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Orlando City

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



Orlando City earned its third-straight 1-1 draw against an MLS opponent, although this one came on the road against Nashville SC. After a sloppy first half, the Lions battled back to score and leave Nissan Stadium with a point. There were times when the Lions looked as if they would be blown out and times when they nearly took all three points.

Let’s dive into how each Lion rated in this draw on the road.


GK, Mason Stajduhar, 6 — The rainy conditions turned routine saves into balls that needed to be punched away by Stajduhar. He wasn’t able to come up with the save on C.J. Sapong’s goal, the forward’s shot neatly tucked in the bottom right corner. Stajduhar made three saves, his most in an MLS game, and looked comfortable rushing out to shut down Nashville’s attack to add two clearances to his stats. He also made a great save on Alistair Johnston’s low shot towards the near post, but Johnston was ruled offside so Stajduhar didn’t get official credit. The 23-year-old was only accurate on one of his five attempted long balls, completing just 14 of his 18 total passes. He also spilled a couple of crosses, although given the conditions this isn’t completely surprising and none of them ended up being costly. So his distribution definitely needs some work, although Nashville did a good job winning the ball in the air. While he’s still on the hunt for his first clean sheet, Stajduhar hasn’t been a liability for the Lions while Pedro Gallese recovers.

D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — His poor giveaway created the scoring opportunity that resulted in Nashville’s goal, Sapong pouncing on his pass back to Robin Jansson and storming down the field with Hany Mukhtar to score. It wasn’t his only mistake either, as he struggled defensively at times against Mukhtar. But Moutinho found moments of redemption as the game wore on. He was successful on one of his two crosses, sending a beautiful ball into the box that was reminiscent of the crosses Moutinho made last year. On one of them, Tesho Akindele’s header hit the crossbar, just inches away from letting Moutinho atone for his earlier mistake. The left back stepped up on defense late in the match too by making a crucial clearance at the back post. Moutinho led the team with 100 touches and 81 passes. Of those 81 passes, Moutinho completed 68 of them for an 84% success rate. That aforementioned clearance was his only one of the game, but he did have an interception and a defensive block as well.

D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — The masked Swede had a tackle, two clearances, and a defensive block in a solid defensive performance against a Nashville offense that entered this match with 27 goals scored at home in 2021. Jansson wasn’t able to make much of a difference on Nashville’s goal, forced to keep a body on Mukhtar during a fast break after Moutinho’s turnover. He picked up a yellow card by pulling down Mukhtar right outside of the box to snuff out a dangerous opportunity. The free kick was from a good spot, but Mukhtar hit the top of the crossbar. Jansson had 76 touches and was successful on 90% of his 69 passes. Although style points don’t factor into his rating, it’s worth noting the cool factor of Jansson’s mask in the heavy rain.

D, Antonio Carlos, 7 (MotM) — Don’t look now, but Carlos is evolving into a force to be reckoned with in dead ball situations. The center back scored his second goal of the season, powering a header past Nashville SC goalkeeper Joe Willis after a free kick cross from Mauricio Pereyra. Carlos has been working on his headers all season long, so it’s nice to see that paying off. Defensively, he led the team with a whopping six clearances, with three of those coming after the 80th minute mark as Nashville pushed forward to try and take all three points. Carlos also had a tackle, an interception, a defensive block, and won five of his nine aerial duels. He had 73 touches and completed 87% of his 60 passes. On Nashville’s goal, his sliding tackle couldn’t disrupt Sapong from surging past the defense. Like Jansson, he picked up a yellow card for a professional foul to stop a potential counter.

Carlos is our Man of the Match for scoring the equalizer in a match that looked grim at times for the Lions. His work late in the match also helped secure a result on the road. If he can continue to score to add another element to his game, then he will certainly become an MLS Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

D, Kyle Smith, 6 — It was a quiet night for Smith, which is hardly a bad thing from a defensive point of view, considering he’s had to make game-saving plays for the Lions this year. He finished with a tackle, an interception, and a clearance in his 19th start this season. Smith played all 90 minutes and ended the game with 55 touches and completed 34 of his 39 passes for an 87% success rate. The right back didn’t make much of an impact on offense, with neither of his two crosses finding their mark. He picked up a yellow card, but the foul was in Nashville’s half so it didn’t end up hurting the Lions.

MF, Junior Urso, 6 — The Bear had a busy night, playing all 90 minutes and finishing with 82 touches and 67 passes at a strong 93% completion rate. Urso was fouled five times and won the free kick that led to Orlando’s goal. One of his two shots were deflected while the other was from distance after a series of passes, but the ball went high even though it was a decent try. He had a tackle and an interception when helping out on defense and did a good job feeding the ball to Pereyra and the offense once the Lions were trailing. All in all, it was nice work from Urso despite some miscues here and there. Urso’s endured plenty of fouls from opponents in recent weeks, but did well to keep his cool and bring some stability to Orlando’s midfield.

MF, Joey DeZart, 5 — The 23-year-old was often Orlando’s weakest link on the field. DeZart lacked precision and presence at times. It might be because DeZart is usually used as a late substitute with fresh legs in most matches, but he played a bit slower than his teammates and didn’t win any of his battles in the air. DeZart was a step behind Nashville’s midfielders, but did have an impressive 92% completion rate on his 50 passes and led the team with three interceptions. He played all 90 minutes and also came up with a late clearance that stopped a flurry of attacks by Nashville. DeZart didn’t have any impact on offense and ended the game with 57 touches. While these are the growing pains that come from earning needed minutes in MLS, DeZart certainly struggled at times in his second start of the season — mainly in the first half.

MF, Silvester van der Water, 6.5 — The Dutchman led the Lions with four shots, putting one on target while another was deflected. His best opportunity came in the 11th minute when he curled a shot past defenders to force Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis to make a tough save. He had a poor first touch at times in the match, even when taking the rain into consideration. The winger’s lone cross of the match found Akindele’s head in the box, but the shot was too high. Van der Water also led the team with three tackles, hustling so Nashville couldn’t have complete control of the midfield. He completed 80% of his 25 passes, was successful on two of his three attempted dribbles, and had 44 touches.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7 — With Nani absent, Pereyra wore the captain’s armband and stepped up to create chances for Orlando. The Uruguayan led the team with six key passes. Four of those came in the second half as Orlando pushed higher upfield while chasing the game and had more success breaking Nashville’s lines. While this helped Orlando put more pressure on Nashville’s three-man defense in open play, Pereyra’s assist came from a free kick. Pereyra served a terrific ball over the top of Nashville’s defenders for Carlos to head home. It was Pereyra’s eighth assist of the season and 20th as a Lion since joining in the summer of 2019. His only shot was from another free kick, but it went over the bar. Pereyra was subbed off in the 84th minute and finished with 68 touches and an interception, and he was successful on one of his two attempted crosses in open play. He completed 48 of his 58 passes for a decent 83% completion rate. It was another good showing from the maestro as he pulled the strings of an offense that was without some of its weapons.

MF, Benji Michel, 5.5 — Playing on the left wing, Michel had 37 touches and completed 84% of his 19 passes. He didn’t have any crosses or key passes and two of his three shots were deflected while another went just wide. Michel was the least effective of Orlando’s attacking players and wasn’t able to get past Nashville’s formidable defense as he was only successful on one of his five attempted dribbles. He didn’t have any tackles or interceptions and was subbed off in the 83rd minute. The Homegrown Player has started in eight straight MLS games for Orlando, but only has one goal and an assist during that stretch.

F, Tesho Akindele, 6 — Walker Zimmerman and the rest of Nashville’s defense made Akindele’s night difficult as he only won two of his seven aerial duels. He was still effective on offense though, nearly scoring in the dying moments of the first half by getting his head on the end of a good cross into the box by Pereyra. But he wasn’t able to get enough on the wet ball to really drive it at goal, the bouncing shot saved by Willis, just inches from getting through. Akindele had a similar opportunity in the 75th minute when Moutinho found him wide open in the box, but his shot smacked into the crossbar. The Canadian striker finished with three shots and a key pass that gave van der Water a good chance to score. Akindele had 41 touches and completed 25 of his 27 passes for a great 93% success rate. He also chipped in with two clearances and interception to help out on defense. It was a game of inches for Akindele as Orlando awaits the return of its more lethal strikers.


MF, Chris Mueller (82’), N/A — The stage wasn’t exactly set for Mueller to come on and find a game-winner, so don’t look too much into his lack of offensive stats in his cameo. He only had four touches and was unsuccessful on his only attempted dribble, which wasn’t the worst thing in the world as he ate up a little time with the ball deep in Nashville’s half while Orlando’s defense caught its breath and reformed its shape. He completed his only attempted pass, a short pass to Ruan on the right side.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (82’), N/A — The center back came on to strengthen Orlando’s defense once Nashville really started to throw numbers forward. Schlegel had a clearance and nine touches. He only completed two of his six passes, although the incompletions weren’t short attempts. Schlegel did what he came on to do, giving Orlando another defender for Nashville to deal with.

D, Emmanuel Mas (88’), N/A — The left back was inserted into the left field to give the Lions a little more defensive bite late in the match. Mas had three touches and completed all three of his passes in a brief outing.

F, Ruan (88’), N/A The right back was actually deployed at the top of Orlando’s offense late in the match. An onslaught of attacks by Nashville didn’t open much opportunity for Ruan to use his speed to beat defenders. Ruan had two touches and completed both of his passes.

That’s how I saw things play out in Orlando’s 1-1 draw against Nashville. Make sure to weigh in on how you feel about the grades in the comments below and to vote for who you think deserves the title of Man of the Match.

Polling Closed

Antonio Carlos36
Mauricio Pereyra7
Robin Jansson0
Silvester van der Water6
Other (let us know in the comments)3

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/28/24

Yutaro Tsukada earns recognition, Americans in midweek action, European coaching updates, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a restful holiday weekend, and if you didn’t, then I hope you’re well on the way to recovery. We’ve got an exciting schedule this week, with two Orlando City games before an Orlando City B game on Sunday. It’s also OCB defender Yeiler Valencia’s birthday today, so let’s wish him well and jump into today’s links!

Yutaro Tsukada Earns MLS NEXT Pro Honors

OCB winger Yutaro Tsukada was named MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 11 for his performance in the team’s 5-0 home win against Huntsville City FC. The 22-year-old provided the assist on OCB’s first goal after using some nice skill on the ball to shake his defender. Tsukada then scored a goal of his own off of a free kick in the second half. The rookie has been electric for the Young Lions this season, recording four goals and four assists so far. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling when OCB faces Inter Miami II this Sunday.

Major League Soccer Stock Watch

Every week gives us a better idea of each MLS team’s capabilities, so let’s check in on how things are looking following the latest matchday. LAFC is on a great trajectory, as it’s won three consecutive league games and five straight in all competitions. Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of play to stretch its unbeaten streak to 11 games, and Cristian Arango didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting. At the other end of things, the New England Revolution have lost three straight games, and six of their last seven. Likewise, the shine looks to have worn off from St. Louis City’s expansion season, as the team has also lost three straight games and simply doesn’t look the same as last year.

Americans in Midweek Action

With most of the European club seasons having concluded, there aren’t as many United States Men’s National Team players in action during the working week, but there are still some important games to make note of. Chief among those is Venezia’s game against Cremonese on Thursday. Tanner Tessmann, Gianluca Busio and Venezia will take on Cremonese over two legs, with the winner gaining promotion to Serie A. Left back Jonathan Gomez may take the field tomorrow morning in Real Sociedad’s friendly against Tokyo Verde as well.

In a pair of friendlies on Friday, Mexico plays Bolivia and Uruguay takes on Costa Rica. With the USMNT set to face both Bolivia and Uruguay in group play of this summer’s Copa America, the two matches present a good chance to better gauge the Yanks’ opponents.

European Coaching Updates

Several notable European club teams have coaching vacancies to fill this summer, and there are some updates on a few of those positions. Chelsea has reportedly made an approach for Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca, and has requested permission to talk to the manager who guided the Foxes back to the Premier League in his first year with the club. Meanwhile, despite interest from Manchester United, Kieran McKenna is reportedly set to stay at Ipswich Town, and has had talks about extending his contract. Finally, Aston Villa has extended Unai Emery’s contract, with his new deal keeping him at the club until 2029.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

Transfer season is kicking into gear, and we have several rumors to sift through this morning. Up first, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are reportedly all in hot pursuit of Stade Rennais winger Desire Doue. Casemiro reportedly has a deal lined up with a team in the Saudi Pro League, and may have played his last game for Manchester United. Newly promoted Southampton are reportedly interested in signing Adam Lallana as a free agent. Finally, Paris Saint Germain are said to have entered the race to sign Bruno Guimaraes, and will face stiff competition from Manchester City and Arsenal.

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

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Orlando City

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

How did your favorite Lions perform in a 2-0 loss at home against Columbus?



Rafael Santos Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

The Lions returned home riding a three-game unbeaten streak but a bizarre video review call moments before halftime set the tone for a physical match against the Columbus Crew. Ultimately, Orlando fell to the Crew 2-0. Here’s how I saw each individual Lion’s performance in Orlando’s fourth loss at home on the season.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — The Peruvian No. 1 saw a relatively quiet first half come to a close in a fury as he was forced into action to face a penalty kick before halftime. Gallese guessed correctly, but Diego Rossi’s placement was just above Gallese’s outstretched trailing hand. The Crew put three of their eight shot attempts on target and Gallese was credited with one save on the night. He completed 94.1% of his 17 passing attempts, including two accurate long balls out of three attempts.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7 (MotM) — Schlegel continued to fill in for injured starter Robin Jansson and has now strung a few solid performances together on the back line. Defensively, he put out multiple fires for Orlando City. He tied Wilder Cartagena for the team lead with five clearances. Schlegel also added three tackles and one blocked shot. He committed one foul while he suffered three throughout the match. He completed 93.1% of his 58 passing attempts, including two key passes. He also completed one of his three long-ball attempts on the night. For his total effort throughout the game he is our Man of the Match.

D, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — The Peruvian international continued to function as a center back in the squad’s 3-5-2 lineup. Defensively, he tied for the team lead with five clearances and added three tackles and a blocked shot. He won two aerial duels and was whistled for two fouls on the night. He completed 91.7% of his 48 passes, including two successful long balls out of four attempts. Offensively, Cartagena put one of his two shot attempts on target and completed one successful dribble.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo continued to perform well in the back as he has become more comfortable in his role, leading the team with four total tackles and chipping in one clearance. He completed 91.3% of his 46 passes and was successful on both long balls that he sent up the field. He committed one foul in the match. Offensively, he did not contribute any statistics.

WB, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres again slotted in at wingback, which limits the number of looks he gets at goal, but it’s nice to see a Designated Player willing to change positions for the good of the team. The Uruguayan logged one tackle, one clearance, and one interception on defense. He committed one foul and earned a foul as well. He completed 91.5% of his 47 passes, which included two key passes. He completed three of his eight crossing attempts on the night and was successful on one of two long balls. Offensively, he logged one shot, which was off target, and completed one successful dribble.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6.5 — Lodeiro played solidly throughout the match and was asked to do a little bit of everything during the game. Defensively, he contributed three tackles and one interception. He led the team with 77 total touches and completed 84.8% of his team-high 59 passing attempts, including one key pass. He successfully completed one of his five crosses and both of his long-ball attempts. Offensively, he put one of his two shot attempts on target. He was whistled for being offside once. Lodeiro saw his night come to an end in the 66th minute when he was replaced by Martin Ojeda.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6 — Returning from suspension for yellow card accumulation, Araujo functioned as the only true defensive midfielder. Araujo’s effort on the night will ultimately be remembered for the jersey tug and subsequent yellow card recieved for the “foul” on Aidan Morris, which resulted in a penalty kick attempt for the Crew (instead of Orlando City) after a confusing and frustrating video review. Araujo finished the night quietly from a statistical standpoint with one interception as his only defensive stat. He committed four fouls total, including the aforementioned “foul.” He completed 96.3% of his 27 passes, including two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively, Araujo was credited with one successful dribble. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute as Orlando chased the game.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6.5 — Angulo slotted into the midfield for the second straight game. Defensively, he contributed one tackle. He completed 86.5% of his 52 passes, including a team-high three key passes. He also completed his lone through ball attempt. Offensively, he did not log a shot attempt, but he did complete two dribbles and was fouled once. Angulo was able to use his speed to get into dangerous positions throughout the match but continued to lack precision when it came to the final pass or dribble.

WB, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson joined Torres as the wingback on the opposite side in the 3-5-2 system and seemed to be an afterthought throughout much of the match as the team played down the left side of the field for the majority of the game. Defensively, he contributed three total tackles and one clearance while also winning one aerial on the night and did well to deny the speedy Yaw Yeboah multiple chances to get inside him on give-and-go plays. He completed 83.3% of his 24 total passing attempts. He was unsuccessful on both crossing attempts but completed one of his two long balls. Offensively, as a byproduct of much of the action happening opposite his side of the field, he failed to record an offensive statistic. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute.

F, Luis Muriel, 6.5 — Muriel put in a good effort on a night when the scoreboard unfortunately would not reflect it. His effort to get in on goal — and subsequently be taken down from behind — earned what everyone thought at the time to be a penalty attempt for the Lions, although it was taken away by the referee after the review. Defensively, Muriel was credited with one interception. He completed 88% of his 25 passes and was successful on his lone crossing attempt. He won one aerial and offensively put one of his three shot attempts on target while completing three successful dribbles and suffering one foul.

F, Jack Lynn, 5.5 — With the injury to Duncan McGuire, the hero of the Lions’ last match, Lynn made Orlando’s starting lineup. Defensively, Lynn contributed one clearance. He completed 81.8% of his 11 passes. Lynn was unsuccessful on his lone crossing attempt. Offensively, Lynn failed to record a shot attempt but was credited with one successful dribble while being whistled for offside twice. He was subbed off in the 58th minute for Ramiro Enrique.


MF, Felipe, (59′), 5.5 — Brought on for Araujo just before the hour mark, Felipe looked to help control the midfield. Defensively he logged one tackle and one clearance while committing one foul, which landed him a yellow card. He completed 89.5% of his 19 passes, including one key pass and two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively he did not record a shot attempt.

WB, Rafael Santos, (59′), 6 — Santos came on for Thorhallsson but went over to fill the left wingback role, sending Torres forward and Angulo to right wingback. He recorded one interception on the defensive end. Santos completed 84.2% of his 19 passes, which included one successful long ball on his one attempt. He was fouled once and was whistled for offside once.

F, Ramiro Enrique, (60′), 6 — Making his return from an extended absence due to injury, Enrique came on for the final half hour in the hopes of providing an offensive spark. He got into good areas but struggled to finish on some of Orlando’s best scoring chances of the night. Enrique completed 66.7% of his six passes and was unsuccessful on his lone cross. In a little over 30 minutes of game time, Enrique managed to tie Muriel for the most shot attempts, with three, and put two of them on target, albeit right at the goalkeeper. Despite the poor overall outcome of the match, it was good to see Enrique return to the pitch.

MF, Martin Ojeda, (67′), 5.5 — Designated Player Ojeda came off the bench to replace Lodeiro as Orlando faced a two-goal deficit. Defensively, Ojeda logged one interception. He completed all eight of his pass attempts, with two key passes, and three of his five crosses. Ojeda attempted one shot, which was off target.

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. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/27/24

Orlando City loses to the Crew, Pride and OCB win, Southampton seals return to Premier League, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend. I worked at Under Armour all weekend while wrapping up my high school sports coverage for the spring season. It was a mixed weekend for our teams. Orlando City lost, but both the Pride and OCB won their matches. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Lose at Home to Columbus Crew

Orlando City lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium and saw its three-match unbeaten streak end. The match’s first goal was controversial as the referee, Jair Marrufo, initially awarded the Lions a penalty late in the first half but went to the monitor and reviewed a play at the other end of the pitch. He instead awarded Columbus a penalty kick. Diego Rossi scored from the spot to put the Crew ahead 1-0 before halftime. Columbus extended its winning streak to three matches. Orlando has struggled at home, going just 1-3-4 so far this season. The Lions have not scored a goal at home since April 27. Despite the loss, the Lions still remain in 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Next up for Orlando is a pair of road matches this week, starting Wednesday at the Chicago Fire, followed by a Saturday night matchup against the New York Red Bulls. 

Pride Win at Home Over Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride won their record-setting eighth straight match with a 2-1 victory at Inter&Co Stadium against the Portland Thorns Friday. Barbra Banda scored two goals in the first half to give the Pride a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Portland pulled one back, but the Pride held on for the victory and claimed three points. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 11 matches, and the Pride stay atop the NWSL table with 27 points. The Pride are off this week but will return to action on the road next Friday, June 7, against the San Diego Wave.

OCB Win at Home against Huntsville City FC

On Sunday, Orlando City B bounced back with a season-high five goals in a 5-0 win over Hunstville City FC at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed put OCB ahead 3-0, while Yeiler Valencia scored his first two OCB goals to seal the win for the Young Lions. OCB is now in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Meanwhile, Huntsville City FC remains winless through 10 matches and stays at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. OCB’s next match will be on the road Sunday at Inter Miami CF II. 

Southampton Clinches Promotion to Premier League

Southampton booked its return to the Premier League with a 1-0 over Leeds United in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Sunday. Adam Armstrong scored the lone goal in this match as the Saints returned to the top flight after being relegated the previous season. Southampton joins Leicester City and Ipswich Town, securing promotion to the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the table, Leeds’ playoff woes continue as this is the sixth time it missed out on securing promotion and finished its season with only one win out of its last six matches. 

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

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