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2020 Orlando City Season in Review: Pedro Gallese



Orlando City has never had a bad goalkeeper dating all the way back to the old USL days. Miguel Gallardo was one of the best in the lower league, and when the Lions made the jump to MLS, that trend of solid goalkeepers continued. From Tally Hall to Joe Bendik and then Brian Rowe, the ‘keepers were always good, albeit never great. And then came Pedro Gallese.

El Pulpo had his contract with Alianza Lima expire a year ago, and he became a free agent. The Peruvian National Team ‘keeper was on loan from Liga MX side Veracruz to Alianza Lima in Peru. Orlando used Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) to sign him and he is still under contract for next season.

 Statistical Breakdown

Gallese made 24 starts in his first year as a Lion. Those 24 matches included 19 league games, one playoff match, and four starts in the MLS is Back Tournament knockout stages. He only allowed 25 goals, the fewest by any Orlando City keeper who made more than 10 starts since 2013. His 25 goals allowed in 24 games gave him an impressive goals-against average of just 1.04. In just MLS matches, his GAA is slightly higher (1.05), and he tied for fifth in the league for best GAA for goalkeepers who made at least 15 starts.

The Peruvian faced 71 shots in league play and saved 52 of them — a rate of 73.2%. Gallese faced an average of 3.74 shots on target per game. This is higher than Rowe faced in 2019 (3.44). Before that, Orlando City’s defense allowed about 50% more shots per game. The improvement in the defense is a significant reason for Gallese’s success. However, he also has the best save percentage in Orlando’s MLS history (73.2%).

Gallese finished the 2020 MLS season with a record of 11-3-5, with three shutouts. While that is the most wins out of any Orlando ‘keeper in MLS, it is the second-fewest shutouts. Joe Bendik in 2018 only had one.

In the playoffs, Gallese started in one match against New York City FC. He was issued a yellow card in the 103rd minute for time-wasting. Then, he was issued another in the penalty shootout for coming off his line early. The 30-year-old made six saves in the match and allowed just one goal. The lone goal that he allowed was a free header off a corner that he could do nothing about. Many of the saves he made were fantastic saves that lesser ‘keepers would not have made. The best save was the double save he made in the 43rd minute of that playoff game.

Gallese started all of the Lions’ matches in the MLS is Back Tournament knockout games. He made 11 saves and finished with a 2-1-1 record en route to the championship match.

Best Game

Gallese had a few great games in his first year in Orlando. The playoff game was certainly up there, and he got his best grade of the year (8) as well as the Man of the Match. The Lions’ MLS is Back game against LAFC also saw El Pulpo reaching out all his tentacles and coming up clutch late in the match. The fact that two of his best games are in knockout matches speaks volumes about his big-game ability.

I’ll go with Orlando’s 3-1 win over NYCFC in the MLS is Back group stage for his best game. Gallese made six saves — a season-high — and got a grade of 7.5 for the match. Orlando played well in the match and deserved its win. However, there’s no denying that New York City had its chances. The Pigeons had 26 total shots but just put seven on frame. Valentín Castellanos looked destined to score at some point, but Gallese made two fantastic stops. The first chance came in the 45th minute. After a perfect cross, Castellanos was all alone against El Pulpo, but the ‘keeper came up big to deny the volley attempt.

As the game was nearing an end, the Lions held a 2-1 lead. Gallese made a double save in the 77th minute to deny Castellanos again. Orlando then used the momentum and scored its third goal not five minutes later.

2020 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Gallese a composite grade of 7. This is fairly consistent with his season grades, as his average was just under seven. His best grade of the year was an eight in his final match of the season, while his worst was a five in Orlando’s 3-2 loss to Miami on Aug. 22. It was a bad game from Orlando all over the pitch, but Gallese’s one save on four shots did not help. A final grade of 7 is our highest season rating from a starting goalkeeper since Joe Bendik’s 7.5 in 2017 and the fourth highest overall – Bendik had an 8 in 2016 and Hall had an 8 in 2015. Gallese is the most talented goalkeeper that Orlando has ever had. Still, as the team has continued to improve, the Lions do not rely as much on the goalkeeper to be spectacular, which is likely why Bendik and Hall received higher grades.

2021 Outlook

Unless something completely unforeseen occurs, Gallese will be back in purple next season. He will remain the first choice goalkeeper and start every game for Orlando for which he’s available. He will miss some time for Copa America as Peru is certain to call him up for that competition. Gallese was a nominee for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2020. He finished with just 6.86% of the vote. As Orlando City as a whole and El Pulpo individually both continue to improve, Gallese should end up with a higher vote next season.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

Orlando City

2023 Orlando City Season in Review: Favian Loyola

The Homegrown midfielder spent most of the year with OCB but made his MLS debut in July.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City signed midfielder Favian Loyola to a Homegrown Player deal through 2025 on Dec. 2, 2022, with club options for 2026 and 2027. The OCSC Academy product became the club’s 13th all-time Homegrown signing and it was no surprise after his fantastic 2022 season. The Camp Lejeune, NC, was coming off a breakout year in the club’s youth system, which culminated with his selection to the 2022 MLS NEXT All-Star Game, in which he was named MVP. After starting the 2022 season on an academy contract, Loyola earned an MLS NEXT Pro deal, signing it last August. When he signed his Homegrown deal in December he became the first player to climb the club’s developmental ladder from the academy, to the current OCB setup in MLS NEXT Pro, to the first team.

Let’s take a look back at Loyola’s 2023 campaign, which was abbreviated due to surgery on his arm to remove a blood clot on Aug. 27.

Statistical Breakdown

Loyola played in just one MLS match with the Lions, making his first-team debut July 1 in a 3-1 home win over the Chicago Fire. The 18-year-old came on as a substitute in the third minute of stoppage time for Facundo Torres and is officially credited with one minute played, although that match went to nine minutes of stoppage. In that short amount of time he managed six touches and attempted six passes, completing all of them — one of them being a key pass. Loyola did not attempt a shot or record any defensive stats, but he did commit one foul, but he was not booked for it.

The bulk of Loyola’s 2023 season was spent with Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro, where he was a key player off the bench for Martin Perelman’s side. He appeared in 20 of the team’s 28 matches, starting seven, and logging 732 minutes. He scored two goals and added three assists, putting 10 of his 21 shots on target during the year. Loyola completed 80.3% of his passes with OCB, served up seven key passes and six successful long balls, and completed three crosses. He recorded four tackles and three interceptions, committed 11 fouls while drawing 10, and was booked three times.

Best Game

With just the one MLS match to his credit, Loyola’s MLS debut against Chicago was his best game of the 2023 Major League Soccer Season. It was a memorable match, as he subbed on for Torres, who set the tone for the Lions with a brace that night, and it was also the game in which Mauricio Pereyra made his 100th appearance with Orlando City. Loyola made the most of his short amount of time on the pitch, despite committing a foul during his first minute of MLS play. He settled in and completed all six of his passes and created a scoring chance just seconds after his foul, when he sent a ball to Ramiro Enrique, although the Argentine had his shot attempt blocked from a tight angle.

2023 Final Grade

As Loyola came up short of the minimum total of 450 minutes played to receive a rating on our 1-10 scale, The Mane Land has no choice but to mark his grade as incomplete for the 2023 season. If his meteoric growth continues, Loyola will likely have much more than one appearance next season as his skills at passing and finding pockets of space translate well to the next level. He wasn’t able to return to the pitch after the surgery for his blood clot, but he should be ready to go for 2024.

2024 Outlook

With Loyola being just 18 years old and the club having him under contract, I would expect his role to be the same in 2024. He’ll be learning the ropes with OCB, playing most of the season with the club’s reserve side in MLS NEXT Pro, where he will continue to be a key player. However, if he continues to develop his game, he could push for more late substitute appearances with the first team or even get a start if the Lions draw a lower-league team in the U.S. Open Cup. One thing Loyola will need to work on is controlling the ball, as he turned the ball over 15 times with OCB in 2023.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

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Orlando City

Orlando City to Play Friendly vs. Brazilian Side Flamengo

The Lions will face the Brazilian giants for the first time since November 2015.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Orlando City announced its first preseason match of the 2024 season this morning. The Lions will square off against Brazilian Serie A side CR Flamengo in a friendly on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024 to kick off the team’s preparations for the 2024 MLS season. The match, which will take place at the club’s former home grounds at Camping World Stadium, will be OCSC’s second meeting with Flamengo and is part of the 2024 FC Series (formerly known as Florida Cup). Kickoff time will be officially announced later this month.

“This is both an exciting way to open the new year for our supporters and a great test for our team, as we look toward a 2024 that also includes Concacaf Champions Cup early on,” Orlando City SC Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “We’re excited to have the eyes of the Nação on Orlando during this time and are hopeful that this match will be the springboard for a very successful 2024 for our team and fans.”

“We are thrilled to return to our traditional January preseason window focused on top South American clubs,” FC Series / Florida Cup CEO Ricardo Villar said in the press release. “We look forward to delivering a first-class experience to Flamengo while in town and welcoming the Orlando City fans back to Camping World Stadium, where the club’s MLS campaign began back in 2015.”

The two sides met after the MLS season in 2015, when the Lions traveled to Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 15 of Orlando City’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer. Flamengo claimed a 1-0 win at the Maracana that day on a goal by Luis Antonio on a free kick that deflected off of Orlando City midfielder Darwin Ceren and left trialist goalkeeper Thierry Graca unable to recover. That match could have gone differently had Lions striker Bryan Rochez converted a first-half penalty, but he had a weak effort saved.

The match should serve as a good early test for the Lions, who are coming off their most successful season in Major League Soccer play and reached extra time all square with MLS Cup finalist Columbus despite being down a man in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Flamengo is one of Brazil’s most storied clubs, having won eight Serie A championships, three Copa Libertadores titles, four Copa do Brasil crowns, and one Intercontinental Cup.

“This preseason in the United States, including games with MLS (conference) semifinalists, is a great opportunity to grow the Flamengo brand inside the very important American market, where we will play in the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup,” Flamengo Vice President for Communications and Marketing Gustavo Oliveira said in the press release. “With the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the investments that are being made by the country, world football has in the United Stated, a new, enormous point of attention. Flamengo, as major European clubs, are alert to this and will, more and more, reinforce their presence in the country, may that be with work on social media focused on the American public, may it be by way of in-person events of the Flamengo brand, as this pre-season will be.”

Ticket information for groups and individuals can be found at Public tickets go on sale Tuesday, Dec. 12. Orlando City Season Ticket Members will have a match ticket presale and will be contacted directly by their ticket representative at a later date.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 12/7/23

Mauricio Pereyra and Orlando City part ways, Belgian club reportedly interested in Duncan McGuire, Marta scores in Brazil’s win, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s been another hectic week for me and I’m hoping things start to slow down as December rolls on. It’s hard to believe we’re already a week into the month. I’ve enjoyed this colder weather over the past few days though. Let’s dive right into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Mauricio Pereyra and Orlando City Part Ways

Orlando City captain Mauricio Pereyra will not be returning to the team for the 2024 season after he and the club mutually agreed to terminate his contract. The Uruguayan midfielder joined the Lions in the summer of 2019, going on to make 136 appearances across all competitions as a Lion. His 47 career assists were the most in club history and he led the Lions with 12 assists this past MLS season. Pereyra was a key part of Orlando’s turnaround over the past few years, and I’ll miss watching him break opposing back lines with his passing. That being said, his departure opens up some interesting possibilities in Orlando’s midfield. This could open the door for Martin Ojeda to fit in a bit more easily in the lineup, but the team also has an open Designated Player spot that could be used to bring in an attacking midfielder who can take the offense to another level. The club released a video thanking Pereyra for his time in Orlando, including some of his highlights and appreciation from teammates and staff.

Belgian Club Reportedly Interested in Duncan McGuire

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire was one of the best young players in MLS this past year, so it’s not a surprise that European clubs are taking notice. Dutch and Belgian clubs reportedly had scouts at Orlando’s final game of 2023, and American Soccer Now‘s Brian Sciaretta stated that RWD Molenbeek is interested in McGuire.

The club has an American owner and is currently 11th in Belgium’s top flight after earning promotion last season. McGuire scored 13 goals in his rookie season and was a finalist for 2023 MLS Young Player of the Year. Hopefully the 22-year-old stays in Orlando for a while longer before making the jump to Europe.

Marta Scores in Brazil’s Win Over Nicaragua

The Orlando Pride’s Marta started and scored as Brazil’s captain in the team’s 4-0 friendly win over Nicaragua. She doubled Brazil’s lead in the 40th minute and came off in the second half for Pride teammate Adriana. Brazil then found two more goals and the defense secured the shutout in its final game of the year.

It was a nice way for Brazil to end the year after losing 2-0 Japan this past Sunday. Brazil has already qualified for next year’s Olympics after winning the 2022 Copa America and will shift its focus to doing well in the tournament after an early exit in this year’s World Cup.

Luis Rubiales Was Accused of Inappropriate Conduct With English Players

FIFA’s report of the Disciplinary Committee’s decision regarding former Spain federation president Luis Rubiales became public and England FA Chair England Debbie Hewitt’s testimony detailed inappropriate misconduct towards English players as well. According to Hewitt’s testimony, Rubiales seemingly forcefully kissed Lucy Bronze and stroked Laura Coombs face at the 2023 World Cup’s medal ceremony. FIFA stated that more severe sanctions than the three-year ban Rubiales was handed were considered.

Free Kicks

  • As a result of pyrotechnics being used by LAFC supporters group 3252, the club was fined $100,000 and 3252 will have all supporter privileges suspended pending a review by the club and LAFC.
  • MLS unveiled the ball that will be used next season and I like the design well enough to want to kick it.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week.

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