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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New England Revolution: Final Score 1-1 as Lions Earn Another Road Point



After falling behind on a Carles Gil goal, Orlando City showed some fight and earned another road point in a 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution. The Lions (6-5-4, 22 points) had opportunities to break the deadlock after Robin Jansson tied the match but couldn’t push another goal past the Revs (5-5-5, 20 points) as they remain winless in their history at Gillette Stadium (0-5-2).

Orlando is winless in its last eight league matches against the Revs going 0-4-4 in the regular-season series since September of 2017. That record falls to 0-5-4 when including the playoff loss to New England after the 2020 season.

Still, it was an important road result for the Lions, who stand at 3-1-4 with 13 points of a possible 24 away from Exploria Stadium this season.

“I think it was a game well played. We have the sensation that it could have been more than a point,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “We found in New England today, a team that wanted to play the transitions with players who were dangerous there. And I think we controlled them, but well-played by the players. The effort after 16 days without playing was much, much better and the rhythm was better than I thought and we’ll be ready for the next one.”

Pareja’s lineup was a bit unusual coming off the international break. Pedro Gallese, who played 120 minutes — plus a penalty shootout — on Monday in Qatar, not only made it back but started in goal. His back line was only three-quarters of the usual group, with Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, and Rodrigo Schlegel joined by Kyle Smith rather than Ruan. Junior Urso slid back into central midfield with Cesar Araujo after playing several games as a winger. Jake Mulraney started in the attacking midfield line with Mauricio Pereyra and Facundo Torres, while Alexandre Pato was a surprise starter over Designated Player Ercan Kara up top.

Pareja said it wasn’t an easy decision to start Gallese over Adam Grinwis after the Peruvian played Monday and spent half a day on a plane. However, Gallese beat the team to the hotel and made sure he was available.

As is typical with trips to New England, the Lions spent the early minutes getting used to the turf and as a result there were some passing miscues and poor touches. The Revs got the first opportunity three minutes in when Gustavo Bou fired from the right and although his shot appeared to be heading just wide, Gallese took no chances and knocked it behind for a corner. Nothing came of the ensuing set piece.

Bou got in behind the defense in the 12th minute. He didn’t make much contact with the entry ball, but he got a touch and Gallese did well to get down and make the save.

The first good scoring chance for Orlando took place in the 21st minute. Pato worked his way left to right across the top of the box and smashed a shot on target. The shot was a bit too central, which allowed Djordje Petrovic to make a good save. Moutinho found the handle and took a shot on the ensuing corner, but he hit Urso and the ball took an unfortunate bounce, allowing the Revs to counter.

Bou got around Araujo, who slid on the turf and was slow to recover when trying to block a pass, allowing the forward to get past. The ball cycled left to right to Gil and Mulraney played way too far off the Designated Player, who took his time, lined up his shot, and curled one just inside the upper left corner to make it 1-0 in the 22nd minute.

Orlando looked to pull that goal right back when Pato was fouled just outside the area. Pereyra took the free kick and sent a too-soft shot that gave Petrovic no trouble at all.

Bou was left in too much space in the 29th minute and fired a shot that didn’t miss by much.

Orlando pulled level in the 35th minute off a corner kick scramble. The ball fell to Jansson on the left and the defender dribbled toward the end line and smashed a shot from a tough angle that found its way just inside the right post to make it 1-1.

“I came at the back post after Rodri hit the ball on one of their guys, and then I picked up the rebound and just tried to get it past the first defender there,” Jansson said. “And then one-touched on the left and then hard between the legs on the goalkeeper. So yeah, I’m happy about that.”

New England lost midfielder Matt Polster to concussion protocol late in the half after a scary head-to-head clash with Schlegel. Tommy McNamara replaced Polster, while Schlegel was able to continue. Neither team was able to create another good chance in the remaining time before the break.

The Revs held more of the possession in the first half (53.6%-46.4%) and won more corners (6-3), but Orlando had more shots (9-4), with each team getting three attempts on target. The teams were just about even in terms of passing accuracy, with the Revs holding a slim 84.7%-83.3% edge.

Orlando looked good out of the break, getting more of the early second-half chances. Urso had an early shot blocked and it ended up with Torres, who got his shot on target but Petrovic made the save in the 48th minute. Two minutes later, a great ball from Mulraney nearly found Pato, but Andrew Farrell did some emergency defending to deny the ball to the Orlando forward.

The Lions should have had a free kick from just outside the area in the 57th minute due to a handball near the top of the box. The referee didn’t call it live and, because it wasn’t in the box, it was outside the jurisdiction of video review to correct.

New England’s first good chance of the half came on a set piece in the 63rd minute. Brandon Bye found himself with a free header as a backpedaling Moutinho couldn’t quite get to him. But the defender’s header skipped wide of the right post. Two minutes later, Jozy Altidore sent a shot from outside the area high above the crossbar. New England then had a number of crosses and set pieces during a spell in which the Lions struggled to hold possession.

The next decent chance for either side came in the 78th minute when Bye headed wide again.

Orlando’s best chance to find a winner came in the 80th minute. Smith found a loose ball on the right off a long Moutinho throw and sent a spinning shot on target, but Petrovic made a vital save to keep the match even.

The Lions survived a couple of late set pieces and the game finished all knotted up.

The Revs finished with more possession (53.3%-46.7%), corners (10-6), and passing accuracy (84.3%-84.1%), but the Lions had more shots (13-9) and shots on target (5-3).

Orlando was content with the result but realize that more points were there to be had. But the Lions did well to mostly contain the Revs’ strong counterattack.

“They came in a lot of transitions, and we knew before the game that they are strong in that (area) and they have some good players up there,” Jansson said. “You can see on their goal the quality of Gil there, but I think the longer the first half went, I think we started to control it a little bit better and then started to get better control of our game too. So, in the second half, I think we had some good scoring chances too. I think we created some chances and then we we started to get more control in the defense too.”

The Lions have a short turnaround with the Houston Dynamo visiting Exploria Stadium on Saturday night.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 3/1/24

Orlando’s girls teams playing in national event this weekend, USWNT will face Colombia, Paul Pogba banned for four years, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to March! It always feels like a good sign when a month starts on a Friday. Spring may not officially be here, but it definitely feels like winter is truly behind us. I plan on getting plenty of spring cleaning done this weekend before a fairly busy month. Let’s get this month started with today’s links!

ECNL Girls National Event Kicks Off Today

Some of the best youth soccer players are coming to Florida this weekend for the Elite Club National League’s spring event at Lakewood Ranch. It’s a great chance for clubs to play teams outside of their conference and there are plenty of scouts to impress as well. Orlando City will have four youth teams take part and each team will play at least three games over the three days. Orlando’s G07 squad has notably won five of its eight games in conference play and will take on Real Colorado National today. Orlando’s squads in the other age groups have some strong opponents lined up as well, so it should be a great experience for the club.

USWNT Will Face Colombia in Concacaf W Gold Cup

After finishing second in its group after a loss to Mexico, the United States Women’s National Team will take on Colombia this Sunday in the Concacaf W Gold Cup quarterfinals. The U.S. and Colombia squared off in friendlies last fall, with the teams playing to a scoreless draw in Utah before the U.S. won 3-0 in San Diego a few days later. Colombia also finished second in its group, conceding just once so far this tournament. The winner of Sunday’s match will play whichever team advances from tomorrow’s game between Canada and Costa Rica. On the other side of the bracket, Orlando Pride players square off when Rafaelle, Adriana, and Brazil play Mariana Larroquette and Argentina tomorrow. The winner of that match will play the victor between Mexico and Paraguay.

Portland Timbers Cut Ties With Jersey Sponsor

The Portland Timbers have dropped DaBella Exteriors as their jersey sponsor amid allegations that the company’s CEO, Donnie McMillan, Jr., sexually harassed employees. The accusations did not become public until Feb. 23 and the Timbers have removed DaBella’s image from their website as well. It makes sense that the Timbers would want to distance themselves from this. There was an investigation by U.S. Soccer in 2022 regarding former Portland Thorns head coach Paul Riley, and the club was also fined by MLS for not reporting an incident of alleged domestic violence involving former Timbers player Andy Polo in a timely manner. DaBella replaced Alaska Airlines as the team’s shirt sponsor for this season and the Timbers will now go without one until a new sponsor is chosen.

Paul Pogba Banned for Four Years

After testing positive for testosterone while playing for Juventus, French midfielder Paul Pogba was banned for the maximum four years by Italy’s anti-doping court. In response to the ruling, Pogba stated that the verdict was “incorrect” and that he will appeal this decision.

“I am sad, shocked and heartbroken that everything I have built in my professional playing career has been taken away from me,” Pogba said. “When I am free of legal restrictions the full story will become clear, but I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations.”

It’s fair to wonder just where this news leaves his career if his appeal is denied and he serves the full ban. Pogba turns 31 later this month and he is still under contract with Juventus through 2026, although this ban may obviously change that. Injuries have limited him in recent years as well, as he missed out on the most recent World Cup with France.

Free Kicks

  • Toronto FC signed English midfielder Matty Longstaff to a contract through the 2025 season. Longstaff has previous played for Newcastle United and should help improve a Toronto team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2020.
  • LA Galaxy midfielder Mark Delgado’s second yellow card he received in his team’s opener has been rescinded and he’s eligible for Saturday’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes. Delgado was sent off while the Galaxy were up against Inter Miami, and the Herons then went on to score and leave with a point.
  • The New England Revolution beat Independiente to advance to the Concacaf Champions Cup’s round of 16.
  • Bay FC forward Racheal Kundananji had to exit Zambia’s Olympic qualifier against Ghana due to an injury.
  • The United States Men’s National Team’s next away kit was reportedly leaked and it sure is something. It’s like a Bomb Pop got mixed into the team’s laundry.
  • The USL Super League’s Fort Lauderdale United unveiled its branding and the colors are pretty nice. However, the logo has a bit too much alphabet soup going on for my liking.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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Orlando City

Orlando City at Inter Miami: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to defeat Inter Miami in Fort Lauderdale this Saturday?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

This Saturday Orlando City travels to Fort Lauderdale to take on in-state rival Inter Miami. Despite having to pay for a part of Lionel Messi’s salary, the Lions will not get to have him play any time for Orlando City, which is kind of messed up, isn’t it? Regardless, the Lions will look to maintain their undefeated start to the year with a win down South.

What does Orlando City need to do to bring home all three points from Chase Stadium?

Get a Midfielder on Messi

It isn’t easy to stop Messi, but that is what defensive midfielders Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena must do in this match. They are arguably the best defensive midfield pairing in MLS and will need to prove it against one of the best to ever play the game. When Orlando City played Messi and Miami in the U.S. Open Cup last year, they were able to frustrate him and he should have been sent off just before halftime for a second yellow-worthy foul he committed to stop Araujo from getting to a loose ball first to start the counter. He is very entitled and doesn’t like being challenged by the likes of those two. Doing so smartly will be the key because of our next key below.

Don’t Give the Refs Anything

MLS and the referees will never admit that they made calls that benefit Miami and Messi in particular, but that’s because they want us to not believe our lying eyes. It’s unfair and wrong, but also a fact of life. As such, the Lions need to make sure that they don’t do anything even remotely close to the type of foul that will allow the refs to swing things the Herons’ way. Of course, that might not stop them from doing so, but playing clean and smart is the best chance to limit the impact the officiating has on the match. Balancing that will being aggressive enough to stop them will be tricky to say the least.

Score, Score, Score

You can be sure we will see a first-choice lineup from Oscar Pareja this Saturday. That means that the Lions need to press for goals early and often. Score enough goals and the referees can’t hurt you. Whether it’s Duncan McGuire, Facundo Torres, Luis Muriel, Ivan Angulo, Nico Lodeiro, or even Kyle Smith, the team needs to put the ball in the back of the net. Getting the early lead — especially if it’s two goals — will mean a lot to the flow of the game. Once again, I don’t particularly care where those goals come from, just that they happen.

That is what I will be looking for this Saturday. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/29/24

Lions reportedly won’t play in U.S. Open Cup, Cavalry FC reflects on its defeat, gauging the USWNT’s panic meter, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Leap Day, Mane Landers! It’s the rarest day of the year, as we all lean into our procrastination a bit and collectively tell March that we’ll get to it tomorrow. It’s been a pretty busy week for me, but knowing the MLS season is in full swing has helped fuel me a bit. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Orlando City Reportedly Won’t Play in 2024 U.S. Open Cup

The latest reports involving Major League Soccer’s participation in this year’s U.S. Open Cup indicate that Orlando City, along with a majority of MLS teams, won’t be playing their first teams in the tournament. According to ESPN‘s Jeff Carlisle, the Houston Dynamo and the seven best teams from last season that aren’t taking part in the Concacaf Champions Cup will have their first teams take part. The format will reportedly be announced soon and we’ll see if Orlando City B and other MLS NEXT Pro teams will be in the tournament.

It will be pretty disappointing if Orlando’s first team doesn’t end up playing. Even though the Lions suffered an early exit last year, they won in 2022 and Head Coach Oscar Pareja has a penchant for excelling in the U.S. Open Cup.

Cavalry FC Reflects on Loss to Orlando City

Although Cavalry FC lost in both legs against Orlando City in its first Concacaf Champions Cup campaign, the Canadian club can hold its head high. Cavalry Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. spoke on the team’s tactics in the second leg in Orlando to overcome the hefty aggregate deficit.

“Strategically, we wanted to frustrate them in the first half with an extra defender, and often at times we were in a back five,” Wheeldon said. “And second half, we wanted to unleash with more attackers and have a go, because it was 0-0. We thought … one, we wanted to make history with our first goal, and two, we wanted to get a result here.”

That first goal did come with Myer Bevan making some history for his team to take back to Canada. All in all, Cavalry did pretty well as the underdog and it’s unfortunate it didn’t get a true home game in Calgary. Cavalry’s defense is the real deal and I doubt this is the last time it makes an appearance in the Champions Cup.

Assessing the Fallout From the USWNT’s Defeat

The United States Women’s National Team suffered a shocking defeat to Mexico earlier this week that’s brought on varying levels of panic. The clock is ticking before the Olympics and the USWNT struggled to bounce back after trailing in the first half and had difficulties on both sides of the ball. While the issues at center back will likely be solved once Naomi Girma and Tierna Davidson play, the midfield has plenty of question marks and a weird balance of youth and experience. It’s an awkward stage for the USWNT, as Emma Hayes doesn’t arrive until May and won’t have much time to get the team ready for Paris. Of course, the USWNT could still win this tournament and the return of Mallory Swanson may heal most wounds this summer, leaving this loss as just a minor blemish when the year is up. Only time will tell and the USWNT has plenty of opportunity to right the ship.

FA Cup Quarterfinals Are Set

It was a pretty wild day in the FA Cup, with some of England’s top teams fighting their way into the quarterfinals. Chelsea needed a late winner from Conor Gallagher to beat Leeds United 3-2 at Stamford Bridge. Manchester United’s match against Nottingham Forest also had a dramatic finish, as United’s Casemiro scored the game’s only goal in the 89th minute. Wolverhampton ousted Brighton thanks to an early goal, and Liverpool got the job done against Southampton.

In the quarterfinals, Newcastle will travel to take on Manchester City, Wolverhampton will host the second division’s Conventry City, Chelsea will take on Leicester City, and Manchester United will face off against Liverpool. All four matches will take place on March 16.

Free Kicks

  • After getting married, Orlando Pride defender Emily Madril will have a new name on the back of her jersey this season.
  • Former Pride midfielder Becky Edwards is an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee and shared details about her time as both a player and coach with the U.S. U-20 team.
  • Enjoy this captured moment of Orlando midfielder Wilder Cartagena being awesome.
  • LAFC forward Mateusz Bogusz’s strike against the Seattle Sounders won the first MLS Goal of the Matchday of the season, claiming 35.4% of the vote.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a pretty great Leap Day and that the rest of the week goes smoothly.

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