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

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After a lengthy weather delay, Orlando City battled with Inter Miami and won 1-0 thanks to an own goal from Damion Lowe. The shutout was a nice response from Orlando’s defense after conceding five goals to D.C. United earlier this week. All three of Orlando’s Designated Players started, but the offense had a hard time against Miami. Let’s dive into how each individual Lion performed in this win at Exploria Stadium.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — His first and only save of the match was a huge one, making himself big and blocking a shot from Indiana Vassilev with his face in the seventh minute. It was a crucial stop to ensure Orlando didn’t fall into an early hole like it did Monday night. The rest of the night was fairly quiet for Gallese beyond coming out to collect dangerous balls from Miami into the box. His distribution was stellar, completing all but one of his 17 passes for a 94.1% success rate and connecting on four of his five long balls. This clean sheet was Gallese’s seventh of the year and first since May 14.

D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Playing at left back, Smith struggled at times to contain both DeAndre Yedlin and Vassilev. He wasn’t able to recover quickly enough after a turnover, leading to Vassilev’s shot on Gallese at point-blank range early in the match. He settled in a bit and received some help from Benji Michel to help keep Yedlin in check. Smith played every minute of the match and finished with two interceptions, a tackle, and a clearance. He also won three of his four aerial duels. Only one of his three attempted crosses connected, but it was a key pass that found Tesho Akindele late in the match. None of his four long balls were successful and he completed 83.9% of his 56 passes. The versatile defender has played everywhere along the back line this year, so let’s not forget he’s naturally a right back and is often playing out of position to fill gaps. After a rough game on Monday, this was a nice, albeit unspectacular, response from Smith.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7 — The Argentine defender’s 88 touches were tied with Robin Jansson for the most on the team. The pair of center backs did well rotating the ball around so that Orlando could find new ways to attack. While he was only successful on one of his five long ball attempts, he did complete 90.5% of his 74 passes. He was solid on defense, contributing four clearances, three tackles, three interceptions, and two blocked shots. His tenacity helped him chase down attackers who got past him and step up and challenge players before they could make a play.

D, Robin Jansson, 7 — With Miami putting pressure on the team’s playmakers, Jansson completed 11 of his 16 long balls to help spark things on offense. The center back led the Lions with 75 passes, completing 88% of them, and contributed a key pass to break Miami’s lines and find Pereyra. His six clearances and three interceptions helped stop Miami in its tracks and he blocked a shot as well. It was a strong performance from the defender and he did it all without committing a foul or being booked for dissent.

D, Ruan, 6.5 — The right back was sprinting up and down his side of the field all night long and looked like the key to unlocking Miami’s defense in the second half. Ruan led the Lions with three key passes, using his speed to beat Christopher McVey and set up most of Orlando’s best chances. He should have had an assist after fizzing a ball in front of goal, but Michel couldn’t get his shot in the back of the net. Ruan made a nice run after a long series of possession from Orlando and got his head to the ball in the box, but Callender caught his attempt to center it. Both of his long balls were accurate and he was successful on 82.9% of his 41 passes as well. His quickness made him an asset in transition, but he could’ve done better during those opportunities with some better awareness to find an open teammate. His four unstable touches didn’t help matters on offense. Still, he was Orlando’s best weapon on offense. Ruan also showed plenty of hustle and had two tackles, even if his one-on-one defending could use some work.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7.5 (MotM) — Araujo did a great job lending support on defense and frustrating opponents, leading Orlando with eight tackles and winning nine fouls. His role in the midfield was critical as he snuffed out plenty of Miami’s chances on the counter and hustled from start to finish. If Miami had the ball on Orlando’s side of the field, Araujo was usually there winning the ball back for his team. His passing could have been a bit better at times, but completing 83.7% of 49 passes isn’t terrible by any means and he had a key pass by finding Junior Urso in a dangerous spot at the top of the box. The 21-year-old is our Man of the Match for stopping Miami’s offense in transition and giving the midfield a needed edge.

MF, Junior Urso, 6.5 — The Bear had two shots and they were decent efforts. The first came in the first half and was blocked before going out for an Orlando corner. The second came after some great footwork to set up the shot, but Urso slipped on the wet field before shooting and couldn’t get it on frame. Urso saw plenty of the ball, playing every minute of the game and finishing with 75 touches and 63 passes at a strong 90.5% success rate. While he didn’t have a key pass or a cross, five of his six long balls found their target. He hasn’t scored in league play since March, but he did a good job setting up opportunities for himself to change that in this match.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 5.5 — Miami’s game plan was to smother Pereyra with constant pressure whenever the ball was in his vicinity and foul when needed. Lowe often came out to challenge him no matter how deep in the midfield Pereyra received the ball. He had a few miscues early on and made some uncharacteristic mistakes, including a bad giveaway that sent Vassilev in on goal. Pereyra’s only shot of the match was sent into orbit. He settled in a bit in the second half and finished with 41 passes at an 80.5% success rate. Pereyra had two key passes, a successful long ball, and one of his two crosses was accurate. He also contributed two tackles and a clearance to help out defensively.

MF, Benji Michel, 5 — In his 100th appearance as a Lion, Michel played on the left wing and contended with Deandre Yedlin throughout the match. Yedlin was aggressive on that side of the field and Michel often dropped back to help the back line deal with him. Michel had a golden opportunity to score in the 58th minute as he crashed the box and got on the end of a cross from Ruan, only to send the shot directly at Drake Callender. It was Michel’s only shot of the match and Orlando’s only shot on target. His only cross was unsuccessful, although he did a solid job beating his defender and whipping the ball into the box with his weak foot. He only had 20 touches and 11 passes at an 81.8% success rate in 69 minutes of action before being subbed off for Jake Mulraney. Time and time again, Orlando’s possession ended because of Michel losing possession and he finished with five unstable touches.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — The statistics won’t reflect just how active Torres was in this match. On offense, Torres worked hard to make sure he was an outlet for passes, constantly made runs to try unlocking the defense, and had his head on a swivel with the ball at his feet to find the open man. His two shots were tied for a team high, although neither ended up on target. The 22-year-old completed all but four of his 36 passes for a strong 88.9% completion rate. His only cross missed its mark and he didn’t have any key passes, but his one long ball was accurate. Torres supplied plenty of defensive pressure from start to finish and had two tackles. He wasn’t able to bend the game to his will and have the kind of performance needed to break the game wide open, but it was still a solid outing from the Designated Player.

F, Ercan Kara, 5.5 — It was a quiet night for the Austrian forward as he wasn’t able to make much of an impact. Kara didn’t receive much service due to Miami’s defensive pressure on Orlando’s playmakers and a lack of crossing from the wings while he was on the field. He also didn’t have any aerial duels at all in the match, although he did have a clearance during one of Miami’s corner kicks. Regardless of the service, Kara needed to find ways to get involved while the team hunted for a goal. It was the first time this season that Kara started a match and didn’t record a shot. He only had 14 touches and completed eight of his 11 passes for a 72.7% success rate before coming off in the 68th minute.

Substitutes

F, Tesho Akindele (68’), 6 — The Canadian forward made some nice runs in the lead up to his first shot of the match. Akindele made a well-timed dash out wide to receive the ball in space and then held up play for Torres and Ruan to catch up and set up a shot for him that he sent wide. His second shot was a headed effort from a good cross by Smith that Akindele couldn’t make clean contact on. He had seven touches, completed one of his two passes, contributed a tackle, and won both of his aerial duels. The 30-year-old is still on the hunt for his first goal this year, but he did well coming off the bench to use fresh legs and his size to win the ball up the field.

MF, Jake Mulraney (69’), 6.5 — Mulraney’s only cross of the match was technically unsuccessful, but it resulted in the lone goal of the match. The Irishman’s cross in stoppage shouldn’t have caused any problems for Miami, but Lowe’s desperate attempt to clear it resulted in an own goal. It’s hard to give Mulraney much credit, but plays like that can’t happen unless the ball is put into the box. Mulraney had nine touches and completed all seven of his passes. It was his first time coming off the bench since May, with Michel getting the start on the wing opposite Torres.

F, Alexandre Pato (78’), N/A — Pato came on for Pereyra late in the match and had five touches, all in the opposing half. He completed two of his three passes, including a nice headed pass to lay the ball off to Urso that eventually led to Mulraney’s cross and the own goal. There weren’t any flashes of brilliance after coming off the bench from Pato in this one as he had no shots or key passes.

D, Michael Halliday (86’), N/A — The 19-year-old came on late and had nine touches while completing all five of his passes. His only cross could’ve been better, but it came after he won the ball in the air and dribbled down the wing himself. After the own goal, Halliday did his part to kill off the game. Halliday looked good when on the ball in this one and a congested schedule this month could mean more minutes for him in the near future.


That’s how I saw each player’s performance in Orlando’s home win over Inter Miami. Make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below and vote for your Man of the Match.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Cesar Araujo51
Rodrigo Schlegel5
Robin Jansson6
Ruan0
Other (Let us know who in the comments)2

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. LAFC: Final Score 3-1 as Wasteful Lions Fall on Late Counterattacks

Lions remain winless against the L.A. club after wasting numerous good scoring chances, including a penalty.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City remain winless against LAFC after wasting a good performance against one of the league’s top teams. After missing the net with numerous chances, including a penalty, and falling behind on an LAFC penalty just before halftime, Orlando (4-8-5, 17 points) battled back to tie the game, only to concede on two late counterattacks, falling 3-1 to LAFC (10-4-3, 33 points) in front of 22,563 at Inter&Co Stadium.

Denis Bouanga scored a brace and Mateusz Bogusz scored the game-winning goal to more than offset Martin Ojeda’s first goal of the MLS season. The Lions fell to an awful 1-5-3 in home games this season and dropped to 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

The story, once again, was missed opportunities. The Lions attempted 19 shots but put only one of them on target. Orlando City’s performance and energy level was good, but the team still can’t get the details right in front of the net, either missing the target, getting shots and final passes blocked, or outright refusing to shoot until it’s too late to do so.

“(I have) no more words at this time to recognize that we were superior, that we put that energy and outplayed them, but that’s not enough, obviously,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “In this industry, we need to win games, and you win games scoring goals. And that’s not happening.”

With Pedro Gallese, David Brekalo, and Wilder Cartagena away on international duty, Pareja’s lineup featured Mason Stajduhar in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. Cesar Araujo was joined in central midfield by Nico Lodeiro behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Facundo Torres, and Luis Muriel, with Duncan McGuire up top.

The first half started cautiously, with neither side able to mount much of an attack against the other’s defense. Orlando won the game’s first corner in the seventh minute but the cross into the area was too close to Hugo Lloris, providing catching practice for the LAFC goalkeeper.

Orlando City then dominated most of the first half hour. Muriel got onto a Torres cross in the 11th minute but the pass was a bit too high and all the Colombian could do was nod it over. A minute later, no one closed down Lodeiro outside the box and the Uruguayan sent a screamer that sailed just inches over the crossbar.

The first look for LAFC came in minute 18, when a perfect cross just barely cleared Jansson’s head and found Kei Kamara, who headed wide.

McGuire fired a shot well over the bar in the 19th minute from just outside the area. Angulo fizzed a shot well wide on the recycle of a corner kick in the 20th.

Muriel then slipped Angulo down the left side of the area in the 23rd but the winger was hesitant to shoot and the defense arrived to dispossess him, on a play that encapsulated the 2024 OCSC season so far. Muriel then had a shot blocked by the defense a minute later.

Timothy Tillman finally got a shot for LAFC in the 31st minute but sent it right at Stajduhar for the first shot on target of the match for either side.

The Lions should have taken the lead in the 32nd minute. Torres was bundled over from behind by Eduard Atuesta in the box and Rubiel Vazquez immediately signaled for a penalty. Torres took the spot kick and crushed a cannon shot that just missed the top left corner, wasting a golden opportunity. The missed penalty was Torres’ first at any level of soccer in his entire career. He’d never missed the net or had one saved before his miss in this match.

The missed penalty gave LAFC life and the visitors started controlling more of the possession, but not doing much with it. Bouanga hadn’t had any opportunities to speak of , so he attempted a shot from long range in the 37th minute but sent the shot wide.

Bouanga then went for goal in the 42nd minute on a free kick conceded by Araujo, albeit on a soft call. The LAFC star sent his shot just inches wide of the right post into the outside netting.

The game turned in LAFC’s favor moments later on the counter attack. Bouanga’s speed was too much for Jansson as he charged down the left channel. Anticipating a cutback cross, Araujo went to ground and caught Bouanga’s foot in the 44th minute. Again, Vazquez immediately signaled for a penalty. Stajduhar guessed correctly but Bouanga’s shot beat him to make it 1-0 in the 45th minute.

The Lions couldn’t do anything with a couple of late corners in stoppage time and went to the locker room trailing after a good performance in all facets e

Orlando City held the first-half advantage in shots (11-6), corners (4-0), and passing accuracy (93.2%-89.5%), while LAFC held more of the ball (53.2%-46.8%) and shots on target (3-0). The Lions’ continued missing the net and passing up shots was the obvious difference between the two sides.

“When you have those metrics, and you see it, the first thing that we think is we can analyze and find answers through metrics, but I think it goes beyond that,” Pareja said about the team’s poor finishing. “Yeah, we have actions to score. I thought that we had possibilities, but we’re not being precise and taking a good timing to take a shot. We want to do an extra pass. What I can tell you, and this is something where I, as a coach, want to stand up and put my chest in front, is that this group, they all week were working on that part, and it’s not happening. It’s not happening. I’m here. I need to coach them. I need to guide them. I need to provide possibilities, and I want to review it again. But it is not me, the coach, that comes here to (put the) blame on them, especially when I see that group fighting the way they fought today.”

Bogusz took the first shot of the second half, sending an attempt off target in the 50th minute.

Orlando came agonizingly close in the 53rd minute on a short corner. Santos whipped in a cross that McGuire headed but didn’t steer on frame. The ball skipped just in front of Torres at the wide-open back post.

Angulo sent in a cross in the 59th minute but put too much on it. Torres did well to get a foot on it but couldn’t steer it anywhere near goal. That was about the last contribution from Angulo, who had a tough night with his touch, as he was replaced by Ojeda two minutes later.

The defense sagged off of Araujo in the 65th minute so the midfielder blasted a shot attempt that once again sailed off target.

Orlando finally put a shot on target in the 69th minute and it was a goal. Ojeda found Muriel at the top of the area and continued his run into the box. Muriel sent a scoop pass over the defense that fell perfectly for Ojeda, who touched it past Lloris to tie the match. It was Ojeda’s first MLS goal in 2024 and it gave the Lions life.

“Obviously, (Muriel) has got great skill, and he had a great touch on the ball,” Ojeda said of his give-and-go with the Colombian forward. “And he put it right to the space where I was thinking and I was able to finish it off, thankfully. So, to be able to score that goal, I was just really happy, especially in that moment that we tied the game and we put ourselves in a position where we could go and win the game. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way in the rest of the game, but that’s what happens.”

The goal snapped LAFC’s 644-minute shutout streak in all competitions and a 549-minute stretch without conceding in MLS play.

Encouraged by the goal, the Lions began hunting for a go-ahead goal. A good cross from Santos was nearly put in the net by LAFC defender Jesus Murillo, but it went wide for a corner. Orlando couldn’t do anything with that set piece or another won moments later by Torres.

The game-winner came in the 80th minute. Torres was on the ball in the attacking end and felt he was held and fouled as he was dispossessed. The ball fell for Bogusz on the right and the speedy winger blasted down the right channel past the Orlando defense and beat Stajduhar to put the visitors ahead in transition.

Orlando had a chance to pull the goal back in the 85th minute on a back-post cross by Lodeiro for Ojeda, but the ball was just a bit high and sailed out of play.

A minute later, Bouanga put the game away. Once again the Lions were beaten on the counterattack as LAFC’s talisman put the game away in the 86th minute.

“My first impression was that we didn’t have enough numbers to control the counter, but it wasn’t like that,” Pareja said. “I thought we had enough numbers and we had enough people to control that play. They were faster than us in that position. We knew that they had fast players, as well, but we were controlling them until we tied the game.”

The Lions had one more half-chance in stoppage time when Ojeda just missed a shot wide of the right post. Stajduhar then made a couple of saves at the other end and the game was over.

Orlando City finished with the advantage in possession (54.2%-45.8%), shots (19-12), corners (9-1), and passing accuracy (93%-87.5%). LAFC put more shots on target (7-1) and that tells the story not only of this match but of the 2024 season in general for Orlando.

“We knew that we needed to take the responsibility to push,” Pareja said. “That’s what we need to do at home and try to look for that goal that can give us the win. And then those two plays came, especially that second goal.”

“We had 19 shots, but we have to continue making sure that we’re trying to put those shots on goal, and put ourselves in clear chances to be able to finish, and to create those goals more,” Ojeda said. “Those are things that we know that we have to continue fixing. We have to continue trying and making sure that we’re improving, and that’s something that we talked about in the locker room. We are our biggest self critics in everything that we do.”

Pareja expressed respect for his team’s overall performance, but acknowledged that without scoring goals and putting shots on target, the team can’t get results.

“We were waiting to take a shot, and we’re taking one more pass, and we desperately just get in that moment when we were losing confidence,” he said. “And that’s where the coach comes (in). I need to help them somehow.”


After playing their first game in two weeks, the Lions have a short turnaround as the fixture schedule becomes more congested. Orlando City will visit Charlotte FC on Wednesday.

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. LAFC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions host Western Conference power LAFC with some key players out on international duty.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night matchup between Orlando City (4-7-5, 17 points) and Los Angeles FC (9-4-3, 30 points) at Inter&Co Stadium (7:30 p.m. MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+). This is the only scheduled meeting between the two cross-conference opponents this season.

Here’s what you need to know:

History

Orlando City has yet to taste victory against LAFC in league play (0-2-1), is 0-1-1 at home in the series, and is 0-2-2 in all competitions against the Black & Gold. What many people will remember as a win was actually a 1-1 draw and took place in the knockout stages of the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020 with Orlando City advancing on penalties.

These teams last met on April 2, 2022 in Orlando. The Lions fell behind twice in the first half on goals by Brian Rodriguez and Jesus David Murillo but fought back to pull level both times on strikes by Alexandre Pato and Joao Moutinho. However, Ilie Sanchez and Kwadwo Opoku struck in the second half for the visitors as LAFC won 4-2.

The Lions’ most memorable outing against LAFC came in the MLS is Back Tournament on July 31, 2020. Moutinho’s late goal canceled out one from Bradley Wright-Phillips and sent that match to penalties. The Lions advanced after winning the penalty shootout, 5-4. Pedro Gallese was huge in that match and all five Orlando shooters scored their penalties, while only Jordan Harvey missed for LAFC, hitting the crossbar.

The Lions and LAFC drew 2-2 at Exploria Stadium on Sept. 7, 2019. Adrien Perez put the visitors on the board in the 12th minute, but Nani struck back just a minute later off a quick play on the ensuing kickoff. Benji Michel put the Lions ahead in the 20th minute and — just when it appeared Orlando might pull off the upset — Diego Rossi scored in the 78th to tie things up.

LAFC won the initial meeting of the series in 2018 at Banc of California Stadium, running away 4-1 after the Lions had an apparent tying goal overturned for offside on a play that didn’t seem all that clear or obvious of an error to me. But admittedly I’m limited to only the replays they showed on my television set. Sacha Kljestan scored for Orlando to cut a 2-0 lead in half. That lead was built on goals by Adama Diomande and Latif Blessing. Orlando scored a second that was overturned and Diomande and Rossi finished the Lions off. That initial meeting of the two teams was also the first game the Lions played under James O’Connor.

Overview

Orlando City last played two weeks ago on June 1, when the Lions fell 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls on the road. John Tolkin’s free kick was the difference. Despite the solid defensive outing by Orlando, the Lions produced nothing offensively and have struggled to create (and finish) chances since a 3-2 win at Philadelphia on May 11. Orlando City is winless in three games (0-2-1), has scored just twice in its last five games, and has been shut out three times in that span. If you’re looking for a silver lining, the Lions have conceded only four goals in the last five matches, and only two of those have come from open play. The other two were Tolkin’s free kick and a penalty by Diego Rossi.

The Lions have been abysmal at home in 2024, compiling a record of just 1-4-3 at Inter&Co Stadium. Things won’t be any easier for Orlando tonight against a team in the thick of the Supporters’ Shield race and having to play without goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, midfielder-turned-center back Wilder Cartagena, and center back David Brekalo, who are all away on international duty.

LAFC is flying right now. The Black & Gold have won seven straight in all competitions, have earned victories in five consecutive regular-season matches, and have not conceded a goal in their last six competitive games. While the California side is just 2-4-1 away from home in 2024, it has won its last two road matches without allowing a goal (at Atlanta and St. Louis City).

Tonight’s visitors are scary offensively. Denis Bouanga’s 10 goals and five assists each are club bests, but Mateusz Bogusz has added six goals and three assists. Cristian Olivera and Timothy Tillman have each chipped in four goals, while Eduard Atuesta has added a pair of goals and four assists. Bouanga may be the ringleader, but LAFC can spread the wealth offensively.

The Lions will need to be just as focused on defensive responsibilities (or more so) as they were two weeks ago in New Jersey.

“We have these days where the boys needed to have a break. At the end, I think it’s something that’s very healthy for them. After that, we reunited the group and started thinking of what’s coming,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the match. “The second half of the season we have to push and have urgency to attempt, but we’re good, training and thinking about LAFC now.”

In addition to Gallese, Cartagena, and Brekalo, Orlando City will be without backup defenders Michael Halliday (knee) and Tahir Reid-Brown (thigh). LAFC lists Lorenzo Dellavalle (knee), David Martínez (back) as out on its preliminary availability report.

Match Content


Official Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Nico Lodeiro.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Facundo Torres, Luis Muriel.

Forwards: Duncan McGuire.

Bench: Javier Otero, Alex Freeman, Kyle Smith, Thomas Williams, Jeorgio Kocevski, Felipe, Shak Mohammed, Martin Ojeda, Jack Lynn.

Los Angeles FC (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris.

Defenders: Ryan Hollingshead, Aaron Long, Jesus Murillo, Sergi Palencia.

Midfielders: Eduard Atuesta, Ilie Sanchez, Timothy Tillman.

Forwards: Denis Bouanga, Kei Kamara, Mateusz Bogusz.

Bench: Omar Campos, Maxime Chanot, Erik Duenas, Thomas Musto, Nathan Ordaz, Abraham Romero, Eddie Segura, Tomas Angel.

Referees:

REF: Rubiel Vazquez.
AR1: Nick Uranga.
AR2: Adam Wienckowski.
4TH: Calin Radosav.
VAR: Younes Marrakchi.
AVAR: Claudiu Badea.


How to Watch

Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.

Venue: Inter&Co Stadium — Orlando.

TV/Live Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Mega 97.1 FM (Spanish).

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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Orlando City

Intelligence Report: Orlando City vs. LAFC

Get some insider information on LAFC courtesy of someone who knows the team best.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

We find ourselves at the end of another week, which means that another Orlando City match is almost upon us. Following a two-week break, the Lions will return to action with a home contest against LAFC.

A date with LAFC means I got some insider info on the opposition from Trebor Tracy, the managing editor of Angels on Parade. They’re another former SBNation blog that has gone independent, and they continue to do excellent work covering LAFC, Angel City FC, and Orange County SC, so make sure you check them out!

Catch me up on some of LAFC’s off-season transfer business. Who are some names that were brought in, and who went out the door?

Trebor Tracy:  LAFC came into this season as close to a rebuild project as you can be for a team many expect to compete for championships and trophies each year. In the off-season the team saw 15 departures from the 2023 squad, and that’s not counting loans out. Among the bigger names leaving Los Angeles were both goalkeepers that helped lift LAFC to the 2022 MLS Cup, midfielder Kellyn Acosta, defenders Denil Maldonado and Diego Palacios, and of course, the departure of inaugural signing Carlos Vela. This was a team expected to look completely different this season and it has. As for the arrivals, the team spent the off-season loading up on the likes of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, forwards Kei Kamara and Cristian Olivera, and defender Omar Campos. The rough start to the year for Los Angeles had a lot to do with the newness of the team and having to build that familiarity within the XI. 

Of the incoming transfers, who has made the biggest impression? Is there anyone who you’d like to see performing better than they have been so far?

TT: Its been hard for LAFC to replace a lot of the departures — not just in terms of production, but leadership and experience in several cases. While not technically an off-season arrival, Cristian Olivera, who arrived in summer window of 2023, really came into his own this season. With an entire off-season under his belt, he has by far been the best of the new arrivals for LAFC. He is producing goals, creating opportunities for others, and has that confidence this team thrives off of. On the other side of the coin, Hugo Lloris has been the biggest disappointment. In fairness to him, he has drastically improved during the team’s recent run, but the start of his MLS career had him easily one of the worst keepers in the league. 

LAFC is on a five-game unbeaten run in league play, what’s been working so well for the team during this stretch?

TT: Speaking of that run, the play of Lloris is why they have done so well recently. Well, that and Denis Bouanga appears to have found his soccer boots again. The 180 those two have done has been the catalyst for the team’s great run of form lately. 

Will any players be unavailable for selection due to injury, suspension, call-ups, etc.? What is your projected starting XI and score prediction?

TT: Availability reports come out night before the match, and we have the team presser this afternoon. with a few players set to return, I am unsure at the moment as to who exactly will be  ready to go.


Thank you to Trebor for helping get us caught up on LAFC. Vamos Orlando!

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