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Orlando City

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



After a strong performance in the MLS is Back group stage, Orlando City dominated the Montreal Impact in a 1-0 win in the round of 16. Despite the narrow scoreline, Montreal had few good chances on goal while the Lions created several chances throughout the night. The win sees them advance to the quarterfinals on Friday night.

While the shots on goal were pretty close at 10-7, Orlando City dominated with 57% possession. This was especially impactful in the attacking end, where Chris Mueller, Nani, and Sebas Mendez helped create several opportunities throughout the night.

Let’s look at how Orlando City’s players did individually in this important win.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 7 — It was a pretty easy game for Pedro Gallese as he didn’t have much trouble throughout the night. Only one of Montreal’s seven shots was on target, resulting in the need for only one save for Gallese. He did have to come out to punch a ball late in the game, which he missed, but it was cleared away. The fact that he got his second clean sheet of the season is worthy of a high grade but there will be games where he’ll be called upon much more to help the team.

D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — The pressure on the right side of the field by Montreal meant that Moutinho was called upon more frequently than he probably would’ve been otherwise. With Ruan needing to stay further back than he usually does, Moutinho ended up in the attack throughout much of the game. While there were a couple of passes that didn’t reach the intended target, Moutinho was responsible for a key pass and took an off-target shot. Defensively, it was a solid performance by the back four, Moutinho included. Even when Montreal looked to be building up an attack, the back four were able to clear.

D, Antonio Carlos, 7 — Antonio Carlos made the biggest impact of any defensive player in this game for Orlando City. He was very solid throughout the game, making four interceptions and seven clearances at center back. This was one of the primary reasons why Gallese’s night was so easy. He didn’t go forward very often, leaving that to Robin Jansson, but stayed back and kept the Impact from getting any dangerous shots on goal.

D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — Similar to Carlos, Robin Jansson had a strong defensive game, keeping the Impact from threatening the Lions’ goal. He went forward more than Carlos in this game, helping build the attack from the back and allowing Mendez to push further forward into the attack. However, it was his defensive play that was largely on display in this game. While communication has been a problem for Orlando City in the past and the two starting center backs had a language barrier to cross to start the season, they worked well together this night in keeping the Impact from creating any dangerous chances on goal.

D, Ruan, 6.5 — Typically, Ruan’s offense is quite noticeable but that wasn’t the case in this game, though he and Mueller did enough down the right to force Montreal to change shape at the break. The Impact continually tried to attack the Lions down the left, forcing Ruan into greater defensive responsibilities, particularly in the second half. The right back came up with a strong performance in this game, keeping some of the Impact’s most dangerous attackers at bay. He was credited with two tackles, two interceptions, and a blocked shot but it was the ineffectiveness of Montreal on his side that really stood out.

MF, Sebas Mendez, 6.5 — This was probably Mendez’s best performance of the year so far. While his defensive midfield partner, Uri Rosell, stayed further back, Mendez was able to push forward into the attack at multiple points throughout the game. He created multiple opportunities for the Lions, especially in the second half, and his quick passing and long run helped to create the game’s lone goal. In his 82 minutes, he ended up with four shots of his own, and forced Rod Fanni into an errant back pass for an easy tap-in by Tesho Akindele.

MF, Oriol Rosell, 6 — When you have a defensive midfielder push forward as Mendez did, the other one needs to play a defensive role. That was what Uri Rosell did in this game. He completed 81 passes on the night, second on the team only to Moutinho. His pass accuracy rating of 97.5% was the highest of any starter. That’s even more impressive since he played 10 long balls forward, with nine reaching their intended target. It was yet another strong performance by the Spanish midfielder.

MF, Chris Mueller, 6 — Chris Mueller has earned his spot in the Lions’ starting lineup during the MLS is Back Tournament and he showed why he starts again last night. In the first half, Mueller was very problematic for the Impact as he created chance after chance for the Lions. The one glaring play in the game was when he had a golden opportunity for the opening goal. The ball rolled right in front of him with an empty net but the young midfielder was unable to put it away. That could’ve been a deciding moment had the Lions not finally converted in the second half. Despite the miss, it was a quality performance for the midfielder.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 5.5 — This wasn’t one of Mauricio Pereyra’s best performances since he joined Orlando City last season. That’s partly because he’s such a quality player that he has higher expectations than others. He only completed 84.2% of his 57 passes in 74 minutes of play. Similar to Mueller, the most noticeable moment for Pereyra could’ve been a mistake early in the game. He found himself with some space in the box but hit the ball off target. As a quality attacking player, that’s one he has to get on goal and could’ve been costly in the end.

MF, Nani, 6.5 — While it wasn’t the dominant performance that Orlando City fans have seen in the past, Nani put in a good shift for the Lions. This was especially so in the first half. Along with Mueller, Nani created havoc for the Montreal defense, creating several chances for teammates and nearly helping the Lions get on the board. The two closest chances in the first half were both set up by Nani. The first was the shot off target by Pereyra — after a slick back heel pass from Nani — and the second was a good cross on Mueller’s mistake in front of goal. The Portuguese midfielder could’ve had a pair of assists on the night.

F, Tesho Akindele, 7 (MotM) — This was a very good performance by Tesho as the Canadian scored the lone goal and nearly had an assist. Just before halftime, a one-two between Akindele and Mendez saw the latter tap home the go-ahead goal. However, Akindele was judged to be offside. Replays of the controversial ruling appeared to show the striker slightly onside but the flag went up during the play. In the 60th minute, Akindele got the lone goal in this 1-0 win. It may have been a tap-in after a good run by Mendez, but similar chances were squandered earlier in the game. If not for the finish, the Lions could’ve been heading out of the tournament.


MF, Andres Perea (75’), 5 — Andres Perea was the first player brought on by Orlando City as he took part in the final 15 minutes. Replacing Pereyra, Perea didn’t play that poorly, completing 84.6% of his 13 passes. Coming on as a midfielder with a one-goal lead, Perea’s role was to help keep possession and secure the victory. While the Impact didn’t score in the late stages of the game, Perea could’ve done better with his possession.

F, Daryl Dike (75’), 4 — Coming on for the final 15 minutes of the game, it was a difficult performance for rookie Daryl Dike on his debut. The young striker found himself with the ball in the box on multiple occasions but was unable to do anything with it. In some cases, Dike lost the ball before being able to reach a teammate. On other occasions, he committed a foul during an attack, effectively ending the chance. He only had one off-target shot but committed three fouls and picked up a yellow card for shooting the ball after the whistle.

MF, Joey DeZart (83’), N/A — Joey DeZart came on for Mendez with just seven minutes left and didn’t have time to make much of an impact. He only had nine touches and one interception, but did help secure the win.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (83’), N/A — Rodrigo Schlegel came on for Mueller as a defensive change to help see out the game. He only had six touches in seven minutes as the Lions simply looked to hold onto the ball. He did record one tackle and one clearance in those seven minutes and drew a foul on a frustrated Romell Quioto.

D, Kyle Smith (87’), N/A — Kyle Smith was the final change for the Lions, coming on for Ruan in the dying minutes. He had a bigger impact in fewer minutes than DeZart and Schlegel, with 13 touches, two clearances, and a tackle credited to his name. The most important thing was, like DeZart and Schlegel, he helped to see out the 1-0 win.

Overall, there’s not much to be displeased with in this game. The Lions came into this tournament with questions of if they would be able to get out of their group. The 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact puts them in the quarterfinals Friday night against the winner of Seattle and LAFC.

While many thought the Lions would be home by now, Orlando City fans have the luxury of enjoying the remaining round of 16 games and waiting to see who their team will play. This is how I saw the game. How do you feel about the individual performances? Tell us by commenting and voting on the Man of the Match below.

Polling Closed

Antonio Carlos9
Robin Jansson3
Sebas Mendez38
Tesho Akindele15
Ruan 6

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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