Connect with us

Orlando City

Orlando City at Columbus Crew: Player Grades and Man of the Match



Man, this game was yellow — not just the Crew’s blinding kits, but the Lions picked up three yellow cards to Columbus’ one. This game was full of Orlando City turnovers, and Columbus corners. If I hadn’t seen it myself, it would be hard to believe that Orlando City won this match with all the turnovers, all the corners, and all the fouls. Yet, here we are with three road points and some confidence as the Lions return home to face Philadelphia on Wednesday. 


GK, Brian Rowe, 8 — It was a performance from Brian Rowe that had my non-believer husband saying, “I love Rowe! I didn’t think I did, but I do!” So there’s that, if it matters. He had 37 touches and ended the game with a clean sheet on the road. Plus, he made a spectacular save to deny a Goal of the Week from Robinho. What more could he need as a keeper?

D, Danilo Acosta, 7 — It must have been “defend with your face” night, as Acosta took a hard knock to the face or neck early in the second half after Robin Jansson took one in the first half. Acosta, who hasn’t seen very much game play for the Lions, sent crosses to nowhere, and was beaten out multiple times to the ball. We finally saw a nice defensive play out of Acosta in in the 86th minute and he won a free kick. I feel like I can’t be too hard on Acosta only having three clearances, when Lamine Sané and Jansson were out there racking up 26 collectively. He also got a secondary assist on Mueller’s goal, starting the play toward the net by driving inside and finding Nani.

D, Robin Jansson, 9 (co-MotM) — Jansson was just so, I don’t even know how to share how amazing he was to watch tonight! He took that free kick to the face and after a quick look, kept going. It seemed to be swelling as the game went on but that didn’t stop him at all. Not to mention that tackle that sprung the series leading Tesho to score in the 66th minute. He just kept heading crosses away for the rest of the match. Jansson saw 45 touches, 13 clearances, two tackles and three fouls.

D, Lamine Sané, 9 (co-MotM) — Sané has had a touch-and-go season in my opinion, but he was on fire tonight. We saw a nice clearance in the 11th minute when Columbus sent a free kick into the box. Then there was that beautiful moment in added time during the first half, when the ball fell perfectly for Columbus and Sané just got it out of there. He just continued to soar over everyone and clear the ball repeatedly. Thirteen was a lucky number for the defense tonight as Sané also recorded 13 clearances and an interception. Is this what a happy and healthy Lamine Sané means for Orlando’s back line?

D, Kyle Smith, 7.5 — We saw a nice play early in the match where Smith chipped a ball into the area for Mueller, but Columbus’ Jon Kempin was there to grab it. Smith took a yellow in minute 15 in exchange for shutting down what could have been a potentially dangerous turnover. He was aggressive and had two tackles, an interception, four clearances, and two fouls. A little bit of aggression is what I’ve been looking for in the Lions!

MF, Uri Rosell, 7.5 — Maybe you know this about me, maybe you don’t. I stan Uri Rosell. He’s not always flashy in the midfield, but he seems to be consistent and reliable. He ended the match with an 81% passing rate, an interception, five tackles, and match-high touches, with 64.

MF, Sacha Kljestan, 7.5 — Klejstian was awarded a yellow card in the 63rd minute as his attempt to break up play and win the ball back came in a bit heavy. His help clearing a free kick in the second half helped keep the clean sheet for Rowe. In a surprising turn of events, Sacha’s passing rate was at 90% this match, and he made three clearances defensively.

MF, Dillon Powers, 6.5 — It was a quiet night for Powers who has been receiving a lot of love from fans as of late. His 50 touches saw an 80% passing rate and he had two interceptions defensively. Not much else to add as Uri and Sascha seemed to hold down the midfield tonight.

F, Nani, 8 — Ah isn’t it fun to watch Nani when Nani’s on? From putting his moves on Pedro Santos in the 50th minute and stealing the ball then drawing a foul in the 57th, to the assist on that beautiful Tesho Akindele goal in the 66th. Excitement was high in our house when Nani was off on a breakaway and fired his chance right into Kempin’s chest later in the second half. Nani made four tackles and an interception as well as, two key passes (both assists), and one shot on target.

F, Tesho Akindele, 7 — His goal from distance in the second half was just what the Lions needed to help secure the 2-0 game, but of his 22 passes, only 11 connected. Aside from the offside call and his goal, Akindele was pretty quiet.

F, Chris Mueller, 7.5 — Mueller started off rough. In fact, I was ready to score him pretty low as he dribbled away opportunity after opportunity. Then, there it was, in the 41st minute, Chris Mueller put one in.


MF, Carlos Ascues (77’), 6 — Ascues was booked late in the game for holding up a restart. Other than that, he didn’t have much of an impact.

F, Benji Michel (65’), 6 — Michel came on for Mueller in the 65th minute, right before Tesho’s goal, but other than that he was pretty quiet as he collected his minutes and helped see out the match.

F, Santiago Patino (87’), 5.5 — Patino didn’t play much tonight, but his first bit of play saw him commit an unnecessary foul. So, I’m grading him anyway. Don’t @ me.

You read right, Mane Landers, that’s two Men of the Match winners from me tonight! That’s how I saw the game anyway. Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to vote your man of the match in the poll below!

Polling Closed

Lamine Sané and Robin Jansson 55
Chris Mueller6
Tesho Akindele1
Just Lamine Sané5
Just Robin Jansson21

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to earn all three points against CF Montreal this Saturday in Exploria Stadium?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City hosts CF Montreal in the second-to-last home match of the 2023 MLS regular season at Exploria Stadium this Saturday night. The Lions have already secured a spot in the playoffs but are now fighting for home field advantage. Montreal is currently sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and is fighting for a playoff spot.

What does Orlando City need to do to secure three important points against the Canadian Club Foots?

Time to Make the Donuts

It had been a minute since Duncan McGuire scored a goal for Orlando City — and by a minute I mean since July 29. McGuire had a few opportunities against Inter Miami and managed to get one to equalize for the Lions and ensure a point at home. I do think he might have scored on another of those chances if he was fully back in form after his injury time, but I’ll take the goal. 

My hope is that getting that goal will remind him that he can score goals when given the opportunity, and he will be better about finishing the chances he gets against Montreal. Sometimes it just takes getting that first goal to open up the muscle memory and to unlock the confidence needed in a striker. It’s time for Duncan to score more goals, and the match against Montreal is the first and best opportunity to do so since Montreal starting center back Joel Waterman will be serving a red card suspension.

Switch up the Lineup

I propose a change to the starting lineup — something Oscar Pareja does not do very often. Due to injuries and other factors such a move wasn’t possible earlier in the season, but I think it could work now. I have a ton of respect for Mauricio Pereyra, but he could probably use a rest to be fresh for the playoffs as the regular season winds down. 

I suggest letting Martin Ojeda get the start in the 10 spot, moving Dagur Dan Thorhallsson up the wing, and having Michael Halliday take over at right back. Ojeda’s play as of late has been much improved, and with Halliday healthy again, why not take advantage of Dagur Dan’s versatility along the wing. I think this move provides energy, a surprise for opposing defenses, and allows Facundo Torres more freedom. 

Same Old Effective Defense

Orlando City’s defense has only allowed 37 goals this season — which is good enough to tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. On the flip side, Montreal has only scored 30 goals so far — which is only better than Toronto at 24 goals. Montreal has a goal differential of -15.If the Lions play their normally solid defense in front of the outstanding goalkeeping of Pedro Gallese, Montreal should not get too many opportunities to score. There’s no doubt that we will see Robin Jansson and Rodrigo Schlegel paired together with Rafael Santos on the left and either Dagur Dan — or Michael Halliday as I suggested — on the right. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena can stop most attacks before they get to the back line. If Orlando City plays defense as well as the club did against Miami, things should be fine.

That is what I will be looking for this Saturday as the Lions take on the boys from North of the border. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/28/23

Ajax is reportedly scouting Facundo Torres, Orlando Pride focus on upcoming matches, Houston Dynamo win U.S. Open Cup, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this work week has gone smoothly for you as we get ready to bid farewell to September. It’s been a hectic week for me, but I started and then promptly devoured all of Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. It was a nice read, albeit a bit intense at times. I’m not sure what I’ll read next as most of my reading list is packed up for a move, but if you have any recommendations then let me know in the comments below. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Ajax Reportedly Interested in Facundo Torres

Orlando City forward Facundo Torres has reportedly garnered the interest of Dutch club Ajax according to Fabrizio Romano.

It’s not too surprising that Ajax, which currently sits in 14th in the Eredivisie with just seven goals from five games, has scouts keeping tabs on Torres. The 23-year-old has scored 12 goals this season, powering Orlando to second in the Eastern Conference. It wouldn’t be the first time Torres has received attention from European clubs and likely won’t be the last as he continues to impress with the Lions

Orlando Pride Focus During Playoff Push

The Orlando Pride are back in action on Monday for a crucial road match with Angel City FC. Both teams have 25 points this season, one point from the sixth and final playoff spot currently held by the Washington Spirit. It will be the first of three remaining games for the Pride this season, with matches against fellow playoff hopefuls Racing Louisville and the Houston Dash set for later in October. As a result, there’s not much margin for error if the Pride wish to make the playoffs and Kylie Strom talked about how the team is focused for these games.

MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs Begin This Weekend

The first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs kicks off this weekend with six matches that can all be watched on MLS Season Pass. Unlike last year, Orlando City B will be taking part and is set to face off with Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Although the Young Lions have struggled on the road against Columbus, Jack Lynn and Shak Mohammed can make things difficult for the hosts. Hopefully we’ll see OCB make Columbus regret its choice of opponent in the postseason. I like the wrinkle and mind games to the playoffs the new rule gave and am interested to see which of the lower seeds plays with a chip on their shoulder. The playoffs begin on Friday when Sporting Kansas City II hosts Austin FC II in a battle between the third and fourth seeds of the Western Conference.

Houston Dynamo Win U.S. Open Cup

The Houston Dynamo have lifted the U.S. Open Cup trophy after winning 2-1 on the road against Inter Miami. A pair of goals in the first half were enough for Houston to win its second U.S. Open Cup title after also winning in 2018. A goal in stoppage time from Josef Martinez made things interesting, but the Dynamo defense did well to secure the win and deny Miami its second tournament title this year. It was a strong end to a solid tournament campaign from the Dynamo, as they beat four MLS sides before taking down Miami in the final.

Albertin Montoya Hired as Bay FC Head Coach

Ahead of its inaugural NWSL season next year, Bay FC named Albertin Montoya as the club’s first head coach. Montoya, who has lived in California for most of his life, served as the interim coach for the Washington Spirit in 2022 and also coached the U.S. U-17 women’s national team in 2011. Bay FC General Manager Lucy Rushton spoke on how Montoya’s name came up often while the club searched for a head coach, as well as how his skill at developing players will help build the club’s foundation.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja called for the supporters to continue filling Exploria Stadium and pushing the Lions forward for the team’s remaining home games this season.
  • St. Louis City midfielder Njabulo Blom won MLS Goal of the Week for his winner against Minnesota United. It was also the 23-year-old’s first professional goal.

That’s all I have for you today. Have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/27/23

Orlando City falls in power rankings, OCB will take on Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro playoffs, U.S. Open Cup final preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There’s not much new with me, I’m just staying busy at work lately and hoping to catch some soccer this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Drops Two Spots in Power Rankings

The latest MLS power rankings have been released and Orlando City fell two spots to fourth. The Lions lost their midweek matchup 2-0 on the road against New York City FC last Wednesday and closed out the weekend with a 1-1 draw against rival Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium. It wasn’t all bad this past week for the Lions, as Duncan McGuire scored his 11th goal of the year across all competitions. Despite losing to NYCFC a week ago, the Lions remain in second place in the Eastern Conference and are two points ahead of the Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, Atlanta United, and the New England Revolution.

OCB Will Take On Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs

Orlando City B’s opponent for the first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs was announced on Tuesday, as it will go on the road to take on defending champion Columbus Crew 2 on Oct. 1 at Historic Crew Stadium. As part of the new playoff format that lets higher seeds choose their opponents, Columbus chose to host OCB in the quarterfinals. The Young Lions closed out their regular season this past weekend with a 2-1 win against FC Cincinnati and finished fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Columbus Crew 2 finished its regular season with a 3-2 win against Atlanta United 2 to place third. The clubs split the regular season series, with OCB winning 4-1 on Aug. 27 and Columbus winning 4-0 on May 14. The conference semifinals will be on the following weekend, and the MLS NEXT Pro Cup final is set for Oct. 22.

U.S. Open Cup Final Preview

The 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will conclude tonight with the final at DRV PNK Stadium as Inter Miami takes on the Houston Dynamo. The match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. and you can watch the match on Paramount+ or CBS Sports Network. Inter Miami’s journey included edging out Nashville SC 2-1 in the Round of 16 and needing to go all the way to penalties to knock out FC Cincinnati after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the semifinals. The Houston Dynamo began their run with a pair of 1-0 wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Sporting Kansas City. Since the Round of 16, the Dynamo cruised past Minnesota United, the Chicago Fire, and Real Salt Lake to get to the final. Houston was on a seven-match unbeaten run before losing to Sporting Kansas City this past weekend. The Dynamo will look to add another U.S. Open Cup title after winning it back in 2018. Lionel Messi will reportedly be a game-time decision for tonight’s final after he didn’t play in Miami’s draw with Orlando.

Spain Wins First Home Match Since World Cup Victory

Spain’s women’s national team won its first match since lifting the World Cup trophy last month, cruising to a 5-0 win against Switzerland in a UEFA Nations League matchup. After dealing with the fallout of former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales and players boycotting call-ups to the national team before a deal was reached last week, the team wore wristbands that read “Se Acabo,” meaning “this is over,” and players from both teams held a banner with the same phrase before the match. Spain celebrated its win in front of a record-breaking crowd of 14,194 fans that came out to support the team at Nuevo Arcangel Stadium.

Free Kicks

  • Carrie Lawrence and the Orlando Pride were hard at work preparing for the match on Monday against Angel City FC.
  • Angel City exercised its club option to extend former Pride forward Sydney Leroux’s contract through the end of the 2024 NWSL season.
  • The Canadian Women’s National Team defeated Jamaica 4-1 on aggregate to book a spot in next summer’s Olympics.
  • The Seattle Sounders have unveiled their new crest for next year.

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

Continue Reading