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2021 Orlando City Season in Review: Robin Jansson



In some respects, it’s hard to believe Robin Jansson has been with Orlando City for three seasons, but in others it feels like he’s been the back line’s dependable security blanket forever. Jansson signed with the Lions on March 12, 2019 and quickly became not only a starter alongside a finally healthy Lamine Sané, but also a fan favorite with his blue collar work ethic. He continued his strong play when paired with Antonio Carlos in 2020 and Orlando City rewarded him with a new contract this past Jan. 13 which could keep him in purple through the 2024 season.

Let’s take a look at how the Viking’s 2021 season went.

Statistical Breakdown

Jansson started the season with a knock but still managed 28 appearances to equal his 2019 total, which is his career high as a Lion. He started 26 times, which was two shy of his Orlando City career high, playing 2,424 minutes during the regular season. That was the most minutes he’s played in a season since joining Orlando. Better known for his defense, Jansson became downright offensive in 2021, notching his first three MLS regular-season goals and his first MLS assist. He set new career highs in shot attempts (14) and shots on target (4), and some of those misses were agonizingly close to being golazos on set pieces.

He continued his excellent passing, connecting at an 88.1% rate, just incrementally below his career best of 88.8% last year. The 30-year-old contributed four key passes and two successful crosses.

Defensively, Jansson finished the season with 31 tackles (1.1 per game), 42 interceptions (1.4 per game), 92 clearances (3.3 per game), and 23 blocks (0.8 per game). He nearly tripled his tackles, more than doubled his interceptions, nearly equaled his 97 clearances, and blocked a few more shots than in 2020, although all of that occurred in 464 more minutes.

Jansson committed a career-high 20 fouls and suffered nine. He received six bookings — all of the yellow card variety.

The Trollhattan, Sweden native also started and played all 90 minutes in Orlando City’s playoff match at Nashville, providing three clearances but he did not record a tackle, an interception, or a block. He didn’t score or provide an assist, passing at an 89.1% rate without a key pass but with five successful long balls. He didn’t attempt a shot, committed three fouls and suffered one but was not booked.

He also played all 90 minutes in Orlando’s Leagues Cup match against Santos Laguna. He contributed no goals, assists, or shots in the match, finishing with one tackle and winning 75% of his duels. He didn’t commit a foul while being fouled twice.

Best Game

It’s not easy to pick a best game for Jansson, as he was Orlando’s best player in a number of games this season. He was selected by either myself or my co-host Dave Rohe on The Mane Land PawedCast as Man of the Match for Orlando City seven times this season and three times we picked him unanimously. His best defensive performance was probably the 2-0 Decision Day win against CF Montreal but for his best all-around match I’ll say his best outing came on Oct. 2 in a 2-1 home victory over D.C. United.

After Orlando City fell behind in the sixth minute on a Julian Gressel goal, Jansson brought Orlando City level in the 17th minute. A Mauricio Pereyra corner found Junior Urso’s head and the midfielder forced a good diving save from Bill Hamid. Jansson was lurking at the back post and smashed his second goal of the season into the roof of the netting to make it 1-1.

It was Jansson’s only shot attempt of the match but he made it count. He also contributed three interceptions and a blocked shot on the defensive end. He was 87.3% accurate on 55 total passing attempts and completed five successful long balls in the match. He won one aerial and committed one foul while drawing one from the opposition.

Our Marcus Mitchell named him Man of the Match with a 7.5 rating for the game.

2021 Final Grade

Jansson’s outstanding season earned him a final composite grade of 7.5 out of 10 from The Mane Land staff. It continued the Swede’s upward trajectory since his arrival, as we gave him a 6.5 in 2019 and handed out a score of 7 after the 2020 season. Jansson doesn’t do many flashy things, and there are times he can get beaten in the air, but he’s a solid, dependable center back who generally gets the job done. He’s prevented a number of dangerous transition opportunities with a timely last-ditch slide tackle without giving up penalties and free kicks. He’s also good with the ball at his feet and showed more courage and confidence in getting forward into the attack to use his skills on the attacking end more in 2021.

2022 Outlook

As mentioned in the opening paragraph above, Jansson is still under a guaranteed contract for 2022 and will be the expected starter at left center back next season. Each year he’s improved over the one before and if he continues to be paired with Antonio Carlos regularly, that duo will only become more and more cohesive. They’re already one of the better — and more underrated — center back pairings in MLS, and at least the former of those traits should continue in 2022. Maybe the rest of the league will catch on to how good they’ve been and they’ll start getting the recognition they deserve.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

Orlando City

Orlando City at Inter Miami: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to defeat Inter Miami in Fort Lauderdale this Saturday?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

This Saturday Orlando City travels to Fort Lauderdale to take on in-state rival Inter Miami. Despite having to pay for a part of Lionel Messi’s salary, the Lions will not get to have him play any time for Orlando City, which is kind of messed up, isn’t it? Regardless, the Lions will look to maintain their undefeated start to the year with a win down South.

What does Orlando City need to do to bring home all three points from Chase Stadium?

Get a Midfielder on Messi

It isn’t easy to stop Messi, but that is what defensive midfielders Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena must do in this match. They are arguably the best defensive midfield pairing in MLS and will need to prove it against one of the best to ever play the game. When Orlando City played Messi and Miami in the U.S. Open Cup last year, they were able to frustrate him and he should have been sent off just before halftime for a second yellow-worthy foul he committed to stop Araujo from getting to a loose ball first to start the counter. He is very entitled and doesn’t like being challenged by the likes of those two. Doing so smartly will be the key because of our next key below.

Don’t Give the Refs Anything

MLS and the referees will never admit that they made calls that benefit Miami and Messi in particular, but that’s because they want us to not believe our lying eyes. It’s unfair and wrong, but also a fact of life. As such, the Lions need to make sure that they don’t do anything even remotely close to the type of foul that will allow the refs to swing things the Herons’ way. Of course, that might not stop them from doing so, but playing clean and smart is the best chance to limit the impact the officiating has on the match. Balancing that will being aggressive enough to stop them will be tricky to say the least.

Score, Score, Score

You can be sure we will see a first-choice lineup from Oscar Pareja this Saturday. That means that the Lions need to press for goals early and often. Score enough goals and the referees can’t hurt you. Whether it’s Duncan McGuire, Facundo Torres, Luis Muriel, Ivan Angulo, Nico Lodeiro, or even Kyle Smith, the team needs to put the ball in the back of the net. Getting the early lead — especially if it’s two goals — will mean a lot to the flow of the game. Once again, I don’t particularly care where those goals come from, just that they happen.

That is what I will be looking for this Saturday. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/29/24

Lions reportedly won’t play in U.S. Open Cup, Cavalry FC reflects on its defeat, gauging the USWNT’s panic meter, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Leap Day, Mane Landers! It’s the rarest day of the year, as we all lean into our procrastination a bit and collectively tell March that we’ll get to it tomorrow. It’s been a pretty busy week for me, but knowing the MLS season is in full swing has helped fuel me a bit. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Orlando City Reportedly Won’t Play in 2024 U.S. Open Cup

The latest reports involving Major League Soccer’s participation in this year’s U.S. Open Cup indicate that Orlando City, along with a majority of MLS teams, won’t be playing their first teams in the tournament. According to ESPN‘s Jeff Carlisle, the Houston Dynamo and the seven best teams from last season that aren’t taking part in the Concacaf Champions Cup will have their first teams take part. The format will reportedly be announced soon and we’ll see if Orlando City B and other MLS NEXT Pro teams will be in the tournament.

It will be pretty disappointing if Orlando’s first team doesn’t end up playing. Even though the Lions suffered an early exit last year, they won in 2022 and Head Coach Oscar Pareja has a penchant for excelling in the U.S. Open Cup.

Cavalry FC Reflects on Loss to Orlando City

Although Cavalry FC lost in both legs against Orlando City in its first Concacaf Champions Cup campaign, the Canadian club can hold its head high. Cavalry Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. spoke on the team’s tactics in the second leg in Orlando to overcome the hefty aggregate deficit.

“Strategically, we wanted to frustrate them in the first half with an extra defender, and often at times we were in a back five,” Wheeldon said. “And second half, we wanted to unleash with more attackers and have a go, because it was 0-0. We thought … one, we wanted to make history with our first goal, and two, we wanted to get a result here.”

That first goal did come with Myer Bevan making some history for his team to take back to Canada. All in all, Cavalry did pretty well as the underdog and it’s unfortunate it didn’t get a true home game in Calgary. Cavalry’s defense is the real deal and I doubt this is the last time it makes an appearance in the Champions Cup.

Assessing the Fallout From the USWNT’s Defeat

The United States Women’s National Team suffered a shocking defeat to Mexico earlier this week that’s brought on varying levels of panic. The clock is ticking before the Olympics and the USWNT struggled to bounce back after trailing in the first half and had difficulties on both sides of the ball. While the issues at center back will likely be solved once Naomi Girma and Tierna Davidson play, the midfield has plenty of question marks and a weird balance of youth and experience. It’s an awkward stage for the USWNT, as Emma Hayes doesn’t arrive until May and won’t have much time to get the team ready for Paris. Of course, the USWNT could still win this tournament and the return of Mallory Swanson may heal most wounds this summer, leaving this loss as just a minor blemish when the year is up. Only time will tell and the USWNT has plenty of opportunity to right the ship.

FA Cup Quarterfinals Are Set

It was a pretty wild day in the FA Cup, with some of England’s top teams fighting their way into the quarterfinals. Chelsea needed a late winner from Conor Gallagher to beat Leeds United 3-2 at Stamford Bridge. Manchester United’s match against Nottingham Forest also had a dramatic finish, as United’s Casemiro scored the game’s only goal in the 89th minute. Wolverhampton ousted Brighton thanks to an early goal, and Liverpool got the job done against Southampton.

In the quarterfinals, Newcastle will travel to take on Manchester City, Wolverhampton will host the second division’s Conventry City, Chelsea will take on Leicester City, and Manchester United will face off against Liverpool. All four matches will take place on March 16.

Free Kicks

  • After getting married, Orlando Pride defender Emily Madril will have a new name on the back of her jersey this season.
  • Former Pride midfielder Becky Edwards is an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee and shared details about her time as both a player and coach with the U.S. U-20 team.
  • Enjoy this captured moment of Orlando midfielder Wilder Cartagena being awesome.
  • LAFC forward Mateusz Bogusz’s strike against the Seattle Sounders won the first MLS Goal of the Matchday of the season, claiming 35.4% of the vote.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a pretty great Leap Day and that the rest of the week goes smoothly.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/28/24

Orlando City moves on in Champions Cup, Orlando Pride unveil new kits, USMNT to play Brazil in Orlando, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope you all enjoyed watching Orlando City’s win Tuesday night in the Concacaf Champions Cup. I’ve been staying busy at Under Armour, while wrapping up covering high school basketball playoff action with the state championship this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Defeats Cavalry FC in Concacaf Champions Cup

The Lions took care of business on Tuesday, defeating Cavalry FC 3-1 at Inter&Co Stadium to advance 6-1 on aggregate and reach the round of 16 in the Concacaf Champions Cup. Forward Luis Muriel got his first start as a Lion, and there was plenty of rotation from the lineup Head Coach Oscar Pareja used against CF Montreal this past weekend. It was Orlando’s first home win in the continental tournament and the Lions will face Tigres in the next round in a rematch of their series in last year’s Concacaf Champions League. The first match will be in Orlando on Tuesday, with the second leg taking place in Mexico on March 12.

Orlando Pride Unveil New Phoenix and Citrus Kits

The Orlando Pride unveiled two new kits on Tuesday as part of the NWSL’s league-wide kit reset ahead of the upcoming season. The first kit is called the Phoenix kit, which features the Pride’s two recognizable colors, purple and blue. The Phoenix kit also features a two-toned purple gradient that goes from the top right to bottom left on the jersey.

The secondary Citrus Kit is an all new color scheme that pays tribute to Florida’s citrus industry. The Citrus Kit features a new orange and iced-out green color scheme with oranges and leaves, while the letters and numbers have the same green coloring. The socks have “Pride” handwritten on the back, while a stylized “OP” is on the lower end of the jersey.

Both kits will be unveiled during the kit party at the Orlando Regional History Center later today. Fans can purchase replicas of the two new jerseys at, in the Den at Inter&Co Stadium, and on

Philadelphia Union Advance Past Deportivo Saprissa

The Philadelphia Union survived a wild match against Deportivo Saprissa at Subaru Park, securing a 3-3 draw to advance to the next round on aggregate. There were four goals in the first 30 minutes of the match, and Mariano Torres gave Saprissa a needed third goal in the second half to send the game to extra time. Despite playing a man down after defender Jack Elliot was sent off, the Union’s Mikael Uhre scored in extra time and the defense held on to advance. There is more Concacaf Champions League action tonight, as FC Cincinnati takes on Cavalier SC, already up 2-0 on aggregate, while Nashville SC faces Moca FC with a 3-0 aggregate lead. The New England Revolution will host Independiente tomorrow.

USMNT to Play Brazil at Camping World Stadium

The United States Men’s National Team will play Brazil in the second edition of the Continental Clasico on June 12 at Camping World Stadium. Both teams will use this match to test themselves in preparation for the Copa America this summer. This will be the first meeting between these two sides since 2018, when the USMNT lost 2-0 to Brazil in a friendly at MetLife Stadium. In the first edition of the Continental Clasico last April, the USMNT played Mexico in a thrilling 1-1 draw. The USMNT has only beaten Brazil once in 19 matches, but its record in Orlando has been stellar, with a 7-2-0 record in recent years. The 2024 Copa America will kick off on June 20.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS power rankings have been released after opening week. Orlando City dropped three places to eighth after a scoreless draw against CF Montreal this past weekend.
  • The Orlando Pride’s Rafaelle started and scored a goal in Brazil’s win against Panama in the Concacaf W Gold Cup. Pride forward Adriana came off the bench for Brazil as well.
  • USMNT captain Tyler Adams is back at training with AFC Bournemouth. Adams has been sidelined since last September with a hamstring injury.

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

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