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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Final Score 2-1 as Lions Suffer First Loss of 2021

Orlando City nearly pulled off a late comeback but simply didn’t play well enough.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Second-half sub Silvester van der Water both gave Orlando City late life and also squandered a chance to draw the Lions level in a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Van der Water scored in the 84th minute to give Lions’ fans hope, but it’s the hope that kills you, as he also missed a sitter in the 88th, skying it over the bar. That would have erased Orlando’s (3-1-3, 12 points) worst performance in 2021 after Caden Clark and Cristian Casseres Jr. gave New York (3-4-0, 9 points) a 2-0 lead in the game’s first hour.

Orlando City fell to 5-7-2 in the all-time series and 2-5-1 on the road while suffering its first loss of the 2021 season.

“Two different halves for us,” Orlando Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “The first one we didn’t feel comfortable with the way we shaped the team and I think the players felt that. They didn’t look organized and New York took the initiative. I think in that part we take the responsibility because the heart of the players was always on the field, especially in the second half when they tried to push in different ways just to have that goal that can level the game.”

Pareja’s lineup included Pedro Gallese in his usual spot in goal. He handed a first career start (and appearance) for Michael Halliday at right back on a defense that included Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, and Antonio Carlos. Rodrigo Schlegel got his first day off of the 2021 season and wasn’t even in the game day team. (He had to fly home to attend to a personal matter per a team spokesman.) Junior Urso and Sebas Mendez patrolled the central midfield behind attackers Andres Perea, Mauricio Pereyra, and Chris Mueller, with Tesho Akindele up top again.

The first half was all New York. The Lions created their own issues with the Red Bulls’ press by being too slow to react, too deliberate with the ball, and too predictable with their movement, allowing the counterpress to be effective. Still, that didn’t add up to a lot of chances for the hosts, despite their pressure.

The Red Bulls generated an early set piece when Halliday coughed up the ball in his defensive third and Pereyra exacerbated the situation by committing a foul. Halliday blocked Daniel Royer’s delivery.

A second key set piece nearly created the opening goal moments later. Gallese came way out of his box after a turnover and was second to the ball, committing a foul while trying to knock the ball out of play. The ensuing set piece found the head of Sean Nealis, whose header was met by a great reaction save from El Pulpo in the seventh minute.

Mendez turned the ball over far too often in the opening 45 minutes, and one of those giveaways led to a counter that ended with a weak Frankie Amaya shot that gave Gallese no trouble in the 16th minute. Six minutes later, a good ball from New York’s right side skipped dangerously through the box as both Royer and Patryk Klimala just missed getting the final touch on the ball.

The Lions got their first shot of the game in the 24th minute when Orlando won a corner. Pereyra’s cross found Urso but the Bear nodded wide of goal.

City started getting more comfortable on the ball around that time but struggled to create anything, with movement being too deliberate and easy for New York defenders to read and react to. Heavy touches allowed the Red Bulls to close things down and poorly weighted passes resulted in too many attacks breaking down.

Orlando’s best attack of the half happened in the 32nd with more direct play, as Akindele worked a give-and-go with Urso. Tesho made a good run in behind to win the race to the ball but couldn’t get much on his shot, which he had to take with his left foot, making an easy save for Carlos Coronel.

Three minutes later, Orlando was breaking forward with promise but conceded instead of scoring. A good movement up the right side broke down with a touch that Perea was just a half step slow to reach in time. New York quickly countered and a cross cycled from left to right to Klimala. The forward beat Smith to get a cross in behind the back line for Clark to tap home for a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.

Orlando withstood a late corner kick despite another turnover trying to break out in transition when Akindele and Pereyra got in each other’s way and the halftime whistle finally came.

New York out-shot the Lions 5-2 in the opening period, with a 3-1 edge in shots on goal. The Red Bulls also led in corners (2-1), while Orlando held more possession (58.7%-41.3%) — doing little with it — and passed more accurately (82.4%-73.6%) due to mostly playing it across the back, looking for a way through.

Benji Michel came on for Pereyra to start the second half. Pareja said after the match that his No. 10 had been battling some tightness this week and he felt he didn’t want to push the Uruguayan too deeply into the match. Michel’s speed did help create some opportunities in the second half.

But Pareja also said he thought his midfield could control the match in the first half and it simply didn’t work out that way, so he wanted to take a player out of the midfield and add another player who could get up the wing. Michel had a few chances to do that and the Homegrown’s touch was just a bit off at times, though he turned in an industrious shift.

The opening minutes saw the Red Bulls push for a second goal and hit a couple of opportunities just wide. Orlando looked for transition opportunities but failed to be able to provide quality passes to spring them or guys weren’t on the same page in terms of providing the ball that runners were looking for.

The Red Bulls doubled their lead after a foolish foul by Mendez in one of his last actions in an unusually poor performance by his standards. Casseres Jr. sent the direct free kick into the upper left corner out of Gallese’s reach to make it 2-0 in the 60th minute.

Pareja sent van der Water and Joao Moutinho on for Mendez and Halliday moments later with a lot of offensive work to do. That nearly became a moot point when second-half sub Fabio pushed a header just wide of Gallese’s post in the 64th minute on a shot that would have killed off the game.

A microcosm of the match for Orlando was Moutinho’s excellent cross in the 69th minute, which found the head of Smith. Unfortunately, the fullback nodded his shot off the back of teammate van der Water in the 69th minute. Moments later, van der Water did well to spring Mueller in the attack but his first touch was poor, which allowed New York to regroup and block the ensuing shot attempt.

New York again could have killed off the game as Orlando was sloppy with the ball. Urso’s turnover led to a chip attempt by Dru Yearwood that flashed wide of the near post in the 76th and Fabio forced a good save from Gallese a minute later.

The Lions got on the board in the 84th. Smith sent in a good cross to Akindele and the Canadian laid off smartly for van der Water. The Dutchman did well to fake his way past one defender and sent a shot through Coronel’s legs for his first MLS goal.

“I feel happy with the goal, but I got another chance, and I missed that chance, and then directly the feeling is a little bit not so good,” said van der Water, who brought a connectivity into the match that had been lacking. He and Akindele especially had good chemistry in the attack.

“The assist I got today, the ball came in and I think usually I would have just tried to like awkwardly hit it on goal, and the goalie probably would have easily saved it,” Akindele said. “And instead I gave it to Silvester. He still did a crazy amount of work to score, but I think…just to see what’s the right decision, is someone in a better place than me? And that’s what Oscar’s kind of hammered me on a litle bit.”

Four minutes later, van der Water should have equalized. Michel did well to win the ball on the left before sending it to Akindele in the middle. Again the forward found the winger on his right. Running onto the ball and hitting it with his strong left foot, van der Water somehow got under it and sent the ball high over the net in the 88th minute.

“I think I got my body a little bit far away, more backwards,” van der Water said of the missed chance. “Most times you shoot the ball a little bit over. I think that was the reason and the next time I will score a goal.”

That was Orlando’s best opportunity for an equalizer, and it was a golden one. There were no moments of note in the final two minutes of normal time and five minutes of stoppage that honestly should have been extended due to time wasting and an injury, but the final whistle blew to seal the Lions’ fate.

New York had more shots (14-6), shots on target (7-2), and corners (3-2), but Orlando had more possession (57.5%-42.5%) and more accurate passing (80.2%-70.1%) over 90 minutes.

“Much, much better second half when we started just having better connections and we looked more like us,” Pareja said. “They showed their heart and probably could (have) deserved more at the end, but New York did a good job in the game and I think it’s fair.”

“I just felt like we had more numbers forward maybe in the second half,” Akindele said. “The first half I thought we did a great job of kind of moving the ball around the back, but I don’t think we created enough dangerous chances, and we didn’t hold the ball enough in their half.”

Orlando City is now on an extended break until Saturday, June 19, when the Lions will “travel” to take on Toronto FC at 7:30 p.m.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from Orlando City beating the Earthquakes on the West Coast?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City wrapped up three matches in eight days with a trip out west on short rest for a late night matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes. Playing level throughout much of the match, it appeared as though both teams would split the points until the Cardiac Cats found some late magic. What follows are my immediate takeaways from an unexpected, yet satisfying, three points.

3-5-2 For the Win

The 3-5-2 lineup returned once again and proved to be quite a versatile team shape for the Lions. Against San Jose, the Lions were without captain Robin Jansson due to injury and defensive midfielder Cesar Araujo was suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Dagur Dan Thorhallsson returned to the starting lineup and slotted in as a wingback in the formation. Wilder Cartagena excelled once again as a center back, and Felipe did well filling in for Araujo in the midfield. The shape has allowed the coaching staff to more easily fill gaps with different players as needed, and I think we may see it as the default formation for the foreseeable future.

Duncan McGuire Injured Early On

Jack Lynn was substituted on in the 15th minute for an injured Duncan McGuire, who landed awkwardly on his right arm after being sandwiched between two Quakes players in an aerial duel. It was an early exit for McGuire, who tried to stop his fall by sticking out his forearm. Given the injuries the team has dealt with over the last several matches, one can only hope this does not lead to a prolonged absence for Orlando’s leading scorer.

Ivan Angulo Defies Tired Legs

No one would have faulted the Lions for sitting back as the match neared its end given that this was their third match in eight days, and second on the road during that stretch. It makes the effort Ivan Angulo gave to help create the winning goal even more impressive. After running up and down the field all game, Angulo chased down a clearance after a San Jose corner kick and beat defenders down the length of the field on a lung-busting run. The fitness staff and trainers deserve some credit for ensuring that the Lions had their legs under them that late into a match considering the travel and schedule congestion of the week.

Jack Lynn After Dark

Jack Lynn, who was selected in the first round of the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, found the back of the net for the second time this season. In what was likely an unexpected 75 minutes of game action for him, Lynn scored late to give Orlando all three points. The goal was a combination of being in the right place at the right time, as Martin Ojeda mishit his shot after the cross from Angulo, and impressive body control from Lynn, who contorted his body to redirect the ball into the back of the net. It was an impressive finish for Lynn, who had another great chance to put the game away that was saved just minutes prior to his goal. Lynn ultimately would not be denied and made sure the Orlando City fans back on the East Coast woke up to good news.

Making History On the Road

Orlando City and the San Jose Earthquakes do not exactly have a storied rivalry however, anytime the club can achieve a first in team history it should be mentioned. Last evening’s victory marked Orlando City’s first ever road victory against the Earthquakes. Heading into this match, I thought the Lions would opt for a heavily rotated lineup on the road, as the Lions were facing a club at the bottom of the Western Conference table on short rest. Instead, the club turned in a classic performance under Pareja, staying defensively sound to keep the game close and get a result on the road. The Lions were able to get the win on a counter attack and the result secured seven points from their last three matches.

Those are the things that stood out most to me from the 1-0 victory against the Earthquakes, let us know in the comments below what stood out to you. As always, vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/20/24

Lions and Pride win, MLS weekend recap, Manchester City wins Premier League title, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. It was another good weekend for our teams, as Orlando City and the Pride both won their respective matches. I’ve been busy covering high school playoff action with soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Pull Out Late Win on the Road

Orlando City pulled out a late 1-0 win on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park on Saturday. Jack Lynn came off the bench and scored the lone goal in this match for Orlando to grab the three points. Duncan McGuire started the match but had to be substituted out early in the first half due to injury and was replaced by Lynn. The Lions are on a three-match unbeaten streak after a scoreless draw at home against Inter Miami on Wednesday. Orlando City moves up to 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. The Lions return to action on Saturday to face the Columbus Crew at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando Pride Win Against Seattle Reign FC

The Orlando Pride won their seventh straight match after a 3-2 win against the Seattle Reign at Lumen Field on Sunday. There were plenty of goals in this one, with Barbra Banda lifting the Pride to their first ever win in Washington against the Reign. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 10 matches and the Pride sit atop the NWSL table with 24 points. The Pride return home for a Friday night matchup against the Portland Thorns at Inter&Co Stadium.

MLS Weekend Recap

It was another busy weekend in MLS, with four rivalry matches taking place. Let’s start with the Hudson River Derby, as New York City FC edged past the New York Red Bulls 2-1. Real Salt Lake got a thrilling 5-3 win against the Colorado Rapids in the Rocky Mountain Cup. In Canada, Toronto FC cruised past CF Montreal with a 5-1 victory. The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas battled to a 1-1 draw down in Texas. FC Cincinnati defeated St. Louis City SC 3-1, while the Columbus Crew beat the Chicago Fire 3-1 as well.

The Philadelphia Union shut out the New England Revolution 3-0 to snap its six-match winless streak. Austin FC won 3-2 over Sporting Kansas City, Minnesota United handed the Portland Timbers a 2-1 defeat, and Inter Miami got a late goal from Leonardo Campana for a 1-0 win over D.C. United.

Manchester City Wins English Premier League

Manchester City defeated West Ham 3-1 to win a historic fourth consecutive Premier League title on Sunday with 91 points on the final day of the season. Phil Foden scored twice in this match as Manchester City became the first club to win four straight Premier League trophies. Arsenal defeated Everton 2-1 but ended up short of the title, finishing second with 89 points. Liverpool won in Jurgen Klopp’s final match as manager, beating Wolves 2-0 to finish third. Aston Villa finished fourth despite a 5-0 loss to Crystal Palace, Tottenham finished fifth, and Chelsea finished sixth in the table. Luton Town lost 4-2 at home to Fulham to finish 18th, officially joining Burnley and Sheffield United in being relegated to the EFL Championship next season. 

Free Kicks

  • Former Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner has agreed to a one-year contract extension with Manchester United, with an option for another year. Manchester United won its first major trophy earlier this month, winning the Women’s FA Cup.
  • Former USMNT player Jonathan Bornstein has agreed to play for NPSL side Tallahassee SC in their summer season. He made his debut on Saturday as the Battle Lions won their opener 2-0 against the Miami Dutch Lions FC.
  • According to Tom Bogert, new MLS expansion side San Diego FC is reportedly closer to sealing a move to sign Chucky Lozano over from PSV Eindhoven.
  • Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi announced he will leave the club after its Premier League season ended in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday. 
  • Bayer Leverkusen completed its Bundesliga season unbeaten with a 2-1 win over FC Augsburg. The club also made history as the first team in the history of the Bundesliga to complete a full season without a loss. 

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions individually rate in Orlando City’s win on the road?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

The Lions went across the country to face the San Jose Earthquakes and will return to Orlando with all three points after a 1-0 win. Jack Lynn, who came on in the first half for an injured Duncan McGuire, scored the only goal of the game. Here’s how I saw each individual Lion’s performance in Orlando’s win on the road.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — El Pulpo came up with four saves in the shutout, with three of them coming within the span of a few minutes in the first half. Gallese wasn’t tested as much in the second half, but he did make a big save to deny Jack Skahan late in the match. In terms of distribution, eight of his 19 long balls were accurate and he completed 60.7% of his 28 passes. All in all, it was another strong outing from the Peruvian.

D, David Brekalo, 7.5 (MotM) — Brekalo did a great job putting out fires in Orlando’s defense, leading the team with eight clearances. He won five of his seven aerial duels, and had two interceptions and a tackle as well. Although only one of his nine long balls was accurate, he had a key pass for setting up a shot by Martin Ojeda that was deflected out for a corner. He also did well winning a foul in the first half that stopped a potential San Jose counter and gave Orlando a set piece in a good area. Brekalo finished the game with 46 passes at an 80.4% success rate and is our Man of the Match for anchoring Orlando’s defense in a shutout.

D, Wilder Cartagena, 7.5 — The Peruvian started as a center back for the Lions and looked the part once again. Cartagena was patient and clinical when it came to his defending, leading the Lions with five tackles and stopping some of San Jose’s most dangerous attacks. He also had four clearances and two interceptions in an excellent defensive performance. Cartagena completed 86.1% of his 43 passes and two of his seven long balls found their mark.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Schlegel also did well as part of Orlando’s defense, recording four clearances, two tackles, and an interception. He won two of his three aerial duels as well, playing physically without committing any fouls. The Argentine defender was accurate on three of his 10 long balls and had 46 passes at a 73.9% success rate. He had a solid game and will return to Orlando with a few bumps and bruises along with the team’s clean sheet.

WB, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 5.5 — Thorhallsson returned to the starting lineup for the first time since May 4. There were a few nervous moments when he was tasked with marking players lurking at the back post, but San Jose wasn’t able to make Orlando pay for it. He had three clearances and two tackles before being subbed out in the 78th minute. Offensively, he did well to find open space, but wasn’t able to capitalize on his chances as neither of his two shots were on target. Thorhallsson’s best chance came when a cutback cross from Ivan Angulo found him with all the time in the world to pick out his shot in the box, only to send it wide. His passing could’ve been a bit tidier, as he had 30 passes at a 76.7% success rate, neither of his two long balls were accurate, and just one of his four crosses were successful. Regardless, it was nice to see Thorhallsson back in the swing of things after missing time.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 7 — Angulo applied plenty of defensive pressure throughout the match, but still had enough left in the tank to assist on Orlando’s winning moment. The Colombian raced down the left wing on a counter and then picked out Ojeda in the box, whose mishit volley wound up with Lynn scoring. Angulo nearly had another assist for his cutback cross that found Thorhallsson open as well. He completed 90.9% of his 44 passes and two of his three crosses were accurate. Defensively, he had three tackles and a clearance as well. This game was a testament to how much of an impact the speedy Lion can have on a match.

MF, Felipe, 6.5 — Felipe replaced the suspended Cesar Araujo in the starting lineup and did fairly well, shutting down San Jose’s passing lanes and plugging holes in Orlando’s defensive shape as needed. He had a team-high three interceptions, along with four tackles and two clearances. The midfielder had 40 passes at a strong 90% success rate and one of his three long balls was accurate. It was a fairly quiet night from the veteran, which isn’t the worst thing for a defensive midfielder and he did well filling in for Araujo.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6.5 — Lodeiro led the Lions with 94 touches and 75 passes, directing things while Orlando had possession. He was successful on 84% of those passes and two of his three long balls, though none of his five crosses found their man. Lodeiro’s lone shot went high and off target, but he did have two key passes to set up a pair of chances for Luis Muriel. He chipped in defensively with two tackles, an interception, and a clearance as well. Even though he wasn’t able to replicate the offensive output he showed against the Philadelphia Union, Lodeiro did well in his third straight match playing the full 90 minutes.

WB, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres didn’t have a shot in the match, but did have two key passes to generate some offense. Although only one of his five crosses were accurate, he still did well putting the ball into open areas in the box. His only attempted long ball wasn’t successful, but he did complete 91.9% of his 37 passes. Torres spent most of his time attacking through the wings, and didn’t contribute too much defensively beyond a clearance and sprinting back to give the back line support when needed.

F, Luis Muriel, 6.5 — The forward continued to look dangerous with the ball at his feet and had three shots in the match. Of his three shots, one forced a good save out of San Jose goalkeeper William Yarbrough, one was blocked before it could test Yarbrough, and another was sent off target from distance. He may have only been successful on one of his five attempted dribbles, but Muriel also had a key pass and both of his long balls were accurate. Muriel was fairly involved with 58 touches, won all three of his aerial duels, and helped out on defense with two tackles and a clearance.

F, Duncan McGuire, N/A — McGuire had to be subbed out in the 16th minute due to an arm injury after colliding with Bruno Wilson in the air. The Lions played with 10 men for a few minutes while medical staff looked him over, but Lynn ultimately replaced him on the field. McGuire had eight touches and completed three of his four passes, while also recording a clearance before his early exit.


F, Jack Lynn, (16′), 6.5 — Lynn came into the match to replace McGuire and scored the winner late in the match to give the Lions all three points on the road. The 24-year-old maintained focus when Ojeda didn’t strike the ball cleanly and buried the bouncing ball into the back of the net. His goal was his third shot and final shot of the match after sending a glancing header wide and having another header saved at point-blank range earlier on. Lynn may have only won one of his five aerial duels, but his hold-up play was decent. He had 18 passes at a 66.7% success rate and 33 touches before being subbed off in stoppage time after scoring. Lynn was a bit sloppy at times, but ultimately gave the Lions an unlikely win.

MF, Martin Ojeda, (79′), N/A — Ojeda was credited with an assist for his role in Lynn’s goal, even if he fully intended on scoring himself with his strike. While there was luck involved, he deserves credit for getting in a good position and taking a crack at goal. His other shot was a try from distance that was deflected out for a corner kick. He completed all but one of his seven passes, had 13 touches, and neither of his two crosses connected.

WB, Rafael Santos, (79′), N/A — Santos came into the match for Facundo Torres and it didn’t take long for him to make his presence known. He whipped in a pinpoint cross for Lynn in the 82nd minute that the forward should have done better with. It was a key pass for Santos and one of his two successful crosses in his limited time on the field. He completed four of his passes, helped secure the clean sheet with an interception and clearance on the defensive end.

WB, Kyle Smith, (90’+2), N/A — Smith came on in stoppage time to give the Lions some fresh legs and another defender to help see out the match, although he didn’t have any touches in his brief cameo.

MF, Jeorgio Kocevski, (90’+2), N/A — The rookie made his first appearance with the first team since March. He also didn’t have any touches or contributions in his short time on the field, although it was still nice to see Kocevski get some playing time.

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

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