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Orlando City vs. Nashville SC: Final Score 2-2 as Lions Roar Back from Two-Goal Deficit

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Daryl Dike scored from the penalty spot in his first career attempt and an own goal in stoppage time helped Orlando City come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Nissan Stadium. The Lions (10-8-9, 39 points) were moments from their fifth consecutive loss but got some of the breaks late that have been going against them in recent weeks to earn a much-needed point at second-place Nashville (11-3-13, 46 points).

After Orlando fell behind on a soft penalty, Nashville could play its preferred style of sitting back, staying organized, and looking for opportunities to transition. Orlando played well but struggled to break down that stingy defense until Dike earned, then converted, the penalty.

Hany Mukhtar scored off his own saved penalty and Randall Leal added a second to seemingly put the Lions away but Orlando showed mental toughness to make it a game and got the break it needed.

Orlando City is now 0-0-3 at Nissan Stadium, 1-1-3 overall against Nashville, and the team scoring first has never won in this series.

“Tonight we saw the heart of our players,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the game. “It is a very important point against a good rival, and we take it very proudly.”

Pareja’s starting lineup included Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Carlos returned from his one-game suspension but Jansson’s yellow card accumulation kept him out of this one, leaving Schlegel in the starting XI. Junior Urso and Sebas Mendez patrolled the central midfield, with Alexander Alvarado — his second MLS start — and Mauricio Pereyra facilitating the attack to Silvester van der Water and Dike.

Nashville took the lead early in the aftermath of a penalty that should never have been given. After a Nashville player collided with Gallese on a corner kick cross from the goalkeeper’s left, the ball skipped out to the edge of the box where Anibal Godoy picked it up with his back to goal. Sebas Mendez tried to nick it away, which he didn’t need to do, but there was only minimal contact. Godoy went down, and referee Drew Fischer bought it, giving Nashville a spot kick after a lengthy delay for video review. Fischer never went to look at it himself and the call stood. Gallese made the save on Mukhtar’s penalty, but the striker got to the rebound first and slipped it through to give the hosts a 1-0 lead just 11 minutes in.

The first Orlando City shot came in the 18th minute on a try from distance by Dike, who smashed it on target but right at goalkeeper Joe Wilis, who fought it off and recovered it before any Lions could pounce.

Mukhtar got around Carlos in the 23rd minute on the left but Schlegel came over to force him to shoot from a tough angle and he hit only side netting.

Nashville was content to sit deep, press only at advantageous moments, and gum up the final third for Orlando. The Lions did well to connect some passes together but even the slightest of heavy touches or off-line passes were cut out by the defense.

Dike won a free kick straight out from goal about 25 yards out and Pereyra took the set piece in the 40th minute. Pereyra’s free kick took a slight deflection off the wall and fizzed just wide of the right post.

Urso had a go from distance but didn’t trouble Willis much in the 44th minute on the last look of the half.

Nashville SC led in shots (8-5), shots on goal (3-2), and corners (4-1), while Orlando City held more possession in the first half (61.6%-38.4%) and was the better passing side (85.9%-80.4%).

The first good chance of the second half fell Orlando’s way when Pereyra fired a shot from distance that was heading in but Willis made a good diving save to keep the game at 1-0.

(Note: Look how Fischer moves into the path of the ball, which could easily have distracted Pereyra from taking it cleanly. SMH)

But, unfortunately, a strange bounce allowed Nashville to double the lead just six minutes later. Pereyra sent a pass forward that hit Moutinho in the back and fell perfectly for Nashville to counter-attack. Leal came right down the middle and Moutinho couldn’t recover after being further upfield. Schlegel had to respect the run of CJ Sapong and was late to step up as a result. Leal fired a blast inside the right post to make it 2-0 in the 59th minute.

Things got worse moments later when Schlegel was booked for a foul on Mukhtar and now he’ll be suspended for Saturday’s match.

Walker Zimmerman should have put the game away in the 66th minute when he got free for an uncontested header on a corner kick but he hit his shot wide. Orlando took advantage of the mistake.

Pareja sent on Nani and Benji Michel on the ensuing stoppage and it nearly paid off right away. A ball forward nearly put Dike in and Zimmerman appeared to impede the forward’s progress by throwing an arm out across his chest. Dike stumbled but didn’t go down until he fell over Willis, who was collecting the ball, and it was Dike called for a foul.

Leal was left with too much space a minute later and fired just a little high and wide of the right post on a dangerous chance.

Nani got his first look at goal in the 69th minute, trying his luck from distance but hitting a shot just wide of the left post. Two minutes later, the captain sent an incredible ball over the top that fell perfectly for Ruan. The right back couldn’t get the ball through to a teammate but did win a corner. Just after the set piece, Nani cut in from the right to the top of the area and fired again but his shot was at Willis.

In the 74th minute, the Lions finally caught a break. Dike tried to bring down a ball in the box and Jack Maher was draped all over him. The touch was heavy and in no way was Dike going to get to the ball first, but Maher still didn’t let go and pulled the forward down. Fischer pointed to the spot immediately and after a short check by the VAR, the call stood.

Dike took the penalty himself and powered it just inside the left post to put Orlando City on the board in the 76th minute. It was Dike’s first career penalty kick goal and his fifth of the season.

“When the ref blew the whistle I just went up and grabbed the ball,” Dike said. “I was confident that I wanted to score the goal and help spark the comeback. I just wanted to put it in the back of the net.”

Nashville tried to pounce right after the restart and Mukhtar got in a decent position on the right, smashing a shot on goal that Gallese saved. A minute later, Nani fired just over the bar again on yet another effort that didn’t miss by much.

Moutinho sent in a long cross in the 83rd minute that Michel got his head on but he couldn’t get on top of it, popping it out of play. With that stoppage, Tesho Akindele checked in for Sebas Mendez to add another attacker.

Schlegel directed a harmless shot at Willis on a training ground set piece that ended up on his foot in the 86th as the Lions kept the pressure on. That pressure finally paid off in stoppage time.

Akindele won a corner kick in the 93rd minute and Nani sent a good cross out in front of the six-yard box. Michel was battling with Brian Anunga on the back post and the ball hit the Nashville player and bounced in to tie the match, although it appeared on first look that Benji knocked it in, especially when seeing his celebration.

“After you have the whole initiative just trying to break them down and then in that counter they punished us, and they overcome those two goals,” Pareja said of his team. “It’s amazing to see how important is the heart of the team, and they have a big one. They have a huge heart and I’m happy for the players. They deserve it.”

Akindele won another late corner in the 96th minute but Fischer called Orlando for a foul while the cross was in the air and that was it for the match.

Nashville finished the game with more shot attempts (15-12) but both teams put six on target. The hosts led in corners (5-4) but Orlando held more possession (63.2%-36.8%) and passed more accurately (86.8%-77.7%).

“We’ve left the field (after recent games) with a sour taste in our mouth and then, after the New England game, I think we competed very well,” Dike said. “And we walked out of the game, even though we had not gotten any points, thinking, ‘Okay, this is when we start changing.’ Even after going down, we still knew that we were going to get a result, that we were gonna change things.”

“I thought we had the initiative the whole game,” Pareja said. “We did not want to give it up. This is the way we do it. This is the way we play, and the boys were faithful to their ways. They defend very low and they’re very effective in the counters, and obviously we lost them in the second goal, but the whole game we had that initiative that just made me feel that the players are intact and that we will keep fighting.”


Orlando City returns home to face D.C. United — which has suddenly leapt into third place — Saturday night at Exploria Stadium.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/23/24

Ivan Angulo makes Team of the Matchday bench, Americans in action, Sergino Dest to miss Copa America, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was an excellent weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, as the three sides took seven of the nine points on offer. There’s no rest for the wicked this week as the Orlando Pride travel to play the Washington Spirit on Friday, Orlando City hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, and Orlando City B finishes things up at home against Toronto FC II on Sunday. Let’s take a look at today’s links.

Ivan Angulo Earns Recognition

Ivan Angulo has been named to the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. The Colombian got the start on Saturday up in Montreal, and had a good game, going the distance and completing 82% of his passes and putting one of his two shots on target. That shot was an important one, as it gave the Lions a late equalizer and helped them salvage a valuable point on the road. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 in his player grades from the match, a rating that likely would have been higher had Martin Ojeda’s pass been accurate enough to allow Angulo to grab a possible winner just a few minutes after he equalized. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of Americans taking part in big games this week, and the good people over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with the whole rundown. First up, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, and Juventus will try to advance to the Coppa Italia final this afternoon, as they enter the second leg of the semifinal against Lazio with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Tomorrow sees Monaco and Folarin Balogun meet Lille in Ligue 1 action, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League. Things wrap up on Friday in Serie B when Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessman, and third-place Venezia face Cremonese as they try to overtake Como and finish in one of Serie B’s two guaranteed promotion places.

Sergino Dest Sidelined Long Term

Following up on a story from yesterday’s Lion Links, The Athletic is reporting that the knee injury suffered by Sergino Dest will keep him out of Copa America, and sideline him for the rest of the year. That would be a big blow for the United States Men’s National Team, as Dest has been the nailed-on starter at right back since winning a place in the team during the qualifying cycle for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks aren’t without options at the position, as Joe Scally could step in for Dest, or Gregg Berhalter could try deploying Weah there, but neither of the two possesses Dest’s level of offensive threat.

Inter Milan Wins Serie A

Inter Milan dispatched rival AC Milan 2-1 guaranteed that Inter will win its 20th Serie A title in club history. Fikayo Tomori’s goal in the 80th minute was the closest Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s club could get to leveling the score, and Inter is now a whopping 17 points clear of AC Milan with five games left to play. Inter has been imperious on its way to a 20th Scudetto, scoring the most goals in the league while also conceding the fewest and losing only once this season.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City hosted a clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day on Monday.

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 2-2 draw with CF Montreal?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City / Mark Thor

Orlando City scored in second-half injury time for the second consecutive weekend to claim points. However, this time it was an equalizer as the Lions drew CF Montreal 2-2 north of the border. The Lions ended their two-game road trip with four points and extended their points streak to four games after dropping three straight. It’s an improvement as they look to climb up the Eastern Conference standings.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances in the draw.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 5.5 — Gallese conceded a pair of goals in this game, though neither were necessarily his fault. The first was a breakaway after Robin Jansson kept Mason Toye onside and the second was blocked wide, but Kyle Smith was caught flat-footed. However, he did concede twice while saving three of Montreal’s five shots on target. Additionally, the Lions’ goalkeeper completed 55.6% of his 27 passes, including eight of his 20 long balls.

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — Smith had a solid game other than one specific play. The left back had a team-high 86 touches and completed 78.3% of his 60 passes, including five of his 12 long balls. Defensively, he recorded two tackles, two clearances, an interception, and a blocked shot. Unfortunately, his most impactful play was getting caught watching on a Gallese block while Ariel Lassiter beat him to the rebound to give the hosts a late lead. That play lowers his grade for this otherwise quality performance.

D, Robin Jansson, 5.5 — Similar to Smith, Jansson had a solid game apart from one play. He had 72 touches and completed 79.7% of his 59 passes, including a key pass and three of his 14 long balls. He added a tackle, an interception, a blocked shot, and a team-high seven clearances to his stat sheet. But his failure to step up in the 16th minute enabled Toye to get behind the back line and score the opening goal, lowering his grade.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo has proven himself to be the first-choice partner for Jansson and he was arguably the better center back in Montreal. The Slovenian international had 53 touches and completed 85.1% of his 47 passes, including two of his five long balls. The defender recorded two tackles, an interception, and three clearances defensively in a strong performance.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson was in his usual right back position for this game, playing 90 minutes and recording 44 touches. He completed 82.8% of his 29 passes, but only one of his four long balls and neither of his two crosses. He cleared the ball twice and didn’t really get into the attack, but was solid in his defensive duties.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 (MotM) — This was possibly Cartagena’s best performance of the season. His 85 touches were second-most on the team and he completed 76.5% of his team-high 68 passes, including a key pass and two of his six long balls. It was his shielding of Nathan Saliba and strong pass forward for Duncan McGuire that started the last goal, though he didn’t get an assist. The defensive midfielder was also active defensively with five tackles and three interceptions, and he won a pair of aerial duels. His overall performance earns him my Man of the Match.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — Araujo had a similar performance to Cartagena, but fewer touches and more accurate passing. He recorded 55 touches and completed 93.9% of his 49 passes, including a key pass. He was less active than his partner defensively, recording three tackles, and was booked in the 63rd minute.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo had one of his better performances in this one, recording 48 touches and completing 82.1% of his 39 passes. His biggest impact on the game came two minutes into second-half stoppage time, when he connected with an excellent Martin Ojeda cross to even the game at 2-2. He nearly scored a winner five minutes later, but the pass from Ojeda was just a bit too far for him. His goal was one of his two shots and the only one on target.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6 — Lodeiro’s 45 touches were the fewest of the Orlando City midfield, but he did the most with them. The playmaker completed 91.4% of his 35 passes, including a key pass, but couldn’t connect on his long ball or either of his two crosses. He was also caught offside and dispossessed twice before being replaced by Ojeda in the 77th minute.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres’ 65 touches were the most in the Lions’ midfield and the fourth most on the team. He completed 83.7% of his 49 passes, but didn’t connect on his two crosses or four long balls. The attacker took three shots and put one on target. In the 22nd minute, the midfielder stepped up and buried his second penalty of the season and ninth as a Lion, continuing her perfect record from the spot.

F, Luis Muriel, 6 — While Oscar Pareja had previously been starting Muriel behind McGuire, the forward got the start alone up top for the second consecutive game. He had 34 touches and completed 68.4% of his 19 passes, including his lone long ball but neither of his two crosses. His biggest impact on the game came in the 20th minute, when he tipped the ball past Montreal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois, drawing the penalty that resulted in the first equalizer. He also had a shot of his own, but it was off target.

Substitutes

F, Duncan McGuire (63’), 6 — McGuire came on in the 63rd minute for Muriel. He had 16 touches in 27 minutes, completing eight of his 10 passes (80%) with a key pass. His lone shot came in the 90th minute, when Jansson headed the ball over to him and he probably should’ve equalized, but his volley was just wide. The striker also won three aerial duels.

MF, Martin Ojeda (77’), 6.5 — Ojeda came on in the 77th minute for Lodeiro and, similar to Lodeiro last week, made a big difference. He had 15 touches and completed four of his six passes (66.7%), including a key pass. Two minutes into second-half injury time, his excellent cross found Angulo, who touched it in for the equalizer. Five minutes later, he had another great cross that nearly found Angulo for the winner, but was just out of his reach.

D, Rafael Santos (85’), 6 — Santos came on in the 85th minute for Torres as the Lions looked to see out a point. He had nine touches and completed two of his three passes (66.7%), but didn’t connect on his cross or long ball. Coming on to assure the defense, Santos did his job as he recorded a tackle, an interception, and two clearances.


This is how I saw Orlando City’s 2-2 draw with CF Montreal. Let us know how you saw the game and don’t forget to vote for your Man of the Match.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/22/24

Orlando City draws CF Montreal, Pride and OCB win, FA Cup drama, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City drew, while the Pride and OCB both won over the weekend. I had friends in town, so I went to Wrigley Field to check out a Cubs game and show them around Chicago. Let’s wish former Orlando City midfielder Kaka and Pride defender Brianna Martinez a happy birthday! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Draw at CF Montreal

Orlando City again had to overcome a 2-1 deficit on the road when it faced CF Montreal Saturday night. The Lions needed a late stoppage-time goal from Ivan Angulo to walk out of Stade Saputo with a 2-2 draw. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last four matches. Orlando City will face CF Montreal again on July 26 in the MLS Leagues Cup during the competition’s group stage. The Lions’ next match will be Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium as it takes on Toronto FC.

Orlando Pride Defeat San Diego Wave

The Orlando Pride shut out the San Diego Wave 1-0 on Friday at Inter&Co Stadium and got their second consecutive win with that same scoreline. Summer Yates scored the lone goal in the first half to seal the win for Orlando. Zambian international striker Barbra Banda made her debut for the Pride, coming off the bench in the second half. The Pride remain undefeated through five league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table with nine points. The team will be on the road to face the Washington Spirit Friday.

OCB Wins on the Road at Crown Legacy FC

Orlando City B got a 2-0 win against Crown Legacy FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Friday. Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored for the Young Lions, and Javier Otero made six saves. OCB completed its two-match road trip, securing four out of a possible six points, and has kept its unbeaten streak on the road alive at four matches. OCB is in fifth in the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference with nine points, while Crown Legacy is winless in five matches. OCB will be back in action this Sunday as it hosts Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium.

Manchester United and Manchester City Advance to FA Cup Final

Manchester United won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to the final. It was a thrilling match at Wembley as United had a 3-0 lead before Coventry City rallied to get back into the match. USMNT forward Haji Wright scored the equalizer to tie the match 3-3 late into stoppage time. Coventry City thought it scored the game-winning goal late into extra time from Victor Torp, but it was ruled offside after video review. Casemiro missed his penalty for United, while Wright and Torp gave Coventry City a 2-1 advantage. United converted four straight penalties while Coventry City missed two to seal the win for the Red Devils. Manchester City edged past Chelsea 1-0 in their semifinal matchup, with Bernardo Silva scoring the lone goal in the second half. The FA Cup final will be played at the end of May and will feature a Manchester Derby for the second consecutive time.

Free Kicks

  • In case you missed it, check out this video on Orlando City’s social media page on Ivan Angulo’s equalizer to tie the match in stoppage time against CF Montreal on Saturday.

According to OptaJack, the Pride have secured the most points at home during the regular season since last May, with 26.

  • USMNT defender Sergino Dest suffered a knee injury during training with PSV Eindhoven over the weekend. Dest will miss the remainder of the Eredivisie season and could miss the 2024 Copa America this summer.
  • Real Madrid came back from being 2-1 down to defeat Barcelona 3-2 and stay ahead of its rivals by 11 points with six league matches left.
  • Bayer Leverkusen extended its unbeaten run to 45 matches after scoring a late goal from Josip Stanisic in stoppage time to get a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Serie A side Udinese is reportedly set to hire former Juventus and Real Madrid player Fabio Cannavaro as its next head coach.

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

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