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Orlando City vs. Atlanta United: Final Score 3-0 as Lions Fall Flat on the Road

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Orlando City looked like the team below the line and Atlanta appeared to be the conference’s second-place team as the Lions were played completely off the field in a 3-0 loss at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Lions (10-5-8, 38 points) saw their seven-match unbeaten streak snapped by the same Atlanta (7-7-9, 30 points) club that it started against and split the points in the season series, finishing 1-1-1 in the three meetings.

It was a poor night from the Lions in every facet of the game. They didn’t press, defend, pass, attack, or even touch the ball well all night. Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja lost against Atlanta for the first time since taking over the Lions and Gonzalo Pineda won his first game as the Five Stripes’ new coach. George Campbell and Ezequiel Barco scored for Atlanta, sandwiched around a Daryl Dike own goal.

“Very disappointed today. Not just the result but the way that we played,” Pareja said after the game. “I think it’s one of those nights where we couldn’t put our game on the field and Atlanta took advantage of two silly mistakes on those set plays that we had in the first half.”

Pareja’s lineup again featured Adam Grinwis in goal behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Andres Perea started in place of the suspended Junior Urso, beside Joey DeZart in the central midfield. Mauricio Pereyra and Benji Michel were tasked with facilitating the attack in the middle third, with Nani and Dike at the top of the formation.

Despite it being a strong lineup for Orlando, and outside of the central midfield and goalkeeper was more or less a first-choice starting XI, the Lions were never in this one. From the opening minutes, the Lions did little to bother Atlanta or even let the Five Stripes know they were in the game. There was no organization when the Lions pressed, and there were no clear game tactics on display. It was simply an entire game played on the back foot.

Part of the problem was a curious lack of energy by Orlando City, but the midfield was also an issue all night and the forwards’ poor touches and wayward passes didn’t help in those few instances that some semblance of buildup took place. Without Urso or Sebas Mendez, there was no bite in the midfield. Atlanta ran through the Lions in the middle of the pitch with ease, and it wasn’t until Uri Rosell checked in during the game’s later stages that anyone wearing an Atlanta uniform had to turn back with the ball.

“We didn’t look urgent today,” Pareja said. “We were outplayed by intensity, especially in the middle, and then the reactions when the goals came in the first half, they were not natural for us. We were slow to react. The middle of the field looked so big for us. I think we were very spacey.”

Atlanta dominated the opening 45 minutes and it always seemed like a matter of when the hosts would score and how many. Luiz Araujo couldn’t capitalize on a couple of early chances. He hit the left post from the right side in the fourth minute, sending a curling shot off the woodwork after the Lions failed to get anywhere near closing him down from just outside the area.

Five minutes later, Grinwis made a diving save to deny Marcelino Moreno from outside the area when he too was given space. In the 12th minute, it was Araujo again failing to capitalize on a good opportunity, sending a shot just wide of the right post.

During all of these Atlanta chances, the hosts were comfortable in possession as the Lions struggled to even gain possession, let alone string passes together. Orlando hardly crossed the midfield stripe in the opening 20 minutes.

Orlando’s first opportunity came in the 17th minute when Dike was fouled by Alan Franco just outside the area but Nani’s free kick smacked off the wall and skipped out for a throw.

The first dangerous shot by the Lions came in the 20th minute. Moutinho did well to cut inside and find Michel on the left side. Michel fired with his left foot toward the far post but the shot stayed high and sailed just over the bar.

Five minutes later, the hosts scored. Atlanta played a corner kick short, and the Lions kind of milled around as spectators as Moreno was given acres of space to send a cross into the box. Nobody seemed interested in reacting to the cross except Campbell, who headed off the fake grass and past Grinwis to open the scoring.

Atlanta scored off another set piece in the 34th minute. Carlos committed a foul and drew a yellow card just outside the area to Grinwis’ right. Ezequiel Barco sent in a cross that bounced off Nani, hit Dike, then deflected in for an own goal. It was the second Orlando City own goal in the last two matches.

“Tactically they were better than us,” Pereyra said. “They played without a center forward and they’ve got many people with quality in the half pitch. We didn’t know how to accommodate in the pressing that we’d been working on in the week and it’s something that we need to grow now because we should adapt in the game.”

The only potential opportunities Orlando had to break in transition were both broken up by Atlanta defenders. Franco and Campbell were each booked for taking down Michel on the counter. The first would have been a 2-v-1 with Dike but Franco was likely in position to thwart the second, when Campbell drew a yellow for his foul.

It was a deserved lead at the half for the hosts and they honestly didn’t need to work that hard for it. The Lions just seemed flat, bereft of ideas, and both their touch and passing was poor throughout the opening half.

Atlanta United dominated the opening half statistically as it did on the scoreboard, leading in shots (7-3), shots on goal (2-0), possession (63.3%-36.7%), and passing accuracy (90.2%-79%), with each team earning one corner kick.

Any hope that things would change in the second half were quickly dashed. The Lions, trailing by two and needing to show some kind of urgency, failed to register a shot attempt until a weak effort from distance right at Brad Guzan from Perea in the 62nd minute. So, it took 17 minutes to even get an attempt.

In that 17 minutes, Moreno had three chances, sending one well over the bar, hitting a free kick wide, and then hitting a shot just wide after a Michel turnover. Barco also fired just over the net in transition after a Pereyra turnover.

Nani fired a shot from distance in the 71st minute but didn’t get the placement he wanted and it ended up comfortable for Guzan on only the second Orlando shot on target.

Barco put the game away a minute later. Brooks Lennon sent a ball over the top that found Barco, who moved to his right around Ruan, avoided a tackle attempt from Carlos, then beat Grinwis to make it 3-0 in the 72nd minute.

Pareja made some substitutions, including sending Tesho Akindele on for his 200th career MLS appearance, but nothing really changed. Grinwis made two huge stops late on Lennon and George Bello to keep it at 3-0 but the Lions couldn’t threaten Guzan.

Atlanta finished with a whopping 18-8 advantage in shots (5-2 on target), more possession (55.1%-44.9%), more corners (4-3), and a higher passing percentage (87.8%-82.7%). It was simply a terrible game for Orlando and perhaps behind only the trip to play New York City FC that preceded the seven-game unbeaten streak.

“We have to accept it, we have to move on, and the boys will be prepared for the next game,” Pareja said.


The Lions return home for a midweek match-up against Montreal at Exploria Stadium on Wednesday night.

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.

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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 that 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 their 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 United States U-15 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!

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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.

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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 tomorrow at Camping World Stadium, right here 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 on 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 last night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage by a score of 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.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/10/24

Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo won’t play for Uruguay in Copa America, Pride and OCB draw, USMNT drilled by Colombia, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Alex Corrie

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well down in Florida. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend and managing the broadcast operations for the NISA league’s matches last night. The Lions were off this weekend, but we had the Orlando Pride and OCB in action. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Torres and Araujo Not On Uruguay Squad for Copa America

Uruguay National Team manager Marcelo Bielsa confirmed his roster for the 2024 Copa America over the weekend, and Orlando City’s Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo didn’t make the final roster.

Torres and Araujo played briefly in the second half in Uruguay’s 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly match last week. Uruguay will now prepare for its upcoming group stage matches in the Copa America against Panama, Bolivia, and the United States. Torres and Araujo will be back with Orlando City this week to get ready for their upcoming matchup against LAFC on Saturday.

Orlando Pride, San Diego Wave Play to 1-1 Draw

The Orlando Pride drew 1-1 Friday against the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium and saw their NWSL record win streak end at eight matches. Julie Doyle scored the opener for the Pride, but the Wave were able to grab an equalizer in the second half as both sides got a point. The Pride remains unbeaten this season in the NWSL. After this weekend’s results across the league, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are tied with 28 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will be on the road again this weekend to take on the North Carolina Courage Saturday.

OCB Draws at Home vs. Carolina Core FC, Snags Shootout Point

On Friday, Orlando City B drew 2-2 against Carolina Core FC at Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions were off to a poor start early in the match, trailing 2-0 in the first half. In the second half, OCB got things back on track with goals from Alex Freeman and Imanol Almaguer to tie the match. It went to penalties after finishing tied. OCB won the extra point with a 6-5 shootout win over Carolina. That result puts the Young Lions back in the playoff hunt in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. OCB will be back in action Thursday at home against Chattanooga FC.

Colombia Dominates USMNT in Friendly Action

The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 5-1 to Colombia Saturday at FedEx Field and suffered its heaviest defeat under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. It wasn’t good from the start as the USMNT conceded two goals in the first 19 minutes of the match in the first half. Tim Weah pulled one back for the U.S. before Colombia added three more goals towards the end of the second half to seal the win. Colombia is on a seven-match winning streak and is unbeaten in 22 matches. The last time the USMNT gave up this many goals was in the 2009 Gold Cup final in a 5-0 defeat to Mexico. The U.S. needs to improve fast with its Copa America opener less than two weeks from now. It will be a quick turnaround for the Americans as they take on Brazil Wednesday at Camping World Stadium in their final friendly match before Copa America starts.

Free Kicks

  • FC Dallas has announced the departure of Head Coach Nico Estevez. Assistant Coach Peter Luccin will lead the team on an interim basis while the club begins its search for a new head coach. FC Dallas is 13th in the Western Conference with 14 points.
  • The Chicago Red Stars broke an NWSL attendance record in their match over the weekend as 35,038 fans showed up at Wrigley Field, but the Red Stars lost 2-1 to Bay FC.
  • Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney is renewing his efforts to lure former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale out of retirement to join the club. He also stated that the club’s offer is still on the table.
  • In Jesse Marsch’s second match as Canada’s head coach, Canada held France to a scoreless draw in a friendly match on Sunday.

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

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