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



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

2023 Orlando City Season in Review: Jack Lynn

The 2022 draft pick spent most of his time with Orlando City B during his second year in purple.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Jack Lynn joined Orlando City through the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, when he was selected in the first round by the Lions with the No. 18 overall pick. He was then signed to a one-year deal in February of last year with options for the next three years. Much of his time during his first season was spent with Orlando City B, although he did make a few appearances for the first team.

Let’s take a look back at Lynn’s second year in purple.

Statistical Breakdown

Lynn made three appearances in Major League Soccer with the senior side, all of which came as a substitute, and finished with 33 minutes on the field. Defensively, he recorded one interception and two clearances, while committing one foul. Offensively, he won four aerial duels, took one shot, which was on target, drew two fouls, and completed three long balls while passing with 76% accuracy. He did not score a goal or assist on one.

As in 2022, the majority of Lynn’s season was spent in MLS Next PRO with Orlando City B. He had a phenomenal year in the developmental league, and his campaign finished with him being named the league’s MVP and winning the Golden Boot. He played in 27 games for the young Lions, 20 of which were starts, and racked up 1,826 minutes. Defensively, he recorded three interceptions, committed 16 fouls, and was shown four yellow cards. On offense, he took 72 shots and put 40 of them on target, scored 19 goals, drew 15 fouls, and passed with 74% accuracy while completing 13 long balls and 12 key passes but no assists.

Best Game

There weren’t a lot to pick from, but I’ve gone with his longest appearance of the year, which was a 20-minute shift during Orlando City’s 4-3 comeback win over the Columbus Crew. He didn’t record many statistics on the night, as he won two aerial duels, committed a foul, and passed with 50% accuracy. However, he provided a big target up front as the Lions continued to lump the ball forward in search of goals, and he factored in on Facundo Torres’ goal, pulling players away so Ramiro Enrique could collect the ball and start the move that ended with the ball in the back of the net. Michael Citro graded him as a 5 out of 10 in our Player Grades piece, the only game this year in which he received a grade.

2023 Final Grade

As he fell well short of the 450 minute threshold that we require for a player to be given, Lynn has been given a grade of incomplete for the 2023 season. After spending the bulk of his time with Orlando City B in his first two seasons as a Lion, we still don’t have a great idea of what he might be able to contribute to the first team, and we simply need to see more of him to get a better read on his abilities.

2024 Outlook

Lynn remains fairly young and inexpensive, has option years left on his contract, and just tore up MLS Next PRO with Orlando City B. With there being some whispers about overseas teams scouting Duncan McGuire, and the Lions already a little thin at the striker position, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Lynn’s option year exercised. What sort of role he’ll have will then likely depend on what he’s able to show during preseason, but if nothing else he should remain a key part of OCB.

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Lion Links: 12/8/23

Orlando City will play Flamengo in preseason friendly, Kylie Strom signs new deal, USMNT’s Copa America group draw, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Friday! The work week is almost over and I’m really looking forward to the weekend. I’ll be celebrating a friend’s birthday and knocking out most of the holiday shopping that I haven’t gotten around to just yet. Hopefully the malls aren’t too chaotic. Regardless, it should be a nice next few days. But for now, let’s get to the links!

Orlando Will Face Flamengo in 2024 FC Series

Orlando City’s first preseason game will take place on Jan. 27 when it takes on Flamengo at Camping World Stadium as part of the 2024 FC Series, which was previously known as the Florida Cup. Going up against one of Brazil’s powerhouses should be great preparation for the Lions after a record season in 2023 that earned them a spot in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup. It will be the second meeting between the two sides after a 2015 friendly in Brazil that Flamengo won 1-0. It will be nice to see the Lions in action at Camping World Stadium again and the kickoff time for next month’s match will be unveiled at a later time.

Kylie Strom Signs New Deal With Pride

Defender Kylie Strom, who was a free agent following the 2023 season, will return to the Orlando Pride after signing a three-year deal with the club. She joined the Pride in the summer of 2021 from Atletico Madrid and started in 26 games this past year, holding down the left back position. The Pride now retain their starting back line heading into 2024 and have full protection in Tuesday’s expansion draft. Although the defense struggled at times, it improved as the season wore on and the Pride nearly made the playoffs. Jordyn Listro is now the only free agent left from last year’s squad.

NWSL Announces Blueprint for 2024 Schedule

The framework for the 2024 NWSL season was revealed and the 182-match regular season has been formatted so that NWSL games don’t take place during international breaks. The biggest change is that the NWSL Challenge Cup is no longer a tournament and now just a match between the NWSL Shield winner and the NWSL champion, meaning San Diego Wave FC will play NJ/NY Gotham FC on March 15. However, there will be a weekend tournament organized by the league for all 14 teams during a break in the regular season while the Summer Olympics take place. The playoffs will feature eight teams and won’t include byes this year, with the quarterfinals starting on Nov. 9 and the NWSL Championship set for Nov. 23. Clubs can begin their preseason camps as early as Jan. 22 and no later than Jan. 29.

Copa America Teams Learn Their Groups

The United States Men’s National Team will take on Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia in its group in the 2024 Copa America. Uruguay was one of the strongest opponents the U.S. could get drawn against, as the South American team has scored 13 goals so far in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying. The important match between the USMNT and Uruguay will take place on July 1 in Kansas City. We’ll see how much Orlando City winger Facundo Torres plays for Uruguay in the tournament. As for Orlando’s Peruvian pair of Pedro Gallese and Wilder Cartagena, Peru is in a tough group against Argentina, Chile, and whichever nation prevails between Canada and Trinidad & Tobago.

We also have a clearer idea on which teams will be playing in Orlando. Two games will take place at Exploria Stadium, with Chile playing either Canada or Trinidad & Tobago on June 29 before Bolivia and Panama face off on July 1.

Gisele Thompson Signs With Angel City FC

Angel City FC signed young defender Gisele Thompson to a three-year contract that had this year count as the first year, with an option for an additional year in 2026. She turned 18 earlier this month and turned down an offer to play at Stanford to instead sign with Angel City, meaning the club did not need to use a draft pick for her to join. Gisele is the sister of Alyssa Thompson, who Angel City traded up to select with the first pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft. They are the youngest players on Angel City’s roster and will become the second pair of sisters to play in the league.

Free Kicks

  • The Colorado Rapids are reportedly in talks with American goalkeeper Zack Steffen to sign him from Manchester City.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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Orlando City

2023 Orlando City Season in Review: Favian Loyola

The Homegrown midfielder spent most of the year with OCB but made his MLS debut in July.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City signed midfielder Favian Loyola to a Homegrown Player deal through 2025 on Dec. 2, 2022, with club options for 2026 and 2027. The OCSC Academy product became the club’s 13th all-time Homegrown signing and it was no surprise after his fantastic 2022 season. The Camp Lejeune, NC, was coming off a breakout year in the club’s youth system, which culminated with his selection to the 2022 MLS NEXT All-Star Game, in which he was named MVP. After starting the 2022 season on an academy contract, Loyola earned an MLS NEXT Pro deal, signing it last August. When he signed his Homegrown deal in December he became the first player to climb the club’s developmental ladder from the academy, to the current OCB setup in MLS NEXT Pro, to the first team.

Let’s take a look back at Loyola’s 2023 campaign, which was abbreviated due to surgery on his arm to remove a blood clot on Aug. 27.

Statistical Breakdown

Loyola played in just one MLS match with the Lions, making his first-team debut July 1 in a 3-1 home win over the Chicago Fire. The 18-year-old came on as a substitute in the third minute of stoppage time for Facundo Torres and is officially credited with one minute played, although that match went to nine minutes of stoppage. In that short amount of time he managed six touches and attempted six passes, completing all of them — one of them being a key pass. Loyola did not attempt a shot or record any defensive stats, but he did commit one foul, but he was not booked for it.

The bulk of Loyola’s 2023 season was spent with Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro, where he was a key player off the bench for Martin Perelman’s side. He appeared in 20 of the team’s 28 matches, starting seven, and logging 732 minutes. He scored two goals and added three assists, putting 10 of his 21 shots on target during the year. Loyola completed 80.3% of his passes with OCB, served up seven key passes and six successful long balls, and completed three crosses. He recorded four tackles and three interceptions, committed 11 fouls while drawing 10, and was booked three times.

Best Game

With just the one MLS match to his credit, Loyola’s MLS debut against Chicago was his best game of the 2023 Major League Soccer Season. It was a memorable match, as he subbed on for Torres, who set the tone for the Lions with a brace that night, and it was also the game in which Mauricio Pereyra made his 100th appearance with Orlando City. Loyola made the most of his short amount of time on the pitch, despite committing a foul during his first minute of MLS play. He settled in and completed all six of his passes and created a scoring chance just seconds after his foul, when he sent a ball to Ramiro Enrique, although the Argentine had his shot attempt blocked from a tight angle.

2023 Final Grade

As Loyola came up short of the minimum total of 450 minutes played to receive a rating on our 1-10 scale, The Mane Land has no choice but to mark his grade as incomplete for the 2023 season. If his meteoric growth continues, Loyola will likely have much more than one appearance next season as his skills at passing and finding pockets of space translate well to the next level. He wasn’t able to return to the pitch after the surgery for his blood clot, but he should be ready to go for 2024.

2024 Outlook

With Loyola being just 18 years old and the club having him under contract, I would expect his role to be the same in 2024. He’ll be learning the ropes with OCB, playing most of the season with the club’s reserve side in MLS NEXT Pro, where he will continue to be a key player. However, if he continues to develop his game, he could push for more late substitute appearances with the first team or even get a start if the Lions draw a lower-league team in the U.S. Open Cup. One thing Loyola will need to work on is controlling the ball, as he turned the ball over 15 times with OCB in 2023.

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