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Orlando City vs. Austin FC: Final Score 2-2 as Lions Robbed in Texas

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You can’t really make up what happened to Orlando City in the second half while up 2-0 at Austin FC. But you don’t have to make it up because we’ve all seen this movie before.

The Lions (6-4-3, 21 points) went down two men in the second half, allowing Austin FC (7-3-3, 24 points) to rally back for a 2-2 draw at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX, in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Referee Joe Dickerson made sure he was the star of the show by sending off Rodrigo Schlegel for a second yellow card for handball within seconds — with the second one in the box and highly suspect. He sent off Cesar Araujo minutes later for a warranted dangerous play as the Orlando midfielder foolishly kicked out after being stepped on by Alex Ring.

Finally, Dickerson awarded a corner kick that certainly appeared to be a goal kick deep in stoppage time, from which the hosts tied the game. In fact, it was the player — Moussa Djitte — who appeared to touch the ball last before it went out who then scored the tying goal.

All of that aside, it was Orlando City’s own fault for not putting the game away by halftime with the unbelievable chances the Lions wasted.

“Well, first just allow me to recognize the effort of the players today, trying to overcome all those things that happened, especially at the end and in the second half, with many unfair things happened,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “But I guess we’ve got to take it. We played a very good game until all those things came in the second half.”

Pareja’s starting lineup offered no surprises. Pedro Gallese took his spot in goal behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Ruan. Cesar Araujo played in the central midfield with Andres Perea — starting his third consecutive game in all competitions. Junior Urso functioned as a winger on an attacking midfield line with Mauricio Pereyra and Facundo Torres, with Ercan Kara up top.

The Lions jumped on top in the second minute. Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver tried playing out of the back but sent his pass right to Urso. The Bear sent the ball to Kara in front and the Austrian redirected it just inside the right post to make it 1-0. It was Kara’s third goal of the MLS season — fourth in all competitions — and the fourth-fastest goal from the start of a match in club history.

“We wanted to press them right from the first minute and we did it very good,” Kara said. “And the goalkeeper (made) a mistake and Urso (saw) me very good, and played me the ball, and the rest was an easy finish.”

The first two opportunities for Austin came off of turnovers by Araujo in the midfield. The first didn’t result in a clear-cut chance but in the ninth minute, the miscue led to a shot by Maxi Urruti that smashed off the left post. The rebound was cleared behind for an Austin corner with Diego Fagundez lurking.

Following a good spell by Austin, the Lions doubled the lead. Moutinho sent the ball down the left for Torres. The Young Designated Player got to the end line and crossed back into the area for Kara. The ball was deflected by defender Kipp Keller and fell to Pereyra, who fired immediately. Stuver made a good save to deny the captain but the ball fell to Ruan lurking near the back post and the right back slotted home to make it 2-0 in the 22nd minute.

The Lions were wasteful for the rest of the first half. That started in the 26th minute after Kara stole the ball in the attacking third. He fed Urso on his right and the Bear fired a shot right at Stuver, who made the comfortable save.

The hosts came into the match after that missed opportunity, holding much more possession for the rest of the half. Center back Julio Cascante fired a long-range shot that deflected well over the net. On the ensuing corner kick, a cross found Cascante at the back post. The defender headed the ball down and it bounced over the bar. The play may have been offside but the flag stayed down, so no review was necessary.

Right back Nick Lima cut inside the wing a few minutes later and fired a tight-angle shot that Gallese did well to save in the 35th minute. Three minutes later, Moutinho turned the ball over in his own half and Urruti fired just wide. Gallese was shaken up on the play but continued after receiving treatment from the training staff.

Orlando had some chances to put the game in a chokehold down the stretch. Kara let a shot fly from outside the area in the 43rd minute but Stuver got over and made the save. In stoppage time, the Lions had three more excellent scoring chances and should have scored. The first came on a transition opportunity with Torres and Ruan going 2-v-1. Torres was located centrally but chose to send a pass to Ruan on his left. Ruan not only failed to hold his run and stay onside, but he also missed the wide open net. Moments later, Torres had a chance to redeem himself at the top of the area but turned down a shot again to lay off for Kara who was closed down from behind and never got a shot away.

In the dying seconds, Moutinho crossed after a throw-in in the attacking third that found Urso. The Bear headed on frame and Stuver made a big save. The rebound fell for Urso who then missed everything from just a couple feet from the goal line.

The Lions went to the locker room up 2-0 but Austin was still in the game because of the missed chances.

“I thought today was a game that we could easily score two or three goals more until all this mess happened,” Pareja said.

Austin had a big advantage in first-half possession (66.2%-33.8%), corners (4-1), and passing accuracy (90.4%-75%). But the hosts fired only one more shot (8-7) in the opening period and Orlando got more of its chances on target (6-2).

The Lions again had a chance to put the game away in the 53rd minute. Kara laid off for Perea at the top of the area but the midfielder fired his shot wide of Stuver’s goal. Four minutes later, the Lions created another chance. Pereyra floated in a ball for Kara, who headed down for Urso. The Bear fired his shot immediately but left it too close to the middle. Still, Stuver had to make an outstanding reaction save in the 57th minute to keep the score at 2-0.

Moments later, the entire complexion of the game changed.

Schlegel was booked for a handball just outside the area in the 58th minute. The defender’s arm was out from his body and he was trying to change direction, leaning to block the shot. Although Schlegel was pulling his arm toward his body, and almost got it there, the ball hit it and the Lions couldn’t complain too much about the free kick. However, on the free kick, the delivery by Sebastian Driussi hit Schlegel, who was part of the wall. This time, his arm didn’t appear to be in an unnatural position and he probably knew nothing at all about it. In fact, the shot may have been going wide.

Nevertheless, Dickerson showed Schlegel a second yellow and pointed to the spot. He also booked Orlando’s captain, Pereyra — who suffered four play-breaking fouls in the match, including one in transition, without drawing a yellow card — for dissent. The conversation with Video Assistant Referee Rosendo Mendoza didn’t take very long and Dickerson never went to the monitor himself to take a look.

Driussi took the spot kick right down the middle. Gallese dove to his left but dangled a leg and got a piece of the shot. However, the ball deflected into the roof of the net to pull Austin back to within 2-1 in the 63rd minute.

Up a man and now down only one goal, Austin pressed like crazy for the equalizer, winning a couple of quick corners. On the second of those, Araujo blocked a cross by Ring, who looked to have clipped the young Uruguayan, who lashed out with his boot in retaliation. There wasn’t much contact in it but Ring went down and rolled around. A conversation ensued between Dickerson and Mendoza and this time Dickerson decided to look at the play on the monitor himself. He determined it was a dangerous play by Araujo and sent off the midfielder, putting Orlando City down to nine men with still 21 minutes remaining in normal time.

And, as I said earlier, we’ve seen this movie before. Despite changing players, coaches, and even owners, this keeps happening.

Pareja sent on Tesho Akindele, Kyle Smith, and Jake Mulraney to provide some energy as the shorthanded Lions attempted to see out the match. He withdrew Kara, Pereyra, and Torres.

Mulraney nearly made his presence felt immediately, pressuring the ball high and poking it toward goal, but the shot rolled wide in the 73rd minute.

Two minutes later, Austin Head Coach Josh Wolff sent Djitte for Daniel Pereira, as he no longer had need of a holding midfielder, chasing the game while up two men.

Orlando caught a break when Driussi sent a free header over the bar in the 77th minute, but the Lions’ stayed compact with their nine men and invited crosses rather than giving Austin space to get inside.

Austin tried to get a third Lion sent off when Fagundez tried to hurry Gallese, picking the ball up and walking toward Orlando’s goalkeeper. Jansson stepped between the two players and Fagundez lowered his shoulder and initiated contact. Jansson certainly didn’t get out of his way and lowered his own shoulder at the last second. Fagundez crumpled to the ground to sell a call and did manage to get Dickerson to book Jansson in the 82nd minute.

A minute later, the ball ended up on Fagundez’s foot behind the defense. He beat Gallese with a far-post shot but the ball caromed off of the woodwork and Orlando recovered.

Gallese bought his team some rest with a lengthy delay as the trainers came out to look at him for the second time in the match. But Austin went right back on the attack after that.

A cross in found Djitte unmarked, after the forward had gotten in front of Smith, but his header went over the bar in the 89th minute. A minute after that, Ring had a go from the top of the box and Gallese made a sensational one-armed save to preserve the lead — for the moment anyway.

The fourth official signaled seven minutes of injury time, and Pareja tried to waste some of that with a couple of substitutions, sending Sebas Mendez and Michael Halliday on in separate switches for Urso and Ruan.

Dickerson made his final critical mistake in the fifth minute of stoppage time. A ball into the area was headed off of Djitte’s shoulder and out for an apparent goal kick — but not apparent to Dickerson, who signaled for a corner.

Orlando players were incensed and argued vehemently to no avail. Austin played the corner short and sent a back-post cross in that Djitte got a touch on and knocked into the net to level the game at 2-2 in the 95th minute.

“It’s frustrating, very frustrating, the management of that. Those plays,” Pareja said of the officiating. “When it hurt us the most is when they scored a goal, it was it was a corner that was called that…no way. It was our ball and they called a corner and that’s what frustrates us the most. It’s unbelievable the corner that they gave up. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Unacceptable for me.”

Orlando looked to have something going moments later. Akindele went straight up and headed an aerial ball, then appeared to have a chance to get in alone on goal when the defender fell. Dickerson, however, saw some kind of infraction on Akindele and gave Austin the ball back.

The 97th minute came and went, then the 98th, and the 99th, before Dickerson finally blew the full-time whistle. Orlando City was probably fortunate to get any kind of result, given the circumstances, but the Lions could have, and should have, come home with three points.

Austin finished with way more possession (71.4%-28.6%), shots (22-12), corners (10-2), and passing accuracy (90.4%-73.1%). Orlando had more shots on target (7-5).

“It was a tough game, but I think we played very well,” Kara said. “And we did good in the first half and also in the beginning of the second half, but the red cards put us from our way, and it was hard decisions from the referee, but yet we still keep fighting. It’s a point away and we’re looking forward.”


The Lions will have a quick turnaround with a Wednesday night home U.S. Open Cup match-up against Inter Miami CF. Schlegel and Araujo will miss Saturday’s match against FC Dallas.

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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