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Orlando City vs. Toronto FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match



Well, I spent my Saturday night after a long “Meet the Teacher” Friday watching the Lions draw in Toronto on the road. I mean, obviously better than a loss, but the draw on the road still stings and really isn’t what Orlando City needed. Here’s how I thought the Lions rated individually:


GK, Brian Rowe, 6.5 — Rowe was tested repeatedly in the second half and finished with four saves on Toronto’s five shots on target, plus three clearances and a 68% passing accuracy. He had a couple nice long throws to try to jump-start the offense. Mullins was the only Red to reach the back of the net on a chaotic play in front.

D, Kamal Miller, 6.5 — It was not a bad night for Miller in his hometown. He sent a beautiful long ball up to Dom Dwyer in the 33rd minute that was just too far for Dwyer to connect. The Canadian finished with three tackles, two clearances, and a 90% passing accuracy, and made one of the best plays of his short career so far when he dispossessed Toronto on the counter-attack in the 33rd minute.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Perhaps the most consistent on defense, Jansson registered one tackle, one interception, three clearances, two blocked shots, and an 88% passing accuracy. The ESPN+ announcers kept referring to him as a brick wall.

D, Lamine Sané , 6 — Sané’s defending saw two interceptions, five clearances, and a yellow card. I’m a bit surprised we didn’t see a call for his boot to a Toronto player’s face as he unintentionally slid into him on a play.

D, Kyle Smith, 7.5 (MotM) — Kyle Smith has quite the fan base in the ESPN+ announcers for Toronto FC. To hear them call the match, you almost wouldn’t know anyone else was playing, except for maybe Miller. He made a nice play in the 58th minute to head a cross from Richie Laryea away from Jozy Altidore. The defense that is normally a Sané and Jansson showcase didn’t stand a chance with Smith on the field tonight. Smith finished with three tackles, a team-high eight clearances, and a blocked shot. His crosses weren’t always accurate but he did some nifty things on the offensive end too.

MF, Carlos Ascues, 6 — Ascues started the night pretty strong but seemed to fade into the background after that, save for the handball in the offensive penalty area in the 42nd minute. He produced one clearance and a dribble, as well as an 89% passing accuracy on 35 attempts on the night.

MF, Nani, 7 — The captain took a shot in the 22nd minute two work goalkeeper, Quentin Westberg into a diving stop, although the effort was drifting just wide. A rough challenge saw the captain go down for a bit shortly before the second half, but he was able to get up and play on after being looked at by trainers. Shortly after, Nani took a shot that sent the ball wide. Nani’s 50 attempts produced an 84% passing accuracy, while defensively he had one tackle, one interception, and a foul.  He’s a Lion on the field taking chances.

MF, Uri Rosell, 6 — Rosell combined with Chris Mueller to beautifully dispossess Laryea in the 13th minute, only for Uri to misplace the ensuing pass. With space and a dying clock, Rosell took a shot in the 93rd minute, but sent it way over. Defensively, Uri had three tackles, two interceptions, and a clearance while his team-high pass attempts (66) produced an 86% passing accuracy.

F, Chris Mueller, 7 — Mueller had a rough time as Laryea seemed to outrun him and outplay him much of the night. He started out OK defensively, getting into passing lanes, but really struggled in the attack at times in the first half. Then he had that beautiful assist on the Benji Michel goal. He seemed to have taken some time to warm up to this game. Defensively, Mueller had three tackles and five interceptions, while his passing accuracy on 66 attempts clocked in at 87%.

F, Dom Dwyer, 6.5 — His time on the field was reminiscent of the Dwyer we all know and love. He was alert, hungry, and seemed ready to do what it takes. He cleared a corner in the first half, smashing the ball out of danger with authority. You won’t convince me that he wouldn’t have scored on the set piece had he not been held down and unable to jump — even the Toronto announcers were saying it was a clear and obvious penalty kick that went uncalled for the Lions. Dom playing the ball into space for Mueller helped set up the goal, although he didn’t get the hockey assist for some reason. Is it possible that Dom’s defensive stats are better than his offensive stats this match? The striker made two clearances and had one shot on target, and a 78% passing accuracy.

F, Robinho, 6 — Not a particularly amazing outing for one of the newest Lions. We finally saw a nice bit of play from Robinho only to see the buildup fizzle out. His time in the game saw one tackle, two interceptions, and a foul. Additionally, his 25 attempts saw just an 80% passing accuracy.


F, Benji Michel (68’), 6.5 — I mean, what do I even have to say? His first contact with the ball after being on the pitch for a minute and the kid scores his second career MLS goal. It quickly took a dark turn when Michel fouled Laryea in the 74th minute and it was originally ruled a penalty kick. After going to video review, it was quite rightfully changed to a free kick just outside the box, only to see Toronto score anyway. Do those two events cancel each other out? Asking for a friend who has to do grades.

F, Tesho Akindele (78’), 5.5 — A nice play from Ruan got the ball in the area to Tesho, who couldn’t quite get the touch he needed on it and he flicked the ball wide. I think it’s a trend, but I’m not actually tracking the data, so someone let me know if I’m way off here, but Tesho’s first touches, for the most part, seem to be his downfall game recently. In the eighteen-ish minutes he played tonight he looked tired and slow.

MF, Ruan (86’), N/A — He was only in for a few minutes — not quite long enough to fairly grade — but Ruan made his presence known. After beating his man down the right, Ruan sent it into the area where Tesho had a chance on goal. He was able to get in a tackle and connected on both of his pass attempts.

That’s how I saw the match unfold player by player. What are your thoughts on the draw away from home? Be sure to tell us that and vote in the poll below for your Man of the Match!

Polling Closed

Kyle Smith54
Chris Mueller7
Uri Rosell5
Benji Michel14
Other (Be sure to tell us who and why)5

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/19/24

Orlando City needs to score, Duncan McGuire in demand, Orlando City B match postponed, and more.



Photo Courtesy of Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Happy Juneteenth, Mane Landers. It is a day to celebrate the end of chattel slavery in the United States and the progress of the Black community in this country. There is always more work to be done, but celebrating the progress to date is worthwhile. Today is also a match day for Orlando City, but for now let’s get to the links.

Scoring Goals is Important

Former Orlando City gaffer Adrian Heath famously said that goals change games. Orlando City has not scored many goals this season making it hard for the club to change games and get results. Head Coach Oscar Pareja is taking the positives from the last match, but he will need to turn things around in Orlando’s attack if he’s to snap the club’s four-game winless streak. The first opportunity is tonight against Charlotte FC.

Competition Grows for Duncan McGuire’s Services

Following the Blackburn Rovers debacle in the last transfer window, we know that Duncan McGuire has interest in moving abroad. If not for incompetence on Blackburn’s part he would already be in Europe. The other interested party in that saga was Sheffield Wednesday, a club that is reportedly still interested in signing the young striker. Now, it seems that the English club may have some competition from Torino in Serie A, with other Serie A clubs interested as well. Hopefully, Orlando City will be able to secure McGuire’s services, though I expect he wants to go abroad.

Tonight’s Orlando City B Match Postponed

Orlando City B was set to take on New York City FC II today, but the match has been postponed. The new date and kickoff time has not yet been announced.

It’s not the first time this game’s date has been changed, as it was originally set for June 29 when the season’s schedule was announced. The Young Lions may not be complaining much about not having to play on the road on relatively short rest. As it stands, OCB’s next match will now be against Atlanta United 2 on June 26.

Hines Remembers Match After Pulse Shooting

It’s been a week since the eighth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy. Yesterday, it was eight years since Orlando City played the San Jose Earthquakes in the first Orlando City match following the shooting. Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines was a starting center back for the Lions in that match. He remembers the emotions of that day. Hines spoke on how it felt to get up for a match, but also taking time in the 49th minute to honor the 49 people whose lives were taken away too soon. He still has the rainbow sweatbands from that match that he was wearing when he scored a header for Orlando City. Hines remembers the good and the bad, and so should we.

Upgrading the NWSL Match Experience

NWSL clubs are trying to improve the matchday experience for their fans. That looks different everywhere, but at Inter&Co Stadium that experience includes local food vendors as a part of the “Orlando Made” initiative by Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. Of course, great food will only get attendance to a certain level. The real crowd pleaser is winning, and the Pride have been doing a lot of that so far this season.

Free Kicks

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the match tonight. As always, Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/18/24

Euro 2024 roundup, MLS transfer happenings, U.S. stars on Copa America prep, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It was a mixed bag for Orlando’s soccer teams over the weekend, as none of Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, or Orlando City B managed to win, with a loss and two draws. The only way out is through though, and there are plenty of chances to get back to winning ways this week. Before we get to today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Pride defender Rafaelle!

Euro Results Roundup

It was another pulsating day of action at Euro 2024, with the theme of early goals and exciting contests continuing. The early contest saw Romania beat Ukraine 3-0 with a trio of very well-taken goals. Nicolae Stanciu opened the scoring in the 29th minute and a pair of second-half goals just four minutes apart sealed Romania’s first win at the Euros in 24 years. In the second game of the day, Slovakia grabbed a goal in the seventh minute courtesy of an ill-advised Belgian attempt to play out of the back, and managed to hang on for a 1-0 win. The game wasn’t without controversy, as Romelu Lukaku missed several excellent chances, and also had two goals correctly ruled out by video review. The last game of the day saw France beat Austria 1-0 courtesy of an own goal in the first half, but the biggest talking point was Kylian Mbappe’s broken nose that will reportedly require surgery.

MLS Transfer Happenings

We have several important MLS transfers to catch up on this morning. First, the Houston Dynamo have broken the club’s transfer record to sign Argentine striker Ezequiel Ponce from Greek club AEK Athens. The 27-year-old will be a Designated Player, and although he can’t play for Houston until the secondary transfer window opens on July 18, he should help a Dynamo team that’s scored the fewest goals in the Western Conference. Moving to the Eastern Conference, the Columbus Crew are reportedly closing in on a trade to acquire Aziel Jackson from St. Louis City in exchange for $650,000 of General Allocation Money, in addition to other incentives.

Finally, Tom Bogert has identified Brighton and Hove Albion’s Marc Leonard as a player who could move stateside this summer. His loan spell at Northampton Town last season saw him named the club’s player of the year.

U.S. Players Speak About Copa America Prep

The Copa America kicks off on Friday, and Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams recently spoke about how they and the rest of the United States Men’s National Team have been preparing for the tournament. McKennie spoke on how this team has never been in camp for this long before, and that the extra time is helping them iron out little issues. He also talked about his willingness to fill in wherever needed on the field, something that could be relevant for both him and Adams given the injury to Sergino Dest. For his part, Adams discussed how a bright spot to missing so much time last year due to injury was that it allowed him to spend plenty of time with his newborn son.

UEFA Investigating Racism at Euro Match

UEFA is probing an alleged incident of racial abuse that took place in the match between England and Serbia. While the complaint did not come from the English Football Association, UEFA released a statement that it was investigating Serbia for objects that were thrown and the “transmission of a provocative message.” If the charges are proven, then Serbia could face sanctions from UEFA.

Free Kicks

  • The sensor placed inside the ball was instrumental in overturning what would have been an equalizing goal for Belgium.
  • Polish television is doing some very cool things with its soccer coverage.
  • An English fan woke up still in the stadium well after his team’s win over Serbia.

That does it for me this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. LAFC: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s home loss to LAFC?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Despite dominating most of the game and nearly all of the second half, Orlando City fell 3-1 to LAFC Saturday night. The Lions continue their troubles at home, with the last win in front of their home fans coming on March 23. It’s more frustration for a team and fanbase that has had plenty this season.

Let’s take a look at how the players performed individually in the loss.


GK, Mason Stajduhar, 5.5 — With regular starting goalkeeper Pedro Gallese on international duty with Peru, Stajduhar got the nod for the second time this season. Conceding three goals is a bad night for any goalkeeper, though he wasn’t the only one at fault for any of them. The first was a penalty and the other two were breakaway counterattacks. The goalkeeper made four saves on the night but wasn’t challenged much. He completed all of his 14 passes, which included six long balls, and had to clear the ball once.

D, Rafael Santos, 5.5 — Santos had 101 touches in this game, second on the team. The left back completed 94.8% of his 77 passes, but only two of his 13 crosses. One of his passes was a key pass, but his poor crossing haunted the Lions in this game. Defensively, Santos recorded one tackle and one clearance.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was terrific for the first 85 minutes of this game, recording 88 touches. He completed 89.9% of his 79 passes, including four of his six long balls. Defensively, he added four tackles and a clearance. Unfortunately, he got caught up field in no-man’s land on LAFC’s second goal and got beat by Nathan Ordaz, resulting in a counterattack on the third. He was my Man of the Match until the final few minutes.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Schlegel was on the ball less than Jansson, recording 60 touches. He completed 96.4% of his 56 passes and two of his three long balls. Defensively, he only had a tackle. Overall, it was a solid night by the center back. While he didn’t have a part in the first two goals, he was unable to clear the ball on a tackle in the box on the third, allowing LAFC to take a 3-1 advantage.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 5.5 — Thorhallsson started in his usual right back position, recording 66 touches. He completed 89.4% of his 47 passes, including a key pass, one of his five crosses, and none of his three long balls. He was among the most active players defensively with four tackles and interceptions. Additionally, he recorded one shot and had one successful dribble. Like other players in the team, his crossing struggles impacted the final result.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 5.5 — The Lions’ attack mainly went through the opposite side of Angulo, so the midfielder only had 47 touches, second-fewest of the 11 starters. He completed 87.6% of his 30 passes, including one of his four crosses and two key passes, but was plagued by some heavy touches in the final third. The attacker also helped out defensively with two successful tackles before being replaced by Martin Ojeda in the 61st minute.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5 — Araujo was the only natural defensive midfielder in the starting lineup for Orlando City. He recorded 84 touches and completed 95.5% of his 67 passes. However, he only completed one of his two long balls, neither of his crosses, and didn’t record any key passes. He took two long distance shots but both were off target. Defensively, he recorded three tackles and one interception. It was a tough night for Araujo as he had a part in all three LAFC goals. He conceded the penalty, failed to keep up with Mateusz Bogusz on the second, and allowed Denis Bouanga to dribble around him on the third, although it’s perhaps harsh to fault a player for not being as fast as another or handle a player like Bouanga in space.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6 (MotM) — Lodeiro was unquestionably the most active player in this game, recording a team-high 132 touches. He completed 93% of his team-high 114 passes, but none of the seven crosses. The midfielder took three off-target shots and contributed defensively with two tackles and a clearance. He would’ve had a higher grade if he had completed some of his crosses, but his inability to do so hurt his team. Despite those missed crosses, Lodeiro gets my Man of the Match.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres was often involved in the Lions’ buildup play, recording 89 touches. He completed 89.7% of his 68 passes, including a team-high five key passes. Two of his eight crosses failed to find teammates and his one long ball was incomplete. He took three shots, tied for second on the team, but none hit the target. Like some other players in this game, his grade would’ve been higher but he completely missed the target with his penalty in the 33rd minute. It was the first missed penalty of his professional career, but it had a major impact after LAFC converted one of its own 11 minutes later.

F, Luis Muriel, 5.5 — As usual, Muriel played a deeper role than Duncan McGuire, recording 69 touches. He completed 88.7% of his 53 passes, including three key passes. He failed to connect on his one cross and one of his two long balls. Additionally all five of his shots were off target. Muriel’s biggest problem in this game was attempting to dribble through multiple players, which resulted in him losing possession in dangerous positions. However, his perfectly weighted ball for Ojeda set up the game-tying goal in the 69th minute. While his assist was beautiful, it wasn’t enough to overcome his constant turnovers in the LAFC third of the field.

F, Duncan McGuire, 5 — McGuire played the target position in this game, recording 28 touches. He completed 81.8% of his 22 passes, but failed to connect on his lone long ball. Strikers are judged by goals and McGuire didn’t participate in any in this game, failing to hit the target on his only two shots. It was a forgettable performance that came to an end in the 78th minute when he was replaced by Jack Lynn.


MF, Martin Ojeda (61’), 6 — Ojeda came on in the 61st minute for Angulo and made an immediate impact. He provided a burst of energy for the team and the Lions quickly began creating dangerous chances. The attacking midfielder had 31 touches and completed 85% of his 20 passes. While he didn’t complete any of his four crosses, he scored the equalizing goal in the 69th minute. In addition to his goal, he had a late chance that hit the side netting. While I gave Lodeiro my Man of the Match, there’s an argument for Ojeda because of the impact he made.

F, Jack Lynn (78’), N/A — Lynn came on with 12 minutes to go for McGuire, who clearly had no more energy. The Lions were looking for a game-winning goal, but Lynn was unable to help. He only touched the ball three times and completed two of three passes without taking any shots. It was easy to forget he was on the field as the minutes wound down.

That’s how I saw the individual performances in Orlando City’s disappointing loss to LAFC. Let us know how you saw the game and don’t forget to vote on your Man of the Match below.

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