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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Final Score 4-2 as 9-Man Lions Lose Second Straight

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Orlando City went down a man and two goals but battled back to even the score before suffering a second straight loss — this time 4-2 to CF Montreal at Exploria Stadium. Nani hit the showers before halftime after picking up a pair of yellow cards and Andres Perea joined him in the dressing room during the second half with a straight red. Romell Quioto led Montreal (9-8-7, 34 points) with a goal and two assists while defenders Robin Jansson and Ruan provided the only offense for Orlando City (10-6-8, 38 points).

The Lions have conceded nine times in the last three matches but at least they didn’t score on themselves as they had in the previous two. It was just Orlando’s second home loss of the season and a disappointing performance in all phases almost from the opening whistle.

“First, I apologize (for) our performance to our fans,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “Not just because the game became messy with all these incidents and things, but because we’re much more than that. But at the end, you have a coach and you have a leader who takes the responsibilities on the way we line up, the way we choose to play the game, and our strategies, and all those things and today it didn’t work.”

Pedro Gallese returned to the starting lineup in goal for Orlando City behind a back line of Emmanuel Mas, Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Junior Urso returned from suspension to take his spot in central midfield beside Perea. Silvester van der Water and Mauricio Pereyra facilitated the attack to Nani and Daryl Dike.

Orlando City looked a bit out of sync to start the match and everything was just a little off. The Lions started several Montreal counters with poor passes and poor decisions with the ball and the one time they managed to put together a good attack early, the goal didn’t count. Van der Water got in behind and put the ball in the net in the seventh minute but he was flagged for a clear offside.

The first good look fell, literally, to Montreal. A cross from the right came to Jansson but he failed to clear it and only knocked it as far as Djordje Mihailovic, who fired a shot over the bar in the 11th minute. A minute later, Joaquin Torres fired just wide on a counter that was set up when Mas tried to flick a back pass to Pereyra in the attacking third but the ball got caught under his foot in the process and Montreal took it away.

In the 15th minute, Samuel Piette recycled a corner kick that Orlando cleared and sent a ball that Joel Waterman headed toward goal but Gallese was able to get over and save it.

Montreal broke the deadlock in the 18th minute after Perea turned it over. The visitors came forward and Ruan drifted too far inside. A quick pass outside and Quioto had plenty of space to send in a good cross. Montreal somehow had two runners — one on each side of Jansson, who was left to try to defend two men. The ball sailed over him to Mathieu Choiniere, who headed home.

Orlando tried to pull that goal back but lacked the quality and the creativity to do it. Nani sent in a cross for Urso but he was well covered and could only send a weak header toward goal. Moments later, Nani tried a shot from distance but it was always going over the bar.

The Lions got a set piece when Pereyra was fouled but it ended up doing more harm than good. Ruan played the free kick short to no one in particular and Nani raced forward to try to beat Torres to it and ended up fouling him and getting booked for it. That became a big booking shortly therafter. Nani coughed up the ball in the midfield for the second time in the game in the 35th minute and clipped Quioto from behind trying to stop the counter. Rubiel Vazquez showed him a second yellow and the Lions were forced to play at a manpower disadvantage for the rest of the match.

“Sometimes this happens,” Urso said of the sending off. “I know it’s hard to play with 10 players against 11. We have to be a team. Nani is our captain and he was sad and mad in the locker room, but we understand him and we are a team. We have to keep going. Nani has our respect (and) has our support.”

To make matters worse, Montreal scored right after the restart. Mihailovic played Quioto behind the defense and his shot hit off the far post and went in to make it 2-0 in the 37th minute.

Orlando managed to pull one back on a set piece. After Victor Wanyama fouled Dike from behind and was booked for it, Pereyra sent in a ball that fell to Wanyama to clear. The midfielder hit it only as far as Jansson near the top of the area and the Beefy Swede chipped in a shot toward the far post to make it 2-1 in the 40th minute.

Montreal out-shot the Lions in the opening half, 7-4, and got more on target (4-1). The visitors had more possession (57.2%-42.8%), more corners (4-0), and more accurate passing (92.5%-84.7%). The Orlando passing accuracy doesn’t look that bad as a statistic, but seemingly every wayward pass ignited some kind of Montreal transition.

Pareja subbed Benji Michel on for Chris Mueller to start the second half, which seemed odd because Mueller had replaced van der Water in the 41st minute. It turns out that both wingers picked up knocks in the match.

“When Chris came in for Silvester, Silvester was hurt,” Pareja said. “He asked for the substitution. And then when we came back to the locker room, Chris was hurt too. He got his ankle tweaked and then he couldn’t come out for the second half.”

The Lions had an excellent opportunity to tie it up in the 54th when Ruan got down the right flank and sent a ball toward the net that hit the goalkeeper and bounced straight to Dike. The big forward sent his shot over the gaping wide net.

Montreal seemed content to knock the ball around and keep possession, not attempting to get forward much. Orlando took advantage of that in the 63rd minute. Michel got down the left side and sent in a quick pass to Mas, who took an extra touch instead of shooting. Zachary Brault-Guillard swept in and knocked the ball off Mas and it bounced straight to Ruan in the middle. The right back fired immediately and scored his first career MLS goal, tying the game at 2-2.

CF Montreal was no longer content to just kick it around after the game was tied and started attacking again. Orlando managed to fight off the visitors for a while but only for about 10 minutes. Quioto got the ball on the right and sent a wicked low cross into the box. All substitute Lassi Lappalainen had to do was stick out a foot and redirect it to restore Montreal’s lead at 3-2 in the 73rd minute.

The visitors got an insurance goal off a corner in the 80th minute. Substitute Ibrahim Sunusi flicked home a near-post cross from Mihailovic to make it 4-2 and effectively end things.

Perea was sent off three minutes later trying to commit a tactical foul in transition. Rather than seeing yellow, Perea was shown a straight red by Vazquez for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity although the play was on Montreal’s attacking right and Carlos was charging down the center of the pitch. The center back appeared to be in position to potentially make a play, but Orlando finished out the match with just nine men.

Mihailovic sent the ensuing free kick just inches wide of the far post.

Michel had a final chance to pull one back for the Lions but hit a weak shot right at the goalkeeper from the left side in the 90th minute.

Montreal finished with more shots (15-7), shots on goal (7-3), corner kicks (9-0), and possession (59.7%-40.3%), and was the more accurate passing team (92.5%-84.8%).

“We can use it as an excuse of saying that we’re playing at first with 10 and nine and ejections and other things, but I didn’t like the way we were playing with 11 either,” Pareja said. “So, after that we played actually better. We cannot lose our mind. It’s something that’s happened to many teams in the league and this is our journey. We’re not we’re not going to lose our heads, for sure. We have to review and obviously try to see how can we find a way to be back (to) the team that we are. And definitely things need to be done and changes (need to be made). This needs to be evaluated for sure. It’s part of our job, and I take that responsibility.”


The Lions hit the road next for a pivotal Sunday afternoon match against the Philadelphia Union at 4 p.m.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Cavalry FC, Concacaf Champions Cup: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions play their first competitive match of 2024 north of the border in the Concacaf Champions Cup.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night Concacaf Champions Cup matchup between Orlando City and Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League at Starlight Stadium in Langford, British Columbia at 10 p.m. (FOX Sports 2, TUDN). It’s the first meeting ever between the teams and Orlando City’s first ever match against a CPL team.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.

History

There isn’t any. These teams have never met, nor has Orlando City faced anyone in the Canadian Premier League before.

The Lions will be experiencing their fourth international cup competition and their second foray into Concacaf Champions League/Cup, having drawn twice against Tigres UANL last season. Orlando bowed out of last year’s competition due to the away goals tiebreaker. Orlando City has also competed twice in Leagues Cup.

Overview

Both teams will be playing their first competitive match of the 2024 season. Orlando City is coming off a 4-0-1 preseason, drawing 1-1 against Flamengo before reeling off four straight wins against Rhode Island FC, the New England Revolution, the Houston Dynamo, and the Colorado Rapids. City reached the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 2023 and is looking to build on its most successful season to date in MLS.

Cavalry FC is coming off a season in which it finished top of the table in the regular season, but fell 2-1 after extra time in the CPL championship match against Forge FC. As far as CPL teams go, the Lions will be facing one of the league’s best, as you’d expect in a competition called “Champions Cup.”

“We’re very proud and very happy to bring Orlando City to this beautiful city and this excellent competition,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “(We’re) Feeling proud of playing in Champions Cup in Concacaf and obviously aiming for the best prize, and here we are starting the season with obviously a very competitive game.”

Pareja is suspended for tonight due to his red card in the second leg against Tigres in 2023.


Projected Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Michael Halliday.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Nico Lodeiro, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Duncan McGuire.

Cavalry FC (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Marco Carducci.

Defenders: Bradley Kamdem, Daan Klomp, Eryk Kobza, Fraser Aird.

Defensive Midfielders: Charlie Trafford, Jesse Daley.

Attacking Midfielders: William Akio, Sergio Camargo, Ali Musse.

Forward: Myer Bevan.

Officials:

REF: Juan Gabriel Calderon (Costa Rica).
AR1: William Arrieta (Costa Rica).
AR2: Henri Pupiro (Nicaragua).
4TH: Keylor Herrera (Costa Rica).
VAR: Oscar Mejia (Mexico).
VAR1: Erick Miranda (Mexico).


How to Watch

Match Time: 10 p.m.

Venue: Starlight Stadium — Langford, British Columbia.

TV: FOX Sports 2, TUDN.

Streaming: The match can be streamed on FOX Sports GO, the FOX Sports app TUDN.com, and the TUDN app.

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).


Enjoy the match. Go City!

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Lion Links: 2/21/24

Orlando City takes on Cavalry FC tonight, Lions sign Jeorgio Kocevski, USWNT wins in Concacaf W Gold Cup, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you in Florida as we get to watch the Lions in action tonight in the Concacaf Champions Cup. There’s not much new with me this week other than staying busy covering high school basketball and hockey. Let’s also wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride forward Amanda Allen. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Takes on Cavalry FC Tonight

Orlando City will be in action tonight in the first round of the Concacaf Champions Cup, as it takes on Cavalry FC at Starlight Stadium at 10 p.m. This matchup will be the Lions’ first competitive match of 2024, with their MLS season opener against CF Montreal set for Saturday. The Lions were knocked out by Tigres due to away goals in last year’s Concacaf Champions League. Cavalry FC will make its debut in this competition tonight and qualified by winning the 2023 Canadian Premier League Shield. The second leg between these two sides will be on Feb. 27 at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando City Signs First-Round Draft Pick Jeorgio Kocevski

Orlando City signed 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick Jeorgio Kocevski to a contract through the 2024 season, with club options for 2025, 2026, and 2027. Kocevski scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time in Orlando’s final preseason match against the Colorado Rapids this past weekend. The midfielder was selected 21st overall in the first round of the 2024 MLS SuperDraft by the Lions in December. He played four years for Syracuse, recording seven goals and 18 assists in 71 matches. Kocevski is the only player the club has signed from the Lions’ 2024 draft class and will likely get some minutes with Orlando City B this season.

St. Louis City and Philadelphia Union Win in Champions Cup

Orlando City isn’t the only MLS team kicking off its Concacaf Champions Cup campaign this week. St. Louis City edged out the Houston Dynamo 2-1, with rookie Hosei Kijima scoring the winner in stoppage time. The Philadelphia Union were on the road in Costa Rica to face off against Deportivo Saprissa and won 3-2 thanks to a hat trick from Julian Carranza in the second half. As for other tournament matches this week, the New England Revolution face Independiente in Panama tonight, with Nashville playing Moca FC in the Dominican Republic and FC Cincinnati taking on Jamaica’s Cavalier SC tomorrow.

USWNT Beats the Dominican Republic in W Gold Cup

The United States Women’s National Team got its Concacaf W Gold Cup campaign off to a great start with a 5-0 win against the Dominican Republic in Group A. Olivia Moultrie scored her first USWNT goal to give her team an early lead, with Lynn Williams giving the U.S. another goal before halftime. Moultrie scored another in the second half to earn her brace, and Jenna Nighswonger converted a penalty for her first USWNT goal as well. Former Pride forward Alex Morgan replaced Mia Fishel on the roster due to injury and scored from the penalty spot in stoppage time. The USWNT’s next game will be against Argentina on Friday at 10:15 p.m.

UEFA Champions League Roundup

The UEFA Champions League had plenty of drama as the round of 16 continued. Inter Milan won 1-0 in its first leg against Atletico Madrid at home, with Mark Arnautovic scoring the only goal in the match. In the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund played to a thrilling 1-1 draw. The second legs for both matchups will be played on March 13. There is more Champions League action today, as FC Porto hosts Arsenal while Napoli takes on Barcelona.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS power rankings are out just before the regular season begins. Orlando City begins the season in the fifth spot.
  • Orlando City and the Orlando Pride announced fan experience upgrades at Inter&Co Stadium featuring Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in merchandise shops, stadium Wi-Fi upgrades, and a jersey history experience.
  • The MLS Players Association released a statement on the ongoing referee lockout.
  • Here is the list of MLS Season Pass commentator assignments for opening week.

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City Signs First-Round Draft Pick Jeorgio Kocevski

Orlando City signs its first-round draft pick Jeorgio Kocevski to a one-year deal with three option years.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City SC announced the signing of first-round 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick Jeorgio Kocevski today. The deal is through the upcoming 2024 season with club options for 2025, 2026, and 2027. The Lions selected the Syracuse midfielder with the 21st overall pick in the draft in December.

“Jeorgio has had a really strong preseason camp with us, demonstrating everything we saw in him when we were scouting him and analyzing his game in college,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “He’s done well working his way into the group, even starting in our friendly against Flamengo and holding his own against some of the best in Brazil, and we’re excited to have him with us this season.”

The box-to-box midfielder made three appearances this preseason, starting against Brazilian club Flamengo and the following scrimmage against USL Championship side Rhode Island FC. He came on at halftime against the Colorado Rapids last weekend, scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute.

Prior to being selected by the Lions, the Liverpool, NY, native made 71 appearances with 65 starts and logged 5,599 minutes for Syracuse in four years. He scored seven goals and recorded 18 assists, putting 33 of his 93 shots on frame. Additionally, he was part of Syracuse’s 2022 NCAA national championship team, playing 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw, but missing in the team’s victorious shootout over Indiana.

Kocevski had a breakout junior year, being named to the United Soccer Coaches’ All-South Region third team, All-ACC third team, NCAA All-Tournament team, and ACC All-Tournament team. During his senior year, he wore the armband for the Orange and was named All-ACC first team and ACC Co-Midfielder of the Year.

What It Means for Orlando City

Kocevski was the most likely pick from this most recent draft to be signed by Orlando City. The departure of club captain Mauricio Pereyra left a spot in the midfield and Head Coach Oscar Pareja seemed to feel the rookie could fill it from early on. His start against Flamengo was in the place of regular starter Cesar Araujo, who was on international duty with the Uruguay U-23 national team. He played against Flamengo’s best lineup and did quite well in almost an hour on the field in his first minutes of play at the professional level.

While a spot was open for the signing of Kocevski, he likely won’t see much of the field for the first team this season. In addition to being behind starters Araujo and Wilder Cartagena, the defensive midfielder will be behind Felipe on the depth chart. In all likelihood, the rookie will slot in with Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro to get some minutes, but there is room for him to start regularly with that team.

Kocevski is currently the only player signed by the club from the Lions’ 2024 draft class. West Virginia midfielder Yutaro Tsukada, Pittsburgh midfielder Filip Mirkovic, and Charlotte midfielder Riyon Tori remained unsigned, with the latter opting to return to school for his senior season.

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