Connect with us

Orlando City

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

Published

on

Orlando City won 5-0 in a dominant performance at home against the San Jose Earthquakes Tuesday night. Nani got the scoring started from a penalty and then Benji Michel and Daryl Dike both had braces as the Lions have now scored the most goals of any team in the Eastern Conference, with 16.

The Lions are riding high after the win, but how did each player perform? Here are your player grades from the match, as well as who earned the title of Man of the Match.

Starters

GK, Brandon Austin, 6.5 — In his second start as a Lion, Austin didn’t have to make a save until first-half stoppage time. Javier Lopez fired a rocket from outside the box, but Austin managed to jump and make a great save to deny him. That was Austin’s only save of the match as San Jose didn’t manage to put any of its other 11 shots on target. With the result, Austin gets his first clean sheet as a Lion. He completed 81.3% of his passes and three of his six long balls and, importantly, didn’t spill the wet ball when handling San Jose’s crosses.

D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — Moutinho only played the first half and had 24 touches as Orlando’s wingers handled most of the work on the sides of the pitch. He made 17 passes at a 76% success rate and had a tackle and an interception. On short rest after playing 90 minutes Saturday, it made sense for Oscar Pareja to take Moutinho off and we may see more of him this Friday in Miami.

D, Robin Jansson, 7 — There was a bit of a scary moment in the 29th minute when Moutinho’s clearance smacked Jansson right in the head at close range. The medical staff came on to check him out and he went the distance without any issues. Jansson led the team with a whopping five clearances, putting an end to many of San Jose’s attempts to get back in the match. The Beefy Swede also had a tackle and an interception while tying Andres Perea for the most touches on the team with 59. He did well building out of the back with 50 total passes at a 92% success rate.

D, Antonio Carlos, 7 — It was Carlos’ ninth start this season and the fifth time he’s guided Orlando’s defense to a shutout in 2021. Carlos made three defensive blocks, including one early on that could’ve given Austin trouble and potentially change the momentum of the game. The Brazilian center back also had two tackles, two clearances, and an interception to help stop the Earthquakes right in their tracks. Carlos made a key pass in the 88th minute, sending Benji Michel down the field in transition. It was another solid night for Carlos and he finished third on the team with 55 touches and was successful on 89% of his 46 passes.

D, Kyle Smith, 6.5 — The fullback started on the right and then shifted to the left side for the second half as he continues to impress this season with his versatility. It was a quieter game than usual for Smith as he had just 36 touches, one tackle, and one cross that ended up unsuccessful. But a quiet night for a defender in a shutout win is hardly a bad thing and he completed 93% of his 28 passes. His ability to play on either side allowed Pareja to sub off Moutinho and he’s played every minute this season to help cover Orlando’s lack of depth at fullback.

MF, Junior Urso, 6 — It may have just been due to the rainy conditions at Exploria Stadium, but Urso was sloppy at times in the first half and had some miscues when passing. But in the 44th minute after the weather delay, he made a key pass in on goal that Dike shot just wide. Two of Urso’s three shots were deflected and the third was sent wide after he didn’t make clean contact. He was subbed off for Mauricio Pereyra in the 56th minute and ended the night with 35 touches, 29 passes at an 83% success rate, a tackle, and one successful dribble.

MF, Andres Perea, 6.5 — It was another full shift for Perea while filling in for Sebas Mendez in the midfield. The 20-year-old had two shots, sending one wide and the other right at goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. He tied Jansson for a team-high in both touches (59) and passes (50), completing the latter at an 84% rate as he connected Orlando’s offense and defense. Defensively, Perea pitched in with two tackles, including a good one late in the match that ended a San Jose opportunity.

MF, Chris Mueller 7 — Although he is still on the hunt for his first goal of the season, Mueller had his fourth assist of the season. He played the ball into a dangerous area in the box for Michel to pounce on. He had just 32 touches and 26 passes at a 77% success rate over the course of 77 minutes of action, but he was still effective on offense and led the team with four key passes. His only attempted cross wasn’t successful and he had a good opportunity after a set piece from the training ground that sent the ball to him in front of goal, but nothing came of it. While he didn’t have a shot in this one as concerns grow over his scoring drought, Mueller is quietly tied with Tesho Akindele for most assists on the team this season, with four, and tied with Mauricio Pereyra for most key passes with 13.

MF, Benji Michel 9 (MotM) — It didn’t take long for Michel to make an impact in the match, using his speed and some silky footwork to breeze past Judson and draw a late tackle from Florian Jungwirth for a penalty in the sixth minute. Nani converted the penalty for an early lead and Michel scored one for himself in the 16th minute. Mueller played a ball in on goal and Michel surged past Paul Marie’s attempt to shield him and poked the ball past Marcinkowski before the goalkeeper could collect it.

In the 90th minute, with victory already assured, Michel was still hungry to score and got his brace after powering the ball into the bottom right corner from close range. Michel led the team with five shots, putting three on target, and was successful on three of his four attempted dribbles. While he was only dispossessed once, Michel did hold the ball too long at times as defenders clogged passing lanes and left him without options. The Homegrown Player also had a key pass, a clearance, 33 touches, and was successful on all but one of his 16 passes (94.4%). While most of the offense thrived in this one, Michel is our Man of the Match for setting the tone early on and directly contributing to three of Orlando’s five goals.

F, Nani, 8.5 — The captain was as cool as can be when scoring from the spot, cleanly tucking the ball into the bottom left corner. While it won’t be in a highlight reel like some of his other goals this season, it was great to see him convert after two post-season penalty misses in the recent past. Nani reveled in the open spaces the Earthquakes allowed, although their defense did well preventing him from cutting back in front of goal and blocked his only attempted cross in open play. Nani’s best moment of the match came on the team’s third goal when he sent a sublime ball through a tight window between defenders for Dike to put it away. In the second half, he got his second assist of the night from a free kick service for Dike’s second goal.

He played 71 minutes and ended the night with three key passes, a shot on target, and three successful dribbles. Nani finished fourth on the team in touches, with 43, and had 33 passes at a 73% success rate in another strong performance since his suspension.

F, Daryl Dike, 9 —  Dike spoke with Pareja and Nani on the sideline while Jansson was receiving treatment and then the two players connected for a goal just a few minutes later. In the 31st minute, Dike made a strong run to reach a perfect pass from Nani and, after a great first touch that got him around Marcinkowski, he scored with his left foot from a tough angle for his first goal of the season. His second goal came in the 49th minute when he got his head on Nani’s cross off of a set piece and powered it home.

Dike honestly could have scored even more goals in this one as he looked lethal no matter how difficult the angle. He was subbed off in the 71st minute and finished with four shots, with only one off target. Dike was successful on eight of his 12 passes and had 24 touches as well in his first start of the season.

Substitutes

D, Michael Halliday (45’), 7 — The Homegrown Player came out of the gate in the second half like a man possessed. He sprinted down the field to earn a corner for the Lions and then won a foul that led to Orlando’s set piece goal. It was definitely his best game as a Lion so far and he led the team in tackles, with three, while adding two clearances as well. On offense, he attempted three crosses but none found their target and he’ll need to work on getting those past the first defender. He ended the game with 23 touches and completed seven of his nine passes. Cade Cowell beat him a few times, but it was a great outing for Halliday as he received important minutes.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra (55’), 7 — Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Pereyra nearly scored in stoppage time with a good look in front of goal, but his shot hit the woodwork. He had two key passes as well, but neither Perea nor Tesho Akindele could put their shots on frame. He managed a secondary assist on Michel’s second goal. Still, Pereyra did well to keep the Lions’ offense roaring until the final whistle. The Uruguayan finished with 31 touches and completed 22 of his 27 passes.

MF, Alexander Alvarado (71’), 6 — Alvarado had a nice cross that found Pereyra and then Akindele, but Alvarado otherwise didn’t make much of an impact in the match. He did deflect a shot from outside the box, but was also dispossessed twice. It was his longest appearance yet as a Lion and he had 17 touches and completed nine of his 10 passes.

F, Tesho Akindele (71’), 7 — Coming on to replace Dike, Akindele did well creating chances up top for the Lions. He got his fourth assist of the year by laying the ball off to Michel for the team’s final goal and nearly had another assist but Pereyra hit the post. Akindele’s only shot of the match was sent just over the bar and he finished with 11 touches and a 78% passing rate on nine total passes.

MF, Uri Rosell (77’), 6.5 — Rosell completed 12 of his 13 passes in his season debut, including a pair of long balls to help spark Orlando’s offense. He also had an interception and 15 touches as Pareja eases him back into action. It was nice seeing him back out there on the field to anchor Orlando’s central midfield.


That’s how I saw everyone’s performance, but what did you see in Orlando’s biggest win so far this season? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to vote for your Man of the Match as well.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Benji Michel72
Daryl Dike37
Nani8
Robin Jansson0
Antonio Carlos0
Kyle Smith5
Other (please tell us who in the comments section below)2

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/13/24

Orlando City B hosts Chattanooga FC tonight, USMNT earns draw against Brazil, MLS’ Juneteenth celebrations, and more.

Published

on

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Between my cat finally deciding I’m worth hanging out with and reading a pair of books that have been collecting dust on my shelf, I’ve been having a pretty good week. I’m looking forward to the feast of soccer both in Orlando and abroad over the next few days as well. But for now, let’s get this Thursday started with today’s links!

Orlando City B Hosts Chattanooga FC Tonight

In an enticing midweek match tonight at 7 p.m., Orlando City B will take on Chattanooga FC at Osceola Heritage Park. If not heading to watch OCB in person, you can catch the game on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+. The last time these two teams squared off was on May 4, with Chattanooga winning the penalty shootout for an extra point after a 1-1 draw in Tennessee. The Young Lions are coming off of a 2-2 draw with one of the league’s worst teams this season, Carolina Core FC, but winning the shootout after a late rally could give them the kind of momentum needed to take down Chattanooga. Beating one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference would be quite the statement from OCB during what’s been a middling season so far.

USMNT Draws With Brazil in Orlando

Playing in Orlando at Camping World Stadium, the United States Men’s National Team drew 1-1 against Brazil in a friendly billed as the Continental Clasico. Brazil scored first, but Matt Turner and the USMNT didn’t collapse under the pressure and earned the team’s first ever draw against the South American powerhouse. All in all, it was a much better result than the USMNT’s 5-1 loss to Colombia on Saturday. This was the USMNT’s final match until Copa America later this month. The Yanks will start their campaign against Bolivia on June 23 before playing Panama on June 27 and Uruguay on July 1.

MLS Announces Initiatives for Juneteenth

In partnership with Black Players for Change and Adidas, MLS announced some of the ways the league will be celebrating Juneteenth. Pre-match shirts acknowledging the change players can provide will be worn during warm-ups and fans can buy their own shirts as well, with a portion of the proceeds going toward organizations focused on racial equity and social justice. There will also be a campaign highlighting the connection between professional and academy players, as well as educational content across the league’s social media to raise awareness of the holiday.

Euro 2024 Kicks Off on Friday

A loaded gauntlet of summer tournaments finally begins Friday, as Germany hosts Scotland for the first match of Euro 2024. From Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential swan song to a brutal group that includes Spain, Italy, and Croatia, storylines abound for the tournament and each team brings something worth watching to the table. For Orlando City fans, defender David Brekalo was called up by Slovenia, which was drawn in a group with England, Denmark, and Serbia. I’m looking forward to seeing which underdogs prevail and which players make a name for themselves in this tournament.

2026 World Cup Schedule Revealed

The full schedule for the 2026 World Cup was unveiled, which gives a slight glimpse at the paths each host nation could take in the tournament. If the U.S. wins Group D after matches in Los Angeles and Seattle, it will stay on the West Coast for a knockout game in San Francisco before a potential round of 16 game in Seattle and quarterfinal in Los Angeles. Mexico and Canada have similar incentives to win their groups, as they will then host in their country until heading to the U.S. for the quarterfinals, should they make it that far. Here in Florida, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami will serve as the venue for four group games, a round of 32 match on July 3, a quarterfinal on July 11, and the third-place match on July 18.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando Pride Assistant Coach Yolanda Thomas was announced as a panelist for the Black Soccer Coaches’ summer symposium on July 22. She will also have a field session at the event to discuss the role of the midfield when building out of the back.

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

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/12/24

Leagues Cup forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup win, USMNT U-23 loses to Japan, NWSL expansion options, and more.

Published

on

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. The USMNT plays tonight in Orlando, and I hope that you have tickets. If not, we can still watch as we wait for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday. On a personal note, this Friday will mark my ninth anniversary with The Mane Land. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m glad you’ve been there with us. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s get to the links.

Leagues Cup Forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Win

Orlando City is playing in the Leagues Cup starting at the end of July and here’s a nice guide to Orlando’s group for the tournament. Of course, the Leagues Cup organizers want you to be pumped so that you watch and buy tickets. I think that is something we should do simply to support the club. However, I don’t think they went about promoting the competition in quite the right way. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the tournament’s social media team stated the Leagues Cup would be Orlando’s chance to win its first trophy. Did you catch the mistake? Taylor Twellman did.

Good on you, Taylor. Facundo Torres was indeed brilliant in that match, as was Benji Michel. Of course, there were others that caught the faux pas as well.

I think we should also be mentioning the USL Championships, but what do I know? Evidently, more than the Leagues Cup’s social media team.

USMNT to Honor Pulse Victims

There’s plenty of fake, corporate shows of support for Pride Month , but in general I think that the USMNT and USWNT have done a good job of being legitimate allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Tonight, the USMNT will play a friendly against Brazil at Camping World Stadium on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The players will be wearing Pride jerseys to honor those who lost their lives so senselessly eight years ago.

In terms of the game, the USMNT will be without Josh Sargent for the match, and Tyler Adams will only get limited minutes if he plays, as both are coming back from injuries. Get well before the Copa America, lads.

Lions on International Duty

The United States U-23 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan in its final friendly match before the Olympics. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire found himself on a bit of an island up top as the U.S. had difficulty moving the ball through the midfield. Hopefully, the U.S. got such play out of its system heading into the Olympics.

OCB’s Wilfredo Rivera made the most of his time playing in Puerto Rico’s World Cup qualifier against Anguilla, scoring a brace in the 8-0 victory. This win comes after a scoreless draw with El Salvador last week and Puerto Rico’s remaining group games during this round of qualifying will be next June.

Exploring NWSL Expansion Options

The NWSL will be expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with many cities vying for the next franchise. The leaders include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville are potential choices as well. If it was to be given to either Atlanta or Jacksonville they would be regional rivals for the Orlando Pride. The league is expected to make a decision by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to the U-15 United States Women’s National Team, which won 4-0 over Germany.
  • Did you ever have one of those dreams that was a little scary, but also absolutely hilarious? This preview of Inter Miami’s new mascot is a bit like that. To misquote Jaws: “Ever seen an Inter Miami mascot’s eyes, Chief? He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.”
  • The Cayman Islands Men’s National Football Team forfeited its match against Cuba because many of its players are on visas in the United States. If those players were to travel to Cuba, the U.S. may have canceled those visas due to travel restrictions.
  • This is one of the most ridiculous no-calls I’ve ever seen. India got royally hosed.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday night. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.

Published

on

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America Wednesday night at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up Monday night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team, Nani FC, fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

Free Kicks


That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Trending