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Orlando City vs. Inter Miami, U.S. Open Cup: Final Score 1-1 as Lions Advance on Penalties

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It was another nerve-wracking U.S. Open Cup penalty shootout after Orlando City and Inter Miami CF drew 1-1 through 120 minutes at Exploria Stadium. The Lions made the most of their spot kicks, winning the shootout 4-2 and needing just four rounds to do it due to a big save by Mason Stajduhar and a miss by USMNT right back DeAndre Yedlin. All of that happened after Jean Mota and Facundo Torres traded goals in the first half of extra time.

The Lions advance to the quarterfinals for the fifth time across the combined USL and MLS eras of the club and will face Nashville SC in the final eight at Exploria Stadium with the date yet to be determined.

“A fantastic performance,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “The effort of the players (was) incredible. They just played three days ago, and that courage and that willingness to do things…and I thought we managed the game all the time and had the best of the game. We needed to be finer. We have been fighting with that to be more precise.”

Pareja’s lineup included Stajduhar in goal behind a back line of Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Ruan. Cesar Araujo was joined in the central midfield by Sebas Mendez, behind an attacking line of Junior Urso, Torres, and Alexandre Pato, with Tesho Akindele up top.

The Lions domiated the first 45 minutes but again struggled to finish chances and when they did get everything right, Drake Callender made a couple of big saves to keep them off the scoreboard.

Orlando’s chances started right from the jump when Pato split two defenders and was fouled just to the left side of the penalty area in the first minute. His shot on the ensuing set piece deflected out for a corner. Miami did well to deflect a number of Orlando shots and crosses throughout the opening half. Jansson flicked on the ensuing corner cross from Pato but it was off target.

Ruan had an active first half and his headed cross was knocked behind for a corner in the sixth minute. Moments later, Akindele flicked a pass from Urso wide of goal.

Miami’s first opportunity came 10 minutes in with Gonzalo Higuain getting on the ball but having his shot blocked near the penalty spot.

In the 17th minute, Pato threaded a gorgeous through ball to send Akindele down the left. Tesho held up play and found Araujo on the other side of the area. With a lot of net to shoot at, the midfielder made a mess of either a shot or a cross and the chance evaporated. Four minutes later, the Lions should have scored. Ruan made a fantastic cross to find a late-arriving Smith in the area, but the left back sent his free header over the bar.

Smith sent in a cross to Akindele in the 23rd minute and the forward got his header on target but Callender did well to get over to his near post to make the save.

Miami nearly took the lead against the run of play in the 32nd minute. Miami came forward and all of Orlando’s back line focused on cutting off Higuain. Instead, Indiana Vassiliev was able to sneak in and take a pass to put him in against Stajduhar. The Orlando goalkeeper made a vital save to push it off the post, keeping the game scoreless.

A minute later, Damion Lowe prevented an Orlando goal. Ruan got down the right and sent in a nice cross for Akindele at the far post. Just before the cross arrived, Lowe stuck a leg out and deflected it away.

Miami then got a short spell in the Orlando end. Higuain had another shot blocked and Gregore fired just wide from outside the area in the 36th minute.

Mendez smashed a long-range effort in the 41st minute that forced a good save from Callender. A late chance saw Smith get some space on the left in the box but he sent either a cross or a shot wide of goal and that was it for the opening half. The teams went to the locker room without a goal on the board.

Orlando dominated the stat sheet in the first period, with more possession (67.6%-32.4%), shots (13-5), shots on goal (3-1), corners (7-0), and passing accuracy (87.2%-81.9%). However, the Lions couldn’t put one in the net to take control.

The Lions continued to have the majority of the chances in the second half, while the visitors stayed compact and waited for transition opportunities. Orlando wasted a lot more set pieces in the second half, including a free kick in the first minute after the restart. Just seconds after that, however, Pato fizzed a shot inches over the bar.

On a strange play, Emerson Rodriguez went down outside Orlando’s area to try to get a call on Schlegel but none was made. While Stajduhar was over the ball, Schlegel tried to get Rodriguez to get up and picked up the Miami player, who swung at the Orlando defender. Both players were booked and for some reason Miami was awarded a free kick at that point. Higuain sent the set piece over the bar in the 59th minute.

Both teams made multiple subs in the 60th minute to get fresh bodies on the field but not much changed.

Pato suffered a hard foul but the ref played Orlando’s advantage in the 66th. Unfortunately, Urso botched his header attempt in front, bouncing it out of play.

Four minutes later, Miami got one of those transition opportunities but Robert Taylor fired just wide.

Kara took a free kick in the 72nd after Pato was fouled yet again but the Austrian sent his effort well over the bar on another wasted set piece. Six minutes later, Torres had a go from just outside the area but fizzed his shot just wide of the post. In the 83rd minute, Urso again got his head on a cross — from second-half sub Mauricio Pereyra — but he shot it wide.

Mota got a free look from the top of the box in the 88th minute but fired his shot just over the bar. That was the last good look of normal time and the teams went into extra time still scoreless.

The Lions led in possession (62.3%-37.7%), shots (20-10), shots on goal (3-1), corners (9-2), and passing accuracy (87.4%-82.8%). Nevertheless, the game headed into extra time.

Pereyra had the first good look of the first half of extra time, whistling a shot just over the bar in the 92nd.

Two minutes later, Miami opened the scoring out of nowhere. Mota came up the field and took a pass with substitute midfielder Andres Perea a little late in closing him down. Mota struck his shot hard from the left side toward Stajduhar’s near post and it went in. While there was quite a bit of pace on the shot, it was one the keeper would probably expect to stop. The visitors led 1-0.

“It was not easy to overcome (Sunday’s loss) mentally and that’s why I was wondering how much we were going to mentally last in the game with with that intensity, and that willingness, pushing (forward),” Pareja said. “And even when they scored a goal. It was not an easy moment for our boys to come back.”

The lead lasted three minutes. The Lions made their next foray into the attacking third count, as Pereyra and Torres worked a give-and-go. The ball ended up on Torres’ foot just inside the top of the area. He cut from right to left, cleared a defender and fired a shot just inside the left post to tie the match at 1-1 in the 97th minute.

Much of the rest of the first half of extra time was stop-and-start soccer, with Orlando getting a few set pieces but not doing much with them. Referee Kevin Broadley blew the halftime whistle just as Torres was coming free with the ball at the top of the box.

The Lions got the first good chance of the second half of extra time, when Torres fired a shot from the left toward the back post in the 109th minute. Callender did well to make the save. In the 115th minute, the Lions recycled a cleared corner kick and the second ball in found Jansson, but the Swedish defender’s shot was at the goalkeeper.

The best chance of the extra period’s second half came in stoppage time when substitute Jack Lynn was beaten and Stajduhar came off his line but couldn’t get there. The ball was crossed in to Leonardo Campana in front of goal but the forward’s shot was blocked over the bar by substitute defender Michael Halliday, and the match went to penalties.

“I decided to go. I’m pretty sure I got in touch on it,” Stajduhar said of that final play. “I think it might have hit either my heel or my hip. Then it squeaked in the middle and Mikey made an incredible block and saved the day for us. He didn’t even know he made it after the play.”

Orlando City finished open play with the advantage in possession (64.7%-35.3%), shots (28-12), shots on target (6-3), corners (12-3), and passing accuracy (88.7%-81.9%).

Before the shootout, Adam Grinwis, Stajduhar’s fellow Orlando CIty backup goalkeeper and a previous U.S. Open Cup hero for the Lions had some advice for Mason.

“He always says, ‘Just rock up and be sick,’” Stajduhar said.

Miami won the toss and shot first with Campana taking the first penalty. The forward took a cheeky spot kick, chipping softly down the middle. It beat the diving Stajduhar and hit the crossbar but still deflected in. Ercan Kara answered with a solid penalty inside the right post.

“I asked (Pareja), ‘Can I shoot at first?’ Because I want to show my teammates my self confidence,” Kara said. “I trust myself, and when I score, I’m thinking now everybody has this confidence to score. And I was like, ‘I want to go in front and say trust me, I scored and you will also.”

Bryce Duke shot second for Miami and Stajduhar guessed correctly, going right to save it. Jansson shot second for Orlando and although Callender guessed right and got a piece, it went in anyway.

Yedlin followed for Miami but fired over the bar with barely any run-up. Andres Perea then converted to give Orlando a 3-1 lead after three rounds.

Miami needed to score to stay alive and Ariel Lassiter blasted his spot kick into the net to give the Herons a chance. But Pereyra sent the Lions into the quarterfinals by beating Callender to end the shootout, 4-2 in Orlando’s favor.

Pareja said after the match that he hadn’t planned on playing Torres 90 minutes and he needed to come off just before the penalty shootout due to tightness. We’ll have to wait to see if he’ll be available Saturday against FC Dallas.

“Anytime you get to fight for a trophy, no matter what it is, go as hard as you can for it. And obviously this is do or die in every game,” Stajduhar said. “So, yeah, it means a lot to be able to represent this club and hopefully we can take it another step further versus Nashville in a couple of weeks.”

“We advanced,” Pareja said, summing up the night. “The Cup is important for us. It’s great to see the fans connected. We’ll see how we recover. We know it has been a very taxing night for (the players) but their heart is big and we’re proud of that.”


The Lions have another quick turnaround as they welcome FC Dallas to Exploria Stadium on Saturday night.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Cavalry FC, Concacaf Champions Cup: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions have the advantage heading into tonight’s second leg against Cavalry.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to your match thread for a Tuesday night Concacaf Champions Cup matchup between Orlando City and Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League at Inter&Co Stadium at 6 p.m. (FOX Sports 2). It’s the second meeting ever between the teams, who met for the first time just six days ago in Langford, British Columbia.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.

History

There is exactly one game’s worth of history in this not-exactly-storied rivalry. Orlando City won the first match last Wednesday by a 3-0 scoreline at Starlight Stadium. Duncan McGuire put the Lions on the board first and Facundo Torres added a brace in a dominant performance by Orlando City. Those were Orlando’s first three away goals in continental competition and their first win on the road as well.

The Lions are experiencing their fourth international cup competition and their second foray into Concacaf Champions League/Cup, having drawn twice against Tigres UANL last season. Orlando bowed out of last year’s competition due to the away goals tiebreaker. Orlando City has also competed twice in Leagues Cup.

Overview

Orlando City is coming off a 0-0 draw against CF Montreal on Saturday in its MLS season opener at home. Pedro Gallese kept a clean sheet, keeping alive the club’s 10-year unbeaten streak in MLS openers (3-0-7). The Lions have not conceded a goal in their opener since Oscar Pareja became head coach, with three 0-0 draws, a 1-0 win over New York Red Bulls (2023), and a 2-0 win over CF Montreal (2022).

Cavalry FC hasn’t played since these teams met last week. The Canadian side is coming off a season in which it finished top of the table in the regular season but fell 2-1 after extra time in the CPL championship match against Forge FC. As far as CPL teams go, the Lions will be facing one of the league’s best, as you’d expect in a competition called “Champions Cup.” Cavalry showed its quality last week, jumping out to the more energetic start in each half and fashioning some good scoring chances in the second half.

The Lions will likely rotate some personnel for this match, given that they’ve played twice in the last six days and enjoy a three-goal advantage entering the second leg. Orlando City would advance with a win, a draw, or a loss by two goals or fewer, but there is a path for Cavalry FC. Here’s how the teams can advance:

“A very important match. The context of it, people may think the job has been done. The message today to the players was the game is not done yet,” Pareja said. “We respect our rival and the competition. We’re going in with full cylinders (tonight) trying to achieve us advancing to the next phase with a lot of responsibility because the tournament requires it.”

Orlando City has everyone available for tonight, including new striker Luis Muriel.


Official Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Rodrigo Schlegel, Kyle Smith, Michael Halliday.

Defensive Midfielders: Wilder Cartagena, Felipe.

Attacking Midfielders: Ramiro Enrique, Martin Ojeda, Shak Mohammed.

Forward: Luis Muriel.

Bench: Pedro Gallese, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Abdi Salim, Robin Jansson, David Brekalo, Cesar Araujo, Jeorgio Kocevski, Nico Lodeiro, Ivan Angulo, Facundo Torres, Jack Lynn, Duncan McGuire.

Cavalry FC (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Marco Carducci.

Defenders: Bradley Kamdem, Daan Klomp, Callum Montgomery, Shamit Shome.

Defensive Midfielders: Eryk Kobza, Charlie Trafford.

Attacking Midfielders: William Akio, Sergio Camargo, Fraser Aird.

Forward: Myer Bevan.

Bench: Jack Barrett, Jesse Daley, Tom Field, Diego Gutierrez, Michael Harms, Ali Musse, Lucas Dias, Lleyton Brooks, Tobias Warschewski.

Officials:

REF: Fernando Guerrero (Mexico).
AR1: Christian Espinosa (Mexico).
AR2: Michel Espinoza (Mexico).
4TH: Cesar Ramos (Mexico).
VAR: Adonai Escobedo (Mexico).
VAR1: Benjamin Whitty (Cayman Islands).


How to Watch

Match Time: 6 p.m.

Venue: Inter&Co Stadium — Orlando.

TV: FOX Sports 2.

Streaming: The match can be streamed on FOX Sports GO, and the FOX Sports app.

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).


Enjoy the match. Go City!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/27/24

Dagur Dan Thorhallsson named to Team of the Matchday, Orlando City hosts Cavalry FC tonight, USWNT loses to Mexico, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Orlando City might not have gotten the result we were hoping for to start MLS play, but it’s a long season and it isn’t easy to play on two fronts when coming back from a long layoff. The Lions will get a chance to get back to winning ways tonight when they face Cavalry FC in Concacaf Champions Cup play. As usual, we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get after it.

Dagur Dan Named to MLS Team of the Matchday

Dagur Dan Thorhallsson has been recognized for his efforts in Orlando City’s opening game against CF Montreal with a place in the MLS Team of the Matchday. He got the start at right back and came on strong in the second half, completing three key passes and 88% of his passes on the night. He also completed a cross, a long ball, and took a team-high four shots, although he only put one on target. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 out of 10 on the night, making him one of the highest-rated Lions not named Pedro Gallese.

Orlando City Chases History

Orlando City already made history last week when the team earned its first ever Concacaf Champions Cup victory with a 3-0 win over Cavalry FC. Tonight, the Lions are looking to make a little more history by earning the club’s first home victory in the competition, as well as advancing to the next round for the first time. OCSC put itself in a good position to do exactly that, as a win, draw, or a loss by two goals or fewer will be enough to see the good guys through to the next round. Orlando defender Kyle Smith shared his thoughts on tonight’s match.

The Calgary Herald provided an interesting look at tonight’s game from the view of the visitors as well. After falling at Starlight Stadium, the Canadian club heads to a tough environment in Orlando as the underdog.

USWNT Falls to Mexico

The United States Women’s National Team lost its final game of the Concacaf W Gold Cup group stage, falling 2-0 to Mexico. Lizbeth Ovalle gave Mexico the lead in the first half and Mayra Pelayo put the nail in the coffin with another goal in stoppage time. It was the USWNT’s first time losing at home against a Concacaf team in 23 years, and first time being beaten by Mexico since 2010. It was a rough game for the USWNT, as it struggled on both sides of the ball. As a result of this loss, the U.S. finish second in its group and will play in the quarterfinals this weekend.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of United States Men’s National Team players taking part in games during the working week, so make sure you don’t miss any of the action. Tomorrow sees Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann, and Venezia host Cittadella in Serie B action, while Giovanni Reyna, Matt Turner, and Nottingham Forest host Manchester United in the FA Cup. Things finish up on Friday, with Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and AC Milan facing Lazio in Serie A, and Folarin Balogun and Monaco facing off against Paris Saint-Germain.

Free Kicks

  • Forward Luis Muriel is available for selection tonight and could make his Orlando City debut.
  • Orlando Pride forward Mariana Larroquette started and had an assist in Argentina’s 3-0 win over the Dominican Republic.

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 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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