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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New England Revolution, 2019 U.S. Open Cup: Final Score 2-1 as Lions Win in Extra Time

Lions are through to the quarterfinals thanks to goals by Benji Michel and Tesho Akindele.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Survive and advance is a good description of what Orlando City did tonight on a rainy evening at Exploria Stadium. The Lions played lethargic soccer for nearly 90 minutes, then scored twice in extra time and held on against a furious rally to nip the New England Revolution, 2-1.

Benji Michel opened his Orlando City account and Tesho Akindele added some much-needed insurance before New England scored late and came close to equalizing numerous times. The Lions are through to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals and will host New York City FC at 7:30 p.m. on July 10.

“Obviously, very pleased to get through,” O’Connor said after the game. “I thought it was a very tough game, as we knew it would be. Credit to New England. I thought they put up a great fight. I thought it was a very difficult game for both football teams, back and forth. But I thought the heart and the commitment that the players showed was outstanding.”

O’Connor put together a similar lineup to last week’s match in Memphis, but starting fullbacks Joao Moutinho and Ruan returned to the starting XI, pushing Shane O’Neill and Alex De John to the bench. Other than that, the personnel were only different on the bench, with Nani, Kyle Smith, and Michel dressing, along with last week’s reserves, Brian Rowe and Carlos Ascues.

The first half was as sloppy as the Orlando weather throughout the day, with neither team doing a whole lot. The Lions were slow and plodding, and as a result, New England easily picked off a pass nearly every time City approached the final third. The Revolution were easily the more motivated club for the first 45 minutes and that showed in their 7-2 advantage in shots, even though New England failed to put any on target (Orlando managed one).

Teal Bunbury got the game’s first chance three minutes in, sending a shot that Adam Grinwis parried, but it looked to be heading wide anyway. Cristian Penilla sailed a shot over the bar four minutes later.

Orlando’s first shot came off a counterattack that put Cristian Higuita into a good spot but the Colombian didn’t get much power on his effort and it was an easy save for Matt Turner in the eighth minute.

Santiago Patino fired a header wide off a free kick cross in the 16th minute and Orlando’s chances were done for the half.

Most of the rest of the first half was played between the boxes with the teams trading forays forward only to turn it over when they came toward goal. New England looked the far more likely team to score, getting deeper into the Lions’ end overall.

Late in the first half, the Lions tried to send a long ball to Higuita and Jalil Anibaba got to the aerial ball first, colliding with the Orlando midfielder in the New England box. He won the ball cleanly but Higuita was injured on the play and had to be subbed off with an apparent leg injury.

The half ended 0-0 with Orlando holding 57.4% of the possession and out-passing the Revs 86%-79%.

New England continued to get the better opportunities in the second half and it seemed like only a matter of time before the Revs would cash in. Sacha Kljestan blocked a shot by Anibaba off a corner kick in the 57th minute to deny a goal. Moments later, Dillon Powers arrived to make a vital block.

After a couple of Orlando crosses couldn’t find anyone in the area, a cross to an open Penilla looked like it would give New England the lead but the Revs forward couldn’t set his feet properly and the chance was wasted in the 66th minute.

After a weak shot by Chris Mueller fell right to Turner, New England nearly scored in the 75th minute. Grinwis did well to get down to deny a wicked cross that was back-heeled on frame by Bunbury.

Juan Fernando Caicedo hit the post four minutes later, then tracked down the rebound and missed wide.

Orlando City got a late flurry despite the second half being all New England, which coincided with Michel entering the game in the 81st minute. Akindele smashed a shot off the post five minutes later as the Lions started to find some energy. The rebound almost fell for Michel, but he was offside, and Ruan followed with a shot that didn’t matter, but it was right at Turner anyway.

Moments later, Powers fired and forced a great save by Turner, who committed to his right and had to reach back to his left to make the save.

The full time whistle blew and the game headed to extra time for two additional 15-minute halves, still scoreless. The Revs held a 14-7 lead in shots after 90 minutes but Orlando got three on target to New England’s one. The Lions held 56% possession and an advantage in passing accuracy (84%-79%).

In the first minute of the extra period, Michel got down the right. With no one else in the area he fired a bad-angle shot that forced Turner into a save. The Revs came back the other way and fizzed a cross through the six but no one could get a touch on it.

Michel’s earlier foray was a sign of things to come. The Lions broke through in the 96th minute when Moutinho got down the left and fizzed a cross in that deflected off the back of Michel’s foot. It fell for Carlos Ascues, who shot. Turner saved it, but Michel was there for the put-back to open his Orlando account and make it 1-0.

“I mean, wow. It’s an amazing feeling,” Michel said of scoring his first professional goal. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was younger, watching the club and then thinking about me scoring in front of these amazing fans, and I finally achieved it. I scored my first goal in front of this club and I’m still just…thinking about it. It’s like amazing to me.”

Ascues freed himself up for a shot in the 100th minute but it was deflected out for a corner kick by the defense. A minute later, the ball fell to Akindele’s feet in the box. He was standing dead still and couldn’t get any power on his shot, but it deflected off Andrew Farrell and wrong-footed Turner, trickling across the goal line to make it 2-0.

After what seemed an interminable amount of stoppage time, the Lions held a two-goal advantage into the extra time break.

Nani nearly made it 3-0 just after the restart on what would have been a truly spectacular goal. The Portuguese star tried to catch Turner off his line from near midfield and the ball sailed just over the bar and landed on the roof of the net.

Orlando then went into conservation mode more out of self-preservation than sitting on the lead. Powers went off with what appeared to be a groin injury or cramps and limped off the field, being replaced by Alex De John. Akindele could hardly walk let alone run for the final 10 minutes.

As a result, New England sent numbers forward and was able to sustain some pressure over the final five minutes. The Revs broke through in the 117th minute on what seemed like their 20th dangerous cross of the game. Carles Gil sent a back-post ball that second-half sub Justin Rennicks got onto and nodded home to make it a game with just minutes remaining.

The Lions got nervy after that but were able to just see out the final few minutes, with Bunbury heading just off target in stoppage time. The whistle mercifully sounded and City had a trip to the quarterfinals.

“Credit to our back line,” Grinwis said of his defense’s work on the night. “I mean, even Joao Moutinho, who’s one of the shortest guys out there and he’s winning balls in the air left and right. I think we weathered the storm well, because they were just putting balls in on us left and right. It was tricky on the pitch and I thought (the defense) did really well to manage that.”

Orlando saw 52% of the final possession and was the better passing team (83%-80%) but the Revs fired more shots (22-15). The Lions, however, were the more accurate side, getting eight attempts on frame to just three for New England.

Orlando City returns to MLS action next Wednesday, June 26 at D.C. United.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. D.C. United: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 3-2 win over D.C. United?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City came back from two deficits against D.C. United to claim a huge 3-2 win this weekend — the team’s second victory of the season. It looked like it would be a long night for the Lions in the first 20 minutes, but they turned it around. Down a goal late, David Brekalo and Duncan McGuire converted to earn Orlando City three points.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances by the Lions.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — Gallese took his usual position in goal and had a strong night. He allowed himself to get pushed out of the play on the opening goal by Christian Benteke, though it arguably should’ve been a foul on D.C. He ended the game with four saves from six on-target shots, including two huge saves in second-half stoppage time. In addition to his shot stopping, Gallese completed 51.9% of his 27 passes, including seven of his 20 long balls. He was also credited with three clearances on the night.

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — Smith got the start at left back in this game over Rafael Santos, recording 53 touches. He had three tackles, three clearances, and a blocked shot. Going forward, he only completed 76.5% of his 34 passes, but connected with his lone cross and five of his nine long balls. He also won two aerial balls and was booked just before coming off for handling a ball that he should’ve cleared, giving D.C. a free kick in a dangerous position. The defender was replaced by Santos in the 73rd minute.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was a strong point for Orlando City once again in this game. He recorded one tackle, two interceptions, a blocked shot, and three clearances. Going forward, the center back completed 80.4% of his 46 passes, including four of his seven long balls. Arguably his biggest play of the game was drawing a foul late at the top of the box when D.C. was pushing for an equalizer.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo had 60 touches and completed 76.6% of his 47 passes, including three of his 13 long balls. Defensively, he recorded one tackle, one interception, and two clearances. He made his first significant offensive impact as a Lion by getting his head to a Nico Lodeiro corner kick in the 82nd minute to even the game at 2-2.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson only had 58 touches in the game, but the right back made the most of them. He completed 76.7% of his 30 passes and three of his six long balls, but failed to connect on his lone cross. Defensively, he recorded two tackles and three clearances. However, his biggest impact came in the 28th minute, when he got his head onto Ivan Angulo’s cross to even the game at 1-1.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5 — Araujo’s 70 touches were the most on the team for this game. He only completed 78.2% of his 55 passes, but connected on two of his four long balls. Defensively, he won two tackles and blocked one shot while committing a team-high four fouls. He was also late getting over to cover Gabriel Pirani on the second goal for D.C. Overall, it wasn’t one of Araujo’s best games.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 5.5 — Cartagena started in the defensive midfield alongside Araujo. He recorded 41 touches and completed 81.3% of his 32 passes, including a key pass, his one cross, and one of his three long balls. Defensively, he recorded two clearances. As is common with the midfielder, he was booked in the first half for standing over Jared Stroud after a foul by Angulo. He was taken off during a triple substitution in the 72nd minute, replaced by Lodeiro.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo was the least involved of the midfielders, only recording 35 touches. However, he completed 76.2% of his 21 passes, including a wonderful cross to Thorhallsson on the Lions’ first goal of the night. His lone shot was off target, but he helped defensively with a tackle and team-high three interceptions.

MF, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres recorded 50 touches in this game and completed 90.9% of his 33 passes with no key passes. He was accurate on only one of his three crosses, which was an issue. His lone shot was off target but not by much, as he sent his effort just wide of the right post from outside the area. He came off in stoppage time after the Lions took the lead for center back Rodrigo Schlegel.

MF, Martin Ojeda, 5.5 — Ojeda started in the attacking midfield for this game, recording 46 touches. He completed 71.4% of his 21 passes, including two key passes, one accurate cross on his four attempts, and two of his four long balls. He also had four unstable touches and an off-target shot. Defensively, the attacking midfielder had a team-high four tackles, helping his team retain possession before being replaced by Duncan McGuire in the 72nd minute.

F, Luis Muriel, 5 — Muriel got the start alone up top, but had a difficult night. He got involved in the game with 36 touches and completed 64.7% of his 17 passes, including two key passes. He took two shots, with one on target, and completed two dribbles, but had five unstable touches. He could’ve had a much better performance, but attempted to dribble through the opposition in the box rather than finding a teammate, losing possession. The forward’s night ended in the 87th minute when he was replaced by Felipe.


D, Rafael Santos (73’), 5.5 — Santos came on in the 73rd minute for Smith at left back. He had 14 touches and completed seven of his 10 touches (70%), but failed to connect on his one long ball and three crosses. He also didn’t record any defensive stats in his 17 minutes of action.

MF, Nico Lodeiro (72’), 6.5 (MotM) — Lodeiro came on in the 72nd minute for Cartagena, looking to make a difference. The midfielder touched the ball 18 times and completed 75% of his 12 passes, including two key passes, two of his three crosses, and one of his three long balls. Both of his shots were on target and his through ball for McGuire in second-half stoppage time gave him the assist on the game-winning goal. Although the stats sheet credited Torres with the assist on Brekalo’s goal, it was the veteran who took the set piece, which should result in a two-assist night once the league has had a chance to review the tape (see below…even Evan Weston calls him ‘Torres’ on his call). Lodeiro was a game-changer when he came on so, despite his lack of minutes, he earns my Man of the Match.

F, Duncan McGuire (72’), 6 — McGuire came on with Lodeiro as the Lions were chasing the game. He had 14 touches and completed 44.4% of his nine passes. However, the striker was brought on to score and did so in stoppage time, timing his run perfectly and finishing well on the breakaway. He also recorded a tackle and clearance but gets a high grade from me for doing exactly what he was brought on to do in scoring the winning goal.

MF, Felipe (87’), N/A — Felipe came on for Muriel as the Lions looked to see out a point, but he only touched the ball three times. He completed both of his passes, but didn’t record any other stats in his minimal time on the field.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (90+2’), N/A — Schlegel came on right after the game-winning goal for Torres as the Lions looked to see out the win. He had two touches and an incomplete pass, but no other statistics.

That’s how I saw the individual performances in Orlando City’s win over D.C. United. Let us know how you saw the game and vote for your Man of the Match below.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/15/24

Lions beat D.C. United, Pride pick up road win over Utah Royals, Barbra Banda arrives in Orlando, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City and the Pride both won over the weekend, and there has been plenty of action in European soccer. Over the past week, I’ve been busy covering high school sports like lacrosse and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Top D.C. United

Orlando City overturned a late 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 against D.C. United at Audi Field over the weekend. David Brekalo scored the equalizer in the second half to tie the match at 2-2. Duncan McGuire came off the bench in the second half and scored in stoppage time, as the Lions beat D.C. United for the first time since Oct. 2, 2021. The Lions were 0-3-1 against D.C. United over the last two seasons prior to Saturday’s win. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last three matches. Orlando City will be on the road again this weekend when it takes on CF Montreal on Saturday.

Orlando Pride Defeat Utah Royals; Help Arrives

The Orlando Pride got their first win of the 2024 NWSL last Friday with a 1-0 against the Utah Royals. Marta came off the bench in the second half and scored the lone goal to seal the win for Orlando. The Pride drew each of their first three matches to start the season against Racing Louisville, Angel City FC, and the Chicago Red Stars. Friday’s result means the Pride have six points through four league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table.

Despite needing four matches to pick up their first win of the year, the Pride are ahead of last year’s pace at the same point in the season, and remain undefeated (1-0-3) despite still waiting to play with this off-season’s marquee signing, Zambian international striker Barbra Banda. The new Pride forward arrived on Sunday to a warm welcome at Orlando International Airport.

It will be interesting to see how quickly Seb Hines can get Banda acclimated to the club and the league. Orlando could use Banda’s offensive firepower, as the club has struggled to score goals in the early part of the season. The Pride will be back in action against the San Diego Wave this Friday.

Bayer Leverkusen wins Bundesliga; Manchester City Leads EPL Title Race

Bayer Leverkusen cruised to a 5-0 win against Werder Bremen on Sunday to win its first ever Bundesliga title with five league matches left to spare. Xabi Alonso’s side won the league title by a 16-point margin, ending Bayern Munich’s 11-year run as title holders. Leverkusen is also unbeaten through 43 matches across all competitions. Meanwhile, in England, we have a new Premier League title race leader as Manchester City crushed Luton Town 5-1 on Saturday. On Sunday, Arsenal lost 2-0 to Aston Villa and Liverpool lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace. There are six match days remaining and this race could go down to the wire. Manchester City is at the top of the table with 73 points, while Arsenal and Liverpool remain two points behind in second and third, respectively, with 71 points.

Free Kicks

  • Houston Dash winger Maria Sanchez has reportedly requested a trade four months after signing a record-breaking deal in NWSL history in the off-season to remain with the club.
  • Manchester United edged Chelsea 2-1 to beat the Blues for the first time ever. Making the win even bigger was that it took place in the Women’s FA Cup semifinal. United will play Tottenham in the final at Wembley on May 12.
  • The EFL Championship is three weeks away from its finale, with a few clubs featureing Americans still in the mix for promotion. Josh Sargent’s Norwich City side holds the final playoff spot, while Haji Wright’s Conventry and Duane Holmes’ Preston North End in the hunt for a shot at promotion.
  • The AS Roma versus Udinese match was suspended after defender Evan Ndicka collapsed away from play and had to be stretchered off. The game was tied at 1-1 with about 20 minutes remaining when Ndicka went down. The club shared this update on social media.

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. D.C. United: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from a 3-2 road victory against D.C. United?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City came from behind twice on the road at Audi Field to earn three points against a good D.C. United team, winning 3-2. It was by no means a perfect match for the Lions, but Head Coach Oscar Pareja and company pulled the right strings when it came to the lineup and substitutes after a bye week to earn the team’s biggest result of the still young season.

Here are our five takeaways from the match.

Sluggish Start

D.C. United found itself up 1-0 before most fans at home and in the stadium probably had a chance to settle into their seats. Christian Benteke, a man who you absolutely do not want to allow any space in the box, broke free for a header from the back post on a corner kick five minutes into the match. Say what you want about the contact that was allowed on Gallese, but El Pulpo could have been more demonstrative coming off his line. The shellshocked Lions took the next 20ish minutes to work themselves back into the match, but there was certainly a lot of concern early from those watching the events unfolding in the nation’s capital.

Angulo Creates the Equalizer

Once Orlando woke up, the squad was able to string together a solid second part of the first half with possession, passing, and solid cutting. The first equalizer of the night came in the 28th minute as Ivan Angulo streaked up the field and utilized his speed to get the ball into a dangerous position before playing a perfectly weighted ball to the back post, where Dagur Dan Thorhallsson slammed home an emphatic header. It was a welcome sign for Angulo to get involved as a contributor after an otherwise forgettable start to the year.

Muriel Lacking Quality

Much has been made about the signing of Luis Muriel, who has had a storied international career. His start to his time in the City Beautiful has been less than inspiring, however. On a night when he got the starting nod over fellow striker Duncan McGuire, Muriel looked slightly off and oftentimes was the victim of over dribbling or taking one too many touches.

His best goal-scoring opportunity came on a brilliant ball from Martin Ojeda with the D.C. keeper far off his line. Attempting to chip the keeper from distance would have been asking a lot and Muriel decided to dribble into the box, ultimately trying to guide the ball into the opposite corner. However, it was blocked by D.C. defender Aaron Herrera. One way or another, Orlando is going to need Muriel to find the back of the net, but when that happens may be anyone’s guess.


Remember where your heard the phrase ‘Breakagoalo,’ OCSC fans, as it is being coined here and now. With two weeks of rest, David Brekalo found himself inserted into what is undoubtedly his starting role for the remainder of the year, and he was able to open his Orlando City and MLS goal-scoring accounts. After D.C. once again pulled ahead, 2-1, a little after the hour mark of the match, Brekalo was able to showcase his athletic ability and aerial presence by outleaping multiple D.C. players on a corner kick, sending a glancing header into the net to level the game at 2-2.

These are the types of goals that Orlando City has lacked — not just this year, but last year as well — and there is no reason to think that Brekalo can’t find the net multiple times this year from corners and set pieces.

Duncan Does it Again

Duncan McGuire opened his account a little over a year ago, scoring his first career goal against D.C. United. Inserted as a super sub on Saturday, with the team down 2-1, it seemed then very fitting that he would be the one to find the late winner for the Lions. The TV angles unfortunately failed to capture the full greatness of his run, which started with an excellent ball from Nico Lodeiro. McGuire did everything right from that moment on by using two strong touches and then calmly picking out the right corner before hitting his famous flip celebration.

McGuire’s goal — and the late winner that it provided — was exactly what Orlando City needed to start to right the ship as the team looks to climb back up the table.

That’s what I saw in Orlando City’s come-from-behind victory against D.C. United. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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