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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: 4/23/24

Ivan Angulo makes Team of the Matchday bench, Americans in action, Sergino Dest to miss Copa America, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was an excellent weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, as the three sides took seven of the nine points on offer. There’s no rest for the wicked this week as the Orlando Pride travel to play the Washington Spirit on Friday, Orlando City hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, and Orlando City B finishes things up at home against Toronto FC II on Sunday. Let’s take a look at today’s links.

Ivan Angulo Earns Recognition

Ivan Angulo has been named to the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. The Colombian got the start on Saturday up in Montreal, and had a good game, going the distance and completing 82% of his passes and putting one of his two shots on target. That shot was an important one, as it gave the Lions a late equalizer and helped them salvage a valuable point on the road. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 in his player grades from the match, a rating that likely would have been higher had Martin Ojeda’s pass been accurate enough to allow Angulo to grab a possible winner just a few minutes after he equalized. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of Americans taking part in big games this week, and the good people over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with the whole rundown. First up, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, and Juventus will try to advance to the Coppa Italia final this afternoon, as they enter the second leg of the semifinal against Lazio with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Tomorrow sees Monaco and Folarin Balogun meet Lille in Ligue 1 action, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League. Things wrap up on Friday in Serie B when Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessman, and third-place Venezia face Cremonese as they try to overtake Como and finish in one of Serie B’s two guaranteed promotion places.

Sergino Dest Sidelined Long Term

Following up on a story from yesterday’s Lion Links, The Athletic is reporting that the knee injury suffered by Sergino Dest will keep him out of Copa America, and sideline him for the rest of the year. That would be a big blow for the United States Men’s National Team, as Dest has been the nailed-on starter at right back since winning a place in the team during the qualifying cycle for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks aren’t without options at the position, as Joe Scally could step in for Dest, or Gregg Berhalter could try deploying Weah there, but neither of the two possesses Dest’s level of offensive threat.

Inter Milan Wins Serie A

Inter Milan dispatched rival AC Milan 2-1 guaranteed that Inter will win its 20th Serie A title in club history. Fikayo Tomori’s goal in the 80th minute was the closest Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s club could get to leveling the score, and Inter is now a whopping 17 points clear of AC Milan with five games left to play. Inter has been imperious on its way to a 20th Scudetto, scoring the most goals in the league while also conceding the fewest and losing only once this season.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City hosted a clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day on Monday.

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 2-2 draw with CF Montreal?



Image courtesy of Orlando City / Mark Thor

Orlando City scored in second-half injury time for the second consecutive weekend to claim points. However, this time it was an equalizer as the Lions drew CF Montreal 2-2 north of the border. The Lions ended their two-game road trip with four points and extended their points streak to four games after dropping three straight. It’s an improvement as they look to climb up the Eastern Conference standings.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances in the draw.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 5.5 — Gallese conceded a pair of goals in this game, though neither were necessarily his fault. The first was a breakaway after Robin Jansson kept Mason Toye onside and the second was blocked wide, but Kyle Smith was caught flat-footed. However, he did concede twice while saving three of Montreal’s five shots on target. Additionally, the Lions’ goalkeeper completed 55.6% of his 27 passes, including eight of his 20 long balls.

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — Smith had a solid game other than one specific play. The left back had a team-high 86 touches and completed 78.3% of his 60 passes, including five of his 12 long balls. Defensively, he recorded two tackles, two clearances, an interception, and a blocked shot. Unfortunately, his most impactful play was getting caught watching on a Gallese block while Ariel Lassiter beat him to the rebound to give the hosts a late lead. That play lowers his grade for this otherwise quality performance.

D, Robin Jansson, 5.5 — Similar to Smith, Jansson had a solid game apart from one play. He had 72 touches and completed 79.7% of his 59 passes, including a key pass and three of his 14 long balls. He added a tackle, an interception, a blocked shot, and a team-high seven clearances to his stat sheet. But his failure to step up in the 16th minute enabled Toye to get behind the back line and score the opening goal, lowering his grade.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo has proven himself to be the first-choice partner for Jansson and he was arguably the better center back in Montreal. The Slovenian international had 53 touches and completed 85.1% of his 47 passes, including two of his five long balls. The defender recorded two tackles, an interception, and three clearances defensively in a strong performance.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson was in his usual right back position for this game, playing 90 minutes and recording 44 touches. He completed 82.8% of his 29 passes, but only one of his four long balls and neither of his two crosses. He cleared the ball twice and didn’t really get into the attack, but was solid in his defensive duties.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 (MotM) — This was possibly Cartagena’s best performance of the season. His 85 touches were second-most on the team and he completed 76.5% of his team-high 68 passes, including a key pass and two of his six long balls. It was his shielding of Nathan Saliba and strong pass forward for Duncan McGuire that started the last goal, though he didn’t get an assist. The defensive midfielder was also active defensively with five tackles and three interceptions, and he won a pair of aerial duels. His overall performance earns him my Man of the Match.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — Araujo had a similar performance to Cartagena, but fewer touches and more accurate passing. He recorded 55 touches and completed 93.9% of his 49 passes, including a key pass. He was less active than his partner defensively, recording three tackles, and was booked in the 63rd minute.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo had one of his better performances in this one, recording 48 touches and completing 82.1% of his 39 passes. His biggest impact on the game came two minutes into second-half stoppage time, when he connected with an excellent Martin Ojeda cross to even the game at 2-2. He nearly scored a winner five minutes later, but the pass from Ojeda was just a bit too far for him. His goal was one of his two shots and the only one on target.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6 — Lodeiro’s 45 touches were the fewest of the Orlando City midfield, but he did the most with them. The playmaker completed 91.4% of his 35 passes, including a key pass, but couldn’t connect on his long ball or either of his two crosses. He was also caught offside and dispossessed twice before being replaced by Ojeda in the 77th minute.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres’ 65 touches were the most in the Lions’ midfield and the fourth most on the team. He completed 83.7% of his 49 passes, but didn’t connect on his two crosses or four long balls. The attacker took three shots and put one on target. In the 22nd minute, the midfielder stepped up and buried his second penalty of the season and ninth as a Lion, continuing her perfect record from the spot.

F, Luis Muriel, 6 — While Oscar Pareja had previously been starting Muriel behind McGuire, the forward got the start alone up top for the second consecutive game. He had 34 touches and completed 68.4% of his 19 passes, including his lone long ball but neither of his two crosses. His biggest impact on the game came in the 20th minute, when he tipped the ball past Montreal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois, drawing the penalty that resulted in the first equalizer. He also had a shot of his own, but it was off target.


F, Duncan McGuire (63’), 6 — McGuire came on in the 63rd minute for Muriel. He had 16 touches in 27 minutes, completing eight of his 10 passes (80%) with a key pass. His lone shot came in the 90th minute, when Jansson headed the ball over to him and he probably should’ve equalized, but his volley was just wide. The striker also won three aerial duels.

MF, Martin Ojeda (77’), 6.5 — Ojeda came on in the 77th minute for Lodeiro and, similar to Lodeiro last week, made a big difference. He had 15 touches and completed four of his six passes (66.7%), including a key pass. Two minutes into second-half injury time, his excellent cross found Angulo, who touched it in for the equalizer. Five minutes later, he had another great cross that nearly found Angulo for the winner, but was just out of his reach.

D, Rafael Santos (85’), 6 — Santos came on in the 85th minute for Torres as the Lions looked to see out a point. He had nine touches and completed two of his three passes (66.7%), but didn’t connect on his cross or long ball. Coming on to assure the defense, Santos did his job as he recorded a tackle, an interception, and two clearances.

This is how I saw Orlando City’s 2-2 draw with CF Montreal. Let us know how you saw the game and don’t forget to vote for your Man of the Match.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/22/24

Orlando City draws CF Montreal, Pride and OCB win, FA Cup drama, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City drew, while the Pride and OCB both won over the weekend. I had friends in town, so I went to Wrigley Field to check out a Cubs game and show them around Chicago. Let’s wish former Orlando City midfielder Kaka and Pride defender Brianna Martinez a happy birthday! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Draw at CF Montreal

Orlando City again had to overcome a 2-1 deficit on the road when it faced CF Montreal Saturday night. The Lions needed a late stoppage-time goal from Ivan Angulo to walk out of Stade Saputo with a 2-2 draw. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last four matches. Orlando City will face CF Montreal again on July 26 in the MLS Leagues Cup during the competition’s group stage. The Lions’ next match will be Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium as it takes on Toronto FC.

Orlando Pride Defeat San Diego Wave

The Orlando Pride shut out the San Diego Wave 1-0 on Friday at Inter&Co Stadium and got their second consecutive win with that same scoreline. Summer Yates scored the lone goal in the first half to seal the win for Orlando. Zambian international striker Barbra Banda made her debut for the Pride, coming off the bench in the second half. The Pride remain undefeated through five league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table with nine points. The team will be on the road to face the Washington Spirit Friday.

OCB Wins on the Road at Crown Legacy FC

Orlando City B got a 2-0 win against Crown Legacy FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Friday. Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored for the Young Lions, and Javier Otero made six saves. OCB completed its two-match road trip, securing four out of a possible six points, and has kept its unbeaten streak on the road alive at four matches. OCB is in fifth in the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference with nine points, while Crown Legacy is winless in five matches. OCB will be back in action this Sunday as it hosts Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium.

Manchester United and Manchester City Advance to FA Cup Final

Manchester United won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to the final. It was a thrilling match at Wembley as United had a 3-0 lead before Coventry City rallied to get back into the match. USMNT forward Haji Wright scored the equalizer to tie the match 3-3 late into stoppage time. Coventry City thought it scored the game-winning goal late into extra time from Victor Torp, but it was ruled offside after video review. Casemiro missed his penalty for United, while Wright and Torp gave Coventry City a 2-1 advantage. United converted four straight penalties while Coventry City missed two to seal the win for the Red Devils. Manchester City edged past Chelsea 1-0 in their semifinal matchup, with Bernardo Silva scoring the lone goal in the second half. The FA Cup final will be played at the end of May and will feature a Manchester Derby for the second consecutive time.

Free Kicks

  • In case you missed it, check out this video on Orlando City’s social media page on Ivan Angulo’s equalizer to tie the match in stoppage time against CF Montreal on Saturday.

According to OptaJack, the Pride have secured the most points at home during the regular season since last May, with 26.

  • USMNT defender Sergino Dest suffered a knee injury during training with PSV Eindhoven over the weekend. Dest will miss the remainder of the Eredivisie season and could miss the 2024 Copa America this summer.
  • Real Madrid came back from being 2-1 down to defeat Barcelona 3-2 and stay ahead of its rivals by 11 points with six league matches left.
  • Bayer Leverkusen extended its unbeaten run to 45 matches after scoring a late goal from Josip Stanisic in stoppage time to get a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Serie A side Udinese is reportedly set to hire former Juventus and Real Madrid player Fabio Cannavaro as its next head coach.

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

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