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Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Final Score 1-1 as Lions Improbably Advance on Penalties

Things looked dire when Pedro Gallese got a second yellow during spot kicks but Rodrigo Schlegel’s save (really!) and Benji Michel’s goal see Orlando through to Round 2.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Only a madman would try to sort through what just happened in a first-round MLS playoff match between Orlando City and New York City FC at Exploria Stadium. So here goes…

The Lions advanced to the second round after an improbable shootout victory following a 1-1 draw against the Pigeons, which included:

  • Ruan getting sent off in the 87th minute.
  • Tesho Akindele missing a sitter in the 10th minute of stoppage time that would have seen Orlando City win, 2-1.
  • Maxi Moralez hitting the crossbar with the first shot of the penalty shootout.
  • Starting Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese getting sent off with a second yellow card after making a save in penalty kicks that appeared to win the game — video review showed he came off his line a little early.
  • Orlando City being allowed to sub on goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who was then sent back to the bench after a lengthy delay, then brought back on, then sent back off, because there were no subs allowed during spot kicks.
  • Center back Rodrigo Schlegel replacing Gallese in goal and allowing Valentin Castellanos to tie the shootout at 4-4 with one Orlando shooter remaining.
  • Nani, the fifth OCSC shooter, having his penalty saved by Sean Johnson to force sudden death penalties.
  • Schlegel saving a shot by Gudmundur Thórarinsson, knocking it off the left post.
  • Benji Michel making the ensuing penalty to send Orlando through to the second round of the MLS playoffs.

The game was utter madness. A movie about it would be seen as too unbelievable. And yet, somehow Orlando City survived all of the insanity to advance past its fellow 2015 expansion side into the second round of the MLS playoffs.

Nani made an early penalty and New York City FC nearly immediately canceled it out with a Maxime Chanot set piece goal off a corner, and then neither team could find the net for 122 minutes of normal, stoppage, and extra time.

“I think we need more time to calm down and reflect [on] what happened tonight,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “The analysis of the game may wait for tomorrow when we can analyze the soccer side. What just happened at the end, I never saw it before. And this is the beauty of this game…but today the ball bounced our way. We are proud to win and beat one of the best teams in Major League Soccer with 10 men on the field,”

“I think we deserve it, after a difficult game with a lot of emotional moments during the game.” Nani said. “I think our team did great. We wanted to win from the first minute. We worked so hard during this week to prepare ourselves to be able to perform well. And our fans were amazing.”

Pareja’s lineup included Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Uri Rosell returned to the starting XI after missing 13 games with an undisclosed injury. Joining him in the midfield were Junior Urso, Mauricio Pereyra, and Chris Mueller, with Nani and Daryl Dike leading the attacking line.

The Lions started brightly, with some early passing sequences into the attacking third. Those paid off when a penalty was awarded four minutes into the match. Mueller sent in a cross for Nani at the back post and the captain’s header deflected off the outstretched arm of Anton Tinnerholm for an obvious handball. Nani stepped up coolly and had an agonizingly slow run-up before sending Johnson the wrong way and scoring inside the right post to make it 1-0 just under five minutes in.

New York City answered immediately. Off the ensuing restart, the Pigeons worked the ball into the box and forced Gallese to make a big stop but the ball skipped out for a corner. Chanot scored on the set piece, freeing himself with a two-handed push on Urso while Jesus Medina’s delivery was in flight, and sending his header in to make it 1-1 in the eighth minute.

Urso’s complaints went unheeded and it was simply the way the game was called all day. Allen Chapman was consistently inconsistent, and you never knew what was or wasn’t going to be called.

Dike tried to restore the lead in the 15th minute with some nice moves to free himself in the box before sending a spinning shot toward the near post. Johnson was there to scoop it up and the rookie may have been better served trying the far side, where there was more traffic, but also no goalkeeper.

New York City FC then started to get most of the good chances for the rest of the half. A deflected cross fell perfectly for an onrushing Medina, who fired but had his shot well saved by Gallese in the 24th minute. Two minutes later, El Pulpo denied Keaton Parks after a collision with no whistle set up a NYCFC transition opportunity.

The game got sloppy on both sides for about the next 15 minutes. NYCFC struggled to connect down the wings, while Orlando City wasted numerous good forays into the attacking third by dribbling straight into the visitors’ traps while ignoring runners to either side.

The Pigeons nearly took the lead in the 43rd minute but Gallese made two incredible saves to keep the game at 1-1. Castellanos fired a rocket from the top of the area that Gallese stopped but the Peruvian couldn’t control the rebound. Parks came in from the right to tuck it home and Gallese stuck up one of his eight arms at the last second to deny the shot.

Orlando’s last good look came at the beginning of first-half stoppage time when Dike set up Mueller at the top of the area. Unfortunately, Mueller got way under his shot and skied it into the roof over the north end of the stadium.

New York City dominated in chance creation in the first half, outshooting the Lions 11-6 (5-2 on target), and winning more corners (6-2). Orlando held more possession (53%-47%) and passed better (83%-75%) or the game could have gotten away from the Lions quickly.

The Lions tried to come out of the locker room quickly, with Rosell firing over the bar two minutes after the restart and Dike getting a shot blocked at the top of the area in the 50th minute. Four minutes later, Ruan toe poked the ball through the box, perhaps expecting Urso to continue his run, but the Bear had checked up and it was an easy collection for Johnson.

Orlando started to make sloppy passes that resulted in turnovers and it nearly was costly in the 64th minute when Gallese bailed out his teammates with a save on a rocket by Medina.

Nani nearly scored in the 71st minute with a deflected shot that was dipping under the bar when Johnson pushed it up and over at the last second.

Ruan was sent off as full time approached. Already on a yellow card for running over Anton Tinnerholm 10 minutes earlier, Ruan was taken down by Gary Mackay-Steven on the sideline. Mackay-Steven then pushed both of his hands into the Brazilian’s abdomen and used Ruan to push himself up off the ground. Ruan took exception to the dirty play by kicking out at Mackay-Steven. Chapman showed a yellow to the NYCFC winger and a red to Ruan. The kick was an obvious and automatic straight red, so the earlier yellow was irrelevant.

Due to numerous stoppages for injuries and slow restarts after fouls, there were 10 minutes of stoppage time added to the end. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi fired wide in the seventh minute of stoppage time but it was Orlando with the best look of injury time. Nani was sent down the left and sent in a deflected cross to Akindele at the back post. The entire net was available with Johnson stuck at his post but the Canadian hit his shot over the bar with just a few seconds remaining in stoppage time and the game went to extra time.

New York City led in shots (20-13), shots on goal (6-3), corners (9-3) and possession (50.9%-49.1%), while Orlando was slightly more accurate in passing (80%-78%).

Tajouri-Shradi had a couple of chances early in extra time, having a shot deflect into the outside netting and then firing wide of the far post from the right side in the opening minutes of the first extra period. Castellanos blasted a volley over the bar in the 99th minute.

Orlando got the last decent chance of the first half of extra time when Akindele got the ball wide on the left side and tried to pick out Urso between two defenders, but the midfielder couldn’t get a clean touch on the ball in traffic.

In the second half of extra time the Lions generated a good chance when second-half sub Kamal Miller dribbled down the left, passed to Nani, then continued his run. The captain gave him the ball back and the defender brought it down with his back to goal. Miller turned and fired a shot just wide of the far post in the 107th minute.

That was the last good look for either side in the second 15 minutes of extra time. The teams were largely spent and there were several stoppages for cramping on both sides.

After the extra 30 minutes with the extra man, New York City dominated the stat sheet, leading in shots (26-16), shots on goal (7-3), corners (11-3), passing accuracy (82%-80%), and possession (55.7%-44.3%). But the game was still tied.

All that was left at that point was spot kicks. Moralez banged the first one off the crossbar to hand Orlando City the advantage. From there, four straight Lions scored — Akindele, Andres Perea, Carlos, and Urso. Meanwhile, Medina, former Lion Tony Rocha, and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored for NYCFC. When Gallese stopped Castellanos with a diving save, the team celebrated, but the play was reviewed for El Pulpo coming off his line early.

A lengthy delay ensued, in which Gallese was booked for a second time in the game, and backup goalkeeper Rowe came on, was sent off, came back on, and then was sent back to the sideline a second time. Schlegel came on.

Pareja said that in addition to Schlegel — who had played goalkeeper at the academy level — that Perea volunteered to go in goal. Gallese suggested to the coach that Schlegel get the nod and he did.

Castellanos buried his second chance to put the pressure on Orlando City.

Nani tried to go to the same side that he had earlier with a slow run-up, but this time Johnson got his hand to it and things looked dire for the Lions with a center back in goal and new life for New York City.

“I knew that was the important penalty,” Nani said. “But you know, it’s always harder to take the second penalty on the game. You need to take a side and you need to think and play with the goalkeeper’s mind, because you already took one penalty, so it looks more easy for the goalkeeper. I tried to delay the most I can to try to see if he [made] a move and beat him on one side. He did great. I went for the same side and the top of the goal but he did a great save.”

Nicolas Acevedo scored on the next penalty to put the pressure on Orlando City but Jansson buried the team’s next kick, which brought up Thórarinsson. Schlegel got his hand on the Icelandic defender’s shot to send it off the left post and the Lions celebrated again, but the match wasn’t yet over.

The officials cleared the field and Michel stepped up to take the next kick. He made no mistake with his chance and his goal pushed Orlando into the second round. The third celebration was the one that counted.

“I mean that’s that’s football,” Schlegel said through an interpreter after the match. “One minute you think that you’ve won and the next you don’t. What matters is the end result.”

“Well deserved,” Pareja said of the penalty kick shootout win. “The boys showed today the heart of this franchise. They showed all that intensity and sacrifice after we lost Ruan. What happened today, that will keep in my memory forever.”

The Lions have been incredible in shootouts — or incredibly lucky, depending on your point of view. Orlando City is now 5-0 in penalty shootouts in the MLS era and 2-0 against New York City FC. The Lions won via shootout in U.S. Open Cup action in 2015 at Charleston, in 2018 at D.C. United, and last season at home against NYCFC. Orlando knocked LAFC out of the MLS is Back Tournament on penalties July 31.

The upshot of all the insanity is that Orlando City is through to the second round and now must wait for an opponent.


The Lions will next play in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which start Nov. 29, against an opponent to be determined.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. LAFC: Final Score 3-1 as Wasteful Lions Fall on Late Counterattacks

Lions remain winless against the L.A. club after wasting numerous good scoring chances, including a penalty.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City remain winless against LAFC after wasting a good performance against one of the league’s top teams. After missing the net with numerous chances, including a penalty, and falling behind on an LAFC penalty just before halftime, Orlando (4-8-5, 17 points) battled back to tie the game, only to concede on two late counterattacks, falling 3-1 to LAFC (10-4-3, 33 points) in front of 22,563 at Inter&Co Stadium.

Denis Bouanga scored a brace and Mateusz Bogusz scored the game-winning goal to more than offset Martin Ojeda’s first goal of the MLS season. The Lions fell to an awful 1-5-3 in home games this season and dropped to 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

The story, once again, was missed opportunities. The Lions attempted 19 shots but put only one of them on target. Orlando City’s performance and energy level was good, but the team still can’t get the details right in front of the net, either missing the target, getting shots and final passes blocked, or outright refusing to shoot until it’s too late to do so.

“(I have) no more words at this time to recognize that we were superior, that we put that energy and outplayed them, but that’s not enough, obviously,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “In this industry, we need to win games, and you win games scoring goals. And that’s not happening.”

With Pedro Gallese, David Brekalo, and Wilder Cartagena away on international duty, Pareja’s lineup featured Mason Stajduhar in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. Cesar Araujo was joined in central midfield by Nico Lodeiro behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Facundo Torres, and Luis Muriel, with Duncan McGuire up top.

The first half started cautiously, with neither side able to mount much of an attack against the other’s defense. Orlando won the game’s first corner in the seventh minute but the cross into the area was too close to Hugo Lloris, providing catching practice for the LAFC goalkeeper.

Orlando City then dominated most of the first half hour. Muriel got onto a Torres cross in the 11th minute but the pass was a bit too high and all the Colombian could do was nod it over. A minute later, no one closed down Lodeiro outside the box and the Uruguayan sent a screamer that sailed just inches over the crossbar.

The first look for LAFC came in minute 18, when a perfect cross just barely cleared Jansson’s head and found Kei Kamara, who headed wide.

McGuire fired a shot well over the bar in the 19th minute from just outside the area. Angulo fizzed a shot well wide on the recycle of a corner kick in the 20th.

Muriel then slipped Angulo down the left side of the area in the 23rd but the winger was hesitant to shoot and the defense arrived to dispossess him, on a play that encapsulated the 2024 OCSC season so far. Muriel then had a shot blocked by the defense a minute later.

Timothy Tillman finally got a shot for LAFC in the 31st minute but sent it right at Stajduhar for the first shot on target of the match for either side.

The Lions should have taken the lead in the 32nd minute. Torres was bundled over from behind by Eduard Atuesta in the box and Rubiel Vazquez immediately signaled for a penalty. Torres took the spot kick and crushed a cannon shot that just missed the top left corner, wasting a golden opportunity. The missed penalty was Torres’ first at any level of soccer in his entire career. He’d never missed the net or had one saved before his miss in this match.

The missed penalty gave LAFC life and the visitors started controlling more of the possession, but not doing much with it. Bouanga hadn’t had any opportunities to speak of , so he attempted a shot from long range in the 37th minute but sent the shot wide.

Bouanga then went for goal in the 42nd minute on a free kick conceded by Araujo, albeit on a soft call. The LAFC star sent his shot just inches wide of the right post into the outside netting.

The game turned in LAFC’s favor moments later on the counter attack. Bouanga’s speed was too much for Jansson as he charged down the left channel. Anticipating a cutback cross, Araujo went to ground and caught Bouanga’s foot in the 44th minute. Again, Vazquez immediately signaled for a penalty. Stajduhar guessed correctly but Bouanga’s shot beat him to make it 1-0 in the 45th minute.

The Lions couldn’t do anything with a couple of late corners in stoppage time and went to the locker room trailing after a good performance in all facets e

Orlando City held the first-half advantage in shots (11-6), corners (4-0), and passing accuracy (93.2%-89.5%), while LAFC held more of the ball (53.2%-46.8%) and shots on target (3-0). The Lions’ continued missing the net and passing up shots was the obvious difference between the two sides.

“When you have those metrics, and you see it, the first thing that we think is we can analyze and find answers through metrics, but I think it goes beyond that,” Pareja said about the team’s poor finishing. “Yeah, we have actions to score. I thought that we had possibilities, but we’re not being precise and taking a good timing to take a shot. We want to do an extra pass. What I can tell you, and this is something where I, as a coach, want to stand up and put my chest in front, is that this group, they all week were working on that part, and it’s not happening. It’s not happening. I’m here. I need to coach them. I need to guide them. I need to provide possibilities, and I want to review it again. But it is not me, the coach, that comes here to (put the) blame on them, especially when I see that group fighting the way they fought today.”

Bogusz took the first shot of the second half, sending an attempt off target in the 50th minute.

Orlando came agonizingly close in the 53rd minute on a short corner. Santos whipped in a cross that McGuire headed but didn’t steer on frame. The ball skipped just in front of Torres at the wide-open back post.

Angulo sent in a cross in the 59th minute but put too much on it. Torres did well to get a foot on it but couldn’t steer it anywhere near goal. That was about the last contribution from Angulo, who had a tough night with his touch, as he was replaced by Ojeda two minutes later.

The defense sagged off of Araujo in the 65th minute so the midfielder blasted a shot attempt that once again sailed off target.

Orlando finally put a shot on target in the 69th minute and it was a goal. Ojeda found Muriel at the top of the area and continued his run into the box. Muriel sent a scoop pass over the defense that fell perfectly for Ojeda, who touched it past Lloris to tie the match. It was Ojeda’s first MLS goal in 2024 and it gave the Lions life.

“Obviously, (Muriel) has got great skill, and he had a great touch on the ball,” Ojeda said of his give-and-go with the Colombian forward. “And he put it right to the space where I was thinking and I was able to finish it off, thankfully. So, to be able to score that goal, I was just really happy, especially in that moment that we tied the game and we put ourselves in a position where we could go and win the game. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way in the rest of the game, but that’s what happens.”

The goal snapped LAFC’s 644-minute shutout streak in all competitions and a 549-minute stretch without conceding in MLS play.

Encouraged by the goal, the Lions began hunting for a go-ahead goal. A good cross from Santos was nearly put in the net by LAFC defender Jesus Murillo, but it went wide for a corner. Orlando couldn’t do anything with that set piece or another won moments later by Torres.

The game-winner came in the 80th minute. Torres was on the ball in the attacking end and felt he was held and fouled as he was dispossessed. The ball fell for Bogusz on the right and the speedy winger blasted down the right channel past the Orlando defense and beat Stajduhar to put the visitors ahead in transition.

Orlando had a chance to pull the goal back in the 85th minute on a back-post cross by Lodeiro for Ojeda, but the ball was just a bit high and sailed out of play.

A minute later, Bouanga put the game away. Once again the Lions were beaten on the counterattack as LAFC’s talisman put the game away in the 86th minute.

“My first impression was that we didn’t have enough numbers to control the counter, but it wasn’t like that,” Pareja said. “I thought we had enough numbers and we had enough people to control that play. They were faster than us in that position. We knew that they had fast players, as well, but we were controlling them until we tied the game.”

The Lions had one more half-chance in stoppage time when Ojeda just missed a shot wide of the right post. Stajduhar then made a couple of saves at the other end and the game was over.

Orlando City finished with the advantage in possession (54.2%-45.8%), shots (19-12), corners (9-1), and passing accuracy (93%-87.5%). LAFC put more shots on target (7-1) and that tells the story not only of this match but of the 2024 season in general for Orlando.

“We knew that we needed to take the responsibility to push,” Pareja said. “That’s what we need to do at home and try to look for that goal that can give us the win. And then those two plays came, especially that second goal.”

“We had 19 shots, but we have to continue making sure that we’re trying to put those shots on goal, and put ourselves in clear chances to be able to finish, and to create those goals more,” Ojeda said. “Those are things that we know that we have to continue fixing. We have to continue trying and making sure that we’re improving, and that’s something that we talked about in the locker room. We are our biggest self critics in everything that we do.”

Pareja expressed respect for his team’s overall performance, but acknowledged that without scoring goals and putting shots on target, the team can’t get results.

“We were waiting to take a shot, and we’re taking one more pass, and we desperately just get in that moment when we were losing confidence,” he said. “And that’s where the coach comes (in). I need to help them somehow.”


After playing their first game in two weeks, the Lions have a short turnaround as the fixture schedule becomes more congested. Orlando City will visit Charlotte FC on Wednesday.

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Orlando City vs. LAFC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions host Western Conference power LAFC with some key players out on international duty.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night matchup between Orlando City (4-7-5, 17 points) and Los Angeles FC (9-4-3, 30 points) at Inter&Co Stadium (7:30 p.m. MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+). This is the only scheduled meeting between the two cross-conference opponents this season.

Here’s what you need to know:

History

Orlando City has yet to taste victory against LAFC in league play (0-2-1), is 0-1-1 at home in the series, and is 0-2-2 in all competitions against the Black & Gold. What many people will remember as a win was actually a 1-1 draw and took place in the knockout stages of the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020 with Orlando City advancing on penalties.

These teams last met on April 2, 2022 in Orlando. The Lions fell behind twice in the first half on goals by Brian Rodriguez and Jesus David Murillo but fought back to pull level both times on strikes by Alexandre Pato and Joao Moutinho. However, Ilie Sanchez and Kwadwo Opoku struck in the second half for the visitors as LAFC won 4-2.

The Lions’ most memorable outing against LAFC came in the MLS is Back Tournament on July 31, 2020. Moutinho’s late goal canceled out one from Bradley Wright-Phillips and sent that match to penalties. The Lions advanced after winning the penalty shootout, 5-4. Pedro Gallese was huge in that match and all five Orlando shooters scored their penalties, while only Jordan Harvey missed for LAFC, hitting the crossbar.

The Lions and LAFC drew 2-2 at Exploria Stadium on Sept. 7, 2019. Adrien Perez put the visitors on the board in the 12th minute, but Nani struck back just a minute later off a quick play on the ensuing kickoff. Benji Michel put the Lions ahead in the 20th minute and — just when it appeared Orlando might pull off the upset — Diego Rossi scored in the 78th to tie things up.

LAFC won the initial meeting of the series in 2018 at Banc of California Stadium, running away 4-1 after the Lions had an apparent tying goal overturned for offside on a play that didn’t seem all that clear or obvious of an error to me. But admittedly I’m limited to only the replays they showed on my television set. Sacha Kljestan scored for Orlando to cut a 2-0 lead in half. That lead was built on goals by Adama Diomande and Latif Blessing. Orlando scored a second that was overturned and Diomande and Rossi finished the Lions off. That initial meeting of the two teams was also the first game the Lions played under James O’Connor.

Overview

Orlando City last played two weeks ago on June 1, when the Lions fell 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls on the road. John Tolkin’s free kick was the difference. Despite the solid defensive outing by Orlando, the Lions produced nothing offensively and have struggled to create (and finish) chances since a 3-2 win at Philadelphia on May 11. Orlando City is winless in three games (0-2-1), has scored just twice in its last five games, and has been shut out three times in that span. If you’re looking for a silver lining, the Lions have conceded only four goals in the last five matches, and only two of those have come from open play. The other two were Tolkin’s free kick and a penalty by Diego Rossi.

The Lions have been abysmal at home in 2024, compiling a record of just 1-4-3 at Inter&Co Stadium. Things won’t be any easier for Orlando tonight against a team in the thick of the Supporters’ Shield race and having to play without goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, midfielder-turned-center back Wilder Cartagena, and center back David Brekalo, who are all away on international duty.

LAFC is flying right now. The Black & Gold have won seven straight in all competitions, have earned victories in five consecutive regular-season matches, and have not conceded a goal in their last six competitive games. While the California side is just 2-4-1 away from home in 2024, it has won its last two road matches without allowing a goal (at Atlanta and St. Louis City).

Tonight’s visitors are scary offensively. Denis Bouanga’s 10 goals and five assists each are club bests, but Mateusz Bogusz has added six goals and three assists. Cristian Olivera and Timothy Tillman have each chipped in four goals, while Eduard Atuesta has added a pair of goals and four assists. Bouanga may be the ringleader, but LAFC can spread the wealth offensively.

The Lions will need to be just as focused on defensive responsibilities (or more so) as they were two weeks ago in New Jersey.

“We have these days where the boys needed to have a break. At the end, I think it’s something that’s very healthy for them. After that, we reunited the group and started thinking of what’s coming,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the match. “The second half of the season we have to push and have urgency to attempt, but we’re good, training and thinking about LAFC now.”

In addition to Gallese, Cartagena, and Brekalo, Orlando City will be without backup defenders Michael Halliday (knee) and Tahir Reid-Brown (thigh). LAFC lists Lorenzo Dellavalle (knee), David Martínez (back) as out on its preliminary availability report.

Match Content


Official Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Nico Lodeiro.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Facundo Torres, Luis Muriel.

Forwards: Duncan McGuire.

Bench: Javier Otero, Alex Freeman, Kyle Smith, Thomas Williams, Jeorgio Kocevski, Felipe, Shak Mohammed, Martin Ojeda, Jack Lynn.

Los Angeles FC (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris.

Defenders: Ryan Hollingshead, Aaron Long, Jesus Murillo, Sergi Palencia.

Midfielders: Eduard Atuesta, Ilie Sanchez, Timothy Tillman.

Forwards: Denis Bouanga, Kei Kamara, Mateusz Bogusz.

Bench: Omar Campos, Maxime Chanot, Erik Duenas, Thomas Musto, Nathan Ordaz, Abraham Romero, Eddie Segura, Tomas Angel.

Referees:

REF: Rubiel Vazquez.
AR1: Nick Uranga.
AR2: Adam Wienckowski.
4TH: Calin Radosav.
VAR: Younes Marrakchi.
AVAR: Claudiu Badea.


How to Watch

Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.

Venue: Inter&Co Stadium — Orlando.

TV/Live Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Mega 97.1 FM (Spanish).

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).


Enjoy the match. Go City!

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Intelligence Report: Orlando City vs. LAFC

Get some insider information on LAFC courtesy of someone who knows the team best.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

We find ourselves at the end of another week, which means that another Orlando City match is almost upon us. Following a two-week break, the Lions will return to action with a home contest against LAFC.

A date with LAFC means I got some insider info on the opposition from Trebor Tracy, the managing editor of Angels on Parade. They’re another former SBNation blog that has gone independent, and they continue to do excellent work covering LAFC, Angel City FC, and Orange County SC, so make sure you check them out!

Catch me up on some of LAFC’s off-season transfer business. Who are some names that were brought in, and who went out the door?

Trebor Tracy:  LAFC came into this season as close to a rebuild project as you can be for a team many expect to compete for championships and trophies each year. In the off-season the team saw 15 departures from the 2023 squad, and that’s not counting loans out. Among the bigger names leaving Los Angeles were both goalkeepers that helped lift LAFC to the 2022 MLS Cup, midfielder Kellyn Acosta, defenders Denil Maldonado and Diego Palacios, and of course, the departure of inaugural signing Carlos Vela. This was a team expected to look completely different this season and it has. As for the arrivals, the team spent the off-season loading up on the likes of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, forwards Kei Kamara and Cristian Olivera, and defender Omar Campos. The rough start to the year for Los Angeles had a lot to do with the newness of the team and having to build that familiarity within the XI. 

Of the incoming transfers, who has made the biggest impression? Is there anyone who you’d like to see performing better than they have been so far?

TT: Its been hard for LAFC to replace a lot of the departures — not just in terms of production, but leadership and experience in several cases. While not technically an off-season arrival, Cristian Olivera, who arrived in summer window of 2023, really came into his own this season. With an entire off-season under his belt, he has by far been the best of the new arrivals for LAFC. He is producing goals, creating opportunities for others, and has that confidence this team thrives off of. On the other side of the coin, Hugo Lloris has been the biggest disappointment. In fairness to him, he has drastically improved during the team’s recent run, but the start of his MLS career had him easily one of the worst keepers in the league. 

LAFC is on a five-game unbeaten run in league play, what’s been working so well for the team during this stretch?

TT: Speaking of that run, the play of Lloris is why they have done so well recently. Well, that and Denis Bouanga appears to have found his soccer boots again. The 180 those two have done has been the catalyst for the team’s great run of form lately. 

Will any players be unavailable for selection due to injury, suspension, call-ups, etc.? What is your projected starting XI and score prediction?

TT: Availability reports come out night before the match, and we have the team presser this afternoon. with a few players set to return, I am unsure at the moment as to who exactly will be  ready to go.


Thank you to Trebor for helping get us caught up on LAFC. Vamos Orlando!

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