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Orlando City vs. Nashville SC: Final Score 3-1 as Daryl Dike’s Brace Leads Lion Comeback

The rookie got his first MLS brace and Chris Mueller scored to erase a 1-0 deficit in the teams’ first-ever meeting.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

The Lions fell behind 1-0 off a set piece but roared back behind a Chris Mueller goal and a brace by Daryl Dike to beat Nashville SC 3-1 at Exploria Stadium. Orlando City (3-2-2, 11 points) started a bit out of sync but settled in and handed Nashville (1-4-1, 4 points) its second straight loss in the first meeting between the two teams.

Dike has three goals in his first two starts in back-to-back matches, and Mueller added to his team-leading total (5), equaling his career high for a season, set last year in 29 appearances.

The Lions climbed into the top four in the Eastern Conference on a night when the rest of the league took the night off in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, WI, earlier this week. Unlike some of the other matches scheduled, Orlando had sold tickets to the match, so fans were in the stands. But the Orlando-Nashville match was also the earliest match and it wasn’t clear to the players or Oscar Pareja what was really happening before phones were already off and the team was preparing to play.

Nani said that the team had “heard some things” but weren’t completely aware of what was going on at other sporting events around the country, as they were in their pregame mode. He said the players heard “nothing concrete” and weren’t aware that the other MLS games had been postponed until afterwards.

Pareja’s lineup for the second match out of five in a 15-day stretch included a few changes. Pedro Gallese started in goal per usual, but Rodrigo Schlegel slotted into the back line in place of Antonio Carlos alongside Robin Jansson, with Ruan, and Joao Moutinho outside. Dike got his second straight start up top with Tesho Akindele not in the lineup at all. Mueller returned to the starting XI, along with Nani, Mauricio Pereyra, Uri Rosell, and Sebas Mendez.

Orlando City wasn’t sharp to start the match with some errant touches and lost dribbles but credit Nashville for getting into passing lanes, closing down quickly, and reading the play well. The first good chance of the game came just four minutes in when Abu Danladi got around Schlegel and fired over the bar. Danladi and Gallese collided in the ninth minute on a ball over the top and the play went to a quick VAR check for a possible penalty but none was awarded.

After a couple of near misses on a corner kick sequence, Orlando got a look in the 12th minute. Pereyra sent Ruan down the right side and the Brazilian speedster centered for Dike, who should have scored but he missed just wide.

Nashville opened the scoring at the quarter-hour mark. Mendez gave up an unnecessary free kick from distance and Hany Mukhtar sent in a ball that found Dave Romney, who nodded home to make it 1-0. The play was reminiscent of the Larrys Mabiala goal in the MLS is Back final against Portland but this time it was in the middle and the ball bounced just in front of Gallese, which kept it just out of his reach.

Orlando nearly pulled that goal back a minute later. Moutinho got forward and found Nani in the box. The captain shot it with his first touch but Joe Willis was there to make the save. But the Lions broke through two minutes later.

Pereyra switched play to Moutinho on the left and the fullback made a sick move to free himself and pick out a cross. Mueller had slipped on the play but was in perfect position to head home Moutinho’s low cross, making it 1-1 in the 21st minute.

The Lions were the better team for much of the remainder of the opening half. Nashville tried to play long balls for Danladi to run onto, including one in the 29th that he got to and crossed for Daniel Rios, but the forward couldn’t get into position to make good contact for the shot.

But Orlando patiently built up its attacks and had some decent looks at goal. Moutinho should have found the Lions’ second goal in the 30th. After making a good hustle play to win the ball back in midfield, Joao continued his run forward. Pereyra sent a pass forward to Dike, who flicked it on for Moutinho, breaking into the area. Unfortunately, the left back fired his shot at Willis, who made the save.

Nani sent Ruan down the right in the 32nd minute, all the way to the end line. The cross back found Pereyra, but the Uruguayan took a touch and that allowed Nashville’s defense to close and block the shot attempt. That was the last good attack of the half, though Moutinho was nearly in behind again but was called for a handball in the buildup just before the break.

Shots were 8-8 (3-3 on target), with Orlando City holding 69.6% of the possession and being the sharper passing club (89%-70%).

The Lions took the lead just seven minutes after the restart. Mueller sent Pereyra down the left and the Uruguayan picked out Dike on the run. The rookie smashed home his second goal in two matches to make it 2-1 in the 52nd minute.

Nashville just about pulled that goal right back 10 minutes later. Randall Leal was allowed too much space above the area and knocked a shot off the right post.

Orlando continued to hold the ball and build attacks. A cross came within inches of making it to Moutinho at the back post but Willis stretched out and was just able to grab it in the 66th minute. Dike won a foul at midfield shortly after that but was caught in the head and had to get checked out by trainers and have his head wrapped up before returning to play.

Dike responded by scoring his second of the night in the 72nd minute. Ruan made a good cross into the area to second-half sub Junior Urso but Willis made a point-blank save on the midfielder’s header. Dike swooped in and cleaned up the scraps to complete his brace.

“We love to see Daryl scoring today,” Pareja said. “We are trying to add some things to his game. Just be more comfortable with the ball, just come in and have a presence where we are creating sequences. I think he’s connecting all these things slowly. I think he’s doing incredible. He’s taking advantage of his opportunities.”

“He’s been improving so fast and everyone sees he has talent,” Nani added about the rookie.

The rookie had an opportunity to complete a hat trick three minutes later when Nani sent him a cross but a defender stuck in a toe at the last second to deny the shot right in front of the net.

Nashville started to see a lot more of the ball after the second Dike goal and turned that possession into a few shots. Substitute Alex Muyl headed over the bar in the 76th minute after getting onto a nice ball over the top.

Urso got a second point-blank opportunity off a corner kick in the 81st minute but again Willis turned him away. After Dominique Badji volleyed a shot over Gallese’s crossbar on the last decent scoring opportunity for either side, the Lions saw out the remaining time and captured all three points.

Orlando led in shots (17-16), shots on goal (8-4), possession (66.1%), corners (5-4), and passing accuracy (88%-80%).

“This evening was was amazing for all of us to see our families, you know, in the stands watching us doing what we love most. It was a great evening,” Nani said. “We had so many fans support. Great opportunity to give a win for them and we feel like things are getting to normal. And as players, that is what we want. And it was a great feeling.”

The Lions have another quick turnaround, with a trip to Atlanta coming up on Saturday. If the current wave of player protests across all sports comes to an end by then, it will be a huge advantage for the hosts, as Atlanta and Miami postponed their match tonight.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/29/23

Orlando City prepares for CF Montreal, learning more about Duncan McGuire, Jack Lynn named to MLS NEXT Pro Best XI, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

It’s Friday, which means we’re just one day away from a pretty busy weekend of Orlando soccer. It should be a pretty fun next few days, with Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B all in action. I don’t have many weekend plans beyond working and getting some writing and reading done. Let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Prepares for CF Montreal

Orlando City hosts CF Montreal tomorrow night in a showdown between two Eastern Conference teams with just four games remaining this season. It’s the second match between the two teams this year, with Montreal beating the Lions 2-0 in Canada on May 6. In the time since that game, the Lions have only lost three games this season and have not been defeated at home since April 22. Orlando’s next win will be Head Coach Oscar Pareja’s 60th with the Lions, and tomorrow’s match could also break club records for most wins and points in a season. A win for the Lions would be massive to put some breathing room between them and the other top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Get to Know Duncan McGuire

Orlando forward Duncan McGuire was the latest to go under the microscope as part of the club’s video series to learn more about the players. The rookie spoke on his upbringing as a middle child, as well as how he turned to soccer after struggling in other sports. McGuire also talked about his acrobatic goal celebrations and a clip is included of a time he didn’t quite stick the landing after scoring for Creighton. It’s a pretty fun interview, as he gave some details on how Mason Stajduhar is a quick learner when it comes to golf and how he wants to go out to dinner with Ana de Armas.

Jack Lynn Makes MLS NEXT Pro Best XI

Orlando City B forward Jack Lynn was named to the MLS NEXT Pro’s Best XI for the second straight year. Lynn fueled OCB’s offense this season, scoring 19 goals to help the Young Lions claim a spot in the playoffs. No MLS NEXT Pro player has scored more goals since the league’s inaugural season last year than Lynn, who has 34 goals under his belt. The 23-year-old is joined on the front line of this year’s Best XI with the two players he tied with for the Golden Boot, New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2 forward Remi Cabral.

Orlando City B Takes On Columbus Crew 2 This Sunday

The Young Lions will play their first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game this Sunday when they face Columbus Crew 2 on the road at 5:30 p.m. It will be the third and final match between the two sides this year, with each claiming a big win over the other earlier in the season. No team that qualified for the playoffs has lost more road games than OCB this season, which may be why Columbus elected to face Orlando. However, Orlando’s offense has been electric at times this year thanks to Lynn, Shak Mohammed, Wilfredo Rivera, and others. Sunday may be another wild game with the Young Lions involved and you can check it out on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.

Tahir Reid-Brown Called Up for Training Camp

United States U-17 Men’s National Team Head Coach Gonzalo Segares called up 20 players for a training camp in Brazil to prepare for the U-17 World Cup in November. OCB defender Tahir Reid-Brown was the lone Orlando representative called up for this camp. The 17-year-old was called up to the U-17 team earlier this April for a training camp in Florida. He’s had an impressive year, earning a spot in the MLS NEXT All-Star Game and making 10 appearances for OCB. The U.S. will take on Brazil on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6 in a pair of friendlies during this camp.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City center back Rodrigo Schlegel unveiled the meaning behind his tattoos, including the ones for his parents and his biggest moments as a Lion.

That’s all I have for you today. Hopefully the weather plays nice this weekend and you’re able to do everything you have planned. Have a great Friday!

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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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