Connect with us

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match

Published

on

Leave it to Orlando City to draw in the team’s first ever playoff match. At least the Lions were considerate enough to win the penalty shootout afterwards, regardless of who was in goal. Yesterday’s match was weird, fun, insane, and perhaps a little drunk, but in the end Orlando City advances in the postseason and that’s the only thing that matters.

Let’s get to the individual player grades from an interesting match against NYCFC.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 8 (MotM) — Can a goalkeeper who gets sent off during a penalty shootout be the Man of the Match? He can. It’s not that there aren’t any other good candidates but without El Pulpo this match wouldn’t have come close to extra time or a shootout. Gallese’s save on Jesus Medina in the 24th minute was incredible. He made another diving stop two minutes later. His double save in the 43rd minute against Valentin Castellanos and Keaton Parks was sheer brilliance and had Parks shaking his head. He denied Medina in the 64th and Ronald Mattarita in the 114th. It was an amazing game by Gallese, with six saves and he showed off some tekkers in the game as well.

D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Starting on the left side and switching to his preferred right side late in the match after Ruan was sent off, Smith had a decent match, but there was definitely more he could have done. The biggest problem for me was a 61.4% passing accuracy and his one accurate long ball on seven attempts. But he was mostly fine defensively, finishing with three tackles, two interceptions, and two clearances.

D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 — The beefy Swede led all Lions in clearances (6), adding four tackles and three interceptions. His 82.9% passing accuracy led all Orlando City starting defenders and he hit on three of his five long ball attempts. He even scored on his penalty attempt in the sudden death portion of the spot kick shootout. His work rate was outstanding, as in the 38th minute, when he blocked a pair of crosses in rapid succession, winning a goal kick to ease the pressure. He also hustled back to break up a potentially dangerous counter-attack after a set piece.

D, Antonio Carlos, 8 — If Gallese wasn’t my Man of the Match, it would be Carlos. The Brazilian was all over the pitch, making an unbelievable 10 interceptions to go along with five clearances, five blocked shots, two aerials won, and four tackles. He attempted one shot, which he sent wide off a set piece, not counting his successful penalty in the shootout. His 79% passing accuracy was decent, and he connected on four of his eight long balls.

D, Ruan, 5 — The speedy Brazilian passed at an 80% clip and had one key pass, providing an outlet down the right most of the game. But his decision-making was poor, his yellow card was foolish, and his sending off was just downright selfish. I understand why he was upset with Gary Mackay-Steven, but he has to be smart enough to avoid taking the bait. Defensively he made one tackle and one interception.

MF, Uri Rosell, 6.5 — The Spaniard returned after a 13-game absence and pretty much picked up where he left off, serving as the engine in the central midfield, linking the lines and cleaning up spills. He passed at an 87.1% rate, completed six of eight long balls, created one scoring chance, and attempted one shot. He also had two tackles and three interceptions. It was a typical, workmanlike game from Rosell.

MF, Junior Urso, 6.5 — The Bear was similar in his play to Rosell. His passing rate was 86.7% but he completed a whopping 90% (9/10) of his long balls. He made four tackles with three interceptions and fired two shots, although neither was on target. His weak spots were few, but one was a failure to contain Maxime Chanot on NYCFC’s goal, although he was the recipient of a push on the play, which knocked him off balance. He also was dispossessed three times and had two unstable touches.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7.5 — The Uruguayan had a good game, creating five scoring chances and tallying a team high six dribbles. Defensively, he chipped in four tackles, an interception, and a blocked shot. He completed six of his eight long balls and passed at an 84.4% rate. My only real criticism of Pereyra was that he attempted no shots. New York City FC therefore did not have to respect his shot and watched for him to pass, cutting out some of his attempts in the final third, which foiled some good buildups and led to some transition opportunities. Pereyra wasn’t alone in that, though, as it seemed the Lions sometimes wanted to dribble and pass the ball to the back of the net.

MF, Chris Mueller, 6 — It was a mixed game for Mueller, who started well but seemed to struggle with his touch deeper in the match, as with the turnover in his own half that led to a scoring chance — and one of Gallese’s great saves — in the second half. He had one key pass, which set up the Nani header that led to the early penalty kick. His passing was decent (82.9%). Defensively he had a clearance and a tackle. He took only one shot that he missed on badly, was dispossessed four times, and had four unstable touches.

F, Nani, 7.5 — The captain had a strong game overall, leading the team in touches, with 91. He attempted a team high six shots, getting two on frame, and buried his fifth-minute penalty with composure, scoring the first MLS playoff goal in Orlando City history. He created two scoring chances and had four dribbles, to help propel the offense forward. He passed at an 86.3% rate and, like Pereyra, hit on six of his eight long balls. On defense, he chipped in three tackles, an interception, and a clearance. The only real quibbles are that he missed the opportunity to put the penalty kick shootout away as the fifth shooter, he looked to get foul calls a bit too often, and his crossing wasn’t as accurate as usual (just 1/5).

F, Daryl Dike, 6 — The rookie sometimes struggled to get on the ball, finishing with just 22 touches. He attempted two shots, getting one on target, and made one key pass. He was a 71.8% passer and made two nice dribbles in the match. However, he offered no defensive actions, committed two fouls in the offensive end, was dispossessed twice and had three unstable touches.

Substitutes

F, Tesho Akindele (83’), 5.5 — The Canadian came on for Dike and until the shootout his most significant contribution was missing a sitter in the 10th and final minute of stoppage time. He later redeemed himself by scoring in the penalty shootout. Akindele attempted two shots, but got neither on frame, passed at just 58.3%, and made one interception.

MF, Andres Perea (83’), 6.5 — The Colombian came on for Rosell and inserted himself into the match, passing at an 87% clip and hitting on four of his five long ball attempts. He was booked for taking a tactical foul to break up a transition, but it was his only foul. He finished with one clearance and created one scoring chance. He also scored on his penalty in the shootout.

D, Kamal Miller (90’+4), 6.5 — The Canadian defender had a long wait for a whistle to get into the game after Ruan was ejected, finally subbing on in stoppage time. However, he acquitted himself well at left back, finishing with a clearance, an interception, and two blocked shots. He made one dribble and took one shot, that went just wide after a nice run forward on the attack in extra time. Miller completed all seven of his pass attempts.

D/GK, Rodrigo Schlegel (101’), 7.5 — This is one player who must be graded on a curve. He touched the ball only 12 times after coming on for Smith. He played right back, which is a bit unusual, completing four of his five pass attempts. He completed his only long ball attempt. But the Argentinean will go down as an Orlando City legend after volunteering to replace Gallese when the Peruvian keeper was sent off. “Papi, I can do that,” Schlegel said to his coach and he did that. Schlegel faced three shooters in his first professional stint as a goalkeeper, allowing goals on spot kicks by Castellanos and Nicolas Acevedo before coming up huge against Gudmundur Thórarinsson. Schlegel got a touch to the shot and knocked it off the post and out to set up the winning penalty.

F, Benji Michel (106’), N/A — Speaking of the winning penalty, the Homegrown Player subbed on at halftime of extra time for Pereyra when the Uruguayan felt some tightness after playing 105 minutes. I’m not going to give Michel a grade after only a 15-minute run-out, but it was an important appearance. He got only 10 touches and completed three of his five passing attempts, made one interception and buried a cannon shot past Sean Johnson to end the game.


That’s the way I saw the performances on Saturday afternoon at Exploria Stadium. Don’t forget to vote for your Man of the Match in our poll below, and let me know where you strongly agree/disagree in the comments section below.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Pedro Gallese84
Antonio Carlos2
Mauricio Pereyra0
Nani1
Robin Jansson3
Rodrigo Schlegel37
Other0

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/18/24

Euro 2024 roundup, MLS transfer happenings, U.S. stars on Copa America prep, and more.

Published

on

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It was a mixed bag for Orlando’s soccer teams over the weekend, as none of Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, or Orlando City B managed to win, with a loss and two draws. The only way out is through though, and there are plenty of chances to get back to winning ways this week. Before we get to today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Pride defender Rafaelle!

Euro Results Roundup

It was another pulsating day of action at Euro 2024, with the theme of early goals and exciting contests continuing. The early contest saw Romania beat Ukraine 3-0 with a trio of very well-taken goals. Nicolae Stanciu opened the scoring in the 29th minute and a pair of second-half goals just four minutes apart sealed Romania’s first win at the Euros in 24 years. In the second game of the day, Slovakia grabbed a goal in the seventh minute courtesy of an ill-advised Belgian attempt to play out of the back, and managed to hang on for a 1-0 win. The game wasn’t without controversy, as Romelu Lukaku missed several excellent chances, and also had two goals correctly ruled out by video review. The last game of the day saw France beat Austria 1-0 courtesy of an own goal in the first half, but the biggest talking point was Kylian Mbappe’s broken nose that will reportedly require surgery.

MLS Transfer Happenings

We have several important MLS transfers to catch up on this morning. First, the Houston Dynamo have broken the club’s transfer record to sign Argentine striker Ezequiel Ponce from Greek club AEK Athens. The 27-year-old will be a Designated Player, and although he can’t play for Houston until the secondary transfer window opens on July 18, he should help a Dynamo team that’s scored the fewest goals in the Western Conference. Moving to the Eastern Conference, the Columbus Crew are reportedly closing in on a trade to acquire Aziel Jackson from St. Louis City in exchange for $650,000 of General Allocation Money, in addition to other incentives.

Finally, Tom Bogert has identified Brighton and Hove Albion’s Marc Leonard as a player who could move stateside this summer. His loan spell at Northampton Town last season saw him named the club’s player of the year.

U.S. Players Speak About Copa America Prep

The Copa America kicks off on Friday, and Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams recently spoke about how they and the rest of the United States Men’s National Team have been preparing for the tournament. McKennie spoke on how this team has never been in camp for this long before, and that the extra time is helping them iron out little issues. He also talked about his willingness to fill in wherever needed on the field, something that could be relevant for both him and Adams given the injury to Sergino Dest. For his part, Adams discussed how a bright spot to missing so much time last year due to injury was that it allowed him to spend plenty of time with his newborn son.

UEFA Investigating Racism at Euro Match

UEFA is probing an alleged incident of racial abuse that took place in the match between England and Serbia. While the complaint did not come from the English Football Association, UEFA released a statement that it was investigating Serbia for objects that were thrown and the “transmission of a provocative message.” If the charges are proven, then Serbia could face sanctions from UEFA.

Free Kicks

  • The sensor placed inside the ball was instrumental in overturning what would have been an equalizing goal for Belgium.
  • Polish television is doing some very cool things with its soccer coverage.
  • An English fan woke up still in the stadium well after his team’s win over Serbia.

That does it for me this morning. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Orlando City

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

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s home loss to LAFC?

Published

on

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Despite dominating most of the game and nearly all of the second half, Orlando City fell 3-1 to LAFC Saturday night. The Lions continue their troubles at home, with the last win in front of their home fans coming on March 23. It’s more frustration for a team and fanbase that has had plenty this season.

Let’s take a look at how the players performed individually in the loss.

Starters

GK, Mason Stajduhar, 5.5 — With regular starting goalkeeper Pedro Gallese on international duty with Peru, Stajduhar got the nod for the second time this season. Conceding three goals is a bad night for any goalkeeper, though he wasn’t the only one at fault for any of them. The first was a penalty and the other two were breakaway counterattacks. The goalkeeper made four saves on the night but wasn’t challenged much. He completed all of his 14 passes, which included six long balls, and had to clear the ball once.

D, Rafael Santos, 5.5 — Santos had 101 touches in this game, second on the team. The left back completed 94.8% of his 77 passes, but only two of his 13 crosses. One of his passes was a key pass, but his poor crossing haunted the Lions in this game. Defensively, Santos recorded one tackle and one clearance.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was terrific for the first 85 minutes of this game, recording 88 touches. He completed 89.9% of his 79 passes, including four of his six long balls. Defensively, he added four tackles and a clearance. Unfortunately, he got caught up field in no-man’s land on LAFC’s second goal and got beat by Nathan Ordaz, resulting in a counterattack on the third. He was my Man of the Match until the final few minutes.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Schlegel was on the ball less than Jansson, recording 60 touches. He completed 96.4% of his 56 passes and two of his three long balls. Defensively, he only had a tackle. Overall, it was a solid night by the center back. While he didn’t have a part in the first two goals, he was unable to clear the ball on a tackle in the box on the third, allowing LAFC to take a 3-1 advantage.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 5.5 — Thorhallsson started in his usual right back position, recording 66 touches. He completed 89.4% of his 47 passes, including a key pass, one of his five crosses, and none of his three long balls. He was among the most active players defensively with four tackles and interceptions. Additionally, he recorded one shot and had one successful dribble. Like other players in the team, his crossing struggles impacted the final result.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 5.5 — The Lions’ attack mainly went through the opposite side of Angulo, so the midfielder only had 47 touches, second-fewest of the 11 starters. He completed 87.6% of his 30 passes, including one of his four crosses and two key passes, but was plagued by some heavy touches in the final third. The attacker also helped out defensively with two successful tackles before being replaced by Martin Ojeda in the 61st minute.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5 — Araujo was the only natural defensive midfielder in the starting lineup for Orlando City. He recorded 84 touches and completed 95.5% of his 67 passes. However, he only completed one of his two long balls, neither of his crosses, and didn’t record any key passes. He took two long distance shots but both were off target. Defensively, he recorded three tackles and one interception. It was a tough night for Araujo as he had a part in all three LAFC goals. He conceded the penalty, failed to keep up with Mateusz Bogusz on the second, and allowed Denis Bouanga to dribble around him on the third, although it’s perhaps harsh to fault a player for not being as fast as another or handle a player like Bouanga in space.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6 (MotM) — Lodeiro was unquestionably the most active player in this game, recording a team-high 132 touches. He completed 93% of his team-high 114 passes, but none of the seven crosses. The midfielder took three off-target shots and contributed defensively with two tackles and a clearance. He would’ve had a higher grade if he had completed some of his crosses, but his inability to do so hurt his team. Despite those missed crosses, Lodeiro gets my Man of the Match.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres was often involved in the Lions’ buildup play, recording 89 touches. He completed 89.7% of his 68 passes, including a team-high five key passes. Two of his eight crosses failed to find teammates and his one long ball was incomplete. He took three shots, tied for second on the team, but none hit the target. Like some other players in this game, his grade would’ve been higher but he completely missed the target with his penalty in the 33rd minute. It was the first missed penalty of his professional career, but it had a major impact after LAFC converted one of its own 11 minutes later.

F, Luis Muriel, 5.5 — As usual, Muriel played a deeper role than Duncan McGuire, recording 69 touches. He completed 88.7% of his 53 passes, including three key passes. He failed to connect on his one cross and one of his two long balls. Additionally all five of his shots were off target. Muriel’s biggest problem in this game was attempting to dribble through multiple players, which resulted in him losing possession in dangerous positions. However, his perfectly weighted ball for Ojeda set up the game-tying goal in the 69th minute. While his assist was beautiful, it wasn’t enough to overcome his constant turnovers in the LAFC third of the field.

F, Duncan McGuire, 5 — McGuire played the target position in this game, recording 28 touches. He completed 81.8% of his 22 passes, but failed to connect on his lone long ball. Strikers are judged by goals and McGuire didn’t participate in any in this game, failing to hit the target on his only two shots. It was a forgettable performance that came to an end in the 78th minute when he was replaced by Jack Lynn.

Substitutes

MF, Martin Ojeda (61’), 6 — Ojeda came on in the 61st minute for Angulo and made an immediate impact. He provided a burst of energy for the team and the Lions quickly began creating dangerous chances. The attacking midfielder had 31 touches and completed 85% of his 20 passes. While he didn’t complete any of his four crosses, he scored the equalizing goal in the 69th minute. In addition to his goal, he had a late chance that hit the side netting. While I gave Lodeiro my Man of the Match, there’s an argument for Ojeda because of the impact he made.

F, Jack Lynn (78’), N/A — Lynn came on with 12 minutes to go for McGuire, who clearly had no more energy. The Lions were looking for a game-winning goal, but Lynn was unable to help. He only touched the ball three times and completed two of three passes without taking any shots. It was easy to forget he was on the field as the minutes wound down.


That’s how I saw the individual performances in Orlando City’s disappointing loss to LAFC. Let us know how you saw the game and don’t forget to vote on your Man of the Match below.

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/17/24

Lions fall to LAFC, Pride draw on the road, Euro 2024 roundup, and more.

Published

on

Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well with you down in Florida and had a great Father’s Day for all you dads out there. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend, but I try to catch some action from the Euros when possible. As for our teams, the Lions lost at home while the Pride drew on the road. Before we get started, let’s wish Orlando Pride midfielder Summer Yates a happy 24th birthday. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Fall at Home to LAFC

Orlando City lost 3-1 to LAFC on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium, extending its winless streak to four matches. The Lions also remain winless against LAFC. Facundo Torres missed a penalty kick that would have put Orlando ahead before LAFC grabbed a goal late in the first half, converting a penalty of its own. Martin Ojeda scored an equalizer for the Lions in the second half, but LAFC countered with two more goals to put the match away. LAFC has won six straight league matches and is second in the Western Conference with 33 points. Meanwhile, Orlando dropped to 14th in the Eastern Conference with 17 points. It will be a quick turnaround for the Lions with a midweek matchup on the road Wednesday at Charlotte FC.

Pride, Courage Split Points in Scoreless Draw

The Orlando Pride played the Courage to a scoreless draw on the road Saturday in North Carolina at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Pride had chances throughout the match but could not score a goal for the first time this season. Still, Orlando remains unbeaten this season and is the first team this year to take any points away on the road against the Courage. After all the action across the NWSL over the weekend, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are still tied at the top with 29 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will return home Friday at Inter&Co Stadium to take on the Utah Royals.

Euro 2024 Roundup

The 2024 European Championship kicked off in Germany over the weekend with seven matches. We haven’t had any upsets yet, as Germany cruised past Scotland 5-1 in the opener on Friday. On Saturday, Switzerland beat Hungary 3-1, Spain shut out Croatia 3-0, and Italy bounced back after being down 1-0 to beat Albania 2-1. On Sunday, Slovenia and Denmark battled to a 1-1 draw. Orlando City defender David Brekalo came off the bench for a cameo appearance during stoppage time. The Netherlands overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat Poland 2-1, and England defeated Serbia 1-0, with Jude Bellingham scoring the lone goal. In today’s matches, Romania takes on Ukraine, Belgium faces Slovakia, and Austria takes on France.

MLS Weekend Recap

It was another busy weekend of MLS action. The lone Friday matchup saw the Columbus Crew beat New York City FC 3-2. On Saturday, the New England Revolution defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2. It was the Revs’ third straight win. Charlotte FC shut out D.C. United 1-0, Inter Miami escaped Subaru Park with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union, and the Chicago Fire stunned Toronto FC with a 4-1 win on the road. Peter Luccin got his first win as interim head coach as FC Dallas defeated St. Louis City 2-0 and snapped a five-match winless streak. Atlanta United and the Houston Dynamo battled to a 2-2 draw, CF Montreal and Real Salt Lake ended in a scoreless draw, and the New York Red Bulls and Nashville SC also played to a scoreless draw. In the later matches, the Colorado Rapids and the Seattle Sounders defeated Austin FC and Minnesota United FC, respectively, by identical 2-0 scorelines. Finally, the LA Galaxy handed Sporting Kansas City a 4-2 defeat, while FC Cincinnati needed a a Yuya Kubo hat trick to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 on the road.

Free Kicks

  • Major League Soccer has placed Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez on administrative leave as the league investigates allegations that he violated the league’s gambling policy.

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

Continue Reading

Trending