, and pushed that must harder to make up for it. He did by logging an assist on the Lions’ goal. He also logged one shot, two tackles, an interception, a clearance, and an 86% passing rating, including being 5/7 on long balls.

F, Josué Colmán, 6 — I was really excited to see Colmán start, and I still am. Although the grade is about average, Colmán showed moments of pure brilliance. Unfortunately, there were times where he held onto the ball two touches too many and either lost it or had passes deflected. His 82% passer rating reflects this, although he did have three key passes. He completed just 40% of his dribble attempts, had one shot, and two tackles. With more minutes, I think there is potential there for Colmán to truly break out and help be that creative force in the midfield.

F, Santiago Patino, 5.5 — The first half was a bit quiet for Patino, but the effort was certainly there. The hold-up play was a bit lacking, but it was tough for all of the forwards. He had one shot attempt and two tackles, showing his commitment to drop back and defend when needed.

F, Benji Michel, 5.5 — It was a decent night for Michel, who provided the hustle we knew he would bring. Although the end result wasn’t there, he was a bit of a terror for the Seattle back line at times. He had a solid 90 minutes no matter how you look at it, and showed some sparks at times. Also, he did well when asked to drop back into defense.


F, Dom Dwyer (63’), 5.5 — It looked like the night when Dwyer was finally going to break out, but it never seemed to come. Defenders know how to handle him, and refs do not want to give him calls. He still shows no fear attacking balls in the box, but last night was another night that just wasn’t his. Dom also picked up another yellow card, which puts him dangerously close to a suspension.

F, Chris Mueller (69’), 7 — Cash Rules Everything Around Me. Is there anything that this kid can’t do? After being on the pitch for a massive six minutes, he took a pass from Powers, marched it across the top of the box, and fired a left footed shot that left Stefan Frei completely flat footed. Once again, Mueller hit the pitch as a sub and had a massive impact. It could have been slightly better, however, as he had only been on the field a few moments when he was set up nicely in front of goal but fired over the bar.

D, Joao Moutinho (85’), 6 — Coming in a bit late, Moutinho was still an impact player. As the Lions continued to push for the equalizer, they continued to try to stretch the field and utilize the wings, and Moutinho was key on the left. It was about a 13-minute shift due to eight minutes of stoppage, and he put forth a solid effort with 93% passing, a tackle, and an interception.

That is how i saw it in the late hours of Wednesday evening. How would you rate the Lions in this match, and who would you give the MotM nod to? Let us know in the poll below.

Polling Closed

Shane O’Neill4
Uri Rosell24
Greg Ranjitsingh11
Chris Mueller43
Sacha Kljestan1

Orlando City

Intelligence Report: Orlando City vs. LAFC

Get some insider information on LAFC courtesy of someone who knows the team best.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

We find ourselves at the end of another week, which means that another Orlando City match is almost upon us. Following a two-week break, the Lions will return to action with a home contest against LAFC.

A date with LAFC means I got some insider info on the opposition from Trebor Tracy, the managing editor of Angels on Parade. They’re another former SBNation blog that has gone independent, and they continue to do excellent work covering LAFC, Angel City FC, and Orange County SC, so make sure you check them out!

Catch me up on some of LAFC’s off-season transfer business. Who are some names that were brought in, and who went out the door?

Trebor Tracy:  LAFC came into this season as close to a rebuild project as you can be for a team many expect to compete for championships and trophies each year. In the off-season the team saw 15 departures from the 2023 squad, and that’s not counting loans out. Among the bigger names leaving Los Angeles were both goalkeepers that helped lift LAFC to the 2022 MLS Cup, midfielder Kellyn Acosta, defenders Denil Maldonado and Diego Palacios, and of course, the departure of inaugural signing Carlos Vela. This was a team expected to look completely different this season and it has. As for the arrivals, the team spent the off-season loading up on the likes of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, forwards Kei Kamara and Cristian Olivera, and defender Omar Campos. The rough start to the year for Los Angeles had a lot to do with the newness of the team and having to build that familiarity within the XI. 

Of the incoming transfers, who has made the biggest impression? Is there anyone who you’d like to see performing better than they have been so far?

TT: Its been hard for LAFC to replace a lot of the departures — not just in terms of production, but leadership and experience in several cases. While not technically an off-season arrival, Cristian Olivera, who arrived in summer window of 2023, really came into his own this season. With an entire off-season under his belt, he has by far been the best of the new arrivals for LAFC. He is producing goals, creating opportunities for others, and has that confidence this team thrives off of. On the other side of the coin, Hugo Lloris has been the biggest disappointment. In fairness to him, he has drastically improved during the team’s recent run, but the start of his MLS career had him easily one of the worst keepers in the league. 

LAFC is on a five-game unbeaten run in league play, what’s been working so well for the team during this stretch?

TT: Speaking of that run, the play of Lloris is why they have done so well recently. Well, that and Denis Bouanga appears to have found his soccer boots again. The 180 those two have done has been the catalyst for the team’s great run of form lately. 

Will any players be unavailable for selection due to injury, suspension, call-ups, etc.? What is your projected starting XI and score prediction?

TT: Availability reports come out night before the match, and we have the team presser this afternoon. with a few players set to return, I am unsure at the moment as to who exactly will be  ready to go.

Thank you to Trebor for helping get us caught up on LAFC. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Orlando City

Orlando City Needs to Start Using the Scoreboard Again

A deep statistical dive into Orlando City’s offensive struggles. We’re warning you…there will be math (but we do it for you).



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

One of the more memorable scenes in my favorite movie of all time, Bull Durham, is when the manager walks into the showers after another loss, yells at the team about their recent performance, and ends with “this (baseball) is a simple game: you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. You got it!?” Soccer is, of course, a little different but the concept remains the same. You pass the ball, you shoot the ball, you score the ball. Unless you are Orlando City, recently.

Anyone can look at the recent results for Orlando City and see that goals have been, shall we say, less than plentiful. But why is that happening? Well, one idea may be that another team in Orlando is using up all the goals, with the Orlando Pride having scored 19 (excluding opposition own goals) to Orlando City’s 15, with the Pride having played four fewer games to boot, but goals are not a zero-sum equation (I know you asked your math teacher for years when you would ever need to use equations in the real world; you’re welcome!), so let’s dive into what has been going on for Orlando City and take a look at what may be causing an average of 0.94 goals/game (again, excluding opposition own goals) in the 2024 MLS season after an average of 1.6 goals/game in 2023.

Wayne Gretzky famously said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” but I do not think a lack of shots taken is the main culprit for this Orlando City team this season. Yes, in the last match against the Red Bulls the Lions only managed five shots (all stats in this article are courtesy of,  in collaboration with Opta, which codes thousands of matches every weekend across hundreds of competitions all over the world), but for the 2024 season, Orlando City is averaging 11.8 shots/game, 1.1 shots/game fewer than the league average of 12.9 but actually 0.1 higher than Orlando City’s 11.7 shots/game from 2023. Orlando City’s 11.8 shots/game ranks 23rd in all of MLS — not great, but the team with the most shots/game, St. Louis FC at 16.8, has only earned one more point than Orlando City after playing the same number of games, and the correlation (I told you there would be math) between shots/game and goals is relatively weak (r = 0.25, a strong positive correlation would be an r between 0.7 and the maximum r value of 1.0), so a higher value of shots/game does not necessarily lead to more goals.

What does tend to lead to more goals is more shots on target. I know, I know, you never would have thought of that. And as we look into shots on target for Orlando City in 2024, lo and behold, this is where we start to really see where the problems have arisen this season. Orlando City ranks 26th in MLS this year with 29% shots on target, so when you combine a rank of 23rd in shots/game with a rank of no. 26 in shots on target, you get a team that has scored a low amount of Goals as compared to the rest of the league. Orlando City’s 29% shots on target rate in 2024 is an 18% decrease from its 2023 shots on target percentage of 36% (7% raw decrease (36%-29% = 7%) but an 18% percent decrease (29%/36% – 100% = -18%), and the Lions’ 29% shots on target percentage is 1.28 standard deviations below the MLS average.

This is probably the time for me to tell you I was that high school math teacher who students asked about using math in the real world, and I did teach AP statistics, where we frequently talked about standard deviations and 1.28 standard deviations below the average is, in this case, to use a technical term, u-g-l-y and they ain’t got no alibi.

Is it as ugly as Bubba Sparxxx rapped about back in 2000? Was that just a question to make a pop culture reference about a song I enjoyed when I was in high school? Yes and yes. The first time I ever heard former Orlando City coach Adrian Heath interviewed he said, “Goals change games,” which of course is obvious and means that those who are taking the most shots need to be game changers. Looking at the table below, we can see who has been taking the shots and the differences between 2024 and 2023:

At first glance there is some good news. Orlando City’s leading shot takers this year are generally shooting on target around the league average, but it is on the clinical side, the goals per shot on target and goals per shot attempt where we can see that Orlando City is struggling.

We do see that Duncan McGuire continues to be clinical when he gets his shots on target, but the big drop for him is that last year he put nearly three out of every four shots on target and this year he is down to something much closer to the league average of around one out of every three. Among players with at least 17 shots last year (I chose this number because it would be 0.5 shots/game across 34 games and because it is my father’s favorite number), Duncan ranked first out of 244 MLS players in shots on target percentage and in goals per shots on target, and though his numbers this year are still above average, he is down to 43rd and 13th out of the 108 players who have taken more than 17 shots, respectively (keeping the same shot volume threshold for consistency). Four other major takeaways from me on this chart:

  • Facundo Torres was second on the list for most shots taken in 2023 and was an excellent finisher (this does include penalties, but they are shots and you have to make them), but in 2024 he is tied for fifth in shots with Dagur Dan Thórhallsson at only 15 shots taken.
  • Martin Ojeda remains a high volume shooter, but he is looking much more like Jordan Poole than Steph Curry this year with a lot of shots on target but not a lot of makes. And by not a lot I mean, sadly, zero.
  • Orlando City as a whole is taking shots from slightly closer to the goal but the team’s most frequent shooters are shooting from farther away than last year, and you do not need me as a math major to tell you that goalkeepers would prefer long shots over close shots.
  • Ercan Kara was a somewhat maligned striker for Orlando City, but he was pretty lethal when he got a shot off, putting more than two out of every five shots on frame and scoring at twice the MLS average on goals/shot. His 2023 shot volume is low on this chart because he left halfway through the season, but in his two years in MLS he scored at 21% and 22% on goals/shot, which put him in the upper echelon of shooters in the league.

Going back to McGuire and where he ranked in all of MLS, here is a heat map, but with the corresponding percentile ranks of Orlando City’s players among players who took at least 17 (hi Dad) shots (red to green scale — 0% (dark red, very low performance) to 100% (dark green, very good performance).

The comparisons between 2024 and 2023 are the most stark again in the columns involving goals, as in 2023 Orlando City’s most frequent shooters were scoring in the upper echelons of all MLS players, and this year there is much more red/orange than green for those with at least 17 shots. The other biggest differences of course surround who is taking the shots. Luis Muriel has arrived and has taken the most shots in 2024, but looking at his career shooting stats there is not a lot of evidence that being a lethal finisher is something in his skillset. Barbra Banda he is not, but then again nobody is Barbra Banda (except Barbra Banda), and expecting Muriel to change his playing style to be more of a finisher rather than initiator while adapting to a new league and teammates is lot to ask for someone who joined after the season began.

The bigger need for Orlando City is to get McGuire back on the field and to get Torres going, Facundo’s shots/90 minutes is down more than 50% from last season (largely owing to playing a lot of wingback over the last several weeks), and for someone who was in the 94th percentile in goals/shot in 2023 to have decreased their shot volume by so much is the opposite of what you want. Plus, Facundo is my son’s favorite player and he misses seeing Torres’ selfie celebration.

I want to end with a positive, however, and that is wrapped around the concept of regression to the mean. In the case of Orlando City this would actually likely be a positive regression as opposed to a negative one. During the last four years, MLS has been remarkably stable in terms of goals/shot on target (35%, 32%, 33%, 33%) and goals/shot (12%, 11%, 11%, 11%). Just because the league has been stable does not mean that Orlando City automatically will improve, but with the talent of the players on the squad and their history, I think it is more likely than not that Orlando City’s low performance so far in 2024 will come back up towards league average — much like a Major League Baseball player’s batting average on balls in play often evens out over time based on their level of skill.

Orlando City has talented players, including many who led the team to the best record in the team’s history last season, and I believe it is likely that we will start seeing small increases in goals/shot on target and goals/shot as the season progresses. I certainly hope we do, because it is much more fun when Orlando City masters this simple game and scores the ball, scores the ball, and scores the ball.

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/14/24

Orlando City prepares to take on LAFC, Lions linked with Alan Saldivia, Orlando City B draws against Chattanooga FC, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! I’m working for most of this weekend but am still looking forward to the absurd amount of soccer ahead of us. Both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride have games Saturday, and the 2024 Euros should give us some exciting matches from teams we don’t watch all too often. Let’s dive right into today’s links!

Orlando City Prepares for LAFC

The international break is over and Orlando City is back in action Saturday night for a home game against LAFC. It’s been a difficult season for the Lions so far, and they have been shut out in three of their past five games. Points have been hard to come by at home for Orlando and a match against one of the best teams in the Western Conference won’t make that any easier. With David Brekalo at the Euros, Rodrigo Schlegel is expected to start and it would be his 100th MLS appearance. Ramiro Enrique would also make his 50th appearance across all competitions as a Lion should he take the field.

Lions Linked Reportedly Bow Out of Bid to Sign Defender Alan Saldivia

With the MLS summer transfer window looming, a rumor surfaced of Orlando City making an offer to sign Uruguayan center back Alan Saldivia from Colo-Colo in Chile. The Lions reportedly offered $1.5 million for the 22-year-old, but that doesn’t reach the $2.2 million Colo-Colo wants at minimum. The Lions reportedly would not go higher. While center back isn’t exactly a pressing need for the Lions at this time, Saldivia would have given the team a young and talented player who could anchor the defense for years to come.

Orlando City B Drops Points in Disappointing Draw

OCB hosted Chattanooga FC and had to settle for a 2-2 draw after giving up a lead not once, but twice. The Young Lions had Chattanooga on the ropes late in the match, taking the lead just before the end of normal time, only to get punched in the mouth in stoppage time and then lose the penalty shootout. It was the second straight 2-2 draw at home for the Young Lions and they’re still on the hunt for their first win this month. OCB’s next game will be on the road against New York City FC II on Wednesday.

Getting Ready for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs

The MLS NEXT Cup playoffs kick off Saturday as the best teams across four age groups compete in a knockout format. Orlando City’s U-15 squad was recognized as one of the title contenders in its age group and will take on Real Salt Lake in the round of 32 on Saturday . The team also did well in MLS NEXT Flex, and Jakob Garcia, who has scored 18 goals in 21 games, is the kind of attacker who can make all the difference in knockout matches. Orlando’s U-17 team is capable of making a run as well, although it faces a tough first match on Sunday against the Philadelphia Union, which won the 2024 Generation Adidas Cup. It should be a fun tournament, and hopefully Orlando’s teams can advance far enough to be included in the games streamed on MLS Season Pass.

Free Kicks

  • Carl Robinson is back in MLS after Atlanta United hired him as an assistant coach. The 47-year-old played for Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls to close out his playing career and also served as the head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
  • Chicago Fire Designated Player Xherdan Shaqiri reportedly wants to return to Europe. The 32-year-old has been with the Fire since 2022 but hasn’t lived up to his billing and his contract is set to expire after this season.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

Continue Reading