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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 at New York Red Bulls: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to earn all three points on the road at Red Bull Arena this Saturday night?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City is back on the road this Saturday with a match against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. The Lions have four results in the last four matches, but only one win. That needs to change if this team is going to be a serious contender once the playoffs come around. 

Orlando City defeated the Red Bulls 1-0 to begin the 2023 MLS regular season at Exploria Stadium. Now the Lions have a chance to sweep the Eastern Conference rival in the regular season with another victory. What does Orlando City need to do to get all three points on the road this weekend?

Take Advantage of Tired Legs

The Red Bulls are coming off a midweek away match against Inter Miami, and a flight back to New Jersey. That means that new Red Bulls skipper Tony Lesesne won’t have as much time to game plan as Oscar Pareja will with a full week between matches. It also means that there may be some tired legs on the Red Bulls’ side of the pitch.

If Orlando City can get through the first half with either the lead, or at least even on the scoreboard, it will be tougher for New York in the second half, especially once the hour mark hits. Use possession and passing to make the Red Bulls run as much as possible and then hit them with the fresh legs of Duncan McGuire to finish them off.

Score First, Score Second

We saw what happens when Orlando City doesn’t find a way to get a second goal in the last match against Atlanta United. They don’t call them the Cardiac Cats for nothing. The Lions must get the early lead to make New York chase the match, but they also need to get a second goal before the Red Bulls can get their first.

If Orlando City can go up by two goals, it will be demoralizing for a team that is playing twice in four days, and will have the tired legs mentioned above. It will also give the Lions the mental confidence to potentially get a third goal, as the club did against Inter Miami. Finishing the chances and putting the match to bed early is a big key to victory.

Keep a Clean Sheet

The Red Bulls haven’t scored a ton of goals this season, nor do they have any player lighting things up on the offensive side of the ball. Orlando City hasn’t earned a clean sheet since the April 29 match against the LA Galaxy. The Red Bulls are the type of opponent that could help the Lions solve that dilemma.

Doing so will mean Pedro Gallese must continue being one of the best keepers in MLS. Many of the goals conceded this season are not on him — not all, but certainly many. Michael Halliday will still be with the USMNT U-20 squad this weekend and we might see Oscar Pareja employ three at the back in his absence. If so, it will be contingent upon whoever is lined up on the right to deal with John Tolkin when he presses up the pitch, which he will. 

If  the three center backs do their job, and if Cesar Araujo plays like he usually does, then the attack will likely come from the flanks. It is contingent upon the wingbacks to make sure they don’t neglect the defense, especially later in the match.

That is what I will be looking for this Saturday night as the Lions look for a fifth straight result. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/1/23

MLS All-Star voting is underway, midweek MLS results, Sevilla wins Europa League, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to June, Mane Landers! I hope May treated you well as we get ready for another month filled to the brim with soccer. The Florida summer is heating up, so make sure to stay hydrated out there as we break out the beach umbrellas and dust off the grills. But for now, let’s jump into today’s links!

MLS All-Star Voting Begins

Voting is underway for the 26 players who will be selected for the MLS All-Star Team this summer. Of those 26 players, 12 will be chosen from a combined vote from fans, media, and current players. Orlando City defensive midfielder Cesar Araujo was noted as a candidate who could make this year’s team. Personally, I think goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, center back Robin Jansson, and forward Ercan Kara have a real shot at playing in the All-Star Game if they keep up their form. This year’s MLS All-Star Game will take place against Arsenal in the nation’s capital, with D.C. United Head Coach Wayne Rooney at the helm.

MLS Midweek Action Brings Plenty of Goals

The Lions weren’t in action for this midweek round of games, but there was still plenty of soccer to enjoy from the other MLS teams. Atlanta United and the New England Revolution battled to a 3-3 draw at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Carles Gil and Bobby Wood gave the Revs a 2-0 lead heading into halftime. Atlanta then scored three times in the second half, only for Gil to find an equalizer in stoppage time. It wasn’t the only high-scoring game of the evening either, as the Columbus Crew won 3-2 over the Colorado Rapids thanks to a goal and two assists from midfielder Lucas Zelarayan. Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, FC Cincinnati beat New York City FC 3-1 and D.C. United and CF Montreal played to a 2-2 draw. Orlando City’s next opponents, the New York Red Bulls, won 1-0 at Inter Miami.

Sevilla Wins Seventh Europa League Title

It took a penalty shootout to decide the winner of this year’s Europa League final, with Sevilla beating AS Roma in Budapest. It was the Spanish club’s seventh time lifting the Europa League trophy. This win salvaged a rough La Liga season for Sevilla and it will play in the Champions League next year. Paulo Dybala gave Roma the lead in the first half, but an own goal levelled things in the 55th minute. Chris Smalling nearly gave Roma the win in extra time, but his header hit the crossbar. It was Jose Mourinho’s first defeat in six European finals and Roma will aim to qualify for the Europa League again when it takes on Spezia in its final Serie A game of the season on Sunday.

More Teams Claim Spots in U-20 World Cup Quarterfinals

Host Argentina was bounced from the U-20 World Cup after a 2-0 loss to Nigeria in the U-20 World Cup. After a scoreless first half, Nigeria struck twice and will face either Ecuador or South Korea in the next round. The other South American nations in action fared a bit better than Argentina, with Brazil cruising past Tunisia, 4-1, in a match that included three goals in stoppage time, and Colombia beating Slovakia, 5-1. In a clash between European sides, Italy won 2-1 over England after Cesare Casadei scored from the spot in the 87th minute. In the quarterfinals, the U.S. will face the winner of today’s match between Gambia and Uruguay.

Free Kicks

  • St. Louis City midfielder Eduard Löwen won MLS Goal of the Matchday for his free kick goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

That’s all I have for today. I hope you all have a wonderful start to June!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/31/23

Nani will return to Exploria Stadium for celebrity match, Amanda Allen scores again for Canada, U-20 USMNT defeats New Zealand, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There’s not much new with me up here in Chicago. Now that high school sports have finished up for the school year, I’ll be busy this summer working at Wrigley Field. There is plenty to get to today, so let’s get to the links.

Nani Will Return to Exploria Stadium for Celebrity Match

Former Lion captain Nani will return to Exploria Stadium on June 23 to participate in the celebrity soccer match called The Beautiful Game. The 36-year-old expressed his thoughts on his return to Orlando and taking part in this match next month.

“For me it is an honor to be back in Orlando and be with the fans one more time,” said Nani. “I can’t wait to see my friends from the club, The Wall and all Orlando City supporters again. I’m thankful for this opportunity to play one more time with Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, and so many legends.”

Nani played three seasons for the Lions, recording 28 goals and 23 assists in 77 appearances for the club. The match will feature icons such as Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Carlos Valderrama, Javier Mascherano, and Rivaldo as well. The match will also have halftime entertainment, and more additions to the rosters set to be announced at a later date.

Amanda Allen Scores Again in Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship

Orlando Pride forward Amanda Allen made the starting lineup again for Canada in the 2023 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic. In Canada’s final group stage match against the U.S., Allen converted a penalty kick for Canada’s first goal in what finished as a 5-2 loss for her side.

It was Allen’s second goal of the tournament, but she was injured in this match as well. Canada finishes second in the group, with the U.S. on top. On Friday, the U.S. will play Costa Rica and Canada will face Mexico in the semifinals.

U-20 USMNT Advances to World Cup Quarterfinals

Orlando City defender Michael Halliday came on as a substitute in the 71st minute for the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team in its U-20 World Cup match against New Zealand. The U.S. shut out New Zealand 4-0 to advance to the quarterfinals in Argentina. That victory gives the U.S. its fourth-consecutive shutout in the tournament. Austin FC midfielder Owen Wolff, San Jose Earthquakes forward Cade Cowell, FC Dallas defender Justin Che, and Hajduk Split midfielder Rokas Pukstas all scored for the Americans. In the quarterfinals on Sunday, the U.S. will face the winner of tomorrow’s match between Gambia and Uruguay.

Interim Head Coach Anthony Hudson Leaves USMNT

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced that Anthony Hudson is leaving his role as the USMNT’s interim head coach to pursue a new opportunity. Hudson is reportedly set to take a head coaching role with a club in the Middle East. He was the head coach of the U.S. U-20 team in 2020 and had been an assistant under Gregg Berhalter for the USMN before being named interim head coach in January. Hudson will be replaced by B.J. Callaghan, who will be the interim head coach for the USMNT for the Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup competitions this summer. Callaghan has been an assistant coach with the USMNT over the last four years and was previously an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Union.

USMNT Will Host Ghana and Germany for October Friendlies

The USMNT will play two international friendlies in October against Germany and Ghana. The U.S. will take on four-time World Cup Champion Germany on Oct. 14 in East Hartford, CT. The last time the USMNT played Germany was in 2015, with the Yanks winning 2-1. On Oct. 17, the USMNT will face Ghana in Nashville. The Black Stars will look to get their first win on American soil against the Stars and Stripes. Ghana eliminated the Americans in the World Cup in 2006 and 2010, but the U.S. defeated Ghana in the group stage at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The last time these two sides met was in 2017, when the USMNT edged Ghana, 2-1.

Free Kicks

  • The LA Galaxy parted ways with President Chris Klein. Head Coach and Sporting Director Greg Vanney will remain with the club. The Galaxy have missed the playoffs in four of the last six seasons.
  • Former Netherlands forward Quincy Promes will be prosecuted for his involvement in drug trafficking. Promes is accused of allegedly smuggling 1,360 kilos of cocaine in 2020.
  • Juventus is reportedly emerging as the leader in the race to acquire Christian Pulisic on a transfer from Chelsea. Pulisic has one-year remaining on his contract with the English Premier League side.
  •’s James Nalton shared his insights on five potential USMNT players to watch during the U-20 World Cup .
  • An arrest warrant has reportedly been issued in Brazil for LA Galaxy midfielder Douglas Costa for unpaid child support.
  • Is it just me or did The Athletic forget to mention our beloved Lions’ U.S. Open Cup run last year?

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

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