Connect with us

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Final Score 3-1 as Lions Push Unbeaten Streak to Nine Games

Daryl Dike, Junior Urso, and Antonio Carlos scored to lift the Lions past the Red Bulls.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City’s unbeaten streak is up to nine straight matches (6-0-3) after dispatching the New York Red Bulls, 3-1 at Exploria Stadium. Daryl Dike, Junior Urso, and Antonio Carlos provided the offense as the Lions (8-2-5, 29 points) kept up their torrid pace by beating the red-hot Red Bulls (6-7-2), who had dispatched their last two opponents by 8-2 on aggregate.

The Lions improved to 5-6-1 in the all-time series with the win and climbed to within a point of league-leading Columbus, but will now be without Pedro Gallese and Sebas Medez for the next several games due to international duty, and may be without Mauricio Pereyra, who subbed off at halftime with an injury. Urso also sustained an injury late.

“It’s another important victory against a team who has had recently very good results and has showed a lot of verticality and dynamic in the way they attack,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “Today we did a great job in controlling that part for most of the game. We beat a good team. It was a very hard game but I like the performance and we should be proud.”

Pareja was without both starting fullbacks, as well as two starting-caliber defensive midfielders, while starting center back Carlos returned to the game day roster on the bench. Lining up in front of goalkeeper Gallese on the back line were Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Kyle Smith. Andres Perea slotted into the central midfield with Urso, with Nani, Pereyra, and Chris Mueller as attackers behind Dike.

Neither team did much in the opening few minutes but the Red Bulls fashioned the first great scoring chance just eight minutes in. Brian White got in behind the back line but fired wide.

Pareja said the Red Bulls surprised them a bit with their shape and tactics, and it took his team a few minutes to settle in and show some patience. Orlando didn’t spend much time in the attacking half until after the first 10 minutes had expired, but then the Lions started to settle into the match. Nani won a set piece with a slick move in the 14th minute past Mandela Egbo, who pulled him down and took the yellow card rather than concede a transition opportunity. However, the Lions didn’t do anything with the ensuing set piece.

Urso sent in a good cross in the 21st minute but Aaron Long cleared it out as Orlando City pressed forward and grew more comfortable on the ball. Two minutes later, Orlando had a 2-v-1, but Mueller opted not to play in Pereyra and instead tried to beat his man 1-v-1 but ended up losing possession.

The Lions broke through a minute later, however. Pereyra switched the field from left to right, finding Smith outside on the flank. Smith crossed into the area and Dike finished it with a powerful header to make it 1-0 in the 24th minute.

It was the rookie’s first goal since Aug. 27, after seven matches without one, giving him four on the year. The play also provided Smith’s first MLS assist.

Two minutes later, Mueller should have made it 2-0. Pereyra sent him in behind the defense and he had only goalkeeper David Jensen to beat, but he couldn’t do it. With the defense closing from behind, he opted to take the shot instead of rounding the keeper, and the save kept it a one-goal game.

Urso had a go from the top of the area in the 33rd and Jensen made a diving stop going to his left.

Gallese made a save in the 36th when White bumped Jansson and then got in front of him, sending a header on target. That was it for the chances in the first half and the Lions took their one-goal lead to the locker room.

Both teams fired three shots in the first half, but Orlando got more on target (3-1). The Lions had more corners (3-1), more possession (61.3%-38.7%), and more passing accuracy (83%-74%). Pereyra left with tightness in his hamstring, which Pareja said after the match was “preventative,” and Benji Michel came on to replace the midfield maestro.

New York pushed more players higher up the pitch in the second half to try to get more of the game. It resulted in more possession and shots but not too many more dangerous opportunities in front of goal, as Orlando’s back line and midfield played well.

In fact, it was Orlando doubling the lead five minutes after the restart. Mueller sent Urso racing down the right with only Jason Pendant to beat. Urso shrugged off Pendant like a backpack, took the ball in on goal and beat Jensen to make it 2-0 in the 50th minute.

The Red Bulls pulled one back just four minutes later. Miller made a great play in the corner to break up a New York attack, but then he gave the ball away with a poor pass and the Red Bulls took advantage. Florian Valot played a give-and-go with Daniel Royer and slipped in behind the defense, receiving the return pass and beating Gallese in the 54th minute to make it 2-1.

The game opened up for a few minutes after that with more end-to-end action but the Red Bulls were forced to try a couple of longer shots as they weren’t having any success breaking down the Lions’ defense.

Dike turned and tried to get in behind Tim Parker in the 67th minute, but he was called for a foul. Pareja, who was standing five yards away, was incensed at the call and got booked arguing about it as the Lions should have had another breakaway.

Michel got a partial breakaway in the 70th minute but slipped as he took his shot and sent it way wide of the target. A minute later, Smith sent in a cross but Dike couldn’t quite get onto it. Mueller had a partial break in the 76th and he cut to his right to clear himself for a shot but sent it over the bar as the Lions continued looking for the knockout punch.

New York had an opportunity in the 80th on a set piece with Marc Rzatkowski forcing Gallese into a diving save and Valot then sending a shot wide of goal but the tying goal wouldn’t come.

Smith then made a great open-field play in the 83rd after the Red Bulls tried to counter off an Orlando corner kick.

As time wound down, Urso was hit while trying to win an aerial ball and went down holding his head. Referee Fotis Bazakos did not stop play for the apparent head injury and New York sent a few shots and dangerous crosses into the area. Urso was finally seen to and had to sub off, handing David Loera his MLS debut appearance.

The Lions put it away in stoppage time. Jensen cleared the ball down the field but second-half sub Carlos won it in the air and passed to Nani. The captain appeared to consider trying the long shot to catch Jensen out of the net but instead kept it and played Michel down the left. Michel crossed to Carlos for the goal but the flag came up as the ball went in, cutting the celebration short. Bazakos reviewed the play and overturned the offside call, confirming Carlos’ first MLS goal.

The final whistle came just after the restart and the Lions had all three points.

Orlando was out-shot 11-8 but put more on target (5-3). The Red Bulls took over the lead in corners (5-4), with the Lions holding the final advantage in possession (53.8%-46.2%) and passing accuracy (81%-77%).

“Anyone on our team can play at any time in my opinion,” Smith said of the team’s success despite injuries and rotation over the past nine games. “I have confidence in every single one of our players, and it shows, you know, because if one person isn’t available, the next man steps up, and I think we’ve proven that all year.”

“The opposition wanted to try to press higher or put more numbers forward,” Dike said. “I think we each kind of, no matter what, no matter what they kind of threw at us, we just kind of wanted to be the dominant factor in the game.”

The Lions will go on the road to face Atlanta United on Wednesday and they’ll need to get some bodies healthy with Gallese and Mendez off to play for their countries in FIFA qualifiers.

Orlando City

Intelligence Report: Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids

Familiarize yourself with the Colorado Rapids, courtesy of someone who knows them best.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Another Orlando City game is almost upon us, as the Lions look to both extend their five-match unbeaten run and pick up two wins in a row. This week sees the Colorado Rapids come to town for the first home game of June.

A match with the Rapids means I spoke to Matt Pollard, of Burgundy Wave. That’s another site that has gone independent and the folks over there are continuing to provide great coverage of the Rapids, so make sure to check them out!

What were some of the big incoming and outgoing transfers for the Rapids ahead of this season?

Matt Pollard: The three biggest incoming players in terms of expectations were Kévin Cabral, Connor Ronan, and Andreas Maxsø.

Cabral is probably the highest-risk, highest-reward signing when it comes to the Rapids going after distressed assets. So far, it hasn’t panned out. He presses well, but that’s about it. The same issues he had at LA Galaxy (getting called offside, not finishing) are present here in Colorado. The difference is, he’s the focal point instead of the third player opposing defenses worry about.

Ronan and Maxsø have been great. Ronan was brought in to play alongside Jack Price. When Price went down for the season, Ronan stepped into the No. 6 role and adjusted well. He’s tidy at the back, works hard off the ball, and is one of the better assist providers on the team. Maxsø has been good defensively in the air and good at emergency defending. The Rapids typically give up goals by making a series of small errors. Rarely is the Great Dane one of those players who makes a mistake on a goal.

It’s hard to say if there were any significant departures from last year’s team. Most fans weren’t surprised or bummed out when Gyasi Zardes signed for Austin FC. The left back position has been an issue, so maybe Lucas Esteves. But he had some attitude issues and was hot headed. Robin Fraser’s such a culture guy, he wasn’t worth the headache.

It’s been a difficult start to the season for Colorado, what has been the biggest reason for the team’s struggles?

MP: Injuries. Injuries. Injuries. Price went down for the season in his second appearance. Diego Rubio has had three separate injuries. Maxsø was under concussion protocol for two games. I’ve lost count of how many players have had hamstring issues. As I’ve written about previously for Burgundy Wave, the infrastructure at Dick’s (Sporting Goods Park) is showing its age. The team had a really bad stretch in March and April with practice fields and winter sticking around. They’ve missed key players. They’ve had limited depth. All while playing eight games in May. Hopefully a full week of training has them healthy and refocused for Saturday.

With plenty of games left to play and only sitting six points out of the play-in spots, the Rapids are far from dead and buried. What needs to happen for Colorado to turn the season around?

MP: Get healthy and get going offensively. Rubio is still their only reliable chance creator. All their goal scorers have been streaky. If Rubio comes back healthy and can give the Rapids the production he had last year (a club-record 16 goals and seven assists), that would be fantastic. Add in Cabral, Jonathan Lewis, and Braian Galván having a good finishing streak, and they could be ok. Orlando fans should be wary of Michael Barrios coming off the bench tomorrow. All 12 of his goals for the Rapids have come in the second half.

Are there any players who will be unavailable for selection due to call-ups, injuries, suspensions, etc? What is your projected starting lineup and score prediction?

MP: The injury report just came out and there are only four players on it. That’s tied for the lowest of the season! Rubio is questionable, and Fraser’s been really cautious with his key players coming back from injury. I can’t see him getting more than 20 minutes Saturday. Moïse Bombito is suspended for a harsh second yellow against San Jose, so expect Lalas Abubakar to start at center back. Price is out, as mentioned previously. Max Alves is still removed from team activities as he’s under investigation for participation in a sports gambling scheme in his native Brazil.

Marko Ilic; Danny Wilson, Andreas Maxsø, Lalas Abubakar; Sam Nicholson, Keegan Rosenberry; Connor Ronan, Bryan Acosta, Cole Bassett; Jonathan Lewis, Darren Yapi.

I think Orlando wins a tight, ugly game. Oscar Pareja knows how to poop-house the Rapids. 1-0, Facundo Torres scores. I do think we’ll see one of the better performances from the Rapids of this winless stretch for what that’s worth. 

Thank you to Matt for the excellent info and helping get us up to speed on the Rapids. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/9/23

Orlando City gets ready for the Colorado Rapids, OCB faces FC Cincinnati 2 on Sunday, U-20 World Cup final is set, and more.



How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this Friday finds you well as we gear up for a weekend filled to the brim with Orlando soccer. My friends are taking me out for teppanyaki and scorpion bowls tonight, so it should be a pretty nice day on my end. Hopefully your Friday goes smoothly as well. Now, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Prepares for the Colorado Rapids

The Lions are on a five-game unbeaten run as they get ready for a home match tomorrow night against the Colorado Rapids. Facundo Torres scored twice in the team’s 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls last weekend. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling against a Colorado team that’s allowed 25 goals this season and sits last in the league in points per game, with just two wins in 17 matches. Pedro Gallese also recorded his 26th clean sheet for Orlando in last week’s win, and could make his 100th appearance as a Lion tomorrow night. The Lions will have to keep an eye on Irish midfielder Connor Ronan, who has six assists in his first season with the Rapids.

Orlando City B Aims to Bounce Back at Home

After a 3-0 defeat to Toronto FC II in Canada this past weekend, Orlando City B will look to right the ship on Sunday at home against FC Cincinnati 2. The Young Lions are unbeaten at home this season, winning four of their six games at Osceola Heritage Park. The last time these two teams played was in August of last year, with Cincy winning in the penalty shootout following a 2-2 draw. Although he didn’t score in that match, OCB forward Jack Lynn scored three goals against Cincinnati last year and currently leads OCB with six goals this season. Sunday’s match should be a good opportunity for OCB’s offense to bounce back against a leaky Cincy defense.

USMNT Players Focused Despite Coaching Search

With European seasons over, American players who have been plying their trade abroad are back in the U.S. to prepare for the Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup this month. The team will be coached by B.J. Callaghan in an interim capacity while the search for a head coach continues. Although not having a permanent head coach for these tournaments isn’t ideal, Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman spoke on how the team still knows how to get the job done.

“We’re a team that has a very strong team chemistry, strong culture within our group. And we know that for us, not much has changed right now,” said Zimmerman. “We know the same principles, style of play, expectations, accountability – all those things are the same. So I think that’s player-driven, to hold each other accountable to the standards that we’ve set over the past four years. BJ, he’s on top of it. He’s knowledgeable about what we want to do, how we’re going to go about these games.”

The roster includes many of the players who featured in the World Cup last year, but the striker position is one to watch due to the new faces involved. Folarin Balogun is with the team for the first time and it will be interesting to see how he measures up against Ricardo Pepi, Alex Zendejas, and Jesus Ferreira. We will get to see who spearheads the USMNT’s attack next Thursday, when the Yanks take on Mexico in Las Vegas.

Italy and Uruguay Reach U-20 World Cup Final

Only two teams remain in the U-20 World Cup after Italy and Uruguay each won their semifinals. Uruguay, which beat the U.S. in the quarterfinals, beat Israel 1-0, thanks to a goal in the second half from Anderson Duarte. In Italy’s semifinal against South Korea, Cesare Casadei’s terrific tournament continued as he gave Italy the lead in the 14th minute. South Korea equalized soon after with a penalty kick, but 17-year-old forward Simone Pafundi scored a nice free kick to send Italy into the final.

The final will take place on Sunday at 5 p.m., with the third-place match set for 1:30 p.m. It will be Italy’s first time playing in a U-20 World Cup final, while it will be Uruguay’s third time after losing in 1997 and 2013.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. Have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

Continue Reading

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to earn all three points at home against the Rapids this Saturday night?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City is back home in Exploria Stadium and hosting the Colorado Rapids this Saturday night. The Lions are coming off a big road win over the New York Red Bulls, and will want to extend the five-match unbeaten streak. What does Orlando City need to do to secure all three points at home this weekend?

Survive the First Half

Colorado has been better in the first half of matches this season than in the second half. The Lions can expect the Rapids to come out strong, looking for an early goal. If Orlando City can play smart on defense, maintain possession, and limit Colorado’s chances for the first 45 minutes, plus stoppage time, the odds of winning at home go up. 

I’m most worried about the first 15 minutes and the last five minutes of this half. It’s going to be contingent upon the effective midfield pairing of Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena to break down the Rapids’ attack. Araujo was in training this week despite going off injured in the last match, indicating it wasn’t that serious and he may be available. Cartagena has quietly been fantastic the last few matches, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue. 

Behind that pair is another line of defense, including Robin Jansson and Antonio Carlos, that can clean up anything else that gets through. Carlos has mostly been great, although he’s had a few less-than-stellar matches, and Jansson has been excellent. If Orlando City weathers the first half in good shape, I’ll feel better about the Lions getting three points.

Ride the Hot Feet

Oscar Pareja has trotted out the same starting lineup the last couple of matches, and I don’t expect he will mess with the success. After the last match, Ivan Angulo and Facundo Torres will be feeling pretty good, and we don’t want those confidence-boosting performances to be wasted. There will be plenty of time to let them rest if they can help provide the team with a two-goal lead after the 60 minute mark.

The same goes for Ercan Kara. No he didn’t have a goal last match, but that had more to do with dealing with the New York Red Bulls press than anything else. His last goal was three matches ago against Inter Miami, but he is putting the work in regardless, and I think he’s primed to find the back of the net against Colorado. 

Regardless of the scoreline, look for Pareja to bring on Martin Ojeda and Duncan McGuire to either put the match away or look for a positive result. Duncan can be a terror against a team that doesn’t play well in the second half, and Ojeda seems due for a goal. He certainly isn’t shy about taking chances, and eventually one of them is going to result in a goal.


Too many times in Orlando City history, the Lions have played a team on a winless streak — the Rapids haven’t won in their last six matches — and been the team to let the opposition get back on track. The Lions are also riding a five-match undefeated streak heading into Saturday’s match. It’s the type of match that tends to worry scarred Orlando City supporters, and I have those bad thoughts and feelings as well. As Michael Scott said on The Office, “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.” If Orlando City could not feed into that phenomenon, it would be great.

I think that sometimes the Lions want to give the home crowd a win so badly that they get nervous and end up pressing too hard, or trying to slip a pass into too tight of a window. When that happens, the natural flow of an offense that is looking better, passing better, and scoring goals will give the ball away cheaply. My suggestion is for the players is to just relax. Pretend it’s a road match if necessary, but just keep calm and let the match develop naturally. 

That’s what I’ll be looking for this Saturday night from my seat in Exploria Stadium. Since I’ll be down for this one, please make sure to say hello if you see me.

Continue Reading