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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Final Score 3-2 as Urso’s Goal Lifts Lions to Seventh Straight Result

The Lions blew a 2-0 lead but Junior Urso called game and Adam Grinwis won his first MLS game since 2018.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City looked like it would cruise to an easy win over the Columbus Crew at Exploria Stadium after getting goals from Daryl Dike and Silvester van der Water to go up 2-0. But Antonio Carlos scored a bizarre own goal early in the second half, and the Crew tied it up moments later before Junior Urso’s goal lifted the Lions (10-4-8, 38 points) to a 3-2 win over Columbus (7-10-6, 27 points).

The win lifted the Lions to their longest unbeaten streak of the year at seven matches (3-0-4) and it was Orlando City’s fifth consecutive win over Columbus. Orlando jumped back into second place in the Eastern Conference with the wins tiebreaker over Nashville.

“It was a great effort by the players,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “Once again they took us over many hurdles today. The game was like a rollercoaster of emotions for us — dominating not just the score but dominating the game in the first half. Then we conceded two goals that came from nowhere. That put us in a difficult situation emotionally.”

Pareja became the club’s winningest coach in the MLS era, surpassing Jason Kreis’ 65 wins.

With Pedro Gallese on international duty and Mason Stajduhar unavailable due to injury, Pareja started Adam Grinwis in goal for the first time since he was re-signed. Grinwis lined up behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Carlos, and Ruan. Joey DeZart and Urso started in central midfield, with Chris Mueller and van der Water on the outside and Nani and Dike up top in the attack.

Nani got the game’s first shot attempt with a long free kick that he got on frame but from that distance Eloy Room was able to get over and make the save in the 10th minute.

Six minutes later, Ruan got down the right side and cut a pass back for Dike who directed it toward goal. The ball hit a defender and came back off Dike and caromed toward the net but Room made the save.

Columbus was dangerous on the counter and from the wings, and Derrick Etienne’s cross just needed a touch in the 21st minute but none of his Crew teammates were close enough to provide it.

Mueller cut inside and had an excellent scoring chance in the 24th minute, but he made a mess of his right-footed effort and hit it into the sky. Nevertheless, the Lions opened the scoring moments later.

Nani won the ball and sent it forward over the top from his own defensive half. Dike out-muscled Aboubacar Keita and broke in on goal down the right. He faked a couple of times and then smashed a shot into the roof of the net to make it 1-0 in the 26th minute. There was a delay for the video assistant referee to take a look to see if Nani had fouled Pedro Santos, but the goal was awarded. It was Dike’s third of the year and first since June 22 vs. San Jose.

“It was a good win from Nani and then, you know, battling with my UVA teammate Abouba (Keita),” Dike said. “Once I got the ball I just saw the grass in front of me and the goal in front of me. I think that’s when the instincts kind of kick in and that’s when you do anything you can to get the ball in the back of the net, and that’s where it ended up.”

The Lions struck again three minutes later. Ruan cut a ball back from the right corner to van der Water, who sent what appeared to be a cross in for Mueller but he couldn’t get a touch on it and it bounced into the net to double Orlando’s lead in the 29th minute. It was the Dutchman’s first goal since July 30 against Atlanta and his third of the year.

Columbus spent much of the rest of the half winning the ball in the middle of the field and trying to score in transition. Harrison Afful sent a cross/shot just wide of the far post in the 32nd minute. Grinwis then made a spectacular save to deny Lucas Zelarayan from outside the box in the 36th minute. Zelarayan had a couple of dangerous free kick opportunities but hit them off the wall of defenders as the half wound down.

The best chance for Orlando down the stretch fell for Mueller but he fired his shot on target only for Dike to stray into its path and block it. The Lions took a 2-0 lead into the half but the Crew had built some momentum in the final minutes of the opening 45.

Columbus held the advantage in shots (8-7) but Orlando got more on target (4-1). The Crew held the advantage in possession (51.7%-48.3%), passing accuracy (81%-79%), and corners (5-1).

The Lions roared out of the locker room looking to put the match away and nearly did so in the 46th minute. Urso stole the ball from Santos, took it to the top of the box and tried to finesse it around Room, just inside the left post. However, the Crew keeper did well to make a diving, one-handed save.

The Crew got back into the match on a strange play. The ball was knocked high in the air with two Lions and one Columbus player about 10 yards in front of Grinwis’ goal. Carlos went high to head it away but ended up nodding it just inside the right post and into his own net to put the Crew on the board in the 52nd minute.

“It was a fluky moment,” said Grinwis, who won in his first MLS start since 2018. “It took a little deflection. The ball went sky high and I kind of assessed the situation. I saw Antonio Carlos going up to battle at six yards away. I would take him 10 (times) out of 10 in this league to win that header and he did, and it was just an unfortunate bounce where it kind of comes back towards school, as opposed to going away from it.”

That goal seemed to unsettle the Orlando defense, as the Lions conceded the equalizer just two minutes later. A good passing sequence by the Crew, combined with Carlos stepping up and leaving room behind him, sent Miguel Berry in behind and he beat Grinwis to tie things up at 2-2. VAR Jorge Gonzalez took a long look at the play to see if Etienne was offside in the buildup to the goal. The play was close but it wasn’t judged to be a clear and obvious error and the goal stood up.

“It was a tough moment for us and that’s when the character, the togetherness, and the glue that this team has came out again and took us over that hurdle,” Pareja said.

While waiting for the video review, Dike was in the center circle, visibly urging the crowd to make noise.

“I looked around and everyone was kind of obviously in shock, because going up from two-nil up to being 2-2, I think it’s a big shock,” Dike said. “In moments like that I truly believe in the 12th-man effect. With the crowd pushing us, you can instantly see the players, including myself, having a little lift, having a little extra burst of energy and extra belief. I think having that kind of support around you, especially in a situation like that, is important.”

Pareja sent on Mauricio Pereyra — a player who he said he didn’t want to use for more than a few minutes due to his ongoing recovery from a knock — and Benji Michel just after the goal to settle the team down and it worked.

“The game was asking for somebody to settle the pace of the team and just try to be more creative in that zone,” Pareja said. “Just being able to bring the boys from the bench now and have people who can change the direction of the game, it will make us a very strong team.”

Just eight minutes after the subs were introduced, the Lions took the lead. Dike played a ball back to Urso just outside the area and the Bear picked out a spot and fired through traffic just inside the left post to restore Orlando’s lead at 3-2. Room didn’t see the shot come through the crowd until it was too late to do anything about it and the eventual game-winner found its way home in the 69th minute. Like Dike and van der Water, Urso scored his third of the year.

“It was a great third goal,” Pareja said.

With the Crew needing a goal, Caleb Porter sent on some offensive subs in the form of Erik Hurtado and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Orlando continued to stay organized and looked for insurance, which Mueller nearly found in the 77th minute when he sent a ball toward the net that sliced just wide to the right.

Columbus sent in crosses, looking for someone to get onto one, but most of those found the heads of Carlos, Jansson and Moutinho. Pereyra sent a ridiculous ball behind Vito Wormgoor in the 84th minute that should have provided an insurance goal by substitute Tesho Akindele. Akindele beat Room from the left side, only to see his shot skip an inch or two wide of the right post.

Pareja sent on Rodrigo Schlegel for Mueller and went five at the back for the final minutes, and the Lions were able to prevent any good chances and spent some time taking the ball to the attacking corners to bleed clock. The ref blew the full time whistle just after Moutinho blasted a shot just wide of the left post from the top of the area.

Orlando City held a slim edge in shots (13-12) and had more on target (6-2), while Columbus won more corners (5-2), and held slight advantages in possession (51.9%-48.1%) and passing accuracy (82.6%-81.7%).

“There are things that we need to be better, of course,” Pareja said. “We would like to keep being solid defensively. But scoring three goals today by the players is great.”

While it was far from a perfect win, it was an emotional one for Grinwis, who battled back from a torn ACL while playing at the USL Championship level. To get back to winning an MLS game was a great moment for him.

“It’s just an honor to play in front of such a great committed fan base. Feels good to be home,” Grinwis said after getting his first MLS win since 2018. “Tough to put into words. I think these are the kinds of situations I was dreaming about and was telling myself, ‘No, I believe it can happen,’ although I’ve not seen anybody go through an injury in the second division and then find their way back into MLS and then play.

“But this game is crazy, and through a lot of prayer and a lot of hard work, I found myself in this position. And I want to hold on tight because it feels amazing to be back out there.”

The Lions will travel north to face Atlanta United on the road next Friday night in their next match.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Photo Gallery

An album of images from Orlando City’s hard-fought draw at home against the Herons.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

The Lions brought much more roar on Sunday night to face their southern rivals but had trouble finding the net, allowing the Herons to nick a point even while short staffed. None of Miami’s high-priced talent traveled for the match after facing Toronto midweek, and physicality ensued, firing up the sold-out crowd at Exploria Stadium.

Talking with some of the other photographers on the sideline who had flown in for this match, they rated the Orlando atmosphere top-notch; in their experience, other cities don’t compare to the in-stadium fan enthusiasm.

The Lions were in “the net is lava” mode, with Duncan McGuire and Iván Angulo each missing prime one-on-one chances with Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender in each half, McGuire leaving it straight at Callendar, and Angulo badly missing the net after a missed first touch. So of course Miami struck first, with David Ruíz scoring early in the second half.

This fired the Lions up even more and Martín Ojeda pinballed McGuire in behind the Miami back line, allowing Duncan to do what Duncan does to draw the score level. The Lions generally looked the more dangerous team for most (but not all) of the night. However, it is scorin ggoals that actually counts, leaving both teams unchanged in their respective Eastern Conference standings. Orlando remains second at 14-7-9, while Miami stays in 14th at 9-15-5.

The Lions continue to control their own destiny in terms of getting a top-four finish as they look to lock up home field advantage for a best-of-three matchup in the MLS Cup playoffs.

With home dates left against Montreal and a sputtering-but-dangerous New England remaining, there’s still plenty of time to be part of that world-class gameday atmosphere by going out to support the team as they push for a strong finish.

We hope that you enjoy these images from a hard-fought, come-from-behind draw against Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium.

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Five Takeaways

Here’s what we learned from Orlando City’s 1-1 draw at home against Inter Miami.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City returned to Exploria Stadium after a midweek loss to New York City FC and had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Inter Miami. The Lions did well to equalize after conceding first, but will likely feel that they left opportunity knocking as the Eastern Conference remains tight near the top. Here are my five takeaways from the third Tropic Thunder clash this year.

Lack of Execution Plagues the Lions

Orlando’s offense struggled to put the ball in the back of the net in this match. That’s not to say they didn’t create quality chances, as the Lions served up good crosses and dangerous long balls throughout the match. Only three of Orlando’s 16 crosses found their mark in the end. The execution just wasn’t there when it came to finishing attacks, whether it be poor decision-making when the time came to play the final ball or just missing the target completely. Of Orlando’s 13 shots, six were on target and only a couple of those gave Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender much difficulty. Ivan Angulo missing the goal entirely after Dagur Dan Thorhallsson picked out a perfect pass for him stands out. Expecting every promising attack to end with a goal is unfair, but weak finishing cost the Lions from claiming a big win at home.

Corner Kicks Gave the Lions Headaches

While the Lions didn’t have any corner kicks in the match, Inter Miami had seven and created some of its best chances with them. In the 61st minute, a corner kick taken by Robert Taylor found Leonardo Campana all alone in the center of the box. The Ecuadorian forward’s header mercifully went wide, but it was indicative of how Orlando had its hands full on set pieces. Pedro Gallese had to come up with a remarkable save in the first half as well after Campana barreled through Cartagena to head the ball at goal. Even though the Lions didn’t concede from a set piece, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something focused on this week just to ensure the team is organized enough to overcome uncalled fouls without needing its star goalkeeper or some luck.

Plenty of Physicality in Rivalry Match

It was easy to tell these two teams didn’t care much for each other, as they both fought hard on and off the ball. There were 27 fouls and seven yellow cards handed out by referee Armando Villarreal. Miami committed 16 of those fouls and received five of the yellow cards as they did whatever it took to slow down Orlando’s progress. Facundo Torres suffered the brunt of it and was fouled four times so that he couldn’t work his magic against Miami’s defense. It was the kind of physical match that can be expected of two rivals and made for an intense match that will likely have players from both sides seeking an ice bath. The Lions did well to stay composed for a majority of a very chippy match.

Duncan McGuire Shakes Off the Rust

Forward Duncan McGuire got back to his scoring ways with a crucial equalizer for his ninth goal of the MLS season. It was an important goal for reasons beyond the scoreline as well, as McGuire had squandered a golden opportunity to score earlier in the match by not being able to get his shot past Callender. He was also kicking himself for not getting on the end of a few other chances as well. His 84 minutes on the field were the most from him in one game this season, and the Lions will need him more often now that Ercan Kara is in Turkey. It was the rookie’s first goal since July and, although not perfect, the kind of performance to build upon moving forward.

Orlando Showcased Its Depth and Versatility

Head Coach Oscar Pareja switched things up at halftime, replacing Cesar Araujo with Martin Ojeda and having Mauricio Pereyra sit a bit deeper in the midfield to potentially create chances on the break a bit quicker using his service. Although Ojeda didn’t get a goal or an assist, his presence was notable on both sides of the ball and he played a key role in Orlando’s goal. Having a player of his caliber able to come off the bench has been a boon for Orlando this season, letting Pareja really kickstart the changes he wants to make to the team. Similar things could be said about Orlando’s other substitutes: Junior Urso, Ramiro Enrique, Gaston Gonzalez, and Michael Halliday. Their energy and skill kept Orlando pushing for more and gave the sense that a winner would have come had the game lasted a bit longer.

That’s what I took away from Orlando’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami. Let me know what you gathered from the match in the comments below

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/25/23

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Viviana Villacorta out for the season, OCB wins last game of the regular season, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Last night’s Orlando City match wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. It’s a pretty fitting feeling on a Monday, as we all get back into the swing of the work week after a nice weekend of soccer. There are plenty of ups and downs from a rollercoaster Sunday, so let’s dive right into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws With Inter Miami

In the latest edition of the Tropic Thunder rivalry, Orlando City and Inter Miami split the points at Exploria Stadium in a 1-1 result. Miami struck first, but the Lions did well to find an equalizer, even though they couldn’t find a winner in the end. It wasn’t Orlando’s best game by any means, but it was a decent response to a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Orlando now has 51 points, tying its club record for the most points in a season, set in 2021. The Lions will have a chance to break that record on Saturday when they host CF Montreal.

Viviana Villacorta Out for the Season

Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta will miss the remainder of the NWSL season after suffering an ACL tear in her left knee during training. The 24-year-old was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, but was not able to make her debut until 2022 due to sustained an ACL tear in her right knee that kept her out for all of the 2021 season. This year, she has 21 appearances across all competitions for the Pride and notched the first assist of her career in a big road win against the San Diego Wave on April 29. This is a tough blow to the Pride’s midfield with just three games remaining as she has ended her season early due to injury for the third straight year. The Pride are only a point out of a playoff spot and are back in action on Oct. 2 against Angel City FC.

Orlando City B Wins On Decision Day

On the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, Orlando City B won 2-1 at home over FC Cincinnati 2. The Young Lions had already clinched a spot in the postseason heading into this match, but the win secured their spot as the fifth seed. Jack Lynn briefly held the Golden Boot lead after scoring, but ended up tied at 19 goals with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2’s Remi Cabral. The trio ended in a three-way tie for the league’s Golden Boot honors. OCB will hit the road for its first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game, although the opponent is not yet known thanks to the new rule where higher seeds choose which team they want to face.

USWNT Wins in Megan Rapinoe’s Final Match

The United States Women’s National Team beat South Africa in a 2-0 win at Soldier Field. Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett scored and the defense did well to secure its second shutout against South Africa after a 3-0 win this past Thursday. This game also marked forward Megan Rapinoe’s final game with the USWNT, with the 38-year-old subbed off for the last time in the 54th minute. These were solid wins from the USWNT following the World Cup and it will aim to keep the momentum rolling next month in a pair of friendlies against Colombia.

Free Kicks

  • Three Orlando City academy sides came up with shutout victories this weekend.
  • Before the USWNT’s friendly with South Africa, U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker stated that plans remain in place for a new head coach to be at the helm in time for the training camp in December
  • American midfielder Yunus Musah did well in his AC Milan debut, playing all 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Verona.
  • A match in the Netherlands between Ajax and Feyenoord had to be abandoned due to fans throwing fireworks onto the field while Feyenoord led 3-0. According to police, tear gas had to be used to stop unrest outside the stadium after the match, and Ajax later fired Sven Mislintat, its director of soccer.
  • Newcastle became the first English Premier League team to have eight different players score in a match after crushing Sheffield United, 8-0.
  • Atletico Madrid ended Real Madrid’s perfect start to the season by beating its rival 3-1, with Alvaro Morata bagging a brace.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have an easy Monday and rest of your week!

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