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Orlando City vs. New England Revolution: Final Score 3-1 as Shorthanded Lions Bow Out of Playoffs



The New England Revolution had never won a game at Orlando City before. At some point you knew that would change but unfortunately it happened in the postseason as the Revs beat the Lions 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals at Exploria Stadium. Orlando fell behind 2-0 and battled back into it, only to see Designated Player Mauricio Pereyra sent off for an awful challenge from behind and the Revs tacked on a late insurance goal against the shorthanded Lions.

Carles Gil’s penalty put New England up early on a fairly soft call on Uri Rosell against Tajon Buchanan in the box and Gustavo Bou added another at the end of a transition that started with what looked like Nani getting fouled in the offensive end but no call was made. Junior Urso pulled a goal back for Orlando but Pereyra’s red card changed the game, although the biggest talking point will be a Nani penalty that Matt Turner saved. Another talking point might be that Adam Buksa didn’t get a second yellow for taking out Brian Rowe when Daryl Dike was booked for a similar offense earlier in the match.

Whatever your favorite talking point is, it’s all academic now.

“Obviously at this moment there is a lot of pain, and there is a lot of frustration that we have been carrying in the last 10 days, probably, with with things that happened and we could not apparently flush them off,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “I know how hard they worked for this objecitve and now we need to grow. Certainly this will help us, for sure.”

Without the suspended Pedro Gallese or Ruan, Pareja started Rowe in goal behind a back line of Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Kyle Smith. Central midfielders Rosell and Urso played in the middle of the park with attackers Pereyra and Chris Mueller, with Nani and Dike leading the attack.

The first half started out looking like extra time, with the teams playing cautiously and perhaps a bit nervously. Nani provided good service into the area three minutes in but the cross was just a bit high for Dike to reach.

The Revolution earned a corner in the 11th minute with their first foray into the attacking third. New England played the set piece short and the Revs were called for a foul in their attacking box, turning it over.

Buchanan came down the right a few minutes later and changed the game. Rosell, backing up Miller, attempted a tackle and Buchanan anticipated contact, leaving his feet and going down easy. Referee Alex Chilowicz saw enough to award a penalty and Video Assistant Referee Chris Penso didn’t see a clear and obvious error. Gil stepped up and hit his penalty right down the middle, past Rowe, who guessed left, and New England led 1-0 in the 17th minute.

Orlando tried to pull it right back, winning a corner after the restart. Nani played the corner short to Pereyra, who crossed in. Jansson collected at the far side but hit his shot into the outside netting in the 19th minute. Mueller tried a long-range shot three minutes later but didn’t get much on it and hit it right at Matt Turner for the easy save.

New England doubled its lead in the 26th minute. Nani got double teamed in the attacking third and went down under contact. Chilowicz allowed the play to continue and the Revs broke in transition. Adam Buksa hit a sliding shot off the right post but Bou reacted to it first, scoring into the empty net to make it 2-0.

“We conceded a goal early, but I think we were OK in the game,” Nani said. “We were pressing up. We were creating our chances. But there was a decision when the ref didn’t give a foul on me and then they scored the second goal. I think there was the key of the game.”

“Obviously the two goals that New England scored early put us in a difficult situation,” Pareja said. “

The Lions found some life in the 33rd minute, pulling a goal back. Nani sent a gorgeous cross to Mueller at the back post. Mueller picked up the loose ball in traffic between Turner and defender Henry Kessler, sending it back to Urso, who fired home for his first MLS playoff goal, making it 2-1.

Dike nearly freed himself up in traffic in a similar way to Mueller two minutes later but couldn’t bring it in. Rosell picked it up at the top of the area and fired over the bar.

The last chance of the half came in the 38th when Rowe got a hand on a Buskas shot to parry it over the bar. New England took its 2-1 lead into the locker room.

Orlando had more first-half shots (6-5), while the Revs got more on target (3-2) and won more corners (3-1). The Lions held more possession (57.9%-42.1%) and were the more accurate passing team (86%-78%).

The Lions generated a chance out of the break in the 46th minute when the ball found its way to Nani on the left side. He tried to curl a shot to the back post but didn’t hit it right and it sailed well off target. Moments later, Rosell stole the ball in midfield and started the break but Mueller’s cross into the area was between teammates and easily cut out. Nani then won a corner but the cross was a bit behind the attacking line and Carlos couldn’t do much with it.

Orlando kept coming. Mueller won a corner in the 57th minute and Nani sent a low pass that Pereyra fired on target but it was deflected wide by the defense.

But just when it appeared Orlando was on the front foot, disaster struck in the 60th minute. Matt Polster brought the ball forward and Pereyra trailed, looking for a chance to nick it back as he often does. However, when the chance came and Polster showed him too much of the ball, the Uruguayan launched himself late and his studs caught Polster’s ankle instead of the ball. It was an obvious straight red and the Lions were suddenly down to 10 men with a half an hour to play.

“I know Mauro, and I know how much he will be hurt at this moment,” Pareja said after the match, not having yet spoken with his DP midfielder. “I know how he feels, but I back him up 100% all the time, knowing that [he] made a mistake.”

“Mauricio today got a red card. He has our support. I love this guy,” Urso said.

“We’re professionals and I think we have to learn and find a way and find our character and deal with all these things that are part of the game,” Pareja said of the red cards the last two games. “And certainly today was another moment where we we lost our head. I want to be responsible for all that. It’s something that cannot happen.”

The Lions continued to try to find the equalizer. Mueller tried to split two defenders in the box in the 64th minute. He was walled off and Chilowicz ignored his plea for a penalty.

The Revs didn’t attack much but looked for opportunities and Bou fired a long-range shot that Rowe could only fight off for a corner. New England took the corner short, passed it back to Bou and the whole sequence repeated, as the Orlando keeper couldn’t do much but parry the shots away.

After the second corner, Buksa tried to dispossess Rowe on a passing sequence at the back and clobbered the keeper. Despite showing Dike a yellow card earlier for a play with less contact, Chilowicz kept his card in his pocket. Buksa was already on a yellow and the referee opted not to even up the two teams’ manpower on the pitch with a curious decision.

Orlando finally got its chance to level it in the 73rd when Dike was run over from behind inside the area. Chilowicz didn’t hesitate to point to the spot and Nani stepped up to take it. After going right twice last week against Sean Johnson — scoring once and seeing the other stopped on a great save — the captain opted to go left, but with the same, slow, stutter-step run-up. Turner guessed correctly and Nani didn’t get his shot far enough into the corner. Turner made the save and that seemed like the final nail in the coffin, although that was yet to come.

“Sometimes you should do better and then you must accept it was not your best. And today I couldn’t take the penalty,” Nani said. “We didn’t know what’s gonna happen at the end but I feel sorry for my teammates because the dream finishes, right there.”

“Nani made a mistake. He don’t score the penalty, [but] he’s our leader. We believe in him,” said Urso.

Nani is five for 10 in penalties, including making an important one last week and against LAFC in the MLS is Back Tournament.

“Nani has had the personality. He has had the responsibility,” Pareja said. “There are always two, three people who are in charge of taking the PK. In that moment he did it and we gave [him] the responsibility. It’s something that now obviously we may think that it should have been different…but Nani had the confidence from everybody.”

The Lions went to a three-man back line, sending Benji Michel and Tesho Akindele on to try to chase the game and, like any high-risk strategy might, it ended up costing them. After Akindele got under a free header on a free kick that might have tied the match, the Revs put it away.

With more space at the back, Gil took the ball down the left side, waited for a run, and sprung Bou through the defense. The New England DP slotted a shot right through Rowe’s legs to make it 3-1 in the 86th minute.

Orlando fashioned a couple of set pieces but couldn’t do much with them and the clock ran out on the Lions’ 2020 season.

The Lions out-shot New England 11-9 but the Revs got more on goal (6-3). Orlando had more corners (6-5), held more possession (61.2%-38.8%) and, passed more accurately (86%-77%).

“I’m very proud of this group. I’m very proud of the players,” Pareja said of his 2020 team. “Today people have seen us, the people recognize this group, the people know that they are good competitors and we’re proud of that.”

“I’m very proud of the team, of my teammates,” Nani said. “We talked a couple minutes ago. We had a team who’ve been working so hard, who’ve been improving so much, and everyone could see it on the field. In one season you can see so much difference on each player. And I’m so so happy for what this team gave me. They made me believe we could win this league. They made me believe I could win a league again. Even at my age.”

Orlando City’s season is over. It doesn’t feel good right now but it was a great season and any of us would have taken this if offered at the start of the year.

Orlando City

Orlando City at New York Red Bulls: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to earn all three points on the road at Red Bull Arena this Saturday night?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City is back on the road this Saturday with a match against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. The Lions have four results in the last four matches, but only one win. That needs to change if this team is going to be a serious contender once the playoffs come around. 

Orlando City defeated the Red Bulls 1-0 to begin the 2023 MLS regular season at Exploria Stadium. Now the Lions have a chance to sweep the Eastern Conference rival in the regular season with another victory. What does Orlando City need to do to get all three points on the road this weekend?

Take Advantage of Tired Legs

The Red Bulls are coming off a midweek away match against Inter Miami, and a flight back to New Jersey. That means that new Red Bulls skipper Tony Lesesne won’t have as much time to game plan as Oscar Pareja will with a full week between matches. It also means that there may be some tired legs on the Red Bulls’ side of the pitch.

If Orlando City can get through the first half with either the lead, or at least even on the scoreboard, it will be tougher for New York in the second half, especially once the hour mark hits. Use possession and passing to make the Red Bulls run as much as possible and then hit them with the fresh legs of Duncan McGuire to finish them off.

Score First, Score Second

We saw what happens when Orlando City doesn’t find a way to get a second goal in the last match against Atlanta United. They don’t call them the Cardiac Cats for nothing. The Lions must get the early lead to make New York chase the match, but they also need to get a second goal before the Red Bulls can get their first.

If Orlando City can go up by two goals, it will be demoralizing for a team that is playing twice in four days, and will have the tired legs mentioned above. It will also give the Lions the mental confidence to potentially get a third goal, as the club did against Inter Miami. Finishing the chances and putting the match to bed early is a big key to victory.

Keep a Clean Sheet

The Red Bulls haven’t scored a ton of goals this season, nor do they have any player lighting things up on the offensive side of the ball. Orlando City hasn’t earned a clean sheet since the April 29 match against the LA Galaxy. The Red Bulls are the type of opponent that could help the Lions solve that dilemma.

Doing so will mean Pedro Gallese must continue being one of the best keepers in MLS. Many of the goals conceded this season are not on him — not all, but certainly many. Michael Halliday will still be with the USMNT U-20 squad this weekend and we might see Oscar Pareja employ three at the back in his absence. If so, it will be contingent upon whoever is lined up on the right to deal with John Tolkin when he presses up the pitch, which he will. 

If  the three center backs do their job, and if Cesar Araujo plays like he usually does, then the attack will likely come from the flanks. It is contingent upon the wingbacks to make sure they don’t neglect the defense, especially later in the match.

That is what I will be looking for this Saturday night as the Lions look for a fifth straight result. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/1/23

MLS All-Star voting is underway, midweek MLS results, Sevilla wins Europa League, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to June, Mane Landers! I hope May treated you well as we get ready for another month filled to the brim with soccer. The Florida summer is heating up, so make sure to stay hydrated out there as we break out the beach umbrellas and dust off the grills. But for now, let’s jump into today’s links!

MLS All-Star Voting Begins

Voting is underway for the 26 players who will be selected for the MLS All-Star Team this summer. Of those 26 players, 12 will be chosen from a combined vote from fans, media, and current players. Orlando City defensive midfielder Cesar Araujo was noted as a candidate who could make this year’s team. Personally, I think goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, center back Robin Jansson, and forward Ercan Kara have a real shot at playing in the All-Star Game if they keep up their form. This year’s MLS All-Star Game will take place against Arsenal in the nation’s capital, with D.C. United Head Coach Wayne Rooney at the helm.

MLS Midweek Action Brings Plenty of Goals

The Lions weren’t in action for this midweek round of games, but there was still plenty of soccer to enjoy from the other MLS teams. Atlanta United and the New England Revolution battled to a 3-3 draw at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Carles Gil and Bobby Wood gave the Revs a 2-0 lead heading into halftime. Atlanta then scored three times in the second half, only for Gil to find an equalizer in stoppage time. It wasn’t the only high-scoring game of the evening either, as the Columbus Crew won 3-2 over the Colorado Rapids thanks to a goal and two assists from midfielder Lucas Zelarayan. Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, FC Cincinnati beat New York City FC 3-1 and D.C. United and CF Montreal played to a 2-2 draw. Orlando City’s next opponents, the New York Red Bulls, won 1-0 at Inter Miami.

Sevilla Wins Seventh Europa League Title

It took a penalty shootout to decide the winner of this year’s Europa League final, with Sevilla beating AS Roma in Budapest. It was the Spanish club’s seventh time lifting the Europa League trophy. This win salvaged a rough La Liga season for Sevilla and it will play in the Champions League next year. Paulo Dybala gave Roma the lead in the first half, but an own goal levelled things in the 55th minute. Chris Smalling nearly gave Roma the win in extra time, but his header hit the crossbar. It was Jose Mourinho’s first defeat in six European finals and Roma will aim to qualify for the Europa League again when it takes on Spezia in its final Serie A game of the season on Sunday.

More Teams Claim Spots in U-20 World Cup Quarterfinals

Host Argentina was bounced from the U-20 World Cup after a 2-0 loss to Nigeria in the U-20 World Cup. After a scoreless first half, Nigeria struck twice and will face either Ecuador or South Korea in the next round. The other South American nations in action fared a bit better than Argentina, with Brazil cruising past Tunisia, 4-1, in a match that included three goals in stoppage time, and Colombia beating Slovakia, 5-1. In a clash between European sides, Italy won 2-1 over England after Cesare Casadei scored from the spot in the 87th minute. In the quarterfinals, the U.S. will face the winner of today’s match between Gambia and Uruguay.

Free Kicks

  • St. Louis City midfielder Eduard Löwen won MLS Goal of the Matchday for his free kick goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

That’s all I have for today. I hope you all have a wonderful start to June!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/31/23

Nani will return to Exploria Stadium for celebrity match, Amanda Allen scores again for Canada, U-20 USMNT defeats New Zealand, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There’s not much new with me up here in Chicago. Now that high school sports have finished up for the school year, I’ll be busy this summer working at Wrigley Field. There is plenty to get to today, so let’s get to the links.

Nani Will Return to Exploria Stadium for Celebrity Match

Former Lion captain Nani will return to Exploria Stadium on June 23 to participate in the celebrity soccer match called The Beautiful Game. The 36-year-old expressed his thoughts on his return to Orlando and taking part in this match next month.

“For me it is an honor to be back in Orlando and be with the fans one more time,” said Nani. “I can’t wait to see my friends from the club, The Wall and all Orlando City supporters again. I’m thankful for this opportunity to play one more time with Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, and so many legends.”

Nani played three seasons for the Lions, recording 28 goals and 23 assists in 77 appearances for the club. The match will feature icons such as Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Carlos Valderrama, Javier Mascherano, and Rivaldo as well. The match will also have halftime entertainment, and more additions to the rosters set to be announced at a later date.

Amanda Allen Scores Again in Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship

Orlando Pride forward Amanda Allen made the starting lineup again for Canada in the 2023 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic. In Canada’s final group stage match against the U.S., Allen converted a penalty kick for Canada’s first goal in what finished as a 5-2 loss for her side.

It was Allen’s second goal of the tournament, but she was injured in this match as well. Canada finishes second in the group, with the U.S. on top. On Friday, the U.S. will play Costa Rica and Canada will face Mexico in the semifinals.

U-20 USMNT Advances to World Cup Quarterfinals

Orlando City defender Michael Halliday came on as a substitute in the 71st minute for the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team in its U-20 World Cup match against New Zealand. The U.S. shut out New Zealand 4-0 to advance to the quarterfinals in Argentina. That victory gives the U.S. its fourth-consecutive shutout in the tournament. Austin FC midfielder Owen Wolff, San Jose Earthquakes forward Cade Cowell, FC Dallas defender Justin Che, and Hajduk Split midfielder Rokas Pukstas all scored for the Americans. In the quarterfinals on Sunday, the U.S. will face the winner of tomorrow’s match between Gambia and Uruguay.

Interim Head Coach Anthony Hudson Leaves USMNT

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced that Anthony Hudson is leaving his role as the USMNT’s interim head coach to pursue a new opportunity. Hudson is reportedly set to take a head coaching role with a club in the Middle East. He was the head coach of the U.S. U-20 team in 2020 and had been an assistant under Gregg Berhalter for the USMN before being named interim head coach in January. Hudson will be replaced by B.J. Callaghan, who will be the interim head coach for the USMNT for the Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup competitions this summer. Callaghan has been an assistant coach with the USMNT over the last four years and was previously an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Union.

USMNT Will Host Ghana and Germany for October Friendlies

The USMNT will play two international friendlies in October against Germany and Ghana. The U.S. will take on four-time World Cup Champion Germany on Oct. 14 in East Hartford, CT. The last time the USMNT played Germany was in 2015, with the Yanks winning 2-1. On Oct. 17, the USMNT will face Ghana in Nashville. The Black Stars will look to get their first win on American soil against the Stars and Stripes. Ghana eliminated the Americans in the World Cup in 2006 and 2010, but the U.S. defeated Ghana in the group stage at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The last time these two sides met was in 2017, when the USMNT edged Ghana, 2-1.

Free Kicks

  • The LA Galaxy parted ways with President Chris Klein. Head Coach and Sporting Director Greg Vanney will remain with the club. The Galaxy have missed the playoffs in four of the last six seasons.
  • Former Netherlands forward Quincy Promes will be prosecuted for his involvement in drug trafficking. Promes is accused of allegedly smuggling 1,360 kilos of cocaine in 2020.
  • Juventus is reportedly emerging as the leader in the race to acquire Christian Pulisic on a transfer from Chelsea. Pulisic has one-year remaining on his contract with the English Premier League side.
  •’s James Nalton shared his insights on five potential USMNT players to watch during the U-20 World Cup .
  • An arrest warrant has reportedly been issued in Brazil for LA Galaxy midfielder Douglas Costa for unpaid child support.
  • Is it just me or did The Athletic forget to mention our beloved Lions’ U.S. Open Cup run last year?

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

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