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Orlando City’s U.S. Open Cup History



With Orlando City set to step into the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday against Memphis 901 FC, it’s worth a look back to see how the Lions have done throughout their previous eight years of history in the event. Although Orlando has never advanced past the quarterfinals, the Lions have been quite competitive in the tournament dating back to their first few USL seasons.

Orlando City holds an all-time record of 11-8-2* in U.S. Open Cup play and has gone as far as the quarterfinals in 2013, 2015, and 2018, but no further.

*The Lions drew the Charleston Battery, 4-4, in 2015 and D.C. United 1-1 last year, but advanced on penalties both times. These technically count as draws even though Orlando City moved on in the tournament. Those are the rules. Don’t @ me about it.

As a USL team, Orlando went 8-4-0 in USOC matches and reached the quarterfinal round once. The Lions went 2-4-0 against MLS teams during its first four years of competition and gave eventual champion Sporting Kansas City everything it could handle in 2012, despite being a man down late in that match. As an MLS side, the Lions are just 3-4-2, but if you count advancing as winning, they’re 5-4, so that’s still pretty decent.

Let’s look at the Lions’ results year by year.

2011 (2-1-0)

Orlando City entered its first U.S. Open Cup in 2011 as one of 11 USL Pro teams to participate. The Lions easily clobbered the ASC New Stars, 4-0 in the first round, with Devorn Jorsling scoring twice and both Kevin Molino and Dennis Chin adding one. The second round saw Orlando squaring off with the league rival Charleston Battery, winning 1-0 on a 39th-minute Rob Valentino goal. Orlando finally bowed out in the third round after a dramatic and hard-fought 3-2 battle with FC Dallas on the road. Maxwell Griffin opened the scoring for Orlando, but Dallas fought back with goals by Jackson and Ricardo Villar. Yordany Alvarez tied the match in stoppage time but the hosts broke Orlando hearts with a winner just seconds later by Milton Rodriguez. Dallas advanced to the semifinals that year before falling 1-0 at Seattle.

2012 (1-1-0)

The USL Lions began the USOC run in their second year in Orlando in Round 2, one round after their U-23 team was beaten by Jacksonville United. The Lions destroyed KC Athletics 7-0 in the third round in a game played at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford. After a Coady Andrews own goal opened the scoring four minutes in, the Lions got two goals each from Griffin and John Rooney, as well as goals from Jamie Watson and Matt Luzunaris. The 2012 run ended with a 3-2 loss at Sporting Kansas City in the third round. Paulo Nagamura scored in first-half stoppage time and Molino pulled that goal back 10 minutes after the break. Soony Saad added two goals four minutes apart for the hosts before Chin pulled the Lions back in it with six minutes remaining in normal time. That was about all Orlando could do with 10 men after Ant Pulis had been sent off. SKC went on to win the tournament over the Seattle Sounders.

2013 (3-1-0)

The Lions entered the competition in Round 2 in 2013, opening with a 2-1 road win over the Ocala Stampede. Dom Dwyer scored first for Orlando but the Stampede answered through Christian Blandon. Adama Mbengue scored the eventual winner in the 50th minute. Orlando pulled off a 3-1 upset win at home over Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids  in Round 3. After Bryan Burke opened the scoring just four minutes in, Kamani Hill equalized 14 minutes later. Dwyer put the Lions ahead for good in the 48th minute and added a second in the 63rd. In the fourth round, Orlando got revenge on Sporting Kansas City with a 1-0 road win on a first-minute goal by Long Tan to reach the quarterfinals for the first time. The magical run ended at the hands of the Chicago Fire, who knocked the Lions out with an emphatic 5-1 win at Toyota Park. Valentino scored the lone Orlando goal, tying the game at 1-1 at the time but the Fire handled things easily from there. Chicago lost to eventual Cup winners D.C. United in the semifinals.

2014 (2-1-0)

Orlando’s final foray into the U.S. Open Cup as a USL team came in 2014, entering the competition in the second round with a 4-1 win over the Ocala Stampede at Seminole Soccer Complex. Chin and Corey Hertzog each scored a brace. The Lions then beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the I-4 Derby by the same 4-1 score in Round 3. Molino bagged a brace and Austin da Luz and Mbengue also scored to more than offset a Blake Wagner score. Orlando went out in Round 4 on the road against the Rapids, 5-2. Mbengue and Luke Boden scored for the Lions while current OCSC midfielder Dillon Powers scored one of Colorado’s five goals. The club’s U-23 side ended its impressive run in the same round, falling 3-0 on the road to the Portland Timbers.

2015 (1-1-1)

Orlando City finally entered the tournament as an MLS side in 2015, with the Lions opening their run in the fourth round — their latest entry into the competition. Their first USOC match in 2015 was an epic battle on the road against the Charleston Battery. After a scoreless first half, Orlando fell behind twice in the second period, with Lewis Neal and Carlos Rivas (from the penalty spot) bringing City back each time. The game went into extra time The Lions took a 4-2 lead in extra time as Rivas completed a hat trick — all from the spot. But the Battery stormed back with two goals from Justin Portillo — the second one coming from the spot after Amobi Okugo handled the ball in the box. The game ended 4-4 and went to penalties, where the Lions out-lasted the Battery, 9-8. Ironically, Rivas missed the first penalty for City. Making their kicks for Orlando were Pedro Ribeiro, Sean St. Ledger, Okugo, Rafa Ramos, Harrison Heath, Boden, Seb Hines, and Danny Mwanga, who made his most significant contribution in purple by hitting the winning spot kick. Earl Edwards Jr. stopped three Battery penalties in the shootout.

In Round 5, the Lions hosted Columbus and defeated the Crew at home, 2-0. Kaká and Rivas supplied the offense. Unfortunately, the Lions had to go back to Toyota Park for the quarterfinals and the Chicago Fire knocked out Orlando again, 3-1. Patrick Nyarko scored just three minutes in. Cyle Larin tied the game in the 56th minute but Chicago struck twice against a worn-down Lions side, with Kennedy Igboananike finding the net in the 87th and 90th minutes. The Fire bowed out at Philadelphia in the semifinals.

2016 (1-1-0)

The Lions started off by defeating the Jacksonville Armada on the road, 1-0, with David Mateos scoring his only career goal with Orlando City to provide the winner on the road. However, Orlando fell 2-1 at home against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on a 120th-minute strike by PC, who went on to play for the Lions. PC’s goal came very much against the run of play. The Lions had out-shot the Strikers after halftime by a 20-1 margin and Hadji Barry hit the woodwork multiple times. Jose Angulo opened the scoring for the visitors in the 12th minute, but Molino equalized three minutes later. That was all the scoring until PC’s goal at the death, just moments before what would have been a penalty shootout. Chicago blanked the Strikers 3-0 in the quarterfinals one round later.

2017 (0-1-0)

Orlando’s shortest Cup run happened two seasons ago, hosting Miami FC in the fourth round. Stefano Pinho — who, like PC went on to play for Orlando City — netted a hat trick for the visitors in the 3-1 win for Miami at Orlando City Stadium. Giles Barnes scored in the 79th minute to at least save the Lions the embarrassment of a home shutout. Miami then went to Atlanta and knocked out Atlanta United FC in the Round of 16, 3-2, but then lost to then-USL side FC Cincinnati, 1-0, in a battle of Cinderella teams.

2018 (1-1-1)

Last season, the Lions went on the road three times in their tournament run and a different coach was on the sideline for each of the three matches. Orlando opened with a 3-0 win at Miami United FC on June 6, with Jason Kreis still in charge. Pinho scored for Orlando, and Powers and PC also notched goals, as each of them became a player to score in the U.S. Open Cup both for and against the Lions.

The Lions drew 1-1 with D.C. at Maryland SoccerPlex with Bobby Murphy on the bench on June 20. Luciano Acosta gave United a lead 10 minutes in on a rain-soaked night, but Justin Meram equalized seven minutes later. That was all of the scoring in normal time and then Orlando won the battle of spot kicks, 4-2. Yamil Asad and Acosta missed D.C.’s first two attempts. Orlando got successful penalties from Will Johnson, Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller, and Josué Colmán, and an unsuccessful one from Jose Villarreal. Unfortunately, the Lions then lost 1-0 at the Philadelphia Union in the quarterfinals after James O’Connor took over. Alejandro Bedoya scored off a set piece scramble just four minutes into the match and Orlando could never find the tying goal. The Union beat the Fire in the semifinals before falling 3-0 in the final to the Houston Dynamo.

That’s the team’s history in the competition right up to this week’s game against USL Championship side Memphis 901 FC. What are your favorite memories from Orlando’s various Cup runs? Personally, I’ll never forget that insane 2015 game at Charleston, although there’s always something satisfying about sending the Rowdies home. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Reflecting on Eight Years with The Mane Land

A look back over my time with The Mane Land (so far).



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

As of last week, I have been a contributor at The Mane Land for eight years. That’s longer than I’ve ever been at any of my actual jobs in my life. There are literally only a couple of people who have been with the site longer, but I’m still amazed at how long it’s been. This is not to say I’m going anywhere, but rather I wanted to take the opportunity to look back at the past eight years, and look ahead to the future.

Unlike some, I didn’t come to be a supporter of Orlando City until it was announced that the club was joining MLS. At the time, I was contemplating picking a club to follow in MLS, but being in Tallahassee, there were no nearby options at that time. I considered FC Dallas and D.C. United, given the two were geographically closer in proximity to me than any others. Fortunately, it was literally while I was considering my options that the announcement was made regarding Orlando City’s jump to MLS. It was an easy decision.

As I do in many aspects of my life, I immediately started researching my new club, which led me to the content being produced by The Mane Land. There was also an article on the site titled “Join The Mane Land Staff.” I had often over the years internally bemoaned that I rarely used my Bachelor’s degree in English, and the desire to write welled up in me so much that I emailed the staff. 

In response, one of our former editors, Andrew Marcinko, contacted me and said “I think your voice would be a great fit on TML.” He asked me to submit a Fan Post (those went away with our presence on SBN), and then another piece for review. Following that, our founder and managing editor, Michael Citro, emailed me to welcome me to the staff. I had no idea at the time how big a part of my life this blog would become.

I started out writing Monday’s Lions Links — often one of the more difficult days to write — and a feature piece. It’s been many years gone by now, but there was a time when the feature piece was “Pride Pub,” an ongoing series that paired craft beer and good food based on Orlando City’s opponent. I can tell you that the research for that was very enjoyable, and I still use some of the recipes I found to this day.

Eventually, I started contributing more match coverage and analytical pieces. Staff came and went, but I never thought to leave since I was enjoying myself. Sometime after that, I was promoted to senior columnist, for which I’m grateful. I can without reservation say that I’m a better writer thanks to my time with the site, and from working with such excellent staff.

In November of 2016, Michael asked if I wanted to give co-hosting The Mane Land PawedCast a try. My first recording was for Episode 71. We just recorded Episode 354, and with the exception of maybe two or three episodes, I have been on every single one of 283 episodes over the last six plus years. Michael and I have spent a lot of time talking on and off the podcast over the years, and I’m proud of what we have produced and to call him my friend.

We recently added an Orlando Pride-specific podcast called Skopurp: An Orlando Pride PawedCast. For years we wanted to give the Pride the time and attention the club deserves. Now, it is a reality, but one that I ask you to listen to and share. I’ll even put out that although Michael and I are the current hosts, we merely consider ourselves stewards and are hoping to get others to come onboard and eventually take it to the next level.

When I started with The Mane Land, the site had just made the move from a free WordPress site to the SBNation network. It was a big deal, and for many years it was a good partnership. Of course that all came to an end not too long ago, and our blog went the independent route thanks to the incredibly generous support of our readers and listeners. In fact, if you want to be one of those supporting our efforts, please go to our Buy Me A Coffee site to become a member. The move has allowed a flexibility we didn’t have before, but I really want others to have the same sense of joy and accomplishment that I have as a member of our staff. 

At one point we had nearly twice the staff that we do now, and as you know, many hands make light work. The opposite of that is also true. I genuinely believe that there must be others out there with the same passion for Orlando City as I have — with the same desire to have their voice heard, whether through the written word or on a podcast. I promise you there is an opportunity to contribute here with us. Our internal discussions are informative, engaging, and often funny. Please consider joining us, as I did eight years ago. I haven’t regretted it and I know you won’t either.

I want to thank all of those who contributed to The Mane Land over the years. There are many that I am still in touch with, though they are no longer a part of the staff. Of course, the current staff are a pleasure to work with, and I appreciate their dedication to what we are trying to do.

Finally, I want to thank the readers and listeners over the years. From those who regularly comment on our articles, to those that I’ve personally met at matches or even randomly on the street, you are a big reason that we do all of this. You are a big reason why I’ve been doing this for the better part of a decade. it is always a genuine pleasure hearing your thoughts or simply sharing a moment of joy together — U.S. Open Cup final, anyone?

So, thank you. I look forward to many more years of this journey together.

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Orlando City

The Mane Land Announces Membership Program

Maximize your Mane Land experience with our new TML membership program while supporting our independent efforts.



Hello, readers of The Mane Land and listeners of our podcasts. Before you start reading this, please note that the most important part of this post is at the end. So, don’t stop until you get to the bottom.

You may recall that when we left SBNation to become independent, we really weren’t sure the best way to go about that. Many of our readers and listeners generously offered to help us make that transition, but we still weren’t sure the best path forward, so we took a poll.

The poll was pretty much split down the middle between those who preferred a one-time, Kickstarter-style campaign (which we did, and those of you who stepped up to help completely blew us away!) and those who favored a Patreon-style, subscription-based membership with extra perks. In fact, the member subscriptions option got a few more votes in our poll.

The folks who took part in our GoFundMe fundraiser were fantastic and are now immortalized on this very site on the “Our Founders” page. But we had always planned to give folks the option to choose whichever method of support they preferred and we tried to communicate that throughout the process. It took a little longer than expected to get up and running, but our membership subscription program is now in place! (You may notice the fancy new banner ad about it on the home page, echoed below.)

Supporting TML helps build a better TML for you to enjoy, so you’re really subscribing to your own Orlando soccer fandom.

Part of that delay was thinking up something that didn’t encroach on the benefits we gave our Founders. Those folks helped us get started and deserve the exclusivity of the perks they got. The other part of the delay is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. (However, for you guys, I’m willing to be cloned.)

We have utilized the popular Buy Me a Coffee platform to run this program. You can find the basics here. The Mane Land premium membership program includes three tiers of membership, as well as the option to click on the “Support” tab for those who just want to help us out whenever, without joining the program or adding any recurring “appointment-based” payments to their budgets. We love that feature of Buy Me a Coffee (or “Buy Us a Beer” in our case…you drink what you like).

For those who do choose to become members, we hope we have provided value and we are planning to add benefits along the way, in addition to providing special giveaways, events, etc. (more on that below). We have also provided subscription options — with monthly or annual memberships. The annual cost essentially gives you 12 months for the price of 10.

Current Benefits

The current membership benefits depend on which level of support you choose — Homegrown Player, TAM Player, or Designated Player level. Each level includes all benefits from the lower tiers, with additional benefits for each higher level.

Homegrown Player: This is a basic set-it-and-forget-it level of support for The Mane Land, providing a way for our readers and podcast listeners to contribute to the success of TML‘s independence goals. We want to compensate our current volunteers, replace lost income of those who previously received small stipends from being part of the SBNation network, add photographers, attract new writers, and expand our coverage. Additionally, each Homegrown Player Level member will be recognized in a Lion Links column, which is still typically our most widely read post of each day and one of the top daily links columns among soccer sites. Homegrown Player Level members will also be included in any future prize drawings we have or events we host and may be subject to future benefits as they are added.

TAM Player: In addition to Homegrown Player benefits, TAM Players will receive a new weekly e-newsletter in their inbox (unless you opt out…some people hate email). These will be informal missives from myself, other TML writers, or a combination, discussing what’s on our mind regarding Orlando City, the Pride, OCB, or soccer in general. Think of it as an extra post from our site that may cover multiple topics. Additionally, you’ll get a 10% discount from our web shop items that we control (presently, that means everything except our listed MLS Shop items). We will definitely have more benefits coming for this level soon and will look for opportunities to include additional benefits as they become available.

Designated Player: This limited availability level of support includes all perks from the Homegrown and TAM levels, but it goes beyond. Your discount at our webshop (for items we control) will be 15% off. Additionally, we’ll send you Zoom links to watch us “make the doughnuts” whenever we record the podcast. This includes when we interview guests. You’ll see how the sausage is made behind the scenes and everything that we say, some of which will end up on the cutting room floor before the final podcast is sent out. This includes both The Mane Land PawedCast and SkoPurp Soccer: An Orlando Pride PawedCast. And after two months of membership you can commission a bonus episode of either podcast simply by letting us know what topic you want us to cover. Think of this as an extended Ask Us Anything. We’ll do a whole show about your topic and you can even join us to discuss it if you wish.

The DP Level will certainly have additional benefits tacked on as we move forward. It is currently limited to 40 members but could be expanded slightly depending on demand and our Zoom attendance.

Future Benefits / Benefits Under Consideration

While we won’t be able to schedule these due to the random nature of items falling into our hands, there will be periodic prize giveaways in drawings that include all of our members, regardless of level. The catch is that you get one entry per level of support, meaning Homegrown Player Level members will get one entry per prize drawing, TAM Player Level members will get two entries per drawing, and Designated Player Level members get three entries for prize drawings. Some of the kinds of items we have come across in the past include match tickets, trinkets, posters, scarves, and so on.

We are planning to add a message board to our website, well…soon-ish is the word that comes to mind. The plan for the message board is to build our community and further the discussion about the club. As part of this, we’re planning an exclusive, members-only area of that message board that TAM and DP members can access. This will be a place our staff can share informational nuggets we can’t necessarily write stories about for various reasons and interact with our members on a daily basis.

Other things in the works include meet-and-greets/watch parties where you can chat with TML staff members and catch a road match with a bunch of like-minded Orlando City/Pride fans while we all cheer on the team together. There may also be other informal outings with one or more members of the staff, organized fantasy leagues, random Zoom calls for Q&A sessions, and perhaps even some organized group outings for Orlando City / Pride matches, national team games, etc.

The Most Important Part of This Post

Remember at the top of this post, when I said the most important part is at the bottom? Well, that seems like a long time ago, now, so it’s OK if you’ve already forgotten.

The most important part of our membership program is you. We want your feedback so we can make this program something that interests and excites you. We want to know what you like and dislike about this program. We want to know if there are some things we didn’t think of that interest you. If you like what we’re offering, tell us! If you hate what we’re offering, we want to know what you’d prefer instead or in addition. If you want to go drinking with Dave, we can probably arrange that, but it’ll be a unique tier and we’ll have to figure out the cost of that.

No idea is too crazy to suggest, even if it’s too insane for us to actually offer. Let us know what you want from your subscription and we’ll see if that’s something we can do. We’ll make it easy for you by putting the form right here below this post, which is now concluded.

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Welcome Home!



Where do I even start? When we were told in January that SBNation was pulling its support of The Mane Land and other MLS and NHL blogs — and many podcasts — I was devastated. The site had become my new baby in September of 2014 and after eight and a half years, I wasn’t ready to let it go.

I was in a pickle. I couldn’t afford to lose the monthly stipend I had been getting from SBNation to manage the site and provide a steady stream of content. It wasn’t that it was a huge monthly sum, but it mostly covered my car payment. That car was purchased when my salary was higher. The pandemic hit my day job like it did to many, and after a four-month layoff, I got my old job back but not at the same rate. So, imagine taking a pay decrease at work and then, on top of that, losing the amount you spend per month on your car payment. There was simply no way to launch The Mane Land independently, I thought, because I simply couldn’t cover the startup costs. Even with some generous offers from the staff to pitch in, there simply wasn’t a way.

Once we took the news public, there was an outpouring of support on social media. We appreciated both the pledges to help out that we got from the community and the signal boosting that the national media gave blogs like ours. Those national folks rely on local reporting for background.

Encouraged by this outpouring of public support, I met with the TML staff and we threw some ideas around. We polled our Twitter followers to see how our community would prefer to show their support. We got pretty close to a 50/50 split between those who wanted to provide a one-time donation via a Kickstarter or GoFundMe crowdsourcing effort, and those who would prefer some sort of premium subscription add-on service like Patreon or Buy Me a Coffee.

We didn’t get a lot of responses to that poll, but we decided as a group that since the results were so similar, we would offer both and let the public choose one path, the other, or even both. (Stay tuned for news soon-ish on the premium subscription level, but rest assured, everything you’ve been getting for free at TML will remain free!)

I was, admittedly, skeptical that we could raise enough startup money to create a private business, pay for hosting a new site and two podcasts (having long wanted to give the Orlando Pride their own unique show), registering a domain, paying for some design work and consulting, and any unexpected expenses that might come up. However, I thought we’d at least give it a try.

Then the amazing Orlando City, Orlando Pride, and TML community got involved. You guys pushed us past our bare minimum goal in just four and a half hours when our fundraiser went live on March 1. We reset our goal and you met that by midnight. We reset our goal again, to the dream total we discussed on our initial staff Zoom chat and you met that by that first weekend.

Stunned. Humbled. Amazed. Touched. All of these words apply to how that made us feel, but they don’t quite cover it. I think we all felt an enormous responsibility, as well. We felt a mandate to provide you the best site and the best coverage we can.

We got everything we needed to run the site for two years, even if we don’t earn a penny after our launch — and we plan to try, via advertising, a Patreon (or similar) program, an online shop, affiliate links, and anything else we can think of. But we decided to leave the GoFundMe open through the end of March, just in case there were folks who wanted to contribute but needed to wait for payday, or if more people wanted to become founding members of this new site.

Now, here we are. You guys did this. We’re here because of you. And this site isn’t quite what it will become. I’m still learning my way around WordPress, after being away from it for years. There’s more to build, and some of the things you’re seeing on this site now will be improved in the future. We’ll continue to tweak it, add things, and upgrade as we go.

For now, I just want to welcome you to your new online home. On behalf of our entire staff, I thank our founding members, who are now immortalized on this site in our founders section. If you weren’t able to contribute to our transition from SBNation’s network to an autonomous and independent, new version of The Mane Land, you can thank the folks on our founders page, because without them, we wouldn’t be here. And if you still want to help out, we’ve got more things on the way.


Michael Citro
Managing Editor

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