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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: 4/16/24

Nico Lodeiro earns recognition, Marta up for Goal of the Week, MLS stock watch, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you had a good weekend and got your taxes filed correctly and on time. It was a good weekend for Orlando soccer, as the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and Orlando City went undefeated and picked up seven of the nine points on offer. As always, we have a lot to talk through today. Before we get into today’s links, let’s all wish Luis Muriel a happy birthday!

Nico Lodeiro Makes Team of the Matchday Bench

Midfielder Nico Lodeiro has earned recognition for his part in Orlando City’s 3-2 win over D.C. United, making the bench of the latest edition MLS Team of the Matchday. The Uruguayan entered the fray in the 72nd minute and helped OCSC come back and take all three points. He took the corner kick that David Brekalo equalized from, (even though he was not initially credited with the assist) and provided an outstanding through ball for Duncan McGuire’s game-winner. Sean Rollins graded him a 6.5/10 and named him Man of the Match in his player grades as well. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Marta’s Goal Nominated

Marta’s game-winning strike during Friday’s contest against Utah Royals FC has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week. On the road and in the game as a substitute, it didn’t take long for the Brazilian to make her mark on the match. She was barely on the field for five minutes when she met a ball that was rolling across the box with a first-time strike that she powered in off the back post. It proved to be the game’s only goal and was enough to give the Pride their first win of the season. Make sure you vote for her to win this week’s honor!

MLS Stock Watch

The fortunes of Major League Soccer teams are in constant flux, and it’s always nice to keep track of how your enemies are doing. Former Lion Sacha Kljestan weighed in on which clubs’ stock went up and which went down after the weekend’s games. We start on a good note, as a resilient performance from Orlando City saw the good guys pick up their second win of the season. The LA Galaxy hammered the Vancouver Whitecaps by a score of 3-1, and proved that their place atop the Western Conference standings is no fluke. On the other side of the coin, Toronto FC has given up 10 goals in its last three matches, and Jon Herdman needs to find a way to keep things from getting worse until the Reds’ group of injured players can return to the field.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are two big matches featuring American players this week, so get them marked down on your calendar and don’t miss any of the action. Thursday sees Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and AC Milan travel to the Italian capital to try to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit to Roma in the Europa League quarterfinals. Musah started Sunday’s match against Sassuolo and Pulisic subbed on in the second half as Milan clawed its way back to a 3-3 draw. Friday then has Juventus and Weston McKennie traveling to Cagliari for a Serie A tilt. Juve is currently third in the league and needs to keep picking up results to secure a UEFA Champions League place for next season.

UEFA Champions League Preview

Speaking of the Champions League, the quarterfinals wrap up today and tomorrow and there are a number of storylines to keep an eye on. Luis Enrique is strong in his belief that Paris Saint-Germain can overcome a 3-2 loss in the first leg to advance past Barcelona. Xavi has promised that Barca will look to attack rather than sitting and protecting its lead. Elsewhere, Bayern Munich will be without the suspended Alphonso Davies and likely Kingsley Coman due to injury, and their replacements will be hard pressed to contain Ben White and Bukayo Saka. Finally, Edin Terzic’s substitutions gave Borussia Dortmund a spark in the team’s 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid in the first leg, which means the coach may have a selection headache on his hands as he tries to lead his side to a comeback.

Free Kicks


That’ll do it for me this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. D.C. United: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 3-2 win over D.C. United?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City came back from two deficits against D.C. United to claim a huge 3-2 win this weekend — the team’s second victory of the season. It looked like it would be a long night for the Lions in the first 20 minutes, but they turned it around. Down a goal late, David Brekalo and Duncan McGuire converted to earn Orlando City three points.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances by the Lions.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — Gallese took his usual position in goal and had a strong night. He allowed himself to get pushed out of the play on the opening goal by Christian Benteke, though it arguably should’ve been a foul on D.C. He ended the game with four saves from six on-target shots, including two huge saves in second-half stoppage time. In addition to his shot stopping, Gallese completed 51.9% of his 27 passes, including seven of his 20 long balls. He was also credited with three clearances on the night.

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — Smith got the start at left back in this game over Rafael Santos, recording 53 touches. He had three tackles, three clearances, and a blocked shot. Going forward, he only completed 76.5% of his 34 passes, but connected with his lone cross and five of his nine long balls. He also won two aerial balls and was booked just before coming off for handling a ball that he should’ve cleared, giving D.C. a free kick in a dangerous position. The defender was replaced by Santos in the 73rd minute.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was a strong point for Orlando City once again in this game. He recorded one tackle, two interceptions, a blocked shot, and three clearances. Going forward, the center back completed 80.4% of his 46 passes, including four of his seven long balls. Arguably his biggest play of the game was drawing a foul late at the top of the box when D.C. was pushing for an equalizer.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo had 60 touches and completed 76.6% of his 47 passes, including three of his 13 long balls. Defensively, he recorded one tackle, one interception, and two clearances. He made his first significant offensive impact as a Lion by getting his head to a Nico Lodeiro corner kick in the 82nd minute to even the game at 2-2.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson only had 58 touches in the game, but the right back made the most of them. He completed 76.7% of his 30 passes and three of his six long balls, but failed to connect on his lone cross. Defensively, he recorded two tackles and three clearances. However, his biggest impact came in the 28th minute, when he got his head onto Ivan Angulo’s cross to even the game at 1-1.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5 — Araujo’s 70 touches were the most on the team for this game. He only completed 78.2% of his 55 passes, but connected on two of his four long balls. Defensively, he won two tackles and blocked one shot while committing a team-high four fouls. He was also late getting over to cover Gabriel Pirani on the second goal for D.C. Overall, it wasn’t one of Araujo’s best games.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 5.5 — Cartagena started in the defensive midfield alongside Araujo. He recorded 41 touches and completed 81.3% of his 32 passes, including a key pass, his one cross, and one of his three long balls. Defensively, he recorded two clearances. As is common with the midfielder, he was booked in the first half for standing over Jared Stroud after a foul by Angulo. He was taken off during a triple substitution in the 72nd minute, replaced by Lodeiro.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo was the least involved of the midfielders, only recording 35 touches. However, he completed 76.2% of his 21 passes, including a wonderful cross to Thorhallsson on the Lions’ first goal of the night. His lone shot was off target, but he helped defensively with a tackle and team-high three interceptions.

MF, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres recorded 50 touches in this game and completed 90.9% of his 33 passes with no key passes. He was accurate on only one of his three crosses, which was an issue. His lone shot was off target but not by much, as he sent his effort just wide of the right post from outside the area. He came off in stoppage time after the Lions took the lead for center back Rodrigo Schlegel.

MF, Martin Ojeda, 5.5 — Ojeda started in the attacking midfield for this game, recording 46 touches. He completed 71.4% of his 21 passes, including two key passes, one accurate cross on his four attempts, and two of his four long balls. He also had four unstable touches and an off-target shot. Defensively, the attacking midfielder had a team-high four tackles, helping his team retain possession before being replaced by Duncan McGuire in the 72nd minute.

F, Luis Muriel, 5 — Muriel got the start alone up top, but had a difficult night. He got involved in the game with 36 touches and completed 64.7% of his 17 passes, including two key passes. He took two shots, with one on target, and completed two dribbles, but had five unstable touches. He could’ve had a much better performance, but attempted to dribble through the opposition in the box rather than finding a teammate, losing possession. The forward’s night ended in the 87th minute when he was replaced by Felipe.

Substitutes

D, Rafael Santos (73’), 5.5 — Santos came on in the 73rd minute for Smith at left back. He had 14 touches and completed seven of his 10 touches (70%), but failed to connect on his one long ball and three crosses. He also didn’t record any defensive stats in his 17 minutes of action.

MF, Nico Lodeiro (72’), 6.5 (MotM) — Lodeiro came on in the 72nd minute for Cartagena, looking to make a difference. The midfielder touched the ball 18 times and completed 75% of his 12 passes, including two key passes, two of his three crosses, and one of his three long balls. Both of his shots were on target and his through ball for McGuire in second-half stoppage time gave him the assist on the game-winning goal. Although the stats sheet credited Torres with the assist on Brekalo’s goal, it was the veteran who took the set piece, which should result in a two-assist night once the league has had a chance to review the tape (see below…even Evan Weston calls him ‘Torres’ on his call). Lodeiro was a game-changer when he came on so, despite his lack of minutes, he earns my Man of the Match.

F, Duncan McGuire (72’), 6 — McGuire came on with Lodeiro as the Lions were chasing the game. He had 14 touches and completed 44.4% of his nine passes. However, the striker was brought on to score and did so in stoppage time, timing his run perfectly and finishing well on the breakaway. He also recorded a tackle and clearance but gets a high grade from me for doing exactly what he was brought on to do in scoring the winning goal.

MF, Felipe (87’), N/A — Felipe came on for Muriel as the Lions looked to see out a point, but he only touched the ball three times. He completed both of his passes, but didn’t record any other stats in his minimal time on the field.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (90+2’), N/A — Schlegel came on right after the game-winning goal for Torres as the Lions looked to see out the win. He had two touches and an incomplete pass, but no other statistics.


That’s how I saw the individual performances in Orlando City’s win over D.C. United. Let us know how you saw the game and vote for your Man of the Match below.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/15/24

Lions beat D.C. United, Pride pick up road win over Utah Royals, Barbra Banda arrives in Orlando, 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 and the Pride both won over the weekend, and there has been plenty of action in European soccer. Over the past week, I’ve been busy covering high school sports like lacrosse and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Top D.C. United

Orlando City overturned a late 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 against D.C. United at Audi Field over the weekend. David Brekalo scored the equalizer in the second half to tie the match at 2-2. Duncan McGuire came off the bench in the second half and scored in stoppage time, as the Lions beat D.C. United for the first time since Oct. 2, 2021. The Lions were 0-3-1 against D.C. United over the last two seasons prior to Saturday’s win. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last three matches. Orlando City will be on the road again this weekend when it takes on CF Montreal on Saturday.

Orlando Pride Defeat Utah Royals; Help Arrives

The Orlando Pride got their first win of the 2024 NWSL last Friday with a 1-0 against the Utah Royals. Marta came off the bench in the second half and scored the lone goal to seal the win for Orlando. The Pride drew each of their first three matches to start the season against Racing Louisville, Angel City FC, and the Chicago Red Stars. Friday’s result means the Pride have six points through four league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table.

Despite needing four matches to pick up their first win of the year, the Pride are ahead of last year’s pace at the same point in the season, and remain undefeated (1-0-3) despite still waiting to play with this off-season’s marquee signing, Zambian international striker Barbra Banda. The new Pride forward arrived on Sunday to a warm welcome at Orlando International Airport.

It will be interesting to see how quickly Seb Hines can get Banda acclimated to the club and the league. Orlando could use Banda’s offensive firepower, as the club has struggled to score goals in the early part of the season. The Pride will be back in action against the San Diego Wave this Friday.

Bayer Leverkusen wins Bundesliga; Manchester City Leads EPL Title Race

Bayer Leverkusen cruised to a 5-0 win against Werder Bremen on Sunday to win its first ever Bundesliga title with five league matches left to spare. Xabi Alonso’s side won the league title by a 16-point margin, ending Bayern Munich’s 11-year run as title holders. Leverkusen is also unbeaten through 43 matches across all competitions. Meanwhile, in England, we have a new Premier League title race leader as Manchester City crushed Luton Town 5-1 on Saturday. On Sunday, Arsenal lost 2-0 to Aston Villa and Liverpool lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace. There are six match days remaining and this race could go down to the wire. Manchester City is at the top of the table with 73 points, while Arsenal and Liverpool remain two points behind in second and third, respectively, with 71 points.

Free Kicks

  • Houston Dash winger Maria Sanchez has reportedly requested a trade four months after signing a record-breaking deal in NWSL history in the off-season to remain with the club.
  • Manchester United edged Chelsea 2-1 to beat the Blues for the first time ever. Making the win even bigger was that it took place in the Women’s FA Cup semifinal. United will play Tottenham in the final at Wembley on May 12.
  • The EFL Championship is three weeks away from its finale, with a few clubs featureing Americans still in the mix for promotion. Josh Sargent’s Norwich City side holds the final playoff spot, while Haji Wright’s Conventry and Duane Holmes’ Preston North End in the hunt for a shot at promotion.
  • The AS Roma versus Udinese match was suspended after defender Evan Ndicka collapsed away from play and had to be stretchered off. The game was tied at 1-1 with about 20 minutes remaining when Ndicka went down. The club shared this update on social media.

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

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