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Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Final Score 1-0 as Lions Can’t Find a Goal

Brian White’s first-half goal holds up as Orlando can’t beat Luis Robles or the woodwork.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City had about the sharpness you’d expect from a team playing its eighth game in 26 days. The Lions (7-10-5, 26 points) hit every part of the goal except the inside of it, and allowed a silly goal off a turnover to fall 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls (10-8-4, 34 points) at Exploria Stadium. Brian White’s tally was the only score of the game.

“Obviously very disappointed,” Head Coach James O’Connor said about the result. “I think for the first 30 minutes, 35 minutes, we were off. We looked flat. Took us awhile to get going. The last 10 minutes of the [first] half we started to feel like we were coming into it more. Second half I think we’ve absolutely bossed the game and completely dominated. Hit the woodwork — whatever it is, three times — and had some chances. We’re unlucky not to get anything out of the game but it’s obviously very frustrating, especially when you have the ball bouncing off the crossbar and off the post.”

O’Connor went back to pretty much his first-choice lineup, minus Cristian Higuita’s ongoing absence, with Joao Moutinho returning to left back after a month out with a quad problem.

The first half belonged to New York, almost right from the beginning, as the Red Bulls won a corner in the game’s very first minute. They ended up with five more in the first half to Orlando’s none.

Ruan nearly put a ball into his own net trying to cut out a cross in the fourth minute, but it skipped out wide for another corner. Orlando got its first shot of the game three minutes later when Nani launched an effort well over the bar from the top of the area.

Former Lion Amro Tarek got a free header in the 11th minute off another corner but he hit his shot right at Brian Rowe, who caught it cleanly. Michael Murillo fired well over the crossbar from 30 yards out three minutes later off yet another corner kick after the Lions cleared it out of the area.

The sloppy Lions kept giving the ball back to New York. The Red Bulls were pressing but many of the errors were still unforced. Such a play occurred in the 23rd minute when Chris Mueller made a horrible pass that Ruan had to track down. The Brazilian was then fouled by Daniel Royer, who was booked for the infraction.

In the 25th minute, Ruan conceded a free kick out to Rowe’s right side and Tarek again got a free head on the cross. This time Rowe kicked it out of danger.

Orlando should have scored in the 31st minute. The first truly dangerous buildup by Orlando up the right side saw Nani pick up a loose ball and dish to Tesho Akindele in the middle of the area. Akindele turned and found an oncoming Will Johnson but the midfielder’s effort was wide of goal.

It was a costly miss, as the Red Bulls scored a minute later. Carlos Ascues tried to dribble through three Red Bulls on his own side of midfield but his final touch was heavy and Tarek picked it off. The former Lion gave it to Kaku, who sent in a perfect curling ball for White. Rowe got a piece of White’s shot but it trickled over the line to give New York a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute. The play was reviewed for a possible offside but eventually given.

“As regards the first 30 minutes, we need to be a little bit sharper coming out to start the game, because we got hurt in the first 30 minutes,” O’Connor said. “They’ve had a couple of opportunities, Brian’s made a save, they’ve scored.”

Orlando had a chance to pull the goal back quickly. Mueller was set up on the left side at the top of the area. He dribbled toward the middle and fired but sent his shot well off frame in what must have been a frustrating first half for the second-year attacker.

Nani sent an inside-out shot just wide in the 36th minute and then a free kick wide in the 41st as Orlando continued to be wasteful with opportunities.

New York took its 1-0 lead into the break.

The Red Bulls led in shots (9-5), shots on goal (4-0), and corners (6-0). Orlando held 53% of the possession and neither team passed particularly well, with the Lions holding a 76%-67% edge.

The second half started the same, with New York earning an early corner again, but then the game started to slowly change over the final 45 minutes. The Red Bulls couldn’t maintain their press and the Lions started to get more of the match, eventually pinning in New York for most of the game’s final 20 minutes.

Akindele said the team discussed at halftime, “just to go and impose ourselves on the game.”

“We said ‘we’re playing at home, we know we’re a good team, we have good players, go and impose ourselves on the game.’ And I think the second half we did just that. We were camped in their half the entire second half. We couldn’t score but I think it was a big change.”

Akindele finally put Orlando’s first shot on target in the 51st minute, taking a delicious pass from Lamine Sané, turning, and forcing a decent save from Luis Robles.

The Lions then started to earn a series of what eventually turned into nine corner kicks, completely reversing the trend of the first half, but Orlando couldn’t get many decent scoring chances off of them.

The first shot off the woodwork came in the 60th minute off the foot of Carlos Ascues. The Peruvian ran onto a gorgeous cross from Moutinho and volleyed it off the bar.

Ascues and Mueller departed in the 67th minute for Sacha Kljestan and Robinho and the Lions had their second shot off the woodwork three minutes later. This time Akindele took a pass from Ruan, found some space, and fired off the crossbar. The ball hit Robles off the ricochet but stayed out.

Nani, who was down on the field behind the play for Akindele’s shot off the bar, came off in the 71st minute without putting any weight on his left foot. O’Connor said after the match that there was no update but they would evaluate the Portuguese Designated Player. Santiago Patino came on in his place.

It became apparent in the 77th minute that the ball was just not interested in going in the net. Moutinho sent a fantastic ball across the field for Akindele, who laid off for Kljestan. The midfielder struck it first touch but it hit the far post and bounced back into the penalty area. Kljestan lost his footing trying to sweep it back in but it hit off Robles and it deflected back off of Sacha’s head. The ball fell to Robinho, who tried a flying scissor kick but he couldn’t make contact. The bouncing ball then found its way to Patino, who tried to settle it instead of hitting it first time, and he was closed down by two defenders. The rookie then lost possession trying to clear himself for a shot and the entire sequence evaporated.

A minute later, the Lions should have tied the match. Kljestan sent a beautiful through ball to send Ruan down the right. With Akindele breaking free to the top of the six, the Brazilian took the shot himself from a tough angle and Robles had no trouble with it. Akindele had started the play by feeding the ball back to Kljestan in space. It was a good play that deserved a better finish.

Akindele found Patino in the 81st in the middle of the penalty area. Covered by two defenders, the rookie tried to spin free for a shot and nearly succeeded but lost his balance before he could shoot. Two minutes later Patino tried to go for a difficult move to free himself to shoot with Robinho breaking into space. The rookie didn’t see him, or chose not to pass it, and another great opportunity was wasted.

Johnson forced a Robles save in the 87th minute as the Lions kept knocking at the door. After a couple more corners, Robinho sent a weak shot right at Robles from the left side. That was about all she wrote for Orlando and the whistle eventually went in New York’s favor.

Orlando turned around the stats significantly in the second half, finishing with more shots (18-13), but one fewer shot on target (5-4). The Lions held 62% of the game’s total possession and out-passed the Red Bulls, 81%-68%. Orlando even finished with more corners (9-8).

“The Red Bulls, to be fair, started bright and end up getting a goal. But after that I don’t think we could have done much more to win the game. When you look at the chances and off the bar and off the post. There was only one team second half that was trying to really go and get after it. So, I think when we look at that it’s obviously really frustrating.”

The Lions get a little breather now, as their next game isn’t until next Saturday night when they visit the New England Revolution at 7 p.m.

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!

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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!

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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.

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