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Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact: Final Score 1-0 as Daryl Dike’s Goal Lifts Lions to 10th Win

The Lions inched closer to a home playoff match behind the rookie’s goal and five saves by Pedro Gallese.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City took a step closer to a home playoff game, beating the Montreal Impact 1-0 on a Daryl Dike goal and five saves by Pedro Gallese at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. The Lions could have clinched the top four had New York City FC not won its game tonight, but Orlando City (10-3-8, 38 points) will take the three points from the Impact (7-13-2, 23 points) and the shutout victory home with them, with just two games left to play in the regular season.

It was Orlando’s first shutout victory of the regular season — after a few 0-0 draws — and the win moved Oscar Pareja into eighth place on the all-time MLS list for coaching victories. Papi moved past Steve Nicol with his 113th win.

“We learned how to win this type of game,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match, referring to the team conceding some late goals in recent weeks to drop points. “We were obviously closer to scoring more goals in the second half but they had one chance as well. Overall I like it. The discipline was there. I think we were great today and we had the personality to get the three points that we needed.”

Pareja’s lineup featured some squad rotation, with Nani and Chris Mueller taking the night off and Ruan and Junior Urso going to the bench. Gallese took his spot in goal behind a back line of Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Kyle Smith. Andres Perea and Sebas Mendez manned the central midfield, with Mauricio Pereyra returning to the lineup and Benji Michel completing the midfield. Tesho Akindele and Dike started up top.

The best way to describe the first half is…sleepy. Most of the opening 45 minutes were dominated by the defenses and the teams looked to play carefully. Montreal looked to get forward more than Orlando City, and won the ball in the middle more often, with the Impact’s 3-5-2 presenting challenges, but there weren’t many opportunities in the first half hour.

The first decent opportunity came in the 22nd minute after Miller’s beautiful pass sent Michel down the left flank. The Homegrown Player cut into the penalty area and looked to pick out a pass but the defense cleared it out and Montreal went on the break. Samuel Piette fired a shot from the right side and Gallese was there to make the save.

After a lot more play in between the two penalty areas, the Lions found the breakthrough in the 39th minute. Pereyra finally got on the ball in space, facing the goal in the middle of the pitch. The Uruguayan sent an inch perfect pass into Dike’s path and the big rookie smashed it past Clement Diop for his seventh goal of the season and his third in three matches.

“It was a game that was probably missing some precision in the boxes offensively, but in that bright moment, Mauro came and put that beautiful ball to Daryl,” Pareja said.

Pereyra notched his sixth assist of the season, tying Mueller for the team lead.

“I didn’t know what to do with the ball when I got it,” Pereyra said with a laugh. “So, I tried to [find someone] open. Nobody was there, so I came inside. I looked and Daryl started to move really fast to change the speed and break the lines. So I waited a little until the last moment when he was in a good moment to get the ball and it was a good ball and a good finish.”

As you’d expect, the Impact pushed the issue after Orlando’s goal and tried to pull it back before the break. Bojan cut around Mendez in the 44th and hit a shot from a dangerous spot, but Jansson blocked it and the Lions cleared.

That turned out to be the last chance of the half for either side and Orlando took its 1-0 advantage to the break.

Montreal fired more shots (4-2), with each team getting one on target. Orlando’s only shot attempt other than Dike’s goal was a 30-yard effort from Miller that was way off target after a corner kick clearance found him in the middle of the pitch. The Impact led in corners (2-1), while Orlando City held more possession (52.5%-47.5%). Each team was successful on 83% of its passing attempts in the opening period.

While Orlando City has spent several games pinned in its own end in the second halves of tight matches while nursing a one-goal lead, the Lions were more aggressive out of the locker room in the second half of this one. Orlando pressed up the field, counter-pressed, won the ball, and looked to kill the game off.

Each team got a look in the first 10 minutes of the second half, with Dike firing wide from a tight angle in the 51st, when a pass for Akindele might have been the better play, and Emanuel Maciel firing over the goal two minutes later.

Bojan started looking for space outside the area to free himself up for his blistering, long-range shots, and he fizzed one over the bar in the 61st minute.

Orlando City then had an excellent opportunity to double the lead through Michel in the 63rd but he couldn’t beat Diop from the top of the area.

Seconds later, second-half sub Ruan fizzed a low cross for Dike but couldn’t get enough bend on it and Diop collected.

Bojan got two more opportunities in the 67th and 69th minutes but he hit the first one wide and the second was a volley shot into the ground that he hit softly at Gallese.

The Lions looked to kill off the game but weren’t quite lethal enough in front of goal. Akindele headed a corner kick cross onto the top of the bar in the 72nd minute and moments later he had a golden opportunity to score the second off a pass from Junior Urso, but Diop made a big save.

Diop made another huge stop in the 80th after Mendez won the ball off Bojan and ignited the transition. The ball ended up with Ruan in front of goal but Diop had come off his line and made a sprawling stop to deny the speedy Brazilian.

A minute later, Michel again had a ton of space at the top of the area. He took a pass from Ruan and fired but didn’t hit his shot well, giving Diop a comfortable save.

Montreal threw numbers forward but had trouble beating Jansson and Carlos in the middle. Amar Sejdic fired at Gallese in the 82nd but El Pulpo snared it without spilling it. The best opportunity in stoppage time was another blast from Bojan at the top of the semicircle. Gallese dove to his right and smacked it away with a strong right hand in the 92nd minute.

“I thought we played well,” Smith said. “ We communicated well. We were absorbing some pressure at the end of the game. And I think that we did well with that. Pedro had a very good game coming out and collecting balls and making it easier for the back line to defend. I thought he was man of the match.”

The Lions held on and were often the more likely team to score in the second half, but in the end, Dike’s strike was the game’s only scoring. Montreal finished with more shots (16-9), but Orlando blocked seven of those and each team got five on target. The Impact doubled up Orlando on corners (6-3), but a flurry of three of those came within a few seconds. Orlando held more possession (51.3%-48.7%), while Montreal was slightly more accurate in passing (85%-84%).

Pareja talked after the game about how the pain of dropping points in recent weeks gave the Lions a chance to learn and respond.

“It just gave us the opportunity to grow. It’s painful because those points [would have] given us an opportunity to fight for the Shield. But today this game taught us that we can be that team. We can close the games and keep the clean sheet as well, and the zero is important for us.”

The Lions improved to 5-6-2 against the Impact in the regular season and 6-6-2 in all competitions, including a win by the same score earlier this year in the MLS is Back Tournament. Orlando reached the 10-win mark in a season for the third time in six seasons, but the previous two times came in a 34-match MLS regular season.


There are just two matches left in the regular season for Orlando City and both are at home. The Lions will next host the Columbus Crew Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.

Orlando City

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

How did your favorite Lions perform in a 2-0 loss at home against Columbus?

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Rafael Santos Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

The Lions returned home riding a three-game unbeaten streak but a bizarre video review call moments before halftime set the tone for a physical match against the Columbus Crew. Ultimately, Orlando fell to the Crew 2-0. Here’s how I saw each individual Lion’s performance in Orlando’s fourth loss at home on the season.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — The Peruvian No. 1 saw a relatively quiet first half come to a close in a fury as he was forced into action to face a penalty kick before halftime. Gallese guessed correctly, but Diego Rossi’s placement was just above Gallese’s outstretched trailing hand. The Crew put three of their eight shot attempts on target and Gallese was credited with one save on the night. He completed 94.1% of his 17 passing attempts, including two accurate long balls out of three attempts.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7 (MotM) — Schlegel continued to fill in for injured starter Robin Jansson and has now strung a few solid performances together on the back line. Defensively, he put out multiple fires for Orlando City. He tied Wilder Cartagena for the team lead with five clearances. Schlegel also added three tackles and one blocked shot. He committed one foul while he suffered three throughout the match. He completed 93.1% of his 58 passing attempts, including two key passes. He also completed one of his three long-ball attempts on the night. For his total effort throughout the game he is our Man of the Match.

D, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — The Peruvian international continued to function as a center back in the squad’s 3-5-2 lineup. Defensively, he tied for the team lead with five clearances and added three tackles and a blocked shot. He won two aerial duels and was whistled for two fouls on the night. He completed 91.7% of his 48 passes, including two successful long balls out of four attempts. Offensively, Cartagena put one of his two shot attempts on target and completed one successful dribble.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo continued to perform well in the back as he has become more comfortable in his role, leading the team with four total tackles and chipping in one clearance. He completed 91.3% of his 46 passes and was successful on both long balls that he sent up the field. He committed one foul in the match. Offensively, he did not contribute any statistics.

WB, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres again slotted in at wingback, which limits the number of looks he gets at goal, but it’s nice to see a Designated Player willing to change positions for the good of the team. The Uruguayan logged one tackle, one clearance, and one interception on defense. He committed one foul and earned a foul as well. He completed 91.5% of his 47 passes, which included two key passes. He completed three of his eight crossing attempts on the night and was successful on one of two long balls. Offensively, he logged one shot, which was off target, and completed one successful dribble.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6.5 — Lodeiro played solidly throughout the match and was asked to do a little bit of everything during the game. Defensively, he contributed three tackles and one interception. He led the team with 77 total touches and completed 84.8% of his team-high 59 passing attempts, including one key pass. He successfully completed one of his five crosses and both of his long-ball attempts. Offensively, he put one of his two shot attempts on target. He was whistled for being offside once. Lodeiro saw his night come to an end in the 66th minute when he was replaced by Martin Ojeda.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6 — Returning from suspension for yellow card accumulation, Araujo functioned as the only true defensive midfielder. Araujo’s effort on the night will ultimately be remembered for the jersey tug and subsequent yellow card recieved for the “foul” on Aidan Morris, which resulted in a penalty kick attempt for the Crew (instead of Orlando City) after a confusing and frustrating video review. Araujo finished the night quietly from a statistical standpoint with one interception as his only defensive stat. He committed four fouls total, including the aforementioned “foul.” He completed 96.3% of his 27 passes, including two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively, Araujo was credited with one successful dribble. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute as Orlando chased the game.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6.5 — Angulo slotted into the midfield for the second straight game. Defensively, he contributed one tackle. He completed 86.5% of his 52 passes, including a team-high three key passes. He also completed his lone through ball attempt. Offensively, he did not log a shot attempt, but he did complete two dribbles and was fouled once. Angulo was able to use his speed to get into dangerous positions throughout the match but continued to lack precision when it came to the final pass or dribble.

WB, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson joined Torres as the wingback on the opposite side in the 3-5-2 system and seemed to be an afterthought throughout much of the match as the team played down the left side of the field for the majority of the game. Defensively, he contributed three total tackles and one clearance while also winning one aerial on the night and did well to deny the speedy Yaw Yeboah multiple chances to get inside him on give-and-go plays. He completed 83.3% of his 24 total passing attempts. He was unsuccessful on both crossing attempts but completed one of his two long balls. Offensively, as a byproduct of much of the action happening opposite his side of the field, he failed to record an offensive statistic. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute.

F, Luis Muriel, 6.5 — Muriel put in a good effort on a night when the scoreboard unfortunately would not reflect it. His effort to get in on goal — and subsequently be taken down from behind — earned what everyone thought at the time to be a penalty attempt for the Lions, although it was taken away by the referee after the review. Defensively, Muriel was credited with one interception. He completed 88% of his 25 passes and was successful on his lone crossing attempt. He won one aerial and offensively put one of his three shot attempts on target while completing three successful dribbles and suffering one foul.

F, Jack Lynn, 5.5 — With the injury to Duncan McGuire, the hero of the Lions’ last match, Lynn made Orlando’s starting lineup. Defensively, Lynn contributed one clearance. He completed 81.8% of his 11 passes. Lynn was unsuccessful on his lone crossing attempt. Offensively, Lynn failed to record a shot attempt but was credited with one successful dribble while being whistled for offside twice. He was subbed off in the 58th minute for Ramiro Enrique.

Substitutes

MF, Felipe, (59′), 5.5 — Brought on for Araujo just before the hour mark, Felipe looked to help control the midfield. Defensively he logged one tackle and one clearance while committing one foul, which landed him a yellow card. He completed 89.5% of his 19 passes, including one key pass and two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively he did not record a shot attempt.

WB, Rafael Santos, (59′), 6 — Santos came on for Thorhallsson but went over to fill the left wingback role, sending Torres forward and Angulo to right wingback. He recorded one interception on the defensive end. Santos completed 84.2% of his 19 passes, which included one successful long ball on his one attempt. He was fouled once and was whistled for offside once.

F, Ramiro Enrique, (60′), 6 — Making his return from an extended absence due to injury, Enrique came on for the final half hour in the hopes of providing an offensive spark. He got into good areas but struggled to finish on some of Orlando’s best scoring chances of the night. Enrique completed 66.7% of his six passes and was unsuccessful on his lone cross. In a little over 30 minutes of game time, Enrique managed to tie Muriel for the most shot attempts, with three, and put two of them on target, albeit right at the goalkeeper. Despite the poor overall outcome of the match, it was good to see Enrique return to the pitch.

MF, Martin Ojeda, (67′), 5.5 — Designated Player Ojeda came off the bench to replace Lodeiro as Orlando faced a two-goal deficit. Defensively, Ojeda logged one interception. He completed all eight of his pass attempts, with two key passes, and three of his five crosses. Ojeda attempted one shot, which was off target.


How did you see the individual performances in this game? Make your voice heard down in the comments, and be sure to vote in our Man of the Match poll. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/27/24

Orlando City loses to the Crew, Pride and OCB win, Southampton seals return to Premier League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend. I worked at Under Armour all weekend while wrapping up my high school sports coverage for the spring season. It was a mixed weekend for our teams. Orlando City lost, but both the Pride and OCB won their matches. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Lose at Home to Columbus Crew

Orlando City lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium and saw its three-match unbeaten streak end. The match’s first goal was controversial as the referee, Jair Marrufo, initially awarded the Lions a penalty late in the first half but went to the monitor and reviewed a play at the other end of the pitch. He instead awarded Columbus a penalty kick. Diego Rossi scored from the spot to put the Crew ahead 1-0 before halftime. Columbus extended its winning streak to three matches. Orlando has struggled at home, going just 1-3-4 so far this season. The Lions have not scored a goal at home since April 27. Despite the loss, the Lions still remain in 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Next up for Orlando is a pair of road matches this week, starting Wednesday at the Chicago Fire, followed by a Saturday night matchup against the New York Red Bulls. 

Pride Win at Home Over Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride won their record-setting eighth straight match with a 2-1 victory at Inter&Co Stadium against the Portland Thorns Friday. Barbra Banda scored two goals in the first half to give the Pride a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Portland pulled one back, but the Pride held on for the victory and claimed three points. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 11 matches, and the Pride stay atop the NWSL table with 27 points. The Pride are off this week but will return to action on the road next Friday, June 7, against the San Diego Wave.

OCB Win at Home against Huntsville City FC

On Sunday, Orlando City B bounced back with a season-high five goals in a 5-0 win over Hunstville City FC at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed put OCB ahead 3-0, while Yeiler Valencia scored his first two OCB goals to seal the win for the Young Lions. OCB is now in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Meanwhile, Huntsville City FC remains winless through 10 matches and stays at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. OCB’s next match will be on the road Sunday at Inter Miami CF II. 

Southampton Clinches Promotion to Premier League

Southampton booked its return to the Premier League with a 1-0 over Leeds United in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Sunday. Adam Armstrong scored the lone goal in this match as the Saints returned to the top flight after being relegated the previous season. Southampton joins Leicester City and Ipswich Town, securing promotion to the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the table, Leeds’ playoff woes continue as this is the sixth time it missed out on securing promotion and finished its season with only one win out of its last six matches. 

Free Kicks


That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Monday and I’ll see you next time.

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from Orlando City’s frustrating home loss to the Columbus Crew?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City hosted the Columbus Crew in an Eastern Conference showdown Saturday as the Lions looked to extend a three-match unbeaten streak. Unfortunately, questionable calls and a continued lack of quality in front of the goal doomed Orlando City to yet another home loss. What follows are my immediate takeaways from an deeply disappointing and frustrating defeat in Saturday’s 2-0 loss.

A Controversial Penalty

In the 41st minute, Cesar Araujo slightly tugged on Aidan Morris’ shirt from behind, but Morris fell forward in the box. Referee Jair Marrufo did not call a foul. This is important. Orlando City eventually cleared and took the ball back all the way up at midfield. The Lions worked the ball into the box, where Steven Moreira knocked down Luis Muriel from behind for an obvious foul. Marrufo called the penalty, but the video assistant referee got in his ear, and he went to look at the monitor. This was all over a minute since the not called “foul” on the other end. After looking at it, he reversed his call on the field and awarded the penalty to Columbus for the soft Araujo foul, which Diego Rossi buried to give Columbus the lead. This included the willingness to overlook a foul on Rossi in the phase of attack prior to Araujo’s infraction.

We have said many times on The Mane Land PawedCast that when given the opportunity, PRO referees will go to look at the video review when it goes against Orlando City, but not when it is a call that benefits Orlando City. This is just another example of that paradigm.

The Problem with the 3-5-2 Formation

With Robin Jansson sidelined due to injury, Oscar Pareja has employed a 3-5-2 formation with David Brekalo, Wilder Cartagena, and Rodrigo Schlegel on the back line. It has been mostly effective, and Cartagena in particular has done better than one could hope for in this new role.

Though Orlando City has had success with this formation, it does present some challenges. In this match, it moved Facundo Torres into the left winger position, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson to the left wingback position. Thorhallsson has not been as effective going forward into the attack as he is when playing fullback, and Torres doesn’t look as free flowing as he usually is. It also means that Orlando City is unable to have the double pivot of Araujo and Cartagena in the defensive midfield. That pairing has been extremely effective for the Lions over the last few seasons.

Finishing Quality Still Lacking

Is someone messing with magnets? Is Professor Quirrel in the stands using his wand to redirect the ball? I’m just wondering, because Orlando City can’t seem to put the ball in the net for any amount of money at home. Orlando City generated 12 shots with five on target against Columbus and scored exactly zero goals. Several players, including Luis Muriel, Torres, Jack Lynn, and Nico Lodeiro all shot just wide of the target. Orlando City doesn’t have any trouble getting the ball into dangerous areas and creating chances, but the Lions have had trouble finishing those chances, and it’s getting to be ridiculous. Someone contact Professor Dumbledore.

Missing Players are Missed

It’s never ideal when starters are missing. Jansson returned to the 18 on Saturday but did not see any playing time against Columbus. Not having the captain on the pitch is not great, but when you combine that with not having Jansson’s quality on the back line, it makes things even tougher.

Meanwhile, Duncan McGuire’s scoring prowess is deeply missed. McGuire is Orlando City’s leading scorer with five goals. Orlando City doesn’t have another striker like him. Muriel generally plays lower than McGuire, often generating his own chances, but isn’t the target striker that McGuire can be. Jack Lynn is a target striker, but simply does not have the same level of quality as McGuire. Ramiro Enrique returned from injury in this match, but his size does not allow him to do what McGuire can do, and his rust was evident when presented a couple of golden opportunities in front of goal. Basically, the Lions really miss McGuire.

Designated Players Must Step Up

There are exceptions, but typically MLS Designated Players are attackers and are supposed to be contributing goals. Two of Orlando City’s DPs have scored. Muriel has two goals, and Torres has one. Martin Ojeda has yet to score. That means McGuire has more goals than all three DPs combined. Let’s be generous and look at goal contributions. Both Muriel and Torres have an assist on the season, and Ojeda has three assists. McGuire also has an assist. That means McGuire has six goal contributions, and all three DPs have combined for eight goal contributions. That isn’t good enough. Ojeda has mostly played a substitute role for Orlando City. That isn’t something a DP should be doing. Obviously, none of the three contributed to a goal in this match either. Something needs to change.


Those are the things I observed in the 2-0 loss to the Crew, let us know in the comments below what stood out to you. As always, vamos Orlando!

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