Connect with us

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids: Final Score 1-1 as Lions Survive After Losing the Lead



Orlando City blew a great opportunity to double the lead in the second half after an early Facundo Torres goal had the Lions up. But City couldn’t convert and Gyasi Zardes equalized for the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO. The Lions (8-7-5, 29 points) earned yet another road point in 2022 but it felt like it could have been more, although at the same time they may have been lucky not to lose to Colorado (5-8-6, 21 points) in the end.

Pedro Gallese had a heroic second half to at least salvage a 1-1 draw for Orlando.

The Lions are 1-1-2 in four trips to Colorado and 4-1-2 in the overall all-time series in MLS play, but against a struggling bottom feeder in the Western Conference, even a point in that thin mile-high air feels like not enough during this vital stretch of the season. On the other hand, Orlando City is now 3-2-5 on the road this year, taking points in eight of 10 away matches.

“A good point in a difficult place,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “I thought it was a game with two different versions. First half, I thought we played very well, went ahead of the score, and had a couple more chances. Then Colorado started reacting and in the second half they overloaded us with more players up front where we couldn’t sustain the possession as we did in the first half.”

Pareja’s lineup featured Gallese in goal behind a back line of Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. It was the first start for Carlos since April 2 against LAFC. Cesar Araujo was joined in central midfield by Junior Urso, but there was a big shakeup in the attack, with Torres starting alongside Alexandre Pato and Benji Michel and Tesho Akindele in the striker’s role.

Orlando held possession off the opening kickoff and worked it up the field, with Pato finding Urso at the top of the area. The midfielder fired a shot that deflected off a defender and that touch slowed up the shot so William Yarbrough could get down and make the save.

Moments later, Pato delivered a long, bending free kick but nobody from the Lions could get onto it. In the fifth minute, it was Jansson unlocking the defense with a long ball to Michel, who danced into the corner of the box and smashed a wicked shot on frame that Yarbrough parried away.

The Lions kept generating chances early. In the seventh minute, a good buildup of play put the ball on Torres’ foot on the left side. He crossed in for Akindele’s run but the pass was behind the striker. Seconds later, Pato tried a shot from long range but it was no trouble for Yarbrough to catch.

The first Rapids shot came in the 11th minute, when Jonathan Lewis found space in front of Ruan and curled a shot toward the near post, where Gallese caught it.

Orlando broke the scoreless deadlock in the 22nd minute. Smith took a long throw-in from the left side that skipped off a defender’s head and fell in the box, where Pato got a foot on it and settled it for Torres, who smashed it home just under the crossbar with his left foot to make it 1-0.

It was Torres’ fourth goal in MLS play and fifth in all competitions this season. The Uruguayan Young Designated Player now has double-digit goal contributions on the season, with six assists to go with his four MLS goals.

“Happy to have that luck to score tonight,” Torres said through a club interpreter. “Scoring goals for me is obviously very important. It was a set piece that we had worked on and prepared with (Assistant Coach) Josema (Bazan). We knew that we were going to be able to use that long (throw) and thankfully I was there, and it fell to me, and I was able to score.”

The goal woke the Rapids up and they were able to start generating chances, playing long balls down both wings and feasting on Orlando’s fullbacks. Colorado started getting on the ball more and drawing set pieces. Urso’s foul on Lewis handed the Rapids a free kick in a decent spot and the delivery was on target but Gallese was there to catch it. Moments later, Sam Nicholson got past Smith to the end line and chipped a cross over to Lewis at the left post. The forward hit the post with his shot, although a sprawling Gallese may have had it covered in the 29th minute.

Colorado quickly won a corner and then Lewis chipped a shot — or a cross — over the net. The next chance for the hosts came on another corner in the 39th minute when Zardes got his head to a cross, but the striker got under the ball and it sailed high over the bar.

Orlando survived a late corner and took its slim 1-0 lead into the locker room at the half.

Colorado ended up with slim advantages in most of the statistical categories in the opening half. The Rapids had more possession (51.6%-48.4%), shots (8-7), corners (4-3), and passing accuracy (86.4%-83.4%). Orlando City got more shots on target (4-1).

After the break, the Rapids picked up where they finished the first half and created a great scoring chance in the 49th minute. Nicholson was given too much space by Smith and sent in a perfect ball that bounced between the Orlando center backs and fell for Zardes to head on target. Gallese got over to make a vital save.

Orlando’s passing started to look a bit labored in the thin Colorado air and it allowed the Rapids to keep possession. Carlos did well to block a Lewis shot in the 58th minute as the Rapids kept coming. Colorado went for it at that point as Robin Fraser sent on Diego Rubio and Michael Barrios.

Just after the substitution, Orlando should have doubled the lead. A long ball forward was flicked on by Akindele for Michel. The winger got in down the left and was in perfect position to either shoot or pass back to Akindele to his right. Michel either made an awful shot or a terrible pass, because from that range, he should have had no trouble picking out his teammate or getting his shot on frame. The ball was sent well wide of the far post instead.

Barrios started causing problems after that and an already effective pair of wingers for the Rapids got even more dangerous. Smith simply couldn’t stay with Barrios and it allowed the Colorado winger to put inch-perfect balls across to his teammates. The first of those found Zardes’ head in the 61st minute. Gallese came off his line to pressure the striker and forced an off-target shot.

The Lions had an opportunity two minutes later when Torres got the ball at the top of the box from Michel, who had started the play with a nifty takeaway on defense. But just as Torres went to send the ball toward goal, he was pressured from behind and wasn’t able to get off a shot.

In the 64th minute, Rubio found space from distance and sent a wicked shot on goal that skipped off the turf in front of Gallese. The goalkeeper was able to swallow it up anyway. But a minute later, the Rapids equalized. Barrios again beat Smith to the end line and sent in a perfect cross that Zardes only had to get a touch on to send into the inside netting. the game was tied in the 65th minute.

Max fired a shot that took a deflection in the 67th but Gallese was able to correct his movement and make the stop. A minute later, Gallese made yet another absurd save from close range on a Rubio header.

“Pedro’s obviously a very important part of our team. He’s always there for us,” Torres said. “And we’re able to kind of have faith and confidence in him that he’s going to step up in those moments where the game is maybe a little bit more fluid and getting a little bit crazy. We know that we’ve got him behind us and he’s able to step up in those big moments and just play great, as you saw in that second half.”

While Pareja often goes to a five-man back line to see out wins or results, in this match he had no choice. With the Colorado wingers raining in dangerous crosses, the team needed more stability in the back, so Rodrigo Schlegel came on and it helped limit the number of point-blank opportunities.

“The chances that they had was with those two wingers, wide open, very deep,” Pareja said. “We wanted to have control without losing our initiative to play. We wanted more control. It was a point in the second half when it was extremely, extremely difficult to mark, and Kyle had some difficulties there. Ruan had some difficulties, and then that’s why we came with five. We brought in Rodrigo, we extended the line, and we started to match Barrios and Rubio, and then we were just trying to control them more. And I think we did. We lost a man in the middle, but I think we had control. At least we were better there.”

Orlando was able to deal with the next couple of Barrios crosses with Jansson and an alert Gallese breaking them up. Then Rubio sent in another shot from distance in the 81st minute that Gallese caught.

The Lions got a couple of late set pieces, looking to break the deadlock. Michel drew a free kick just outside the area after a takeaway by substitute Michael Halliday. Pereyra touched the free kick and Jansson blasted it, but his shot hit the wall in the 83rd minute. Three minutes later, Schlegel sliced through the Rapids and won a free kick on the left side in the attacking third. The ball into the mixer fell to Carlos and he had a corner to shoot at but a defender got in the way and blocked it in the 87th minute.

Halliday wasted a couple of decent-looking attacks late by sailing his crosses well past everyone wearing the same colored uniform as him, even though he had plenty of space and time to send in his passes. Orlando seemed the likelier team to find a winner for the final minutes of normal time and early in stoppage time, but just couldn’t get the ball to a Lion in a threatening position.

A dangerous cross through the six in the 93rd minute by Lewis had Orlando fans and players holding their collective breath, but it skipped harmlessly out of play wide of the back post for a goal kick. A few minutes later, the game was over.

The Rapids held just a slight possession advantage at the end (50.6%-49.4%), but Colorado ended up with a dominant advantage in shots (19-12), and turned around the shots on goal stat (7-4) in their favor, putting six on frame in the second half while the Lions failed to hit the target. Colorado also passed more accurately (84.2%-80.6%) and earned more corners (5-4).

The Lions have a short turnaround with more travel to come, as they head to Georgia to take on Atlanta United on Sunday afternoon.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 10/2/23

Orlando City’s trophy aspirations, the Orlando Pride playoff hunt, OCB falls to Columbus Crew 2, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! Though I’m still reveling in the huge win over CF Montreal, I’m also looking ahead to a big week for both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. It’s such a great time of the year with MLS and NWSL matches, plus the European leagues, and American football. So much to watch, so little sleep to be had. Let’s get to the links.

Lions Looking for Hardware

Orlando City set a record for wins and points in a season with the win over CF Montreal on Saturday night. Hopefully it’s a record that will be extended over the final three matches of the regular season. The coaches and the players certainly think that Orlando City has an opportunity to win the MLS Cup. Where the Lions finish in the standings will go a long way towards reaching the final and that all starts Wednesday night.

The Pride’s Playoff Push

The Orlando Pride continue their push to make the NWSL playoffs for the first time since the 2017 season with a trip across the country to take on Angel City FC later tonight. It is the first of two away matches this week — the last road games of the regular season. The Pride sit just above Angel City in the standings with the clubs in seventh and eighth places, respectively. The game will be Marta’s 100th match over all competitions. Securing three points over Angel City would make a big difference in the Pride’s race to the playoffs. Keep an eye out for our preview later today.

OCB Penalized Out of the Playoffs

On The Mane Land PawedCast, we often describe Orlando City B matches as being “drunk.” OCB’s 2-1 playoff loss to Columbus Crew 2 will definitely be described as such. There were three red cards, two penalties, and Jack Lynn didn’t score a goal for once. There were some questionable calls by both the refs and by OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman, but conceding only from the penalty spot while outscoring the hosts in the run of play won’t (and shouldn’t) sit well with the Young Lions. While the result is disappointing, one should remember that OCB is a development squad, and one that made the playoffs to boot.

USMNT Players in Action Abroad

USMNT players made some noise this weekend. Christian Pulisic played 82 minutes and scored AC Milan’s winning goal in the club’s 2-0 victory over Lazio. It was one of two shots on target for the American. Striker Folarin Balogun missed not one, but two penalty shots in Monaco’s match against Marseille. Fortunately, Balogun scored an equalizer in the run of play and his teammate secured the 3-2 win. The win moves Monaco to the top of Ligue 1.

Over in the Eredivisie, Malik Tillman got his first start for PSV. Tillman provided an assist and scored the game winner late in second-half stoppage time to give PSV a 3-1 win over FC Volendam. It was a Man of the Match performance by the American. In less good news, Tyler Adams will miss more time with AFC Bournemouth as he has had a setback with his hamstring injury. How long he will be out is still to be determined.

Free Kicks

That will do it for today. It’s a busy week coming up with Pride matches tonight and on Friday, and the Lions playing on Wednesday and Saturday. Check back for all of our coverage of your favorite teams. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Orlando City

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

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando’s 3-0 home win over CF Montreal?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City returned to its winning ways with a convincing 3-0 victory at home against CF Montreal. An own goal by Montreal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois got the scoring started in the first half. Facundo Torres and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson each scored nice team goals in the second half as the Lions cruised to victory against a Montreal side that hasn’t won since Aug. 26. The win set club records for both most points (54) and most wins (15) in a season since the Lions joined MLS in 2015.

Here’s how I saw each individual performance in Orlando’s dominant win at Exploria Stadium.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — The Peruvian had one of his quietest nights of the season and didn’t have to make a save until the second half. That first save was a great one though, as he parried away a sudden shot from Mason Toye with little room to spare in the 76th minute. His only other save was an easy catch shortly after off of a Mathieu Choiniere from outside the area. Gallese completed 61.8% of his 34 passes and seven of his 20 long balls found their man. El Pulpo likely won’t have many complaints about a slow night at the office as he earned his ninth clean sheet of the season, which ties his high in an MLS season, set last year.

D, Rafael Santos, 7.5 — The Brazilian left back was dangerous from start to finish in one of his best games as a Lion. He notched his third assist of the campaign with a low cross that zipped through traffic and found fellow fullback Thorhallsson’s run. It was a chance he sparked himself by winning the ball in the midfield before booking it out wide. His cross on the first goal was just as good, as he was both patient and clinical to find Torres open in the box. Of his four crosses, two were successful and the misses had some venom on them as well. He also completed three of his five long balls and had 51 passes at an 82.4% success rate. Santos was defensively sound, leading the Lions with four tackles, making an interception as well, and winning two of his three aerial duels. Santos flourished once Orlando had its wingers switch sides, allowing him to work in tandem with Torres with overlapping runs and room to work.

D, Robin Jansson, 7 — The Beefy Swede was as strong as always in the center of Orlando’s defense, although he didn’t have to put out as many fires in this one thanks to his defensive midfielders. Jansson had a tackle, an interception, and a clearance as he broke up plays and kept Montreal’s offense in check. His only miscue was a worrying turnover in the second half that he promptly rectified with a surgical sliding tackle in the box. A few charges forward and connecting on four of his nine long balls kept Montreal’s defense on its toes as well. He completed 86% of his 50 passes and didn’t commit a single foul in an efficient outing.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7 — Schlegel bounced back from a few underwhelming recent performances with a solid game in this shutout. His four clearances were the most on the team and he won both of his aerial duels. The center back also had a tackle and blocked a shot to make sure Montreal couldn’t get back in the match. His 62 passes were the second-most on the team and he completed 88.7% of them, while also succeeding on two of his four long balls. It was nice to see him calm, cool, and collected as he continues to fill in for Antonio Carlos.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 7.5 — Thorhallsson got the start again at right back and spent plenty of time in Orlando’s attack. That was more than evident shortly after halftime, when he made a superb run to bury a ball that skipped across the front of goal to double Orlando’s lead. He was credited with one shot (on target) but what must have been ruled a cross from a tight angle also appeared to be an on-target shot. The versatile player is improving with each match played at right back and completed all but one of his 33 passes for an excellent 97% success rate. Although neither of his two crosses were accurate, his lone long ball found its mark and he had a key pass as well. Defensively, he had just one interception, which is in part because of how much time he spent in the thick of things on offense. It was a great game from Thorhallsson, who was subbed out in the 82nd minute for Michael Halliday.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7.5 — Araujo was a Swiss army knife of sorts for Orlando, doing a little bit of everything to give the Lions an edge all over the field. The 22-year-old directed traffic while on the ball, covered for his defenders as needed, and won a team-high four fouls. His lone shot was a headed effort that went wide, but he got involved on offense by succeeding on four of his nine long balls, with two of those marked as key passes. Araujo’s 76 touches were the most on the team and he was accurate on 88.1% of his 59 passes. He served the role of defensive midfielder well, helping out with two tackles, an interception, a clearance, and plenty of pressure to make life as difficult as possible for Montreal.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 7.5 — Cartagena did well on both sides of the ball. The Peruvian was credited with an assist for springing Ivan Angulo forward on the third goal, and he had a key pass for setting Torres up for a chance on the volley soon after that with a quick ball out wide. He almost had a goal himself when a free kick found him open in the box, but his header went high for his only shot of the evening. Cartagena’s 63 passes were the most on the team and he completed 93.7% of them while also connecting on four of his five long balls. Defensively, Cartagena didn’t give Montreal’s players much breathing room and blocked a shot.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — The winger struggled when attacking for a majority of his time on the field before coming off in the 64th minute. A lack of vision and execution while on the ball, particularly in the first half, led to some squandered chances that Orlando didn’t end up regretting in the end. Both of his shots were in quick succession, the first saved in a chance he should have done better with and the second fired wide from outside the box with better options available. He scored an easy header on a play from an obviously offside Torres that was correctly flagged after the ball went in. It was far from horrendous from the Colombian though, as he often put himself in good positions to jump on errant passes, provide an outlet for teammates, or demand attention from Montreal’s defenders. His assist came in the second half after he made a nicely timed run and then unselfishly laid the ball off for Torres rather than going for goal himself. It salvaged a fairly forgettable performance that included 38 touches and 28 passes at a strong 89.3% success rate, and an inaccurate cross.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — The captain was often swarmed when on the ball and had little room to make some of the backbreaking passes he’s shown over the years. He completed four of his five long balls, one of his three crosses, and 83.7% of his 43 passes. Pereyra didn’t have any shots himself, but had two key passes and did well as a facilitator in tight areas to keep Orlando in possession. His free kick that found Cartagena’s head in the box was a good one and he was subbed off for fresher legs while leading.

MF, Facundo Torres, 8 (MotM) — Torres played like a man possessed, doing everything right and more in a dominant performance. Torres’ first of a team-high four shots (two on target) ended up with the ball in the back of the net, as his strike hit the post and then bounced off Sirois and in for an own goal. On his goal, he did well to control Angulo’s pass and slot it past Sirois for his 13th of the season. His movement in the buildup of Thorhallsson’s goal was also commendable, as he made a good run, quickly circled back onside, then slowed the pace of the play down for Santos to make his overlapping run before feeding him. Between those attacking moments and chasing down opponents while up three goals, it was easy to see why European teams are keeping an eye on him. He completed 82.8% of his 29 passes and connected on two of his four crosses, while both of his long ball attempts were unsuccessful. It’s hard to believe he only had 44 touches given the massive impact he had on the field.

F, Duncan McGuire, 7 — The rookie put in a strong performance up top and was credited with an assist for a subtle touch on Thorhallsson’s goal. McGuire made a cutting run to peel Gabriele Corbo towards the end line and then flicked Santos’s cross into the path of charging runs by Angulo and Thorhallsson. He also chested down a long ball from Gallese to Cartagena in transition to help set up Torres’ goal. His only shot of the match was flicked wide, but he had two key passes and showed some prowess in making small passes in the box for his teammates to have open looks. He had 19 touches and 12 passes at a 58.3% success rate, doing well enough in terms of hold-up. McGuire made great runs to keep defenders on their toes, applied pressure to pin Montreal in its own half, and helped out defensively by blocking a shot and clearing the ball on a corner kick.


MF, Martin Ojeda (64′), 6.5 — Ojeda came off the bench with Orlando up three goals and did his part in keeping Montreal’s defense honest, even if he didn’t wind up on the scoresheet. He completed all 15 of his passes and was accurate on both of his long balls. His only shot of the game was an attempt to get the better of Sirois from a tight angle in the box, but the goalkeeper came up with the save. All in all, it was an efficient outing from the Designated Player off the bench.

F, Ramiro Enrique (64′), 6.5 — Enrique came on alongside Ojeda and brought plenty of energy with him to keep the Lions in the driver’s seat. Both of Enrique’s shots were from outside the box, with one blocked and the other saved by Sirois. He completed four of his seven passes and finished the game with 13 touches. Despite his size, he won two of his three aerial duels as well. Enrique received a curious yellow card after beating Nathan Saliba to a sliding challenge and winning the ball.

MF, Gaston Gonzalez (75′), 6 — The winger received some more minutes and did well enough while on the field. He had eight touches and completed all three of his passes. Although he didn’t have any shots, crosses, or long balls, he did record a key pass for setting up a shot for Enrique. He didn’t make many runs forward, likely due to Orlando’s lead, but looked strong on the ball when he did and wasn’t afraid to take defenders on.

D, Michael Halliday (82′), N/A — The right back replaced Thorhallsson and did well on both sides of the ball. Halliday made a few sprints upfield to give Orlando’s attack another option, but was resolute on the defensive end, even though he didn’t record any stats for his efforts there. He was accurate on three of his four passes and finished with seven touches.

MF, Junior Urso (83′), N/A — The Bear made another cameo off the bench for Orlando. He had six touches and was successful on four of his six passes. Urso wasn’t on the field long enough to warrant a grade, but it was nice to see him get a run out at Explorias Stadium with just one home game remaining.

That’s how I saw the individual performances by the Lions. Let me know where you agree and disagree in the comments below and make sure to vote for your Man of the Match in our poll below.

Continue Reading

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Five Takeaways

Here’s what we learned from Orlando City’s 3-0 win at home against CF Montreal.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City defeated CF Montreal 3-0 on a beautiful night at Exploria Stadium. The win gave Orlando City the club record for wins and points scored with three matches still to be played. The Lions remain in second place in the Eastern Conference and are sitting on 15 wins with 54 points. Here are my five takeaways from the record setting win over the Club Foots.

A Rare Sighting

Orlando City did something that the club usually does not do. The Lions scored a goal in the first half. Orlando City controlled the match from the start with the lion’s share of the possession. It finally paid off in the 19th minute when Cesar Araujo played Rafael Santos up the left side. Santos took one touch and then put a cross into the box for a well-positioned Facundo Torres, who put it past Jonathan Sirois. Unfortunately for Torres, the ball bounced off the post and then off of Sirois and into the net for an Orlando City lead. It was rightly given as an own goal, though it will be a Torres goal in my heart.

Missed Opportunities

Yes, Orlando City scored a first-half goal. However, there were so many more chances the club didn’t finish in the first 45 minutes. The Lions officially had four shots in the first half, though Ivan Angulo’s headed goal didn’t count because of an offside call. The first touch of several players wasn’t great, which stopped some nice build-up play from Orlando City. Fortunately, it didn’t come back to haunt the Lions in the end.

I’m a Dagur Dan Man

Dagur Dan Thorhallsson has taken the starting right back position and is not giving it back. He did well on the defensive side, but it’s his play up the wing that I think Oscar Pareja really likes. Thorhallsson is naturally a winger and he showed how effective he can be in the attack for Orlando City. He provided crosses, key passes, and of course the second Orlando City goal. Thorhallsson did what he was supposed to do on that goal. He was at the back post and just tapped it in when the ball found its way though everyone else.

Torres Makes Good

Torres may have not been credited with the first goal, but he made Orlando City’s third goal look easy. To be fair, it was easy. Unlike too many opportunities earlier in the match, Angulo followed the advice of Ted Lasso and made the extra pass. In this case, it was a perfect cross to Torres, who was so alone he had time to settle the ball and then take his time to put it past Sirois into the bottom left corner. Torres is getting hot when Orlando City needs him to do so, and he proved it again against CF Montreal.

Subs, Subs, Subs

With another match this coming Wednesday at Nashville and another next Saturday against the New England Revolution, getting the starters some rest was important. Scoring three goals before the 60th minute allowed Pareja to utilize all his substitutes to get Mauricio Pereyra, Duncan McGuire, Torres, Thorhallson, and Angulo some rest. As Orlando City fights for home field advantage in the playoffs, those minutes will be key to the Lions’ ability to have more performances like Saturday night.

That’s what I took away from Orlando City’s 3-0 win over CF Montreal. Let me know your thoughts on the match in the comments below.

Continue Reading