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Orlando City vs. Portland Timbers: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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Orlando City has now completed its two-game West Coast swing and came out of it relatively nicely by grabbing four points total. Sunday’s game in Portland was seemingly there for the taking for the Lions after battling it close in the first half, getting the go ahead goal in the 52nd minute and the Timbers going down a man in the 71st minute. However, a converted penalty kick allowed Portland to steal an extra two points from the Lions.

These past two games have shown this group of Lions can handle the harsh circumstances of playing on the road. Four points after back-to-back weekends of traveling across the country is not a bad outcome. The Lions will now look to bring that momentum back to the friendly confines of Exploria Stadium for the next set of games.

Now to the individual performances of the road draw.

Starters

GK, Mason Stajduhar, 7 — Starting in place of Pedro Gallese, who is out on international duty, Stajduhar was able to keep his poise throughout most of the match. His back line, particularly center backs Robin Jansson and Antonio Carlos, did a great job limiting the amount of dangerous shots he faced. Stajduhar made a pair of clean saves and did well leaving his line to snuff out a few of Portland’s chances when he needed to. He wasn’t able to stop Cristhian Paredes’ penalty sent straight down the middle as he dove to his left. In the last moment of stoppage time, as the Timbers were making their last push to win, Stajduhar did well to get down quickly to block a shot from Sebastián Blanco placed low towards the bottom corner. The American goalkeeper had decent distribution, passing at a 70.6% success rate and completing five of his 10 long balls.

D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — The Portuguese left back once again led the team in touches (89) for the second straight game. Moutinho often pushed upfield to help out offensively to put crosses into the box and his lone shot went off target. Although only one of his five crosses was accurate, one was cleared right back to Orlando and helped set up the goal for the Lions. He was also accurate on seven of his 12 long balls and finished the game with 67 passes at an 86.6% success rate. Defensively, Moutinho had four total tackles, one interception, and one clearance. It wasn’t a bad game from the defender, but some of his turnovers forced him to scramble back into position. He could have made some better choices when passing to get the ball deeper in the final third, but nothing negatively impacted the team.

D, Robin Jansson, 7 — The Swede was once again a strong force in the middle and gave little time for the Timbers’ attackers to create much pressure. Jansson even had a moment taking the ball down the middle in the second half to start an attack and raced back down to get in position defensively when the ball was coming the other way. It was great to see him put in the effort on both sides of the pitch. We have come to expect this kind of hustle from the Beefy Swede and this match was no different. Jansson had 53 touches in the game, completed 92.1% of his 38 passes, and was accurate on two of his three long balls. His lone shot attempt was blocked. On the defensive end, he had four tackles, three clearances, two blocked shots, and one foul that resulted in a yellow card. In all, a solid performance for the defender, who became the Lions’ all-time leader in minutes played during the match.

D, Antonio Carlos, 7.5 — The Brazilian defender was the focal point of the defense, leading the team with seven clearances and five interceptions to stop Portland’s offense from gaining momentum. Carlos was busy throughout the match as he had 61 touches, won three aerial battles, and passed at a decent 84.4% success rate. He was only accurate on one of his three long balls, but it was another great outing by the Brazilian to keep trouble away from the net.

D, Ruan, 6 — The quick right back did what he does best for the team, getting up and down the wing with pace. He completed 83.3% of his 30 passes for the game and was successful on his only attempted cross, which resulted in a missed header by Benji Michel. The Brazilian had 46 touches, one tackle, and was accurate on just one of his four long balls.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7 — The young Uruguayan midfielder stayed physical throughout the match to slow down and disrupt the Timbers from moving forward. Araujo led the Lions with five tackles, adding an interception and two clearances as well. He was fouled four times and committed two fouls of his own. The 20-year-old had 46 passes at an 87% success rate and three of his four long balls found their target. On the play that led to Orlando’s goal, it was Araujo who settled Portland’s attempted clearance to keep momentum. His lone shot was sent off target, but it was another great game from Araujo as he showed why he’s earned a starting spot on the squad.

MF, Junior Urso, 8 (MotM) — The Bear showed his claws once more by getting the opening goal of the match. He darted towards goal, getting in position for Alexandre Pato to find him open in front of the net. The first pass from Pato was aimed towards Ruan but it was blocked and Pato was able to quickly get it to Urso for him to slot it past Timbers goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic. Urso led the team with three shots, putting two of them on target. He also had 70 touches, four tackles, one interception, and one clearance in a solid defensive performance. The Brazilian midfielder capped off his performance with 45 passes at an impressive 88.9% accuracy and completed three of his four long balls.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — Pereyra had his game cut short when he was taken off the pitch in a stretcher in the 73rd minute. It is never a good sign to see one of your top players leave the game in that fashion, but we must hope for the best until he is evaluated. Up until that point, Pereyra had 56 touches and one shot that was easily saved by Ivacic. He was accurate on 82.5% of his 40 passes and had one key pass. Orlando’s captain was unsuccessful on his three attempted crosses but was accurate on all three of his long balls. The attacking midfielder’s presence was missed later on in the match when Orlando wanted to push for another goal to take all three points after Portland equalized. Pereyra may have changed the way the Lions attacked towards the end.

MF, Tesho Akindele, 6 — With Facundo Torres away on international duty for Uruguay, Akindele started on the right wing for the Lions. Akindele did well sprinting around his side of the pitch and put in a good effort playing a position he has occupied for Oscar Pareja before in Dallas. His only shot was a headed effort that went wide, and he also had one key pass. His only attempted cross officially missed its mark, but trickled tantalizingly in front of the goal, begging for a teammate to get to it. He did well winning three aerial duels to help Orlando gain possession. The Canadian also helped out defensively with four tackles The downside to his performance was an underwhelming 67.9% accuracy on 28 passes.

MF, Benji Michel, 6 — Michel’s play was not overly memorable, besides the scuffle he got into during extra time before a set piece which ultimately got him a yellow card for catching part of a Timbers player in the face with his hand. Early on however, Michel did take on defenders in the box to try setting himself up for a shot on goal or to place a ball in the middle, getting two key passes in the match. He had 46 touches, one shot that went off target, and a 76.7% passing accuracy on 30 passes. Michel didn’t attempt any crosses and was accurate on two of his three long balls. It was not for a lack of trying, but Michel could not get much out of his efforts.

F, Alexandre Pato, 7.5 — After not featuring in the last match, Pato got the start up top for the Lions and assisted on Urso’s goal with a perfectly paced ball right to his feet. The Brazilian star showed off some of his skill, especially in one sequence by shifting around some Portland defenders on his way up the pitch. Pato did well this match to play a little further down when needed to and distribute the ball around to his fellow Lions, which gave him an 83.3% passing accuracy on 36 passes and one key pass. On the play that caused Josecarlos Van Rankin to get a second yellow card, it was Pato who made a nice move on the counter that forced the Timbers defender to hold him back. The Brazilian forward ended the match with two shots, putting one on target, and was accurate on one of his three crosses and both of his long balls.

Substitutes

MF, Andres Perea (69’), 4.5 — Perea came off the bench and did not have the kind of fill-in work he, and many of us, were expecting him to have. In an unfortunate defensive play, Perea unnecessarily lunged out in an attempt to poke the ball off Paredes, who was cutting across the middle at the top of the box. There was no imminent danger from Paredes’ horizontal run, as Carlos had him lined up and other defenders were positioned between Paredes and the goal. After a delayed call, a penalty was awarded and Paredes converted it. Perea completed all five of his passes but had only eight touches during his time on the pitch.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (73’), 6.5 — Schlegel came on for the injured Pereyra with a defensive mindset before the score became level. He did well overall to help the defense see out the match and secure at least a point after Portland scored. The Argentine blocked a shot and made two clearances to go along with 92.3% passing accuracy on 13 passes and 18 touches.

D, Kyle Smith (84’), N/A — The Accountant came on to shore up the defensive line with fresh legs to see out the match in the 84th minute to replace Ruan. He pushed forward at times to join the attack and had one key pass and won an aerial ball in limited time on the field. Smith concluded the match with 50% passing accuracy on six passes and had 12 touches. He completed one of his two crosses and his one long ball was successful.

F, Ercan Kara (84’), N/A — The Designated Player subbed on late to spark some late game magic and possibly score the game winner. That was not to be as he could not find much of a rhythm so late into the match and ended up with zero touches.


That’s how the performances of the Lions looked to me in the team’s draw on the road. Let me know your thoughts on the players’ performances in the comment section and vote for your Man of the Match in the poll below.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Alexandre Pato16
Antonio Carlos7
Junior Urso 25
Cesar Araujo4
Other (Tell us who in the comments)3

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/28/24

Yutaro Tsukada earns recognition, Americans in midweek action, European coaching updates, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a restful holiday weekend, and if you didn’t, then I hope you’re well on the way to recovery. We’ve got an exciting schedule this week, with two Orlando City games before an Orlando City B game on Sunday. It’s also OCB forward Yeiler Valencia’s birthday today, so let’s wish him well and jump into today’s links!

Yutaro Tsukada Earns MLS NEXT Pro Honors

OCB winger Yutaro Tsukada was named MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 11 for his performance in the team’s 5-0 home win against Huntsville City FC. The 22-year-old provided the assist on OCB’s first goal after using some nice skill on the ball to shake his defender. Tsukada then scored a goal of his own off of a free kick in the second half. The rookie has been electric for the Young Lions this season, recording four goals and four assists so far. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling when OCB faces Inter Miami II this Sunday.

Major League Soccer Stock Watch

Every week gives us a better idea of each MLS team’s capabilities, so let’s check in on how things are looking following the latest matchday. LAFC is on a great trajectory, as it’s won three consecutive league games and five straight in all competitions. Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of play to stretch its unbeaten streak to 11 games, and Cristian Arango didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting. At the other end of things, the New England Revolution have lost three straight games, and six of their last seven. Likewise, the shine looks to have worn off from St. Louis City’s expansion season, as the team has also lost three straight games and simply doesn’t look the same as last year.

Americans in Midweek Action

With most of the European club seasons having concluded, there aren’t as many United States Men’s National Team players in action during the working week, but there are still some important games to make note of. Chief among those is Venezia’s game against Cremonese on Thursday. Tanner Tessmann, Gianluca Busio and Venezia will take on Cremonese over two legs, with the winner gaining promotion to Serie A. Left back Jonathan Gomez may take the field tomorrow morning in Real Sociedad’s friendly against Tokyo Verde as well.

In a pair of friendlies on Friday, Mexico plays Bolivia and Uruguay takes on Costa Rica. With the USMNT set to face both Bolivia and Uruguay in group play of this summer’s Copa America, the two matches present a good chance to better gauge the Yanks’ opponents.

European Coaching Updates

Several notable European club teams have coaching vacancies to fill this summer, and there are some updates on a few of those positions. Chelsea has reportedly made an approach for Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca, and has requested permission to talk to the manager who guided the Foxes back to the Premier League in his first year with the club. Meanwhile, despite interest from Manchester United, Kieran McKenna is reportedly set to stay at Ipswich Town, and has had talks about extending his contract. Finally, Aston Villa has extended Unai Emery’s contract, with his new deal keeping him at the club until 2029.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

Transfer season is kicking into gear, and we have several rumors to sift through this morning. Up first, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are reportedly all in hot pursuit of Stade Rennais winger Desire Doue. Casemiro reportedly has a deal lined up with a team in the Saudi Pro League, and may have played his last game for Manchester United. Newly promoted Southampton is reportedly interested in signing Adam Lallana as a free agent. Finally, Paris Saint-Germain is said to have entered the race to sign Bruno Guimaraes, and will face stiff competition from Manchester City and Arsenal.

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. the Columbus Crew: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in a 2-0 loss at home against Columbus?

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Rafael Santos Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

The Lions returned home riding a three-game unbeaten streak but a bizarre video review call moments before halftime set the tone for a physical match against the Columbus Crew. Ultimately, Orlando fell to the Crew 2-0. Here’s how I saw each individual Lion’s performance in Orlando’s fourth loss at home on the season.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — The Peruvian No. 1 saw a relatively quiet first half come to a close in a fury as he was forced into action to face a penalty kick before halftime. Gallese guessed correctly, but Diego Rossi’s placement was just above Gallese’s outstretched trailing hand. The Crew put three of their eight shot attempts on target and Gallese was credited with one save on the night. He completed 94.1% of his 17 passing attempts, including two accurate long balls out of three attempts.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7 (MotM) — Schlegel continued to fill in for injured starter Robin Jansson and has now strung a few solid performances together on the back line. Defensively, he put out multiple fires for Orlando City. He tied Wilder Cartagena for the team lead with five clearances. Schlegel also added three tackles and one blocked shot. He committed one foul while he suffered three throughout the match. He completed 93.1% of his 58 passing attempts, including two key passes. He also completed one of his three long-ball attempts on the night. For his total effort throughout the game he is our Man of the Match.

D, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — The Peruvian international continued to function as a center back in the squad’s 3-5-2 lineup. Defensively, he tied for the team lead with five clearances and added three tackles and a blocked shot. He won two aerial duels and was whistled for two fouls on the night. He completed 91.7% of his 48 passes, including two successful long balls out of four attempts. Offensively, Cartagena put one of his two shot attempts on target and completed one successful dribble.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo continued to perform well in the back as he has become more comfortable in his role, leading the team with four total tackles and chipping in one clearance. He completed 91.3% of his 46 passes and was successful on both long balls that he sent up the field. He committed one foul in the match. Offensively, he did not contribute any statistics.

WB, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres again slotted in at wingback, which limits the number of looks he gets at goal, but it’s nice to see a Designated Player willing to change positions for the good of the team. The Uruguayan logged one tackle, one clearance, and one interception on defense. He committed one foul and earned a foul as well. He completed 91.5% of his 47 passes, which included two key passes. He completed three of his eight crossing attempts on the night and was successful on one of two long balls. Offensively, he logged one shot, which was off target, and completed one successful dribble.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6.5 — Lodeiro played solidly throughout the match and was asked to do a little bit of everything during the game. Defensively, he contributed three tackles and one interception. He led the team with 77 total touches and completed 84.8% of his team-high 59 passing attempts, including one key pass. He successfully completed one of his five crosses and both of his long-ball attempts. Offensively, he put one of his two shot attempts on target. He was whistled for being offside once. Lodeiro saw his night come to an end in the 66th minute when he was replaced by Martin Ojeda.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6 — Returning from suspension for yellow card accumulation, Araujo functioned as the only true defensive midfielder. Araujo’s effort on the night will ultimately be remembered for the jersey tug and subsequent yellow card recieved for the “foul” on Aidan Morris, which resulted in a penalty kick attempt for the Crew (instead of Orlando City) after a confusing and frustrating video review. Araujo finished the night quietly from a statistical standpoint with one interception as his only defensive stat. He committed four fouls total, including the aforementioned “foul.” He completed 96.3% of his 27 passes, including two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively, Araujo was credited with one successful dribble. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute as Orlando chased the game.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6.5 — Angulo slotted into the midfield for the second straight game. Defensively, he contributed one tackle. He completed 86.5% of his 52 passes, including a team-high three key passes. He also completed his lone through ball attempt. Offensively, he did not log a shot attempt, but he did complete two dribbles and was fouled once. Angulo was able to use his speed to get into dangerous positions throughout the match but continued to lack precision when it came to the final pass or dribble.

WB, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson joined Torres as the wingback on the opposite side in the 3-5-2 system and seemed to be an afterthought throughout much of the match as the team played down the left side of the field for the majority of the game. Defensively, he contributed three total tackles and one clearance while also winning one aerial on the night and did well to deny the speedy Yaw Yeboah multiple chances to get inside him on give-and-go plays. He completed 83.3% of his 24 total passing attempts. He was unsuccessful on both crossing attempts but completed one of his two long balls. Offensively, as a byproduct of much of the action happening opposite his side of the field, he failed to record an offensive statistic. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute.

F, Luis Muriel, 6.5 — Muriel put in a good effort on a night when the scoreboard unfortunately would not reflect it. His effort to get in on goal — and subsequently be taken down from behind — earned what everyone thought at the time to be a penalty attempt for the Lions, although it was taken away by the referee after the review. Defensively, Muriel was credited with one interception. He completed 88% of his 25 passes and was successful on his lone crossing attempt. He won one aerial and offensively put one of his three shot attempts on target while completing three successful dribbles and suffering one foul.

F, Jack Lynn, 5.5 — With the injury to Duncan McGuire, the hero of the Lions’ last match, Lynn made Orlando’s starting lineup. Defensively, Lynn contributed one clearance. He completed 81.8% of his 11 passes. Lynn was unsuccessful on his lone crossing attempt. Offensively, Lynn failed to record a shot attempt but was credited with one successful dribble while being whistled for offside twice. He was subbed off in the 58th minute for Ramiro Enrique.

Substitutes

MF, Felipe, (59′), 5.5 — Brought on for Araujo just before the hour mark, Felipe looked to help control the midfield. Defensively he logged one tackle and one clearance while committing one foul, which landed him a yellow card. He completed 89.5% of his 19 passes, including one key pass and two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively he did not record a shot attempt.

WB, Rafael Santos, (59′), 6 — Santos came on for Thorhallsson but went over to fill the left wingback role, sending Torres forward and Angulo to right wingback. He recorded one interception on the defensive end. Santos completed 84.2% of his 19 passes, which included one successful long ball on his one attempt. He was fouled once and was whistled for offside once.

F, Ramiro Enrique, (60′), 6 — Making his return from an extended absence due to injury, Enrique came on for the final half hour in the hopes of providing an offensive spark. He got into good areas but struggled to finish on some of Orlando’s best scoring chances of the night. Enrique completed 66.7% of his six passes and was unsuccessful on his lone cross. In a little over 30 minutes of game time, Enrique managed to tie Muriel for the most shot attempts, with three, and put two of them on target, albeit right at the goalkeeper. Despite the poor overall outcome of the match, it was good to see Enrique return to the pitch.

MF, Martin Ojeda, (67′), 5.5 — Designated Player Ojeda came off the bench to replace Lodeiro as Orlando faced a two-goal deficit. Defensively, Ojeda logged one interception. He completed all eight of his pass attempts, with two key passes, and three of his five crosses. Ojeda attempted one shot, which was off target.


How did you see the individual performances in this game? Make your voice heard down in the comments, and be sure to vote in our Man of the Match poll. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/27/24

Orlando City loses to the Crew, Pride and OCB win, Southampton seals return to Premier League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend. I worked at Under Armour all weekend while wrapping up my high school sports coverage for the spring season. It was a mixed weekend for our teams. Orlando City lost, but both the Pride and OCB won their matches. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Lose at Home to Columbus Crew

Orlando City lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium and saw its three-match unbeaten streak end. The match’s first goal was controversial as the referee, Jair Marrufo, initially awarded the Lions a penalty late in the first half but went to the monitor and reviewed a play at the other end of the pitch. He instead awarded Columbus a penalty kick. Diego Rossi scored from the spot to put the Crew ahead 1-0 before halftime. Columbus extended its winning streak to three matches. Orlando has struggled at home, going just 1-3-4 so far this season. The Lions have not scored a goal at home since April 27. Despite the loss, the Lions still remain in 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Next up for Orlando is a pair of road matches this week, starting Wednesday at the Chicago Fire, followed by a Saturday night matchup against the New York Red Bulls. 

Pride Win at Home Over Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride won their record-setting eighth straight match with a 2-1 victory at Inter&Co Stadium against the Portland Thorns Friday. Barbra Banda scored two goals in the first half to give the Pride a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Portland pulled one back, but the Pride held on for the victory and claimed three points. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 11 matches, and the Pride stay atop the NWSL table with 27 points. The Pride are off this week but will return to action on the road next Friday, June 7, against the San Diego Wave.

OCB Win at Home against Huntsville City FC

On Sunday, Orlando City B bounced back with a season-high five goals in a 5-0 win over Hunstville City FC at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed put OCB ahead 3-0, while Yeiler Valencia scored his first two OCB goals to seal the win for the Young Lions. OCB is now in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Meanwhile, Huntsville City FC remains winless through 10 matches and stays at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. OCB’s next match will be on the road Sunday at Inter Miami CF II. 

Southampton Clinches Promotion to Premier League

Southampton booked its return to the Premier League with a 1-0 over Leeds United in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Sunday. Adam Armstrong scored the lone goal in this match as the Saints returned to the top flight after being relegated the previous season. Southampton joins Leicester City and Ipswich Town, securing promotion to the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the table, Leeds’ playoff woes continue as this is the sixth time it missed out on securing promotion and finished its season with only one win out of its last six matches. 

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

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