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Orlando City vs. Toronto FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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After a bump in the road last weekend against CF Montreal, the Lions returned to getting away results Saturday in a 1-0 win against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Major League Soccer is notorious for being a difficult league on road teams, but this year’s Orlando City squad seems well suited for the task of playing away from home (so far).

Despite bringing back all three points, it was far from the best performance of the season and needed a stoppage-time set piece goal to turn one point into three. Let’s take a look at the individual performances.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — The Peruvian international made two saves in the match on Toronto’s two shots on target, which is all you can ask in the shot-stopping department. He completed 87.5% of his passes, including two of his five long-ball attempts. He earned one tackle in the match, as well. It was a fairly quiet day for Gallese, who had 22 touches in the game and kept a clean sheet on a day when the opponent registered 0.55 expected goals. Goalkeeper seems to be the one position where volume of work affects the score, but the one thing you can say is that El Pulpo did his job on Saturday.

D, Joao Moutinho, 7.5 — The Portuguese fullback had a strong game. He finished third on the team in touches (68), tied for the team lead in shot attempts (3), and played solid defensively. His 75.7% passing success rate and 0/3 on crosses could have been better, but he recorded a key pass, was 2/5 on long balls, fired one of the team’s six shots on target, and won two aerials. He led the team with six tackles and four interceptions, and he contributed a clearance.

D, Robin Jansson, 7 — The Beefy Swede did Beefy Swede things in Toronto, including picking up a yellow card. I didn’t like this one, as he appeared to make his sliding challenge successfully ahead of the opponent’s arrival, but at least it was better than getting booked for yapping at the ref about a foul against someone else that was/wasn’t called. He contributed one on-target shot and made a terrific foray up the field that would have resulted in a quality scoring chance had Junior Urso not had a heavy touch at the end of the play. In a quiet day for the back line, Jansson had only one tackle and one clearance. He completed 90.5% of his 42 passes and five of his seven long-ball attempts — both led the back line players.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6.5 — Alongside Jansson, Schlegel had a solid day overall, albeit just a little below what his central defense partner provided. His 87.5% passing rate was solid and he managed 20 more touches than Jansson as the center back who stayed back more. He contributed four tackles, two clearances, and a blocked shot. His yellow card was for a tactical foul, which prevented a Toronto counter, so no issues with that. The Argentine did not have any offensive statistical contributions.

D, Ruan, 7 — The Brazilian speedster had an active day, although his crossing continues to be painful to watch. He was 0-for-2 on crosses but 3-of-4 on long balls. His 81.8% passing rate was good, considering some of the positions he gets into. He made one key pass that Urso should have finished to make it an assist, but…alas. He attempted one shot, but it wasn’t on frame, completed one dribble, and drew two free kicks. He made an underrated play late in the game to sneak in and win a corner, helping Orlando waste a bit more time. Defensively, Ruan blocked a shot and recorded three tackles.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7.5 (MotM) — Once again, the young Uruguayan had a massive game. On a day that Toronto didn’t muster much offensively, he still had two tackles, two interceptions, two clearances, and one blocked shot. Araujo had no offensive stats but he did pass at a 93.3% rate to lead all starters, and he was second in touches (76), just one behind Mauricio Pereyra. Impressively, he completed nine of his 10 long-ball attempts, helping the lines stay connected. Much of what Araujo does on the pitch doesn’t translate to the box score, but he’s been asked to do a lot this season and he’s mostly delivered.

MF, Andres Perea, 6.5 — Perea built on his solid Open Cup outing and rewarded Oscar Pareja for giving him another start. He nearly scored a goal in his second straight game, getting a foot on a Pereyra free kick but sending the shot just wide. It was his only shot attempt of the match. Perea contributed two key passes and connected with his teammates at an 85.2% rate, completing both of his long passes. He contributed two tackles and an interception on the defensive end. Most importantly, he was only dispossessed once and had one bad touch — two areas that have been an issue at times for him so far this season.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — The Uruguayan Young Designated Player compiles a lot of stats during a match but some of what he does — good and bad — doesn’t turn up on the sheet after the match. Torres attempted two shots in the match. One was an ambitious, long-range effort that missed the target (we seem to get at least one of those per game from him). The other was on frame but wasn’t terribly dangerous. Torres was active, with the team’s fourth-most touches (67), passing at an 80.4% rate. He struggled in crossing (1/5) and long passes (1/3), but did have one key pass. Defensively, he contributed a tackle and a clearance. But he had three unstable touches and in one instance he laid on the field lobbying for a foul call while Toronto cycled the ball dangerously around Orlando’s penalty area. That can’t happen. If the call isn’t made, some effort to get up and defend must take place.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — The midfield maestro continues to log a lot of miles for Orlando City, with a team-high 77 touches in the match. He tried to be more of an offensive threat in this match, firing three shots and getting a decent free kick effort on target to force a good ave. That was his only shot that hit the target. He contributed a team-high five key passes, although his teammates struggled to do anything with them. Defensively, he added five tackles, two interceptions, and two clearances. His 84.3% passing rate was good. He completed three of seven crosses and two of four long balls. I deducted a little for getting dispossessed three times and for trying some difficult passes that didn’t get through the maze of legs when better options were available to potentially get in behind down the flanks.

MF, Junior Urso, 4.5 — This may seem like a harsh grade, but coming off a monster performance against Philadelphia, some tired legs may have been affecting the Bear. He gave his all, but at times he just didn’t have it. His heavy touches wrecked two glorious scoring chances, including a 3-v-1 transition chance and a great passing sequence that started with Jansson’s run up the field. He missed a sitter that Ruan served up, although some good defensive pressure from behind may have bothered him just enough to divert his focus. None of his three shots were on frame, but he did have two key passes. However, he was also dispossessed a team-high four times and had the two costly unstable touches. His passing rate was OK (81.8%), considering he played much of the match at wing. He was 0-for-2 on crossing accuracy and just 1-for-4 on long balls. Defensively, he added a tackle, an interception, and a clearance. I obviously knocked a lot off his score for lacking composure in a few critical moments of the match in an otherwise solid outing, but with fresher legs and/or a fresher mind, he could have helped the Lions put the game away early.

F, Ercan Kara, 5.5 — It’s not always the forward’s fault when he doesn’t get a lot of touches. The Austrian only had 17 of them, which isn’t good, and some of that is on him, but a lot of it has to do with the poor crossing and wasted opportunities from bad touches that have been described above. He was in the right position a few times, such as when Ruan crossed too close to the goalkeeper and as part of the 3-v-1 break that Urso’s heavy touch squandered. He attempted one shot that didn’t reach the target. He didn’t register a key pass and completed six of his nine pass attempts (66.7%). He managed to win three aerials, leading all Lions. He contributed one clearance on defense.

Substitutes

MF, Jake Mulraney (65’), 6 — The team’s new winger came on for the last 25 minutes and provided some energy. He completed all seven of his passes on his 12 touches and won a corner kick for the second time in as many games. Mulraney didn’t contribute any shots or key passes, and his one cross wasn’t accurate. He was dispossessed once and didn’t contribute anything statistically on defense, but he did give the Lions a new look and energy after his introduction.

F, Alexandre Pato, (76’), 7 — It was a short stint for the Duck, but an important one. His cross on the game’s only goal was inch-perfect at the near post, allowing Kyle Smith to finish. He sent one shot on target, created two scoring chances, and completed six of his eight passes on his 16 touches. He also completed two dribbles. His only cross was accurate but he missed on his one long-ball attempt. He didn’t contribute anything statistically on the defensive end.

D, Kyle Smith (76’), 7.5 — The Accountant’s contributions in the final quarter of an hour plus stoppage time went above and beyond the expected for a defensive substitution. He scored the game’s only goal on his only shot attempt and he won the corner kick that set it up when his cross was knocked behind by the defense. Those were the highlights, certainly. He completed just two of his five pass attempts, and just one of his three long balls. His lone cross wasn’t accurate but, as mentioned, worked out well in the end. He added two tackles, two interceptions, and a clearance on the defensive end. His impact was big in a short amount of time. It was that amount of time compared with Araujo that gave the edge to the midfielder for me, although I wouldn’t argue against those who select Smith as Man of the Match.

MF, Sebas Mendez (87’), N/A — The Ecuadorian came on late for Mauricio Pereyra but didn’t have much time to impact the match. He did his job, though. With six touches, he completed all six pass attempts, including his one long ball.


That’s how I saw the individual performances on Saturday. What did you think? Be sure to let us know in the comments and vote in the poll below for your Orlando City Man of the Match.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Joao Moutinho2
Cesar Araujo13
Kyle Smith24
Alexandre Pato6
Robin Jansson6
Other (Let us know who in the comments)1

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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