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

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Orlando City remained unbeaten on the road this season after winning 2-0 against the Columbus Crew. Rodrigo Schlegel scored in the first half and Ercan Kara added another in the second, as the Lions held on for a shutout victory. It was a strong defensive performance from the team as a whole as the Lions covered for one another and applied constant pressure.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances of each Lion on the pitch.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — His first save didn’t come until the second half and it was an awkward one as he had to quickly drop and parry a low shot from distance from sharpshooter Lucas Zelarayan that took a deflection through traffic. His other two saves weren’t too difficult as he collected a weak header from Gyasi Zardes and saved another low effort from Zelarayan that was going out regardless. He was accurate on eight of a whopping 17 long balls, as the Lions were content with heaving the ball up the field late in the match and he also completed 61% of his 23 passes. The Peruvian should buy his defenders whatever airline food they desire on the trip back home as he only had to face three shots on target for his fifth clean sheet of the year.

D, Joao Moutinho, 6.5 — It was another busy night defensively for Moutinho. The left back led the team with seven tackles and had three interceptions and four clearances as well. There were times where he had to defend on his back foot after a nice through ball from the opposition or a quick restart, but he did well tracking back and not making it easy for the Crew in the final third. His 78 touches were the most by a Lion — as were his four unstable touches — and he had 46 passes at a 76% success rate. His lone cross was unsuccessful and only one of his six long balls found its target. As the game plan shifted after Orlando’s second goal, Moutinho hung back to ensure numbers defensively and did well to stop Columbus.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7.5 (MotM) — His positioning was excellent throughout the match, both offensively and defensively. He scored his first professional goal by hustling to get right in front of goal during a recycled set piece and not making a meal of a deceptively simple tap-in. On defense, Schlegel was adept at being in the right place at the right time to clog passing lanes and put out fires when Crew players had chances to shoot. He led the team with five interceptions and added three tackles, four clearances, and two blocks for one of his strongest defensive performances as a Lion. He had 21 passes at a 71% success rate and was successful on one of his five long balls. His yellow card was for a professional foul to slow down a surging Zelarayan on a counter. Schlegel is our Man of the Match for giving Orlando a lead on the road and doing everything he could on defense to keep it.

D, Robin Jansson, 7 — Jansson had three clearances and blocked a shot as he played his part in Orlando’s clean sheet. The statistics won’t show how the Crew often had to work around him as he applied pressure any time they neared the box. The Beefy Swede had two shots, sending a header off target and having an attempt from range blocked. He connected on two of his three long balls and completed a strong 84% of his 26 passes. As usual, he was a force in the air and won three of his five aerial duels.

D, Kyle Smith, 6.5 — In his first start of the season, Smith gave the Lions some defensive fortitude at right back. He was just as solid defending at the start of the match as he was near its end, making safe decisions to clear out the danger. Smith had four clearances and a tackle and did well lending help to his center backs to make sure Crew players didn’t have much room to work with. He was accurate on just one of his three crosses and only one of his eight long balls, but he did have a key pass to set up a shot for Facundo Torres and had a shot that went high and wide of goal. Smith had 32 passes at a subpar 65% success rate but did enough on defense to keep Pedro Santos fairly quiet and help Orlando secure the win.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7 — The Uruguayan had to deal with Lucas Zelarayan’s bag of tricks throughout the night and proved up to the task. He’s learning how to ride the edge of fouling without being carded while winning fouls and frustrating opponents. Araujo played every minute of the match and helped defensively with two tackles, two interceptions, a clearance, and a blocked shot. His best moment of the match came late in the 79th minute as he matched Gyasi Zardes stride for stride down the field to eventually win a goal kick. Araujo had 37 passes at a solid 84% success rate and was accurate on one of his three long balls. He just turned 21 this month but has performed at a consistent level in his first year with Orlando.

MF, Junior Urso, 6.5 — The Bear recorded his second assist of the year after the ball pinged off him in the box to Schlegel. Whether he intended to pass or shoot doesn’t matter too much as he put the ball in a threatening position from a cross zipped into the box by Torres. While Pereyra stirred the offense, Urso kept things stable across the field with 50 passes at a great 88% success rate. His one cross may have been unsuccessful, but all four of his long balls found their mark. Urso chipped in on defense with three tackles, three clearances, and a block.

MF, Benji Michel, 6 — Michel didn’t make too much noise on offense, playing nearly every minute of the match without registering a shot or key pass. But his speed allowed him to race up and down the wing to help swarm opposing players on defense and win corners on offense. He sat back more as Orlando aimed to see out the match in the second half and did well defending Columbus’ crosses, finishing with four clearances. The Homegrown Player also chipped in with two tackles and an interception while winning two of his three aerial duels. Michel completed 76% of his 21 passes and was unsuccessful on his one attempted cross and his one long ball. Orlando’s other creative players stepping up and a solid defensive effort from Michel takes some of the sting out of a fairly lackluster offensive performance.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — Pereyra led the Lions with 53 passes, completing them at an impressive 85% success rate to keep Orlando’s offense fluid against the Crew. He did well on Orlando’s second goal, sneaking into an open area near the top of the box after a pass and then getting the ball to Kara to set up a give-and-go with Facundo Torres. Pereyra was accurate on two of his seven crosses, connected on three of his five long balls, and also had a key pass. From start to finish, he hustled on defense and had four interceptions and two tackles. The 32-year-old may not have been the fastest player on the pitch, but he proved his value late in the match by making smart and composed passes to give Orlando some time to breathe before the next onslaught of Columbus attacking.

MF, Facundo Torres, 7.5 — Torres played a critical role in both of Orlando’s goals. His cross following a set piece was dangerous and led to Schlegel’s goal and he assisted on Kara’s goal after a series of tight passes. His defensive pressure was also great, as he chased down Crew players and finished the game with three tackles after 70 minutes of action. Torres may have only been accurate on one of his four attempted crosses, but most were still dangerous balls that dipped into the center of goal for good chances and he had two key passes. Neither of his long balls found their target and he had 32 passes at a 78% success rate. He also had two shots, putting one on target that Room saved while sending the other into the stands. El Cuervo loves to play with the ball at his feet and flew all over the field to make himself an outlet for passes and find open spaces to infiltrate the Crew’s defense. This match was a testament to how well Torres is gelling with his teammates in his first year in MLS.

F, Ercan Kara , 7 — Kara’s goal was a work of art, working alongside Pereyra and Torres to give himself a small window to shoot and bury the ball past Room. It was his only shot of the match and he made it count from a tight angle while the ball was bouncing. Kara had an otherwise quiet night as he played 69 minutes and had just eight passes, completing five for a 63% success rate. That being said, he helped out with Orlando’s press and had a key pass of his own. He’s scored in two consecutive matches and may continue to do so if the players around him keep generating great service. Kara’s finishing touch and killer instinct was the difference between a 2-0 win and a struggle to grind out a 1-0 win on the road.

Substitutes

F, Tesho Akindele (69’), 5.5 — The Canadian striker came on for Kara and used his height to make three clearances. He also had a pair of tackles to help limit the Crew’s chances and won two of his three aerial duels. Three unstable touches aren’t what you want from a substitute when trying to see out a win, but Akindele did well off the ball as he drifted into open spaces for passes and added pressure. He had 17 touches and completed six of his seven passes.

MF, Andres Perea (70’), 5.5 — It was off the bench and into the fire for Perea, who picked up a yellow card just a minute after coming on the field on a needless foul against Pedro Santos, who had his back to goal on the wing. He settled in a bit after that, making nine touches and completing all seven of his passes. Perea gave the Lions some fresh legs, nice passes, and a block.

MF, Sebas Mendez (88’), N/A — We didn’t see enough from Mendez to grade him as he only had four touches and four passes at a 75% completion rate. His inclusion late in the match gave Orlando some more defensive presence and stability in the center of the field.

D, Thomas Williams (91’), N/A — The Homegrown Player made his MLS debut, coming on late to fortify Orlando’s defense (but mostly to waste time). There wasn’t enough to grade him on as he didn’t have any touches, but it’s nice to see him get some minutes. With Antonio Carlos injured, we may see more of him in the future late in matches.


That’s how I saw each individual performance in Orlando City’s 2-0 win on the road against the Columbus Crew. It was a strong defensive effort across the board from the Lions and the offense seems to be finding its footing as well.

Be sure to vote in the poll below for your Man of the Match.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Rodrigo Schlegel56
Facundo Torres20
Ercan Kara5
Junior Urso0
Other (let us know in the comments)0

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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