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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Houston Dynamo: Player Grades and Man of the Match



Orlando City held on to a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo. Late into stoppage time, it looked as if the Dynamo had leveled it but the assistant referee raised his flag for an offside call. This was definitely one of the Lions’ best performances collectively as a unit across the pitch. What follows is how I rated the individual performances in this one.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 7 — El Pulpo did what he does best. He stepped up to make big saves at key moments yet again, proving why he is the first name on Orlando’s team sheet. He started his night making a great save in the sixth minute. But, there were two key plays in the second half where he earned his grade. The first came in the 64th minute, when he stopped a 1-v-1 situation by taking a yellow card well outside the area. Later, he made a huge save in the 71st minute low and on the line to secure the win. He finished with four saves, passed at an 86% rate and had 31 touches on the ball.

D, Joao Moutinho, 6.5 — It looked to be a night when Moutinho decided to come out of the locker room and put on a passing clinic. His first half was filled with pinpoint passes, long balls, and subtle dinks over top that might usually go unnoticed. He found his way into the attack on a number of occasions and played just as well when called upon in the back. There was a brief moment when Moutinho thought he had earned the team a penalty by crossing the ball into the box for a handball; however, it was rightfully overturned by VAR as a free kick just outside the box. He finished his night with two tackles and interceptions, completing three long balls and passing with 82% accuracy while touching the ball 45 times.

D, Robin Jansson, 5.5 — The Beefy Swede did himself no favors by earning yet another yellow card for dissent in the 14th minute. It will also cost him another suspension for accumulation, as the Lions head to Cincinnati on Friday. He had a typically buccaneering performance. Jansson passed with 84% success, with three long balls, completed a dribble, had three clearances, and a tackle on only 35 touches. This was definitely a game that as the lone first-team center back, he should have provided the club a bit more.

D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Smith spent most of the first half going unnoticed. But as a “break glass in case of emergency” option, there is nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, he did lose his mark and ultimately the header that ended up in the back of the net. There were also a few other errant passes throughout the night that could have cost the Lions, but thankfully Houston was unable to capitalize. Statistically, he won an aerial duel and a tackle, and recorded one interception. He also stepped up when he was needed most for seven clearances, passed at a 79% rate, and had the second-most touches on the back line, with 59. He often seemed to be in the right place at the right time, offering up his body to block hard-struck shots and take a little pressure off of Gallese.

D, Ruan, 6 — In the 17th minute, Ruan played a dangerous diagonal ball on a training ground set piece to Kara. Otherwise, it was a quiet night from the speedy right back. While he did find himself in the attack and making runs into the channels, he never really seemed dangerous coming forward like he is known to look. He was able to complete 32 passes at an 87% rate, with five crosses and three long balls. But defensively, he only mustered up a two tackles all night.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — Araujo always seems to pop up just when you need him to. As he spent most of his night hanging back while Urso pushed forward, he was able to pass 50 times at a great 92% success rate, won a tackle, made three interceptions, and had 59 touches. He also committed two fouls while being fouled twice to keep things nice and even. There was never a highlight reel moment for Araujo in this match, but he also didn’t give any up and he shielded a makeshift center back pairing well.

MF, Junior Urso, 6 — The Bear spent much of his first half racking up yellow cards for the Dynamo players. He was fouled twice but knocked down many more times. He led the team in passing percentage (93.9%) across 33 passes. He went two for two on long ball accuracy and put one of his three shots on target. He did miss an easy tap-in finish in first-half stoppage time and had a chance saved in the 47th minute. Defensively, he made two tackles but also gave up two fouls.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 8 (MotM) — Pereyra was the maestro he was brought in to be on the night. He distributed well with cheeky chips and long balls throughout the match. He had 58 touches and passed at an 80% clip, while recording a game-high six key passes in the process. He is credited as having two assists on the night — one secondary and one primary — but really the goal on the latter should have been his. He pegged an unknowing Kara in the calf on a powerful shot that became Kara’s second goal, but it always seemed to be going into the back of the net regardless. On the first goal, he played a perfectly weighted ball to Torres that was then passed on to Kara for the opener. The only blemish on his night would be a yellow card that he really knew nothing about. Pereyra chested down a ball and went to play it on the volley at the same time a Dynamo player ran in from behind him. Striking the player with his boot earned him an unfortunate booking.

MF, Jake Mulraney, 6.5 — I have become a Mulraney fan over his past few appearances. But tonight, we were shown a new aspect of his game. While he is pacey and dangerous on the wings, it seemed he was given more freedom to cut inside and make runs. The free flowing role with the player drifting inside is something we are accustomed to seeing Torres do, but at times it caught the Dynamo off guard when it came from the other side. He looked even more dangerous on the inside than on the touchlines, and it will be interesting to see this develop more over the coming weeks. He passed at a 76% rate and offered four shots but none were on target. He had no defensive statistics on the night, but he did stand up attackers well in hold-up play.

MF, Facundo Torres, 7 — Torres had a series of great passes throughout the match. In the 19th minute, he played a perfectly weighted ball to Ruan, setting up a cross and chance. In the 25th minute, he made the extra pass to Kara for the first goal and his fifth assist of the year. In the 47th minute, he took on the back line and was able to lay off to Urso for a shot. While only one of these plays led to a goal, he was able to keep the attacking pressure and momentum up for the Lions. He had one shot and four key passes. He got stuck in for three tackles and a clearance. He crossed the ball four times and went two for two on long balls with his 87% passing rate. Overall, it was a solid shift for the Designated Player.

F, Ercan Kara, 7.5 — The stat sheet shows two goals for Kara, but he really only knew about one of them, securing the team’s first brace of the year. He opened the scoring in the 25th minute, sliding at the back post to tap in and finish off a DP-to-DP-to-DP sequence. In the 58th minute, Kara found himself standing near the six-yard box when Pereyra struck a ball low and hard in his direction. The deflection off his calf gave him a brace for the night, but I’m sure he will give credit to Pereyra in the locker room. Kara put four of his five shots on target, won an aerial battle, won two tackles, and had a clearance.


F, Benji Michel (64’), 5.5 — It never seemed like Michel got involved in the game. He wasted what could have been the nail in the coffin with a stoppage-time chance. But even before then, he only touched the ball 13 times across nearly 30 minutes of play. As he continues to work back from injury, he will need to offer the team more or else he might just find himself being replaced permanently.

MF, Andres Perea (68’), 6 — Perea had 18 touches in the final minutes of the game. He won two aerial duels, a tackle, and had a clearance to see the Lions to victory. He completed his 12 passes at a 75% rate.

F, Tesho Akindele (78’), N/A — Lately, it seems like Akindele finds himself playing on the wings opposed to striker — as he often did under Pareja in Dallas. He came on late in the match to offer some fresh legs and size defensively. He was able to offer the club a much-needed clearance late.

F, Alexandre Pato (78’), N/A — Pato came on to offer that super-sub spark. While there weren’t enough minutes left in the game for him to get his own goal, he did find himself in behind the back line in the 93rd minute. He laid the ball across the face of goal for an onrushing Michel, but the chance was ultimately wasted. Pato likely could have done better firing at the goal, and in the future, we need to see him finish teams late in games.

MF, Sebas Mendez (78’), N/A — With only four touches, there’s not much by which to judge Mendez’s performance. He completed two of his four passes.

That’s how I saw the performances on Saturday night in Exploria Stadium. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments, and don’t forget to vote for Man of the Match.

Polling Closed

Mauricio Pereyra20
Ercan Kara37
Pedro Gallese6
Facundo Torres7
Other (Let us know who in the comments)1

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/27/23

Orlando City falls in power rankings, OCB will take on Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro playoffs, U.S. Open Cup final preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There’s not much new with me, I’m just staying busy at work lately and hoping to catch some soccer this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Drops Two Spots in Power Rankings

The latest MLS power rankings have been released and Orlando City fell two spots to fourth. The Lions lost their midweek matchup 2-0 on the road against New York City FC last Wednesday and closed out the weekend with a 1-1 draw against rival Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium. It wasn’t all bad this past week for the Lions, as Duncan McGuire scored his 11th goal of the year across all competitions. Despite losing to NYCFC a week ago the Lions remain in second place in the Eastern Conference and are two points ahead of the Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, Atlanta United, and the New England Revolution.

OCB Will Take On Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs

Orlando City B’s opponent for the first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs was announced on Tuesday, as it will go on the road to take on defending champion Columbus Crew 2 on Oct. 1 at Historic Crew Stadium. As part of the new playoff format that lets higher seeds choose their opponents, Columbus chose to host OCB in the quarterfinals. The Young Lions closed out their regular season this past weekend with a 2-1 win against FC Cincinnati and finished fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Columbus Crew 2 finished its regular season with a 3-2 win against Atlanta United 2 to place third. The clubs split the regular season series, with OCB winning 4-1 on Aug. 27 and Columbus winning 4-0 on May 14. The conference semifinals will be on the following weekend, and the MLS NEXT Pro Cup final is set for Oct. 22.

U.S. Open Cup Final Preview

The 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will conclude tonight with the final at DRV PNK Stadium as Inter Miami takes on the Houston Dynamo. The match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. and you can watch the match on Paramount+ or CBS Sports Network. Inter Miami’s journey included edging out Nashville SC 2-1 in the Round of 16 and needing to go all the way to penalties to knock out FC Cincinnati after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the semifinals. The Houston Dynamo began its run with a pair of 1-0 wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Sporting Kansas City. Since the Round of 16, the Dynamo cruised past Minnesota United, the Chicago Fire, and Real Salt Lake to get to the final. Houston was on a seven-match unbeaten run before losing to Sporting Kansas City this past weekend. The Dynamo will look to add another U.S. Open Cup title after winning it back in 2018. Lionel Messi will reportedly be a game-time decision for tonight’s final after he didn’t play in Miami’s draw with Orlando.

Spain Wins First Home Match Since World Cup Victory

Spain’s women’s national team won its first match since lifting the World Cup trophy last month, cruising to a 5-0 win against Switzerland in a UEFA Nations League matchup. After dealing with the fallout of former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales and players boycotting call-ups to the national team before a deal was reached last week, the team wore wristbands that read “Se Acabo,” meaning “this is over,” and players from both teams held a banner with the same phrase before the match. Spain celebrated its win in front of a record-breaking crowd of 14,194 fans that came out to support the team at Nuevo Arcangel Stadium.

Free Kicks

  • Carrie Lawrence and the Orlando Pride were hard at work preparing for the match on Monday against Angel City FC.
  • Angel City exercised its club option to extend former Pride forward Sydney Leroux’s contract through the end of the 2024 NWSL season.
  • The Canadian Women’s National Team defeated Jamaica 4-1 on aggregate to book a spot in next summer’s Olympics.
  • The Seattle Sounders have unveiled their new crest for next year.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 1-1 home draw against the Herons?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Draws are never satisfying but there’s at least a much better feeling when your team scores the final goal that earns the point rather than conceding so the other team takes two away. Thus was Orlando City’s 1-1 draw at home against Inter Miami on Sunday. It feels better to score the last goal, despite the fact that the same number of goals are scored either way. It’s a grand illusion.

Duncan McGuire’s blast through the legs of Drake Callender at least kept the Pepto-Bismol-colored team from winning at the purple palace and added another point to Orlando’s fine 2023 total.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances from a feisty affair at Exploria Stadium.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 7.5 — It was another standout game from the Peruvian shot stopper, who made four saves on the night, including a big one to stop a Leonardo Campana attempt from just a couple yards out. Gallese couldn’t do much about the lone goal conceded, as it came off a rebound of a wicked Josef Martinez shot, offering Gallese little opportunity to control the rebound due to the angle and pace. El Pulpo also recorded a clearance and passed at an 81.8% rate, connecting on five of his nine long balls.

D, Rafael Santos, 6.5 — After a couple of somewhat underwhelming performances, the Brazilian had a solid night. He didn’t have a shot attempt, but he managed two key passes despite completing only 71.4% of his passes. He connected on three of his eight long balls and one of his four crosses, but that latter number says more about his teammates not getting onto some good-looking balls into the area. Defensively, he provided two clearances and an interception, committing just one foul and completing a dribble. He even led the team in touches (60).

D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 (MotM) — In the first half, Jansson was the best player on the pitch and, in my opinion, it wasn’t close. The Beefy Swede vaccuumed up almost everything sent forward by Miami that was intended for Campana and Martinez on his side of the field. He finished the night with two tackles and two interceptions but it seemed like more than that. His passing was magnificent, as he completed 89.4% of his 47 passes, including six of seven long balls and his only through ball attempt. He had a key pass as well. He didn’t attempt a shot but he completed one dribble and drew a foul as he stymied the Miami attack. He did his best to cover Martinez’s quick, incisive run to the opposite side but couldn’t block the shot with his sliding effort. His biggest blemish was getting yet another yellow card for dissent — something he’s mostly been able to avoid this season.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 5.5 —While I thought Schlegel had a much better night Sunday than he had in the previous two games, it was far from where he was just a week or two earlier. The quick transition gave him a tough choice of backing off Campana and allowing a dangerous shot or doing what he did — stepping out and allowing a through ball. His closeout wasn’t tight enough. His marking on set pieces also left a lot to be desired at times. His passing was mostly accurate (91.5%), and he connected on two of three long balls, but there were a few dicey ones in his own end. He recorded two aerials won, one tackle, two interceptions, and a clearance. He committed three fouls and picked up a yellow card, conceding a dangerous free kick. His lone shot attempt was an off-target header.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6.5 — After a couple of tough games, the Icelandic midfielder-turned-fullback acquitted himself pretty well, considering Inter Miami attacked his side quite a bit. He passed well, connecting 82.5% of the time with one key pass and hitting the target once on two crosses, four times on six long balls, and sent a marvelous through ball that should have resulted in an Ivan Angulo goal, but the winger flubbed his lines. His lone shot attempt was a difficult one and did not threaten goal. He did not record a single defensive stat, although much of the time his opponent curled in toward the top of the area and was passed off to another defender.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5.5 — The young Uruguayan had a quiet night, without recording any defensive statistics in his 45 minutes before being subbed out at the break for Martin Ojeda. He managed only 23 touches and his passing rate of 73.3% was much lower than his usual standard and he completed one of his two long balls. He also drew two fouls and completed a dribble. He simply wasn’t able to impact the game to the extent we’re used to seeing.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 7 — It was a good night for the Peruvian midfielder, who was constantly getting under the opponents’ skin. He drew yellow card fouls on Dixon Arroyo and Benjamin Cremaschi — the latter after a slick nutmeg move — and had a steal that was set to ignite the break called back for a foul that I don’t agree was committed. Defensively, he recorded a tackle, a clearance, and an interception. He passed at a 91.1% success rate, created one scoring chance, and completed both of his long-ball attempts.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 5 — Whether it’s a lack of confidence and/or composure or being intimidated by a good goalkeeper, the Ivan Angulo who shoots in warmups is not the same guy in front of goal once the game is underway. He completely flubbed his lines when Thorhallsson sent him in behind for a 1-v-1 chance against Callender. The number of times he gets into dangerous spots and either a bad pass, shot, or decision keeps Orlando City from generating a scoring chance from it is maddening. Angulo failed to get any of his three shot attempts on target. His passing rate was just 60%, he did not have a single key pass, and neither of his two crosses were on target, although his single long ball was. He also didn’t record a single defensive statistic. There are many things Angulo does well, and his speed is tantalizing, but the final product is often lacking.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 — The captain had a mostly quiet match except when he was scissored down from behind by David Ruiz, somehow only producing a yellow card for the Miami midfielder. Pereyra produced only one key pass and no shot attempts, starting at central attacking midfielder before dropping into central midfield in the second half to pull the strings from a deeper position. He passed at an 80.5% success rate, completing one of three crosses and two of five long balls. He did not record any defensive stats and committed two fouls while drawing three.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — Torres led the Lions in shots (4), putting two on target, contributing one key pass and winning an aerial. He passed pretty well overall (81.5%), though he did not complete either of his two crosses or his lone long ball. He contributed an interception and a clearance defensively. Miami concentrated on double-teaming the Designated Player whenever possible. Torres still created some opportunities for himself and others, but it was a fairly quiet night overall.

F, Duncan McGuire, 7.5 — The rookie is still getting back to form after returning from injury, so he managed only 18 touches on the night but he did well with the touches he had. Both of McGuire’s shots were on target and both were rockets. Unfortunately, both were right at goalkeeper Callender. Fortunately, the second of those went through the keeper’s legs for the equalizing goal — his ninth of the MLS season. He also created a chance with a key pass, completed 83.3% of his pass attempts, and connected on his only long ball. He even contributed a defensive clearance. It was a good night for the rookie striker, although he wasn’t able to get that many touches.


MF, Martin Ojeda (46′), 6.5 — The Argentine Designated Player came on at halftime for Araujo to give the Lions more attacking presence and an extra playmaker on the field. He continues to grow in recent games, as he put his only shot attempt on target, created a chance with a key pass, and completed two dribbles, although he did have four unstable touches and was dispossessed once. He completed 89.5% of his 19 passes and all three long balls, but missed on his only cross attempt. He helped with the ball back with two tackles, and added a clearance.

MF/F, Ramiro Enrique (74′), 5 — Enrique came on for Angulo, which I thought at the time was the exact sub that was needed, but the Argentine didn’t offer much for the second straight game after winning Player of the Matchday. He did not attempt a shot or create a key pass and managed only seven touches on the night, passing at an 83.3% clip. He chipped in a clearance.

D, Michael Halliday (77′), 5 — The Homegrown defender spelled Thorhallsson but didn’t offer much, despite completing all four of his passes on 13 total touches. He had two unstable touches and was dispossessed once, which is not what you want to see from your fullback in the final 15 minutes of the match. Defensively, he blocked a shot, but he also conceded an unnecessary late corner when he pulled up, thinking he’d won a foul that didn’t end up getting called.

MF, Gaston Gonzalez (84′), N/A — As the MLS U22 Initiative attacker works his way back to fitness, he got a late runout, replacing McGuire, which pushed Enrique to the top of the formation. He conceded a free kick, but I honestly thought his challenge was clean and should have led to an Orlando counterattack. He put his only shot on frame, but it was a weak dribbler right at Callender. He did not complete his only pass attempt of the match.

MF, Junior Urso (84′), N/A — The Bear entered for Pereyra and was active, gettin 12 touches in late. His 90% passing rate on 10 attempts was solid, missing only on his only attempted long ball. He didn’t record any defensive stats, but he also didn’t make any mistakes in his brief spell.

That’s how I saw the individual performances by Orlando City on Sunday night at the stadium. Let me know where I got things right or wrong in the comments below and be sure to vote for your Man of the Match in our poll below.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/26/23

Pedro Gallese honored, Orlando Pride and Lions celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Campeones Cup preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I won’t lie to you, I’m dragging a bit to start this week. I’m still recovering from being sick and frankly had to fight the urge to take Monday off. I’m soldiering on though, and there’s plenty of soccer happening this week to help keep me entertained and in good spirits. Let’s have a look at today’s links.

Pedro Gallese Recognized

Pedro Gallese turned in another superb performance during Orlando City’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami on Sunday, and he’s been rewarded with a place in the most recent edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. El Pulpo made four saves on the night, including a fantastic stop on a header from close range, and helped the Lions stay in the game until they could find the equalizer. Congratulations to Pedro, and here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Orlando Pride and Orlando City Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Orlando Pride defender Celia fielded questions for fans to learn more about both her and Spain. Celia is from Alicante, a port city in southern Spain, and shared her favorite food, music, and activity while in her home country. She also spoke on a common misconception about spices used in Spain being spicy.

Orlando City’s Facundo Torres also shared the meaning behind some of his tattoos, which include the Uruguayan flag and La Paz, the city he grew up in. Orlando City’s match with CF Montreal on Saturday will also be Hispanic Heritage Night at Exploria Stadium.

Campeones Cup Preview

You can be forgiven if you forgot that the Campeones Cup is still a thing, because I know I did. Here’s a little refresher on the annual match. It’s being played tomorrow night at BMO Stadium between LAFC and Tigres, which are the reigning MLS and Liga MX champions, respectively. The MLS representative has won three out of the four contests, with Tigres beating Toronto FC 3-1 in the first iteration of the competition in 2018. This match will also be a rematch of the 2020 Concacaf Champions League final, which saw Tigres emerge victorious 2-1 at Exploria Stadium.

Americans in Midweek Action

A number of Americans will be taking part in games for their clubs this week. Tim Weah and Weston McKennie’s Juventus will take on Lecce today in Serie A, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup. Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah have a league match when AC Milan plays Cagliari tomorrow. PSV Eindhoven has a game against Go Ahead Eagles tomorrow as well, which means Ricardo Pepi, Sergino Dest and Malik Tillman could all be involved. Friday closes out the week with Hoffenheim taking on Borussia Dortmund, which could see John Brooks matched up against Gio Reyna depending on Reyna’s fitness.

Spanish Players Will Testify Against Rubiales

Alexia Putellas, Irene Paredes and Misa Rodriguez have all been called to testify as witnesses in the case against Luis Rubiales. Jenni Hermoso’s brother and a friend of the player both testified on Monday afternoon, as Rubiales is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion. Rubiales has already testified and maintains he did nothing wrong amid uproar that has led to a number of Spanish players refusing to return to the team until changes are made, and a general overshadowing of Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup. Putellas, Paredes and Rodriguez will testify next Monday.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there!

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