Connect with us

Orlando City

Orlando City at Inter Miami: Player Grades and Man of the Match



Orlando City SC saw its 12-match undefeated run come to an end at the hands of in-state rivals Inter Miami CF on Saturday with the South Florida-based side winning 2-1 at Inter Miami CF stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, the Lions had an overall flat performance and after scoring an early goal with Daryl Dike saw their opponents come from behind to take all three points after an own goal off Orlando defender Robin Jansson and a late game-winning header by Inter Miami center back Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.

Here’s how each player performed.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 5.5 — The Peruvian returned to the lineup after missing three matches due to international duty and picked up right where he left off with a strong performance that denied some Miami goal-scoring opportunities. There was nothing he could have done to avoid Jansson’s own goal and on the second one, while it’s true he could have left the post to try to intercept the cross, it’s uncertain he would make it, considering the number of players between him and the ball.

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — The fullback played a decent match opposite his preferred right side. If on offense Smith looked at times uncomfortable pushing forward and getting to the end line, he was steady on defense with four clearances and controlled most of Inter Miami’s attempts from his side.

D, Robin Jansson, 4 — The Swedish defender was somewhat unlucky, but is also partially at fault for Inter Miami’s first goal as his action to clear Blaise Matuidi’s shot was unsuccessful as the wet ball pinged around the area. His performance didn’t really stand out but he managed three blocks.

D, Antonio Carlos, 6 (MotM) — The Brazilian played a key role in Orlando’s goal by feeding Dike with a great long pass that moved the ball forward more than 50 yards. He was solid for most of the match, especially in the air, registering impressive nine clearances, but wasn’t able to avoid Miami’s game-winning goal, as he was left to defend two players.

D, Ruan, 5 — The right back was as offensive-minded as usual, frequently pushing forward and managing to create dangerous situations with his runs on a couple of occasions and had a team-high five crosses, although none of them found an Orlando player at the end. His defensive game wasn’t solid, though, most notably when lost Julian Carranza inside the penalty box in the second half and left the Argentinean to hit the crossbar with a header.

MF, Sebas Méndez, 5.5 — Also returning from international play, the Ecuadoran brought some dynamism to Orlando’s midfield. He played in a more advanced role than usual at times moving ahead of Junior Urso and Andres Perea, Méndez wasn’t as active defensively, registering a single tackle in the entire match, but mostly took good care of the ball, though he did have a couple of dangerous turnovers and touches in his own end. He connected on 92.6% of his 27 passes.

MF, Junior Urso, 6 — The Brazilian performed his two-way role in his typically efficient fashion, impacting the game on both sides of the ball. The Brazilian led the team in tackles, with five, and passing accuracy, connecting 94.4% of his 36 attempts. On the low side were an unnecessary yellow card for dissent and his part in the defensive confusion on Miami’s second goal.

MF, Chris Mueller, 5 — Cash had an unusual yet relatively efficient performance, being more impactful on defense than offense. The winger was active on the defensive end with three tackles, two interceptions, and three clearances — one of them a pivotal one near the end of the first half on a corner kick that was on its way to finding Rodolfo Pizarro on the far post. He only registered one shot, though and wasn’t tidy with the ball at his feet.

MF, Andrés Perea, 4.5 — The Colombian covered a lot of ground in the center of the field, but again didn’t get to produce at a high level. He passed the ball at a good 84.4% rate, but didn’t create much out of it and his defensive game was unreliable with four fouls.

MF, Nani, 5.5 — The Portuguese had one of his weakest performance in recent weeks, not seeing a lot of the ball and struggling to be dangerous outside of dead-ball situations. His production improved near the end, when the Lions had more of the ball, and he finished the match with a team-high three shots.

F, Daryl Dike, 6 — The striker used two of his main assets — his physical strength and his composure — to score Orlando’s goal after he outmuscled Nicolas Figal to get control of a long pass and clinically finish it. He wasn’t much involved outside of that play and failed to connect what could be a dangerous pass inside the box during the second half.


F, Tesho Akindele (58’), 5 — The forward came in for Méndez in an attempt for Orlando to regain the control of the match and his best play came near the end of the match, when he made a run from the left and had his shot deflected by an Inter Miami defender.

F, Benji Michel (76’), 4 —The second-year player returned from injury and replaced Mueller with 15 minutes to go and slotted on the right side, but like the starter couldn’t find ways to produce much offensively outside from a good run inside the penalty box in which he won a corner kick for the Lions. Soon after, however, he missed an incredible scoring opportunity with goalkeeper John McCarthy on the ground.

MF, Joey Dezart (76’), N/A — The rookie midfielder subbed on for Dike near the end of the match and didn’t do much offensively or defensively during the 15 minutes he was on the field.

F, Matheus Aias (92’), N/A — The Brazilian forward entered the match in stoppage time to make his MLS debut, but he wasn’t on long enough to do much of anything.


That’s the way I saw it. Let us know what you thought in the comments and vote for your Man of the Match.

Polling Closed

Mauricio Pereyra127
Chris Mueller6
Andres Perea3
Kyle Smith24
Antonio Carlos5
Tesho Akindele0
Other (write in comments)2

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/23/22

Lions and Herons meet again, Carly Nelson is writing a book, NWSL free agency opens, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Happy Founder’s Day, Mane Landers! It was on this day in 2014 that our fearless leader and Managing Editor Michael Citro started our first ever WordPress website. It’s safe to say that I’m sure The Mane Land has impacted your life as much as it has mine over the years, whether that be through daily reading or weekly podcasts. Cheers to Michael and all those who have come before me.

In my own personal news, I have been grinding away on the new EA FC 24 (the franchise formerly known as EA’s FIFA.) So far, the gameplay and updates have been great in my initial 15+ hours of play, and my online Ultimate Team is starting to really take its shape. I’m sure in a couple weeks that I’ll transition to a traditional Career Mode and take the Lions all the way to an MLS Cup and beyond.

Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a very happy birthday to everyone’s favorite defensive midfielder, Wilder Cartagena!

Third Bout for Orlando City and Inter Miami

Orlando City and Inter Miami have already met twice this campaign. Sunday’s match will look to break the deadlock between the two rivals as both clubs have a victory to their name in this year’s series. In May, the Lions grabbed a 3-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale-based club. The two sides met for a second time in the knockout round of Leagues Cup 2023 with Inter Miami taking the 3-1 result at DRV PNK Stadium. No matter the result this time around, Orlando City has already clinched a playoff spot, however, the Herons need every point they can get to attempt to do the same.

Carly Nelson, Goalkeeper and Author

It isn’t unheard of to learn that an athlete might have tried another sport before finding soccer, Orlando Pride goalkeeper Carly Nelson came from a background of gymnastics, tennis, basketball, and baseball before her father started a club soccer team with her in mind. While Nelson might have idolized USWNT legend Hope Solo as a child, she started her playing days as a forward, winger, and midfielder. Outside of protecting the Pride’s net, Nelson is spending time writing a book about her life growing up in Utah and the issues her family faced to hopefully help others that might find themselves in similar situations.

NWSL Opens 2024 Free Agency

The National Women’s Soccer League has officially opened the league’s unrestricted and restricted free agency periods. In accordance with the NWSL Players’ Association’s collective bargaining agreement, eligible free agents can begin negotiations for their 2024 Standard Player Agreements. Players eligible for unrestricted free agency include all who have at least five years of service within the NWSL and contracts expiring in 2023, while players eligible for restricted free agency include those who have at least three years of service. For the Orlando Pride, defender Kylie Strom is set to be an unrestricted free agent and midfielder Jordyn Listro is under restricted terms. Any club that currently holds the rights of a restricted free agent has a seven-day period to match an incoming offer from another club or else the player may sign with the new club under the terms of the offer.

USMNT’s Tyler Adams Nearing Return

Tyler Adams will not make his Bournemouth debut this weekend, but he could return as early as next week. Bournemouth’s manager, Andoni Iraola, provided a positive update on the U.S. Men’s National Team captain as he finishes up rehabbing a long-term hamstring injury.

“He has started this week at least to train partially with the group, so probably we can have a chance of having him next week or two weeks, something like this. Tyler is really close because once you start training partially with the group, it’s a matter of sensations, and if you are physically good enough. He has a very good physical base. So I think it will take not a long time to see Tyler with the team.”

Adams has not played since March after having a hamstring surgery. Even with a known injury, the 24-year-old still completed a move from Leeds United to Bournemouth following Leeds’ relegation to keep him in the top flight.

MLS Weekend Preview

Aside from the Florida derby, there are plenty of matches to be excited about around the league this weekend. Personally, I’m looking forward to catching a bit of the D.C. United and New York Red Bulls match. Manager Wayne Rooney’s club is right on the bubble in a tight Eastern Conference race while the Red Bulls can do themselves a huge service and come back into the playoff picture with a win. Out in the Western Conference, there is a real buzz around a Portland Timbers squad after a manager sacking. It could be a huge win for the Timbers and likely push them above the play-in round should they find a result against the Colorado Rapids.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Saturday. Be safe on Sunday at the match. Stay hydrated and look out for those around you. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Three Keys to Victory

Here are three things the Lions need to do in order to set themselves up for a win over Inter Miami.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Wednesday’s match didn’t go the way anyone hoped it would, but now it’s time to turn our attention to a Sunday matchup with Inter Miami back in the comfortable confines of Exploria Stadium. What follows are three things that I believe will go a long way toward helping the Lions emerge victorious from the Tropic Thunder derby and keeping Florida purple.

Close Down Sergio Busquets

As many headlines as Lionel Messi has rightfully been getting since joining Major League Soccer, I think Busquets is just as important to Miami’s success. He remains an excellent midfielder and his ability to transition the team from defense into attack and link the two lines together is crucial. He has two assists and eight key passes in six MLS appearances and is passing with 92% accuracy —if you give him time, he will make you pay. Even if Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena mark him tightly, he’ll still manage to find space at times and affect the game because he’s that good of a player. But the Lions cannot afford to repeatedly give him time and space to get on the ball, pick up his head, and play a pass or he’ll cut OCSC to ribbons. Getting tight to him and making his life difficult won’t stop him every time, but it’ll make life a hell of a lot easier. As soon as Orlando loses the ball in Miami’s half, someone needs to find no. 5 and close him down.

Play With an Edge, but Don’t Go Over It

This is likely going to be an extremely, fast, physical and heated game. These two teams don’t have any love lost for each other, and if last game is any indication, then Orlando is going to try to use its physicality to disrupt Miami from playing its brand of soccer. That’s not a bad strategy, and it’s one that was largely working during the aforementioned Leagues Cup match until the penalty kick call in the second half. If the Lions are going to try to repeat the tactic, then they need to play with physicality and intensity while toeing the line of what’s acceptable to do during a soccer game. Going down a man isn’t going to do OCSC any favors, so the boys in purple are going to have to flirt with the edge of the cliff without falling headfirst over it.

Stay Organized Defensively

We’ve seen some shaky defending during Orlando’s last two matches. Runners in behind were a particular problem during the match against the Columbus Crew, while Wednesday’s loss to NYCFC saw Talles Magno largely unmarked between two Orlando defenders to score the header that sealed the Lions’ fate. OCSC will likely still be without Antonio Carlos, but the Lions are capable of much better defending than they’ve done during the last week and they need to show it. Even if Lionel Messi doesn’t play, Miami has a whole host of guys who can hurt you in Josef Martinez, Leonardo Campana, Benjamin Cremaschi, Robert Taylor and Facundo Farias. The Lions need to be much more keyed in on defense than they have been the last two games, otherwise one or more of those guys is going to make them pay. Orlando has the firepower to put the ball in the back of the net, but it won’t matter if the team is giving up multiple preventable goals at the other end of the field.

If the Lions execute those three things then they’ve got as good a chance as any of getting a result on Sunday. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/22/23

Orlando City prepares for Inter Miami, MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day is Sunday, USWNT wins against South Africa, and much more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! It’s been a pretty busy week of apartment hunting and work for me, so I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation this weekend. I don’t have many plans, but I did make sure to carve out a few hours to make a drink and get some reading done. My book club is fairly low maintenance, but I’ll be behind if I don’t finish Fourth Wing before the second book in the series comes out in November. Let’s get into today’s links!

Orlando City Takes On Inter Miami This Weekend

Following a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC earlier this week, Orlando City will aim to bounce back when it hosts rival Inter Miami this Sunday. Orlando has a chance to set club records for the most wins and points in a season since it joined MLS in 2015. It will be the third meeting between the two clubs this season, with Orlando beating Miami 3-1 in May before falling 3-1 in the Leagues Cup’s knockout stage. Although Miami will be without Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba according to Head Coach Tata Martino, the Herons still have plenty of attacking talent in the form of Sergio Busquets, Leonardo Campana, and Josef Martinez.

Orlando City B Readies for MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day

Sunday will also be the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, with nearly every team in action. Here’s everything you need to know about Decision Day across the league, with playoff spots still up for grabs. Orlando City B has already clinched its spot in the postseason, but can secure fifth in the Eastern Conference when it takes on FC Cincinnati 2. However, the difference between fifth and a lower seed won’t matter too much due to a new rule this year where the second and third seed in each conference choose which lower seed it wants to host in the playoffs. The Golden Boot race is competitive as well, with OCB’s Jack Lynn tied at the top with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers. We’ll see if Lynn takes part in Sunday’s match after giving the first team needed depth last weekend.

USWNT Beats South Africa in Julie Ertz’s Finale

The United States Women’s National Team won 3-0 against South Africa in the first of two friendlies this month. All three of the USWNT’s goals came in the first half, with Lynn Williams bagging a brace. In her final USWNT game, Julie Ertz started and earned plenty of applause from the crowd at TQL Stadium when she was subbed off in the 36h minute. M.A. Vignola made her USWNT debut in the match as well, coming on at halftime. The two nations will play again on Sunday in what will be forward Megan Rapinoe’s last game with the USWNT.

Europa League Group Stage Kicks Off

The first round of Europa League group stage matches is over, with all 32 teams getting things started across Europe. Brighton & Hove Albion’s first Europa League match was a rough one, as the English club fell 3-2 at home against AEK Athens. The Spanish clubs also struggled, with Villarreal getting shut out 2-0 by Panathinaikos and Real Betis losing 1-0 to Rangers. Elsewhere, AS Roma beat Sheriff Tiraspol 2-1 thanks to a winner from Romelu Lukaku, Liverpool won 3-1 over Austrian club LASK after trailing early on, and Marseille drew 3-3 with Ajax in a thriller. West Ham, Atalanta, Bayer Leverkusen, and SC Freiburg also won their group openers.

Free Kicks

  • Enjoy the sights and sounds from the Orlando City Foundation’s annual celebrity golf and footgolf tournament.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

Continue Reading