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Orlando City vs. FC Cincinnati: Final Score 5-1 as Nani, Tesho Akindele Lead Lions’ Romp

The Lions fell behind in their first ever match against Cincinnati, but roared back for an easy win.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City fell behind in the first half but broke its losing streak in convincing fashion with a 5-1 destruction of FC Cincinnati (3-8-2, 11 points) in front of an announced crowd of 22,341 on a hot day at Orlando City Stadium. The Lions got braces from Nani and Tesho Akindele and a header from Dom Dwyer to run the MLS newcomers out of the City Beautiful.

It was only the third time all season that Orlando (4-6-3, 15 points) had scored more than one goal in a game and it was the team’s first victory by more than one goal in 2019. The win broke a three-game losing streak and a four-match winless skid. The 5-1 win was Orlando’s second-biggest MLS win only to a 6-1 home win over New England on Sept. 27, 2017 — a game in which the Revs were a man down for much of the night.

James O’Connor praised his team’s mentality after the match for coming back after conceding the first goal in the team’s third game in eight days.

“Obviously very pleased — not just with the result,” O’Connor said after the game. “I thought overall the mentality of the players was excellent. To play at three o’clock in Florida is a mental test.”

O’Connor rotated 10 of the 11 spots from Wednesday’s game, leaving only Lamine Sané in the starting XI from the midweek match in Seattle.

The game was mostly a plodding affair before Cincinnati opened the scoring in the 24th minute. Up to that point, neither team seemed particularly adept at getting into the opposing team’s penalty area, instead passing the ball around the perimeter and either turning it over or sending in a hopeful cross.

The only real chance of the game had come from a shot by Emmanuel Ledesma in the 21st minute that rattled off the crossbar.

That warning shot failed to wake up Orlando, which had started to concede more of the possession after dominating the ball early, and it proved costly moments later.

Darren Mattocks’ opener came out of nowhere. The Lions were in excellent shape defensively, but seemed mesmerized by the Cincinnati attacker, who faked one way, went the other and fired his shot into the back of the net with the two center backs right in front of him and several other players in the neighborhood just watching the play happen.

The goal was exactly what the game needed as the match sprung to life after Mattocks’ strike. Will Johnson nearly pulled back the goal after taking a pass from Chris Mueller in the 30th minute, but he saw his effort blocked. Cristian Higuita followed with a narrow miss two minutes later from the top of the area.

Akindele tied things up in the 37th minute. Johnson took a pass from Joao Moutinho and played in Akindele with a nice through ball, and the Canadian fired home to make it 1-1.

“I saw Will making a run though,” Akindele said. “They fired the ball into him. I kind of was asking for the flick and he played a really good pass kind of around the corner. I took a good first touch, I thought, and then just tried to put it on target…I think the play was really well done by our team.”

The game remained open the rest of the half. Nani’s cross in for Johnson in the 41st minute provided a good opportunity, but the ball was deflected out for a corner. Mueller fizzed a ball in for Akindele in the first minute of stoppage time that was just inches too far in front for a deflection. Johnson had a go from distance moments later, but he didn’t hit it with much power and it was right at Spencer Richey for an easy save.

The last good opportunity for Cincinnati came off a set piece that was headed across goal, where Mathieu Deplagne got a head on it and forced a last-second save from Brian Rowe.

Orlando then finished with a set piece from the left that Cincinnati deflected off the outside netting and the teams went to the break tied at 1-1.

Orlando City led in shots, 7-3 (2-2 on target), possession (61.9%-38.1%), and passing accuracy (90.1%-81.1%).

The Lions came out of the break like a different team. Mueller and Nani each forced diving saves from Richey in the first two minutes of the second half. Shortly after the latter, Sebas Mendez was called for a foul, and during that stoppage, referee Nima Saghafi indicated he was going to video review. Replays showed that Kendall Waston had grabbed Sané from underneath both arms and took him down in a wrestling move during an Orlando corner kick. Saghafi didn’t review the play long and returned to the field, indicating a penalty to Orlando for Waston’s WWE move.

Nani took the spot kick but didn’t hit it well. Richey saved it, but the rebound fell right back at the feet of the Portuguese star, who calmly slotted home to make it 2-1 in the 50th minute.

Nine minutes later, Nani extended the lead to 3-1. Ruan worked a quick give-and-go with Akindele and made a lightning-quick dash down the right channel and cut in toward goal before crossing. Nani was there to stab home the cross in the 59th minute, scoring the 200th goal in Orlando City’s MLS history.

Orlando continued to press forward in the attack. Mueller won a free kick to the left of the area but sailed his set piece delivery over the bar in the 62nd minute. Two minutes later, the Lions struck again. Orlando won a corner kick and Mueller served in a corner kick cross that fell in the box and bounced off Sané. Akindele took it out of the air with the first touch and slotted it into the net to make it 4-1. With four goals on the season, it is the Canadian’s highest goal total since he scored four in 2017 across 29 appearances. It was also his first brace since July 4 of last year, when he got both of his goals on the season in a 3-2 win over Atlanta United while playing with FC Dallas.

“I think we got a little bit unlucky in the past on some of the chances we missed and I think maybe we got a little bit lucky today on some of the ones we scored,” Akindele said. “It kind of balances out in the long run as long as you’re creating chances, which we’ve been doing all year.”

City got a bit sloppy after that and failed to track second-half sub Fanendo Adi on a set piece. He brought the ball down in the area but couldn’t make good contact, sending a weak dribbler toward Rowe.

Dwyer came on for Nani and started to get things moving back in the other direction. He fired high from distance in the 73rd minute, but his injection into the middle of the attack began causing issues for the Cincinnati defense as the visitors tried pushing numbers forward to get back into the match.

After Ruan won a corner in the 81st minute, Dwyer broke his scoreless streak with a well-placed header off Josué Colmán’s corner kick cross. It must have come as a relief to the veteran striker and it was touching the way his teammates celebrated after the goal.

As time wound down, the Lions got a bit more lackadaisical in their own half and that nearly resulted in a cosmetic goal for Cincinnati. Ledesma fired just inches wide of goal in the 91st minute in what would have been a bit of a letdown for the team as well as the crowd. Instead, the Lions saw out the four minutes of stoppage and got a much-deserved victory.

Orlando City finished with a 17-5 advantage in shots (9-3 on target), a 61.1%-38.9% edge in possession, more corners (11-4), and a better passing accuracy (88.9%-83.5%).

“There were a couple of things I thought we just needed to be a little bit sharper on and areas we that needed to try to play in,” O’Connor said of his halftime adjustments. “The quality of the players started to come through. Again, I think the players deserve enormous credit for the mentality and the way they went on performed second half. I thought they were excellent.”

Akindele underscored the importance of the victory after the match.

“It was really important, especially to do it at home. The fans…they deserved that,” Akindele said. “They come out all the time. They support us. They’re making noise. And I’m so glad we could give them that win and they could experience that with us.”


Orlando City is back in action Friday night when the LA Galaxy come to town for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/12/24

Leagues Cup forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup win, USMNT U-23 loses to Japan, NWSL expansion options, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. The USMNT plays tonight in Orlando, and I hope that you have tickets. If not, we can still watch as we wait for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday. On a personal note, this Friday will mark my ninth anniversary with The Mane Land. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m glad you’ve been there with us. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s get to the links.

Leagues Cup Forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Win

Orlando City is playing in the Leagues Cup starting at the end of July and here’s a nice guide to Orlando’s group for the tournament. Of course, the Leagues Cup organizers want you to be pumped so that you watch and buy tickets. I think that is something we should do simply to support the club. However, I don’t think they went about promoting the competition in quite the right way. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the tournament’s social media team stated the Leagues Cup would be Orlando’s chance to win its first trophy. Did you catch the mistake? Taylor Twellman did.

Good on you, Taylor. Facundo Torres was indeed brilliant in that match, as was Benji Michel. Of course, there were others that caught the faux pas as well.

I think we should also be mentioning the USL Championships, but what do I know? Evidently, more than the Leagues Cup’s social media team.

USMNT to Honor Pulse Victims

There’s plenty of fake, corporate shows of support for Pride Month , but in general I think that the USMNT and USWNT have done a good job of being legitimate allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Tonight, the USMNT will play a friendly against Brazil at Camping World Stadium on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The players will be wearing Pride jerseys to honor those who lost their lives so senselessly eight years ago.

In terms of the game, the USMNT will be without Josh Sargent for the match, and Tyler Adams will only get limited minutes if he plays, as both are coming back from injuries. Get well before the Copa America, lads.

Lions on International Duty

The United States U-23 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan in its final friendly match before the Olympics. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire found himself on a bit of an island up top as the U.S. had difficulty moving the ball through the midfield. Hopefully, the U.S. got such play out of its system heading into the Olympics.

OCB’s Wilfredo Rivera made the most of his time playing in Puerto Rico’s World Cup qualifier against Anguilla, scoring a brace in the 8-0 victory. This win comes after a scoreless draw with El Salvador last week and Puerto Rico’s remaining group games during this round of qualifying will be next June.

Exploring NWSL Expansion Options

The NWSL will be expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with many cities vying for the next franchise. The leaders include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville are potential choices as well. If it was to be given to either Atlanta or Jacksonville they would be regional rivals for the Orlando Pride. The league is expected to make a decision by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to the U-15 United States Women’s National Team, which won 4-0 over Germany.
  • Did you ever have one of those dreams that was a little scary, but also absolutely hilarious? This preview of Inter Miami’s new mascot is a bit like that. To misquote Jaws: “Ever seen an Inter Miami mascot’s eyes, Chief? He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.”
  • The Cayman Islands Men’s National Football Team forfeited its match against Cuba because many of its players are on visas in the United States. If those players were to travel to Cuba, the U.S. may have canceled those visas due to travel restrictions.
  • This is one of the most ridiculous no-calls I’ve ever seen. India got royally hosed.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday night. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America tomorrow at Camping World Stadium, right here in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early on in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up last night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage by a score of 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team Nani FC fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

Free Kicks


That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/10/24

Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo won’t play for Uruguay in Copa America, Pride and OCB draw, USMNT drilled by Colombia, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Alex Corrie

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well down in Florida. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend and managing the broadcast operations for the NISA league’s matches last night. The Lions were off this weekend, but we had the Orlando Pride and OCB in action. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Torres and Araujo Not On Uruguay Squad for Copa America

Uruguay National Team manager Marcelo Bielsa confirmed his roster for the 2024 Copa America over the weekend, and Orlando City’s Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo didn’t make the final roster.

Torres and Araujo played briefly in the second half in Uruguay’s 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly match last week. Uruguay will now prepare for its upcoming group stage matches in the Copa America against Panama, Bolivia, and the United States. Torres and Araujo will be back with Orlando City this week to get ready for their upcoming matchup against LAFC on Saturday.

Orlando Pride, San Diego Wave Play to 1-1 Draw

The Orlando Pride drew 1-1 Friday against the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium and saw their NWSL record win streak end at eight matches. Julie Doyle scored the opener for the Pride, but the Wave were able to grab an equalizer in the second half as both sides got a point. The Pride remains unbeaten this season in the NWSL. After this weekend’s results across the league, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are tied with 28 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will be on the road again this weekend to take on the North Carolina Courage Saturday.

OCB Draws at Home vs. Carolina Core FC, Snags Shootout Point

On Friday, Orlando City B drew 2-2 against Carolina Core FC at Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions were off to a poor start early in the match, trailing 2-0 in the first half. In the second half, OCB got things back on track with goals from Alex Freeman and Imanol Almaguer to tie the match. It went to penalties after finishing tied. OCB won the extra point with a 6-5 shootout win over Carolina. That result puts the Young Lions back in the playoff hunt in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. OCB will be back in action Thursday at home against Chattanooga FC.

Colombia Dominates USMNT in Friendly Action

The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 5-1 to Colombia Saturday at FedEx Field and suffered its heaviest defeat under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. It wasn’t good from the start as the USMNT conceded two goals in the first 19 minutes of the match in the first half. Tim Weah pulled one back for the U.S. before Colombia added three more goals towards the end of the second half to seal the win. Colombia is on a seven-match winning streak and is unbeaten in 22 matches. The last time the USMNT gave up this many goals was in the 2009 Gold Cup final in a 5-0 defeat to Mexico. The U.S. needs to improve fast with its Copa America opener less than two weeks from now. It will be a quick turnaround for the Americans as they take on Brazil Wednesday at Camping World Stadium in their final friendly match before Copa America starts.

Free Kicks

  • FC Dallas has announced the departure of Head Coach Nico Estevez. Assistant Coach Peter Luccin will lead the team on an interim basis while the club begins its search for a new head coach. FC Dallas is 13th in the Western Conference with 14 points.
  • The Chicago Red Stars broke an NWSL attendance record in their match over the weekend as 35,038 fans showed up at Wrigley Field, but the Red Stars lost 2-1 to Bay FC.
  • Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney is renewing his efforts to lure former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale out of retirement to join the club. He also stated that the club’s offer is still on the table.
  • In Jesse Marsch’s second match as Canada’s head coach, Canada held France to a scoreless draw in a friendly match on Sunday.

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

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