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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Final Score 4-1 as Lions Suffer First Road Loss of 2022

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For the second time in three matches, Orlando City didn’t look like it belonged on an MLS pitch. The Lions were — well, the word awful comes to mind — in a deserved 4-1 road loss to CF Montreal at Stade Saputo. Orlando (5-4-2, 17 points) lost on the road for the first time in 2022 and never seemed likely to challenge Montreal (5-3-2, 17 points) once the hosts scored their first goal.

The Lions scored a set piece goal to cut a 2-0 deficit in half against the run of play in the second half but then handed two more goals to Montreal with the poor giveaways that plagued the team all game long. CF Montreal set a club record by extending its unbeaten run to seven games (5-0-2).

Joao Moutinho provided Orlando’s only goal on one of just two shot attempts. Joel Waterman, Djordje Mihailovic, Joaquin Torres, and Zachary Brault-Guillard all chipped in goals for Montreal.

“Certainly a difficult afternoon for us (against) a team that had a lot of initiative going forward,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “And we couldn’t, first get the ball back, and second create much. The mistakes that we did allowed them to score the goals. Very fair result for Montreal and we’re just going to push forward, just keep organizing things, and being back on results.”

Pareja’s lineup included Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Moutinho, Thomas Williams — in for the suspended Robin Jansson — Rodrigo Schlegel, and Ruan. Sebas Mendez joined Cesar Araujo in central midfield to try to provide more coverage for the back line. The attacking midfield line included Facundo Torres, Mauricio Pereyra, and Benji Michel, with Alexandre Pato as the main strike threat.

Earlier in the day, OCB sent center back Brandon Hackenberg to the senior side on a short-term loan to provide coverage in central defense in Jansson’s absence. Hackenberg was on the bench along with newly acquired winger Jake Mulraney.

The opening minutes were a bit sloppy on both sides but Montreal got the first good chance to score six minutes in. Just after Schlegel blocked a Joaquin Torres shot from the top of the box, the ball cycled out wide to Montreal’s right. A cross back into the area was met by Romell Quioto, who was hardly bothered by Williams or Schlegel but he sent his free header over Gallese’s crossbar.

Two minutes later, Ruan made a sliding attempt to deny a pass and clear the ball but instead he simply set the ball up nicely for Lassi Lappalainen to run onto in the box. Lappalainen fired from the left side of Montreal’s attacking side but Gallese made a big save.

Orlando’s first foray into the attacking end didn’t take place until the 10th minute. Moutinho sent in a cross but former Lion Kamal Miller cleared it away. The Lions tried to recycle down the left wing but Michel’s left-footed cross was right at goalkeeper Sebastian Breza.

Facu Torres fired Orlando’s first shot attempt in the 14th minute after Miller failed to properly deal with a ball over the top that was intended for Pato. His shot was well off target and since Pato was behind the defense there was no option for the winger to play a through ball for the Brazilian.

A minute later, Mihailovic was nearly in for a clear shot on target but Mendez did well to break up the play at the top of the box. Just after that, Ruan coughed up the ball in his own defensive end. Pereyra committed a foul, which handed a free kick to the hosts. Mihailovic played the free kick short and received the ball back quickly and fired a shot on target. The attempt was right at Gallese, who made the easy save in the 18th minute.

Montreal’s wingbacks were pushing higher and higher and it nearly put Mihailovic in behind in the 20th minute but Schlegel did well to get back and break up the play. However, he conceded a corner, which led to Montreal’s opener. The cross into the box hit Michel and bounced toward goal. Waterman was standing there all alone and scored. The initial ruling was that the play was offside, and Waterman was well behind the defense, but after video review, the referee saw that the ball wasn’t passed by a Montreal player and instead was knocked behind to the center back by Michel, so the goal was awarded, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.

The hosts should have doubled the lead in the 36th minute. The Lions lost the ball in the attack and Montreal quickly countered. Quioto put in a good ball across for Lappalainen in front. Ruan overran the play, giving the wingback a 1-v-1 opportunity against Gallese but he sent his shot just wide of the right post.

Gallese had to make a key save in the 40th minute after Mendez tried to play too fancy in his own end and turned it over. The ball cycled left to right and was slipped into Mihailovic down the right. He’d gotten in behind Araujo and Williams was slow to react, giving the winger an open look at goal but Gallese did well to get down and make the save.

Each side wasted a set piece late and the hosts took their deserved 1-0 lead into the break. Montreal dominated the opening half, leading in possession (56.4%43.6%), shots (8-1), shots on target (4-0), corners (2-1), and passing accuracy (89.7%-87.1%). The Lions were fortunate to be within one, offering nothing in the attack and getting bossed around by a Montreal central midfield that was missing Victor Wanyama and Ismael Kone.

Montreal picked up where it left off after the restart. Orlando turned Montreal over at midfield but poor awareness by Michel allowed the hosts to easily dispossess the winger and go the other way, where they won a corner. Miller had a free header but didn’t get all of it and Gallese collected.

Montreal doubled the lead anyway shortly afterwards. Mendez took the ball away in midfield but instead of getting forward in transition, Pato played the ball backward. Orlando worked it around but again turned it over and Montreal bombed forward in transition. Alistair Johnston got to the end line and cut the ball back across the front of goal for Mihailovic to tap in, building the lead to 2-0 in the 52nd minute.

Down two goals, Pareja made three substitutions, sending on Mulraney, Ercan Kara, and Junior Urso for Michel, Pato, and Mendez. Mulraney’s first touch nearly produced something as his dangerous cross into the box required Breza to be quick off his line to prevent a scoring chance in the 58th minute.

Moments later, Mathieu Choiniere sent a shot just inches wide of Gallese’s goal off a slight deflection. The ensuing corner kick again rattled around the area but this time Orlando cleared.

A poor header attempt by Schlegel allowed Montreal to bomb forward again and Quioto ended up on the left side. Williams did well to keep him from getting into better position and he fired a tough-angle shot that Gallese blocked in the 67th minute. Three minutes later, Gallese made another vital save.

The Lions pulled a goal back two minutes after that, when pressure from Mulraney won a corner. Pereyra’s service picked out Moutinho in the area and the left back nodded home to make it 2-1 in the 72nd minute.

With the lead cut in half and everything to play for, Orlando…didn’t. The Lions couldn’t maintain possession, string together multiple passes, deliver a single accurate ball when trying to break lines, and simply didn’t make Montreal work very hard on defense. Orlando failed to even get another shot attempt off in the final 18 minutes plus five minutes of injury time.

Instead, the Lions conceded two more goals and both were off turnovers.

In the 81st minute, Joaquin Torres restored the two-goal advantage on a play that Orlando should have dealt with. Williams did well against substitute Kei Kamara but stopped playing when he thought the ball went over the end line for a goal kick. But Kamara’s hustle allowed him to get a foot around the ball and keep it in play. Williams was standing still, looking at the assistant referee when Kamara ran back onto the field past him and kept the play going. Montreal cycled it around and it ended up on the right, where it was crossed by Brault-Guillard to Torres, who spun off of Williams and put the game away with a cannon shot past Gallese.

Three minutes later, substitute Andres Perea gave the ball away with a horrible first touch to hand Montreal another transition. Brault-Guillard had little angle to shoot at from the right side, but he made an inch-perfect back-post shot count, beating Gallese to make it 4-1.

Kamara came with inches of making it five goals for Montreal in stoppage time but that was as bad as it got. Montreal dominated the stat sheet at the end of the game, leading in possession (59%-41%), shots (20-2), shots on target (10-1), corners (7-2), and passing accuracy (88.3%-83.6%).

As comprehensive as the loss to the New York Red Bulls was two weeks ago, this one was worse. Pareja didn’t have an answer for the continued stagnation of the offense but accepted responsibilty for it after the match.

“I am responsible,” he said, “just helping out to create the sequences, helping out to be the team that we want to be. And offensively when we are not being that team that is threatening, that is creating and all those things, obviously somebody needs to give some explanation. What happened is that we need to execute. It’s easy to say, but today we looked controllable and we did not threaten much behind, but that is something I need to help them out with.”

“I have to say, they were decent,” Mulraney said of Montreal, getting on the field after just arriving with his new team a couple of days ago. “It’s hard to come on the road in this league. I’m excited about this group. I feel there’s a real togetherness. So, we’ll see.”

The Lions have just 12 shot attempts and five shots on target over the last three MLS matches, and there’s not much time between now and the U.S. Open Cup match this midweek to get the offense figured out.

“This is a short turnaround. We have to focus on the next game and see how can we grow up with a team,” Pareja said. “It’s the task to do.”


The Lions return home for a Tuesday night fourth-round match-up with the Philadelphia Union in U.S. Open Cup play before heading back to Canada to face Toronto FC next Saturday.

Orlando City

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

How did your favorite Lions do in their scoreless draw against CF Montreal?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City kicked off its 10th MLS season Saturday night, drawing CF Montreal 0-0 in downtown Orlando. The team was poor in the first half, but much better in the second 45 minutes. The Lions had multiple chances to win it late, hitting the woodwork and having a goal disallowed for offside. However, they claim a point to start the season and are in a great position to advance in the Concacaf Champions Cup Tuesday night.

Here’s how the Lions did individually in the scoreless draw.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 8 (MotM) — The Peruvian number one has been the most dependable Lion over the past few years and this game was no different. He was active in the first half, making four saves, but was bored in the second half until Kwadwo Opoku got in on goal in the second minute of stoppage time. Gallese came out and made a huge stop with his right leg, ensuring Orlando City would get a point. In total, the goalkeeper had five saves and completed 91.7% of his 24 passes, including four of his six long balls, while claiming his 34th clean sheet as a Lion.

D, Rafael Santos, 5.5 — After a rocky first outing in Canada, Santos had a much better game in the league opener with a team-high 108 touches. Defensively, the left back had one tackle, three interceptions, and one clearance in a clean sheet performance. Going forward, he completed 84.2% of his 76 passes, including a key pass. However, he only completed two of his seven crosses, a problem throughout the night for the Lions.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — It wasn’t a bad game for the Orlando City captain, but he wasn’t as effective as fans have come to expect. The Swede had an interception and block, but no clearances. He completed 90.2% of his 61 pass attempts and four of his eight long balls (50%). 

D, David Brekalo, 7 — Saturday night saw the long-awaited debut of Brekalo, Orlando City’s new starting center back. It was a solid performance for the defender, who recorded two tackles, two clearances, and a team-high four interceptions. Additionally, his three aerial duels were tied for the team high. He completed 86.4% of his 66 pass attempts and two of his three long balls. The new arrival took two dribbles and two shots, putting one on target. Overall, Brekalo was a bright spot in this game for the Lions before being replaced by Kyle Smith in the 77th minute.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson was one of several players that were much better in the second half than the first. Most of his passes in the first 45 minutes were left short or long balls too far, but he ended up completing 88.3% of his 60 passes with a team-high three key passes. He completed one of his two crosses and one of his five long balls. He took a team-high four shots, only putting one on target. Additionally, he one clearance defensively, but little else on that end of the field in 90 minutes of action.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 5.5 — It was a short night for Cartagena, who was taken off at halftime for Martin Ojeda after picking up a yellow in the first half. The Peruvian completed 90.5% of his 42 passes and both of his long balls. However, he did little defensively in this game and only had one dribble going forward. It wasn’t a bad performance overall, but the Lions couldn’t afford to go down a man if he got booked a second time.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7 — Araujo displayed his usual dependability for the Lions in this game. His 87 touches were third on the team and he completed 89.7% of his 68 passes, including two key passes. He failed to connect on his lone cross, but completed all eight of his long balls. Unfortunately, neither of his two shots were on target. Defensively, the defensive midfielder was active, recording two tackles, two interceptions, and a clearance.

MF, Facundo Torres, 5 — Torres is usually the best attacking player for the Lions, but he had a difficult game Saturday night. The attacking midfielder completed 81.3% of his 48 passes and didn’t connect on any of his five crosses. He had one shot that was on target, and could’ve had a goal when he and Felipe and converged on a late header off the crossbar but they were offside. He also had a tackle defensively, but this will be a game to forget for the Uruguayan.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6 — One of two Lions to make their competitive home debuts, Lodeiro started in his natural number 10 position. His 89 touches were second-most on the team and he completed 86.7% of his 75 passes with a key pass. Two of his five crosses were accurate and he completed three of his seven long balls. He took one shot on the night, but it was off target. Lodeiro was somewhat active defensively, recording a tackle, an interception, and a clearance before being replaced by Felipe in the 77th minute.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 5 — Angulo was less active than usual in this game, only recording 42 touches and not taking any shots. He completed 83.9% of his 31 pass attempts and didn’t connect on his only cross. He had two tackles defensively but didn’t do much else before being replaced by Ramiro Enrique in the 68th minute.

F, Duncan McGuire, 5.5 — McGuire scored in his first game back after an uncertain off-season, so there was a lot of excitement heading into the home opener. The young striker took two off-target shots but was solid with his hold-up play, winning a team-high three aerial duels. He wasn’t able to get too involved, with only 26 touches, and he completed 64.3% of his 14 passes. He also had one key pass, one inaccurate cross, and one clearance.

Substitutes

MF, Martin Ojeda (46′), 6.5 — Ojeda came on at halftime for Cartagena and made a big impact on a much better second half. He completed 90.9% of his 22 passes with three key passes, and he was accurate on three of his seven crosses and both long balls. Additionally, one of his two shots was on target. He also helped out defensively, recording a tackle and a clearance.

F, Ramiro Enrique (68’), 5 — Enrique joined the game in the 68th minute, replacing Angulo, but didn’t make much of an impact. He only had 14 touches in 22 minutes while playing in the midfield. The attacker completed 77.8% of his nine passes without any key passes and failed to complete his lone cross. It was his header in the 80th minute that hit the crossbar and was redirected in by Felipe, but it was ruled out for offside.

D, Kyle Smith (77’), 5.5 — Smith came on for Brekalo to help see out the clean sheet alongside Jansson. Defensively, he had one clearance at center back, but no other defensive stats. He completed 78.6% of his 14 passes, including a key pass and completed his one cross.

MF, Felipe (77’), 6 — Felipe played well in the final 13 minutes of the game after replacing Lodeiro, recording an interception and a clearance and completing 90% of his 10 passes with one key pass. His most noteworthy moment came in the 80th minute when Enrique’s header off the crossbar was knocked in, but he was judged to be offside.

F, Jack Lynn (90’), N/A — Lynn came on for the final minutes of the game, replacing McGuire up top. He had four touches and won an aerial duel, a flick-on header near midfield, while completing one of his three passes (33.3%). He also had one accurate cross.


This is how I saw the individual performances of Orlando City’s first game of the 2024 MLS regular season. How did you see the game? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to vote on your Man of the Match.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/26/24

Orlando City draws Montreal, USWNT to play Mexico, USMNT news, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. I know that we’re all a little disappointed with the draw in the home opener, but a point is a point, and we go again tomorrow night. It hasn’t taken long for the matches to come fast and furious with Orlando City and the USWNT playing this week. I could not be happier.

We also want to wish a happy birthday to the Orlando Pride’s Morgan Gautrat and OCB’s Dominic Pereira from all of us at The Mane Land.

Orlando City Draws Montreal

It wasn’t the best match Orlando City ever played, but it also wasn’t the worst. The Lions couldn’t find the last bit of quality to get the winning goal despite having most of the possession and plenty of shots. VAR also played a part, though both offside calls were correct, if unfortunate. Pedro Gallese kept the Lions in the match to earn the first point of the season. Check out our match recap.

Lions React to the Result

David Brekalo made his first start for Orlando City and while he acquitted himself well, given his limited time with the team, he is still confident that things will get better with time. He was also impressed with the level of play in MLS and with the Orlando City facilities. Oscar Pareja was disappointed with the result but was understanding of some of the reasons for it. Now, Orlando City gets ready for the two matches this week.

USWNT vs. Mexico

The USWNT takes on Mexico at 10:15 p.m. tonight in the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup. The U.S. is already through to the knockout stages of the Gold Cup but is trying to win Group A with a victory over Mexico. Former Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan is with the team and has scored in the competition. The U.S. has a 16-match winning streak over Mexico and will be looking to extend that to 17.

USMNT News

The USMNT and Juventus were both dealt a blow when Weston McKennie dislocated his shoulder in the 3-2 win over Frosinone on Sunday. Prior to the injury, McKennie contributed two assists, allowing Juventus to stay in second place in Serie A. Now we wait to hear how long McKennie will be out. Check out his assists.

American Striker Folarin Balogun scored a high difficulty goal in Monaco’s 3-2 victory over Lens in Ligue 1. Of course, he also missed a penalty kick later in the same match. Fortunately, Takumi Minamino scored a stoppage-time goal to secure the victory. Take a look at the nice goal.

Free Kicks

  • Liverpool defeated Chelsea 1-0 to win the Carabao Cup on an extra time header by captain Virgil van Dijk. It was the 10th trophy won with Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager. Liverpool was missing 11 top players to start the game and lost Ryan Gravenberch during the match.
  • Olivia Moultrie and Jaeden Shaw are making an impact with the USWNT despite being two of the younger players on the team. The impact came in the form of goals for each Moultrie and Shaw.
  • Naomi Girma has impressed for the USWNT in her time so far, but she wants to do more as a part of the newer generation of stars.
  • Brazil defeated Italy 6-4 in the Beach Soccer World Cup on Sunday. The competition took place in Dubai.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the match tomorrow night against Cavalry and the trip to Ft. Lauderdale to take on the hated Herons. Vamos Orlando!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Five Takeaways

Here are five lessons learned from Orlando City’s 0-0 draw with Montreal.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City drew CF Montreal 0-0 in Inter&Co Stadium to start the MLS regular season. Heading into this match, the Lions had looked pretty good during the preseason and in the Concacaf Champions Cup match against Cavalry. Unfortunately, Orlando City wasn’t able to maintain its scoring form against Montreal, settling for a point at home.

Here are my five takeaways from Orlando’s draw with Montreal.

An Ugly First Half

Orlando city held 61% possession with four shots and only one on goal in the opening period. Add to that 10 fouls and a couple of yellow cards for Duncan McGuire and Wilder Cartagena and you end up with an ugly first half. Oscar Pareja put out a first-choice lineup, including many players who put in significant minutes in Wednesday’s Concacaf Champions Cup match against Cavalry in Canada. Despite having the best players on the field, Orlando City was not sharp and it showed in the stats and in the eye test.

El Pulpo Impresses

While the Lions were finding their footing to start the match, Pedro Gallese provided the cover the club needed with four saves in the first five minutes. After that, Orlando City settled down and kept more of the possession. Montreal didn’t get another shot on target the remainder of the half and so Gallese wasn’t called into service again. Fortunately, those first four saves were everything the Lions needed to start things off. He also made an incredible one-on-one save in stoppage to keep Montreal off the board.

Offside Ruins Chance, Part 1

Orlando City supporters thought the winning and only goal went in when Felipe put in the ball off a rebound from the bar. The initial shot came from Ramiro Enrique, who hit the crossbar. Both Martins and Facundo Torres were there and the ball went in but Felipe was in an offside position when Enrique took the shot. It was a frustrating call, even if it was ultimately the correct call.

A Game of Inches

Orlando City had 15 shots with four on target throughout the match. Of the 11 that weren’t on target, many were only inches from being so. Of the shots on target, all were either directly to Jonathan Sirois or without enough power to make him have to work to keep it out. There were also plenty of passes that were just off by a couple of inches that either gave the ball back to Montreal or stalled potential attacks.

Offside Ruins Chance, Part 2

In stoppage time, Torres drew a foul as he took a pass into the box. The referee immediately pointed to the spot and it looked like Orlando City would get the chance to score a winner on a penalty kick. Unfortunately, the offside flag had gone up again thanks to Jack Lynn being offside, as he strayed behind the last defender by a step in the buildup before the foul. Video review confirmed the call and Orlando City supporters were left wanting a second time.


That is what I saw in the match. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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