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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Portland Timbers: Final Score 1-1 as Lions Stay Mentally Tough on Road

Out-shot 26-2 on the road against Portland’s A-team, the backup Lions fought heroically for a point.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City continued to show its mental toughness in the middle of a brutal July, grinding out a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers in a late Thursday night affair at Providence Park. Santiago Patino’s goal didn’t quite hold up to take all three points, but with a fullback playing center back, a midfielder playing right back, and three rookies on the field, that’s a much better point for the Lions (7-9-5, 26 points) than the Timbers (7-8-4, 25 points), who ran out their first-choice squad with a Cascadia matchup at Seattle looming over the weekend.

The Lions improved to 3-1-1 in the all-time league series against Portland (1-1-1 at Providence Park) and survived a game without any of its Designated Players, no first-choice defenders on the field, backups in the midfield, and two rookies and a guy making his first appearance in purple on the forward line. Orlando also survived an early injury to a starting center back — with no replacement central defenders on the bench — and an inexplicable seven minutes of second-half stoppage time, given for reasons known only to possibly some high roller in Vegas and God himself.

James O’Connor rotated the squad heavily, giving Robinho his first start as a Lion and resting several key starters a few days ahead of Sunday’s home match vs. the New York Red Bulls. Nani, who missed Saturday’s win over Columbus due to food poisoning, did not travel, making this the third game on artificial turf without him (out of three). As a result, the looming trip to play resurgent New England next week will bear watching.

So few regulars dressed that three goalkeepers were in uniform, with Greg Ranjitsigh getting the start between the sticks on his birthday. Danilo Acosta and Kyle Smith flanked Kamal Miller and Alex De John on the back line. Sacha Kljestan returned from suspension and joined Dillon Powers and Uri Rosell in the midfield, with rookies Benji Michel and Patino up top next to Robinho. Joao Moutinho returned from injury to make the 18.

As one might expect from the lineup, Orlando’s strategy was to dig in defensively and look to spring opportunities the other way. The Timbers owned the ball and the territorial advantage throughout the opening half but Orlando defended with determination.

Defending became more difficult early on. De John was kicked in the face in just the eighth minute and went down, seemingly unconscious before he hit the ground. Brian Fernandez was booked for the high boot — which was unintentional but incredibly dangerous — and De John went off officially in the 12th minute, replaced by Will Johnson. Smith slid into central defense and Johnson played right back.

Immediately after the change, Portland fashioned its first good scoring chance. Cristhian Paredes fired just over the bar from the top of the area in the 13th minute. Four minutes later, Sebastian Blanco fired just a couple feet wide of the right post as the Timbers probed for an opening goal.

Diego Valeri fired just wide of the far post in the 23rd minute after being given too much space on the left side.

Five minutes later, Valeri broke down the left side of the area but Johnson blocked his shot out for a corner. Claude Dielna headed over the bar on the ensuing corner kick.

Michel won Orlando’s first corner kick in the 31st minute and seconds later Johnson fired wide on Orlando’s first shot attempt of the game.

Blanco’s header hit the crossbar in the 37th minute and nearly bounced in off Ranjitsingh’s back but the goalkeeper was able to turn and grab the ball before it could cross the line.

Just minutes later, Ranjitsingh made a good save to deny Fernandez from just left of the penalty spot.

Orlando opened the scoring a minute later. Robinho made a good hustle play to keep the ball in play on the sideline, then crossed in for Michel. Jorge Moreira knocked the ball away from one Lions rookie, but sent it right to another. Patino hit the ball first-time past Steve Clark to give Orlando a 1-0 lead against the run of play.

The Lions survived a late header by Dielna that sailed just inches over the crossbar off a corner and took their slim advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Portland’s commanding statistical advantage was not represented in Orlando’s 1-0 halftime lead. The Timbers led in shots (10-2), shots on target (2-1), possession (62%-38%), and passing accuracy (87%-78%).

The second half was a bit more lopsided, in that the Lions attempted not a single shot and Portland attempted 16. While the Timbers helped by not being clinical, Orlando sufficiently gummed up the middle of the pitch in front of Ranjitsingh’s goal to make life difficult for Valeri and Blanco to find Fernandez and neither could get many clean looks from outside the area.

Portland started fast, looking to push the pace, nearly finding Fernandez over the top off the second-half kickoff. Seconds later, Blanco blazed down the left channel but shot wide. Fernandez one-timed a cross from the right in the 51st minute but didn’t hit it cleanly and Ranjitsingh was able to cover it.

Orlando’s best chance of the second half came at the hour mark. Robinho beat Zarek Valentin down the wing and opted to fire an aerial cross, but he hit it too hard and it sailed past Patino and Michel. A hard cross on the turf may have yielded better results. Nevertheless, that half chance was the Lions’ best second-half opportunity.

In the 67th, Larrys Mabiala was booked for elbowing Michel in the face, which was a red card on Saturday when done by the smaller player against the larger player but it was not a red on Thursday when the larger man did it to the smaller. Go figure.

In the 70th minute, Paredes headed a cross right at Ranjitsingh as the Timbers kept coming. Dielna headed wide off a set piece in the 78th minute and Powers was shaken up on the play. Powers was replaced by Tesho Akindele in the 80th.

Just eight minutes shy of the end of normal time, the Timbers equalized. Orlando was in good shape, looking to break out of its own end with possession. Patino sent a soft pass to his left intended for Michel but under-hit it, allowing Valeri to make a sliding challenge to take possession. Valeri’s ball found Moreira, who crossed in to Fernandez. The Argentinian headed it on to the back post, where Jeremy Ebobisse was waiting to nod it in off the left post, tying the match in the 82nd minute.

The goal looked to be coming all game long but it still felt like a sucker punch to come so late.

Orlando did a good job of managing the rest of the game. The Lions didn’t look much for the game winner so much as they tried to hold on for a point. Both Akindele and Kljestan had opportunities to perhaps play Patino in as the Timbers pushed numbers up the field, but neither looked up to see the rookie.

After an interminable seven added minutes of injury time — almost twice what De John required in the first half — the whistle mercifully blew on another road result for Orlando. The Lions are 3-4-4 on the road in 2019.

In addition to a 26-2 advantage in shot attempts, Portland led in shots on target (4-1), possession (63%-37%), corners (8-3), crosses (41-10!!!), and passing accuracy (86%-73%). To say that the Lions were under siege throughout the match would be an understatement. Credit to Ranjitsingh and O’Connor’s makeshift back line of Johnson, Smith, Miller, and Acosta — as well as Powers, Rosell, and Kljestan in the midfield — for keeping Orlando from getting pounded into Portland’s artificial turf.

The Lions are right back at it again on Sunday at home against the Red Bulls at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Photo Gallery

An album of images from Orlando City’s hard-fought draw at home against the Herons.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

The Lions brought much more roar on Sunday night to face their southern rivals but had trouble finding the net, allowing the Herons to nick a point even while short staffed. None of Miami’s high-priced talent traveled for the match after facing Toronto midweek, and physicality ensued, firing up the sold-out crowd at Exploria Stadium.

Talking with some of the other photographers on the sideline who had flown in for this match, they rated the Orlando atmosphere top-notch; in their experience, other cities don’t compare to the in-stadium fan enthusiasm.

The Lions were in “the net is lava” mode, with Duncan McGuire and Iván Angulo each missing prime one-on-one chances with Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender in each half, McGuire leaving it straight at Callendar, and Angulo badly missing the net after a missed first touch. So of course Miami struck first, with David Ruíz scoring early in the second half.

This fired the Lions up even more and Martín Ojeda pinballed McGuire in behind the Miami back line, allowing Duncan to do what Duncan does to draw the score level. The Lions generally looked the more dangerous team for most (but not all) of the night. However, it is scorin ggoals that actually counts, leaving both teams unchanged in their respective Eastern Conference standings. Orlando remains second at 14-7-9, while Miami stays in 14th at 9-15-5.

The Lions continue to control their own destiny in terms of getting a top-four finish as they look to lock up home field advantage for a best-of-three matchup in the MLS Cup playoffs.

With home dates left against Montreal and a sputtering-but-dangerous New England remaining, there’s still plenty of time to be part of that world-class gameday atmosphere by going out to support the team as they push for a strong finish.

We hope that you enjoy these images from a hard-fought, come-from-behind draw against Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium.

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Five Takeaways

Here’s what we learned from Orlando City’s 1-1 draw at home against Inter Miami.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City returned to Exploria Stadium after a midweek loss to New York City FC and had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Inter Miami. The Lions did well to equalize after conceding first, but will likely feel that they left opportunity knocking as the Eastern Conference remains tight near the top. Here are my five takeaways from the third Tropic Thunder clash this year.

Lack of Execution Plagues the Lions

Orlando’s offense struggled to put the ball in the back of the net in this match. That’s not to say they didn’t create quality chances, as the Lions served up good crosses and dangerous long balls throughout the match. Only three of Orlando’s 16 crosses found their mark in the end. The execution just wasn’t there when it came to finishing attacks, whether it be poor decision-making when the time came to play the final ball or just missing the target completely. Of Orlando’s 13 shots, six were on target and only a couple of those gave Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender much difficulty. Ivan Angulo missing the goal entirely after Dagur Dan Thorhallsson picked out a perfect pass for him stands out. Expecting every promising attack to end with a goal is unfair, but weak finishing cost the Lions from claiming a big win at home.

Corner Kicks Gave the Lions Headaches

While the Lions didn’t have any corner kicks in the match, Inter Miami had seven and created some of its best chances with them. In the 61st minute, a corner kick taken by Robert Taylor found Leonardo Campana all alone in the center of the box. The Ecuadorian forward’s header mercifully went wide, but it was indicative of how Orlando had its hands full on set pieces. Pedro Gallese had to come up with a remarkable save in the first half as well after Campana barreled through Cartagena to head the ball at goal. Even though the Lions didn’t concede from a set piece, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something focused on this week just to ensure the team is organized enough to overcome uncalled fouls without needing its star goalkeeper or some luck.

Plenty of Physicality in Rivalry Match

It was easy to tell these two teams didn’t care much for each other, as they both fought hard on and off the ball. There were 27 fouls and seven yellow cards handed out by referee Armando Villarreal. Miami committed 16 of those fouls and received five of the yellow cards as they did whatever it took to slow down Orlando’s progress. Facundo Torres suffered the brunt of it and was fouled four times so that he couldn’t work his magic against Miami’s defense. It was the kind of physical match that can be expected of two rivals and made for an intense match that will likely have players from both sides seeking an ice bath. The Lions did well to stay composed for a majority of a very chippy match.

Duncan McGuire Shakes Off the Rust

Forward Duncan McGuire got back to his scoring ways with a crucial equalizer for his ninth goal of the MLS season. It was an important goal for reasons beyond the scoreline as well, as McGuire had squandered a golden opportunity to score earlier in the match by not being able to get his shot past Callender. He was also kicking himself for not getting on the end of a few other chances as well. His 84 minutes on the field were the most from him in one game this season, and the Lions will need him more often now that Ercan Kara is in Turkey. It was the rookie’s first goal since July and, although not perfect, the kind of performance to build upon moving forward.

Orlando Showcased Its Depth and Versatility

Head Coach Oscar Pareja switched things up at halftime, replacing Cesar Araujo with Martin Ojeda and having Mauricio Pereyra sit a bit deeper in the midfield to potentially create chances on the break a bit quicker using his service. Although Ojeda didn’t get a goal or an assist, his presence was notable on both sides of the ball and he played a key role in Orlando’s goal. Having a player of his caliber able to come off the bench has been a boon for Orlando this season, letting Pareja really kickstart the changes he wants to make to the team. Similar things could be said about Orlando’s other substitutes: Junior Urso, Ramiro Enrique, Gaston Gonzalez, and Michael Halliday. Their energy and skill kept Orlando pushing for more and gave the sense that a winner would have come had the game lasted a bit longer.

That’s what I took away from Orlando’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami. Let me know what you gathered from the match in the comments below

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/25/23

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Viviana Villacorta out for the season, OCB wins last game of the regular season, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Last night’s Orlando City match wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. It’s a pretty fitting feeling on a Monday, as we all get back into the swing of the work week after a nice weekend of soccer. There are plenty of ups and downs from a rollercoaster Sunday, so let’s dive right into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws With Inter Miami

In the latest edition of the Tropic Thunder rivalry, Orlando City and Inter Miami split the points at Exploria Stadium in a 1-1 result. Miami struck first, but the Lions did well to find an equalizer, even though they couldn’t find a winner in the end. It wasn’t Orlando’s best game by any means, but it was a decent response to a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Orlando now has 51 points, tying its club record for the most points in a season, set in 2021. The Lions will have a chance to break that record on Saturday when they host CF Montreal.

Viviana Villacorta Out for the Season

Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta will miss the remainder of the NWSL season after suffering an ACL tear in her left knee during training. The 24-year-old was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, but was not able to make her debut until 2022 due to sustained an ACL tear in her right knee that kept her out for all of the 2021 season. This year, she has 21 appearances across all competitions for the Pride and notched the first assist of her career in a big road win against the San Diego Wave on April 29. This is a tough blow to the Pride’s midfield with just three games remaining as she has ended her season early due to injury for the third straight year. The Pride are only a point out of a playoff spot and are back in action on Oct. 2 against Angel City FC.

Orlando City B Wins On Decision Day

On the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, Orlando City B won 2-1 at home over FC Cincinnati 2. The Young Lions had already clinched a spot in the postseason heading into this match, but the win secured their spot as the fifth seed. Jack Lynn briefly held the Golden Boot lead after scoring, but ended up tied at 19 goals with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2’s Remi Cabral. The trio ended in a three-way tie for the league’s Golden Boot honors. OCB will hit the road for its first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game, although the opponent is not yet known thanks to the new rule where higher seeds choose which team they want to face.

USWNT Wins in Megan Rapinoe’s Final Match

The United States Women’s National Team beat South Africa in a 2-0 win at Soldier Field. Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett scored and the defense did well to secure its second shutout against South Africa after a 3-0 win this past Thursday. This game also marked forward Megan Rapinoe’s final game with the USWNT, with the 38-year-old subbed off for the last time in the 54th minute. These were solid wins from the USWNT following the World Cup and it will aim to keep the momentum rolling next month in a pair of friendlies against Colombia.

Free Kicks

  • Three Orlando City academy sides came up with shutout victories this weekend.
  • Before the USWNT’s friendly with South Africa, U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker stated that plans remain in place for a new head coach to be at the helm in time for the training camp in December
  • American midfielder Yunus Musah did well in his AC Milan debut, playing all 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Verona.
  • A match in the Netherlands between Ajax and Feyenoord had to be abandoned due to fans throwing fireworks onto the field while Feyenoord led 3-0. According to police, tear gas had to be used to stop unrest outside the stadium after the match, and Ajax later fired Sven Mislintat, its director of soccer.
  • Newcastle became the first English Premier League team to have eight different players score in a match after crushing Sheffield United, 8-0.
  • Atletico Madrid ended Real Madrid’s perfect start to the season by beating its rival 3-1, with Alvaro Morata bagging a brace.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have an easy Monday and rest of your week!

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