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Intelligence Report: Orlando City vs. New England Revolution

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It’s been over two weeks, but finally another Orlando City game is upon us. After resting up during the long layoff, Orlando will travel north to Foxborough to take on the New England Revolution.

A date with the Revs means that I took some time to catch up with Jake Catanese, one of the senior editors over at SBNation sister site The Bent Musket. As to be expected, Jake gave us some excellent insight into a Revs team that looks very different to the last time they faced off against the Lions.

Obviously, Adam Buksa is now headed to RC Lens. Bruce Arena recently spoke about how the Revs don’t plan on reinventing themselves, but how will Buksa be replaced?

Jake Catanese: In the short term, the Revs are going to go with Gustavo Bou up top as a lone striker with Jozy Altidore and Homegrown Justin Rennicks rounding out the depth chart. It’s entirely possible that New England is targeting another striker to join in the summer window, but we don’t have any specific names yet on the rumor mill. But if the Revs sign a Young DP-type player, they would be able to reinforce the roster with other U22 players like Dylan Borrero.

Tactically, the Revs will likely stick with a 4-2-3-1 and use an attacking midfield grouping of Carles Gil, Sebastian Lletget, and Borrero to support Bou as the lone striker. But Bou and Buksa are two very different strikers and the Revs won’t be able to generate the half and/or second chances they used to get from pumping in crosses into the box at Buksa. Bou, however, opens up more options for the Revs on the counter and already seems to have a solid chemistry going with Borrero, who joined the team at the end of the primary window in April and is starting to get minutes. Bruce, I think, is telling a half truth here, because while the formation might largely stay the same, the Revs are going to have to adjust how they attack in and around the box just because of how dominant Buksa was in the air. Short term, I think the Revs can rebound and make the playoffs this year, with or without a new option up top, but the long-term roster building and decisions after the World Cup in this off-season are far more interesting and important for the team going forward

Matt Turner is also headed out the door to Arsenal. Former Orlando City player Earl Edwards Jr. has gotten some games in goal this year and Djordje Petrovic started in the Revs’ win over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. Do you know who will be starting going forward, or is that up in the air?

JC: Petrovic has been tabbed as the long-term starter and the team is very high on him, but Edwards did really well at the beginning of the year and could find himself on the bench and getting spot starts with veteran backup Brad Knighton at some point this year. The Revs were able to use their Open Cup games to get Petrovic acclimated to the team and he did really well in those games despite allowing an extra-time winner to NYCFC with a second- to third-choice lineup. Obviously there will be some let-off from the high standards Matt Turner has set in net the last few years, but as a pure shot stopper, you can see the talent Petrovic has in that department and the growth he likely will have as he develops other parts of his game under keeping guru Kevin Hitchcock. With draft pick Jacob Jackson at Revs II racking up shoutouts in the MLS NEXT Pro league, the Revs’ goalkeeping corps of Petrovic, Edwards, and Jackson seems to be set for the foreseeable future of the post-Matt Turner era.

New England is now on a six-game unbeaten streak stretching all the way back to April. What’s been key to New England getting results during this run?

JC: Simply, the Revs have just been healthy, especially at the back of the formation. Henry Kessler missed the win in Kansas City but had featured regularly next to Andrew Farrell, and the return of Matt Turner, however brief in MLS play, bolstered a back line that was very, very leaky at the beginning of the year and still should be doing a little better. One of the things the Revs did so well last year was grab not just late results but late wins like they did in Kansas City on Sunday. They had a chance to steal three points late against Columbus last month with a Buksa goal only to concede an equalizer right before stoppage time. While I don’t always want to rely on late-game heroics, the Revs weren’t big on blowing teams out last year and were able to find ways to close out games and they have been less than stellar in that area this year.

Overall, the Revs have had a lot of moving pieces, which is to be expected from a Supporters Shield-winning team that has sold three of its top players in Tajon Buchanan, Buksa, and Turner. As the Revs settle in and get healthier, there’s every reason to think their consistency and results will continue to improve.

Are there any players who will be unavailable for selection due to injuries, suspensions, or international duty? What is your projected starting lineup and score prediction?

JC: Matt Turner will still be with the USMNT and his last game before his Arsenal move will be this weekend against Minnesota for a Gillette swan song. Henry Kessler and Sebastian Lletget missed the Sporting KC game, but both could be available for the busy upcoming week. Omar Gonzalez left the SKC game with a knock, so it could be Jon Bell and Andrew Farrell at center back with Ben Reveno as a depth option for that spot.

4-2-3-1: Djordje Petrovic; DeJuan Jones, Jon Bell, Andrew Farrell, Brandon Bye; Matt Polster, Maciel; Dylan Borrero, Carles Gil, Sebastian Lletget; Gustavo Bou.

With the Revs chasing Orlando in the East, my guess is we see the best lineup Bruce Arena can muster, with a lot of regulars and not a lot of rotation from Sunday. We saw Borrero and Bou combine really well for a goal in Kansas City, but I am really interested to see the attacking midfield setup with both Borrero and Lletget on either side of Carles Gil. Both players are really good on the ball and see the field well, and can operate out wide or in the middle, depending on the situation and could really cause issues for defenses having to account for late runs.

I like the Revs at home to get back on the right side of the playoff line, I think another 2-1 win for New England.


Thanks again to Jake for catching us up on New England. Vamos Orlando!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/13/24

Orlando City B hosts Chattanooga FC tonight, USMNT earns draw against Brazil, MLS’ Juneteenth celebrations, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Between my cat finally deciding I’m worth hanging out with and reading a pair of books that have been collecting dust on my shelf, I’ve been having a pretty good week. I’m looking forward to the feast of soccer both in Orlando and abroad over the next few days as well. But for now, let’s get this Thursday started with today’s links!

Orlando City B Hosts Chattanooga FC Tonight

In an enticing midweek match tonight at 7 p.m., Orlando City B will take on Chattanooga FC at Osceola Heritage Park. If not heading to watch OCB in person, you can catch the game on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+. The last time these two teams squared off was on May 4, with Chattanooga winning the penalty shootout for an extra point after a 1-1 draw in Tennessee. The Young Lions are coming off of a 2-2 draw with one of the league’s worst teams this season, Carolina Core FC, but winning the shootout after a late rally could give them the kind of momentum needed to take down Chattanooga. Beating one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference would be quite the statement from OCB during what’s been a middling season so far.

USMNT Draws With Brazil in Orlando

Playing in Orlando at Camping World Stadium, the United States Men’s National Team drew 1-1 against Brazil in a friendly billed as the Continental Clasico. Brazil scored first, but Matt Turner and the USMNT didn’t collapse under the pressure and earned the team’s first ever draw against the South American powerhouse. All in all, it was a much better result than the USMNT’s 5-1 loss to Colombia on Saturday. This was the USMNT’s final match until Copa America later this month. The Yanks will start their campaign against Bolivia on June 23 before playing Panama on June 27 and Uruguay on July 1.

MLS Announces Initiatives for Juneteenth

In partnership with Black Players for Change and Adidas, MLS announced some of the ways the league will be celebrating Juneteenth. Pre-match shirts acknowledging the change players can provide will be worn during warm-ups and fans can buy their own shirts as well, with a portion of the proceeds going toward organizations focused on racial equity and social justice. There will also be a campaign highlighting the connection between professional and academy players, as well as educational content across the league’s social media to raise awareness of the holiday.

Euro 2024 Kicks Off on Friday

A loaded gauntlet of summer tournaments finally begins Friday, as Germany hosts Scotland for the first match of Euro 2024. From Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential swan song to a brutal group that includes Spain, Italy, and Croatia, storylines abound for the tournament and each team brings something worth watching to the table. For Orlando City fans, defender David Brekalo was called up by Slovenia, which was drawn in a group with England, Denmark, and Serbia. I’m looking forward to seeing which underdogs prevail and which players make a name for themselves in this tournament.

2026 World Cup Schedule Revealed

The full schedule for the 2026 World Cup was unveiled, which gives a slight glimpse at the paths each host nation could take in the tournament. If the U.S. wins Group D after matches in Los Angeles and Seattle, it will stay on the West Coast for a knockout game in San Francisco before a potential round of 16 game in Seattle and quarterfinal in Los Angeles. Mexico and Canada have similar incentives to win their groups, as they will then host in their country until heading to the U.S. for the quarterfinals, should they make it that far. Here in Florida, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami will serve as the venue for four group games, a round of 32 match on July 3, a quarterfinal on July 11, and the third-place match on July 18.

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  • Orlando Pride Assistant Coach Yolanda Thomas was announced as a panelist for the Black Soccer Coaches’ summer symposium on July 22. She will also have a field session at the event to discuss the role of the midfield when building out of the back.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/12/24

Leagues Cup forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup win, USMNT U-23 loses to Japan, NWSL expansion options, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. The USMNT plays tonight in Orlando, and I hope that you have tickets. If not, we can still watch as we wait for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday. On a personal note, this Friday will mark my ninth anniversary with The Mane Land. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m glad you’ve been there with us. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s get to the links.

Leagues Cup Forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Win

Orlando City is playing in the Leagues Cup starting at the end of July and here’s a nice guide to Orlando’s group for the tournament. Of course, the Leagues Cup organizers want you to be pumped so that you watch and buy tickets. I think that is something we should do simply to support the club. However, I don’t think they went about promoting the competition in quite the right way. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the tournament’s social media team stated the Leagues Cup would be Orlando’s chance to win its first trophy. Did you catch the mistake? Taylor Twellman did.

Good on you, Taylor. Facundo Torres was indeed brilliant in that match, as was Benji Michel. Of course, there were others that caught the faux pas as well.

I think we should also be mentioning the USL Championships, but what do I know? Evidently, more than the Leagues Cup’s social media team.

USMNT to Honor Pulse Victims

There’s plenty of fake, corporate shows of support for Pride Month , but in general I think that the USMNT and USWNT have done a good job of being legitimate allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Tonight, the USMNT will play a friendly against Brazil at Camping World Stadium on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The players will be wearing Pride jerseys to honor those who lost their lives so senselessly eight years ago.

In terms of the game, the USMNT will be without Josh Sargent for the match, and Tyler Adams will only get limited minutes if he plays, as both are coming back from injuries. Get well before the Copa America, lads.

Lions on International Duty

The United States U-23 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan in its final friendly match before the Olympics. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire found himself on a bit of an island up top as the U.S. had difficulty moving the ball through the midfield. Hopefully, the U.S. got such play out of its system heading into the Olympics.

OCB’s Wilfredo Rivera made the most of his time playing in Puerto Rico’s World Cup qualifier against Anguilla, scoring a brace in the 8-0 victory. This win comes after a scoreless draw with El Salvador last week and Puerto Rico’s remaining group games during this round of qualifying will be next June.

Exploring NWSL Expansion Options

The NWSL will be expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with many cities vying for the next franchise. The leaders include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville are potential choices as well. If it was to be given to either Atlanta or Jacksonville they would be regional rivals for the Orlando Pride. The league is expected to make a decision by the fourth quarter of 2024.

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  • Congratulations to the U-15 United States Women’s National Team, which won 4-0 over Germany.
  • Did you ever have one of those dreams that was a little scary, but also absolutely hilarious? This preview of Inter Miami’s new mascot is a bit like that. To misquote Jaws: “Ever seen an Inter Miami mascot’s eyes, Chief? He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.”
  • The Cayman Islands Men’s National Football Team forfeited its match against Cuba because many of its players are on visas in the United States. If those players were to travel to Cuba, the U.S. may have canceled those visas due to travel restrictions.
  • This is one of the most ridiculous no-calls I’ve ever seen. India got royally hosed.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday night. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America Wednesday night at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up Monday night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team, Nani FC, fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

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That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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