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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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Orlando City gained a hard-fought road point, drawing the Colorado Rapids 1-1 Wednesday night. Facundo Torres gave the Lions the lead in the 22nd minute, but Gyasi Zardes equalized in the 65th minute. If not for some excellent goalkeeping by Pedro Gallese, it could’ve been a multi-goal loss. Regardless, Orlando City will be happy to get out with a point.

Here’s a look at how the Lions did individually.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 8 (MotM) — Gallese had arguably his best game of the season in this one. The Peruvian international had six saves on the night and four were absolutely spectacular. Without Gallese’s heroics, not only would the Lions have lost, they would’ve lost by multiple goals. But the goalkeeper kept his team in the game and allowed them to claim what could be a valuable point.

D, Kyle Smith, 5 — Smith had a difficult night defending Sam Nicholson and Michael Barrios. The left back allowed too much space too often and had trouble keeping up with the midfielders. Defensively, Smith ended the game with three tackles, three clearances, two blocks, and one interception. Going forward, he completed 75.9% of his 29 passes and had one key pass. He also completed a team high seven of his eight long balls out of the back. He did have a nice long throw that led to Torres’ goal. But allowing multiple key balls into the box, including for the equalizing goal, is what will be remembered from Smith in this game.

D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — It wasn’t a great game by Jansson but it wasn’t a bad game either. The central defenders allowed Zardes behind too many times. It was Jansson allowing him through at the end of the game that forced Gallese into one of his great saves. The Swede had three tackles, one interception, two blocked shots, and one clearance. Offensively, he completed 86.4% of his 44 passes, one of which was a key pass, and five of his 10 long balls. In the final third, he recorded two off-target shots (one was blocked).

D, Antonio Carlos, 6 — Similar to Jansson, Carlos had a decent game but allowed Zardes behind too often. The main difference between the two defenders is that Carlos’ mistake resulted in a goal. Carlos did pick up the run through the middle, but he didn’t get ball side, allowing Zardes to get to the ball first and flick it past Gallese. He finished the game with one tackle, two interceptions, two blocked shots, and a team leading seven clearances. He completed 88.1% of his 59 passes, including one key pass, and completed three of his seven long balls. Additionally, he took one shot but it was off target.

D, Ruan, 5 — Like Smith, Ruan didn’t have his best game in Colorado. He was lucky not to be at fault for a goal in the 29th minute, when he left Jonathan Lewis wide open and wasn’t marking anyone in the attack. Fortunately, Lewis’ shot hit the post. Defensively, Ruan ended the game with one tackle and one clearance. He completed 81% of his 21 passes and didn’t have any key distributions.

MF, Benji Michel, 5.5  — This game showed the good and bad of Michel. In the opening minutes, the midfielder made a nice move to get past the defender and put a shot on target. While it wasn’t very dangerous for William Yarbrough, it made the goalkeeper make a save. However, bad Benji showed up in the 60th minute. After being sent through by Tesho Akindele, Michel either played a bad shot or bad pass to the back post that went out for a goal kick. That was the opportunity Orlando needed to convert to double the lead. Instead, moments later, the game was tied. Michel completed 80% of his 15 passes in this game and had one key pass. He took three shots, one of which was on target, and drew three fouls. Defensively, he contributed an interception and two clearances.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5— Araujo quietly had a solid night for the Lions. The defensive midfielder led the team with six tackles, adding to his two clearances, one interception, and one blocked shot. He completed 88.6% of his 44 passes but didn’t have any key passes. However, he completed four of his six long balls and drew two fouls.

MF, Junior Urso, 6 — Urso wore the armband for this game in place of Mauricio Pereyra, who had most of the night off. He had 41 touches in the midfield and completed 92.6% of his 27 passes, none of which were key passes. He took two shots and put one on target. Urso also helped out defensively with a pair of tackles and drew four fouls while fouling twice.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — This was one of Torres’ better games since joining the club at the beginning of the season. His biggest contribution was his 22nd minute goal, in which he slammed a touch from Alexandre Pato under the crossbar for the opener. Apart from the goal, Torres completed 76.9% of his 26 attacking passes and had one key pass. The goal was one of two shots he took and the only one that was on target. He completed three dribbles in the game and drew four fouls, tied for the team lead.

MF, Alexandre Pato, 5.5 — Pato was better in this game than he’s been in recent weeks, actually putting a shot on target. He was credited with assisting the goal by Torres, but it was a lucky assist as it was a bad touch and Torres just happened to be in the right place to avoid a turnover. Pato only completed 57.1% of his seven passes but did have three key passes, a team high. His four crosses were second on the team in this game but only one of them was accurate.

F, Tesho Akindele, 5.5 — Akindele isn’t the goal-scoring type of forward for Orlando City and wasn’t one Wednesday night. He completed 69.2% of his 13 passes, but had one key pass on the flick to Michel that should’ve resulted in a great opportunity. However, that was his one real contribution to the game as he took only one shot and it was off target.

Substitutes

MF, Mauricio Pereyra (56’), 5.5 — The Lions’ captain got most of the day off, only playing the last 34 minutes. He completed 93.8% of his 16 passes and had one key pass. He also led the team with five crosses, but none of them were on target. Pereyra didn’t take any successful dribbles after coming on and was dispossessed a team-leading three times.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (71’), 6 — Schlegel came on with 19 minutes to go as Oscar Pareja decided to go to a back five. While the Lions were looking to claim a point, this was also probably because of the poor defending by Smith and Ruan. Schlegel didn’t have any defensive stats, but completed 77.8% of nine passes and had one key pass going forward. He also had a run that drew a foul and set up an opportunity for the Lions late.

D, Michael Halliday (78’), 5 — Halliday came on for Ruan with 12 minutes to go and didn’t have much of an impact. He didn’t have any defensive plays and only had 10 touches on the ball. He completed 71.4% of his seven passes and had one off-target cross. His last three passes were particularly poor, with one putting Pereyra in a bad spot and two wasting potential opportunities in the attack to grab a late winner.

MF, Andres Perea (78’), N/A — During the same window in which Halliday came on, Perea replaced Torres in a defensive move. The midfielder only touched the ball five times and completed three of his five passes. Other than that, Perea didn’t have any impact on the game.


That’s how I saw Orlando City’s individual performances in the team’s 1-1 draw with Colorado. Let us know how you saw the game in the comments and don’t forget to vote for your Man of the Match below.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Pedro Gallese56
Facundo Torres4
Robin Jansson0
Cesar Araujo0
Other (Let us know in the comments)0

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from Orlando City beating the Earthquakes on the West Coast?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City wrapped up three matches in eight days with a trip out west on short rest for a late night matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes. Playing level throughout much of the match, it appeared as though both teams would split the points until the Cardiac Cats found some late magic. What follows are my immediate takeaways from an unexpected, yet satisfying, three points.

3-5-2 For the Win

The 3-5-2 lineup returned once again and proved to be quite a versatile team shape for the Lions. Against San Jose, the Lions were without captain Robin Jansson due to injury and defensive midfielder Cesar Araujo was suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Dagur Dan Thorhallsson returned to the starting lineup and slotted in as a wingback in the formation. Wilder Cartagena excelled once again as a center back, and Felipe did well filling in for Araujo in the midfield. The shape has allowed the coaching staff to more easily fill gaps with different players as needed, and I think we may see it as the default formation for the foreseeable future.

Duncan McGuire Injured Early On

Jack Lynn was substituted on in the 15th minute for an injured Duncan McGuire, who landed awkwardly on his right arm after being sandwiched between two Quakes players in an aerial duel. It was an early exit for McGuire, who tried to stop his fall by sticking out his forearm. Given the injuries the team has dealt with over the last several matches, one can only hope this does not lead to a prolonged absence for Orlando’s leading scorer.

Ivan Angulo Defies Tired Legs

No one would have faulted the Lions for sitting back as the match neared its end given that this was their third match in eight days, and second on the road during that stretch. It makes the effort Ivan Angulo gave to help create the winning goal even more impressive. After running up and down the field all game, Angulo chased down a clearance after a San Jose corner kick and beat defenders down the length of the field on a lung-busting run. The fitness staff and trainers deserve some credit for ensuring that the Lions had their legs under them that late into a match considering the travel and schedule congestion of the week.

Jack Lynn After Dark

Jack Lynn, who was selected in the first round of the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, found the back of the net for the second time this season. In what was likely an unexpected 75 minutes of game action for him, Lynn scored late to give Orlando all three points. The goal was a combination of being in the right place at the right time, as Martin Ojeda mishit his shot after the cross from Angulo, and impressive body control from Lynn, who contorted his body to redirect the ball into the back of the net. It was an impressive finish for Lynn, who had another great chance to put the game away that was saved just minutes prior to his goal. Lynn ultimately would not be denied and made sure the Orlando City fans back on the East Coast woke up to good news.

Making History On the Road

Orlando City and the San Jose Earthquakes do not exactly have a storied rivalry however, anytime the club can achieve a first in team history it should be mentioned. Last evening’s victory marked Orlando City’s first ever road victory against the Earthquakes. Heading into this match, I thought the Lions would opt for a heavily rotated lineup on the road, as the Lions were facing a club at the bottom of the Western Conference table on short rest. Instead, the club turned in a classic performance under Pareja, staying defensively sound to keep the game close and get a result on the road. The Lions were able to get the win on a counter attack and the result secured seven points from their last three matches.


Those are the things that stood out most to me from the 1-0 victory against the Earthquakes, let us know in the comments below what stood out to you. As always, vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/20/24

Lions and Pride win, MLS weekend recap, Manchester City wins Premier League title, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. It was another good weekend for our teams, as Orlando City and the Pride both won their respective matches. I’ve been busy covering high school playoff action with soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Pull Out Late Win on the Road

Orlando City pulled out a late 1-0 win on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park on Saturday. Jack Lynn came off the bench and scored the lone goal in this match for Orlando to grab the three points. Duncan McGuire started the match but had to be substituted out early in the first half due to injury and was replaced by Lynn. The Lions are on a three-match unbeaten streak after a scoreless draw at home against Inter Miami on Wednesday. Orlando City moves up to 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. The Lions return to action on Saturday to face the Columbus Crew at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando Pride Win Against Seattle Reign FC

The Orlando Pride won their seventh straight match after a 3-2 win against the Seattle Reign at Lumen Field on Sunday. There were plenty of goals in this one, with Barbra Banda lifting the Pride to their first ever win in Washington against the Reign. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 10 matches and the Pride sit atop the NWSL table with 24 points. The Pride return home for a Friday night matchup against the Portland Thorns at Inter&Co Stadium.

MLS Weekend Recap

It was another busy weekend in MLS, with four rivalry matches taking place. Let’s start with the Hudson River Derby, as New York City FC edged past the New York Red Bulls 2-1. Real Salt Lake got a thrilling 5-3 win against the Colorado Rapids in the Rocky Mountain Cup. In Canada, Toronto FC cruised past CF Montreal with a 5-1 victory. The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas battled to a 1-1 draw down in Texas. FC Cincinnati defeated St. Louis City SC 3-1, while the Columbus Crew beat the Chicago Fire 3-1 as well.

The Philadelphia Union shut out the New England Revolution 3-0 to snap its six-match winless streak. Austin FC won 3-2 over Sporting Kansas City, Minnesota United handed the Portland Timbers a 2-1 defeat, and Inter Miami got a late goal from Leonardo Campana for a 1-0 win over D.C. United.

Manchester City Wins English Premier League

Manchester City defeated West Ham 3-1 to win a historic fourth consecutive Premier League title on Sunday with 91 points on the final day of the season. Phil Foden scored twice in this match as Manchester City became the first club to win four straight Premier League trophies. Arsenal defeated Everton 2-1 but ended up short of the title, finishing second with 89 points. Liverpool won in Jurgen Klopp’s final match as manager, beating Wolves 2-0 to finish third. Aston Villa finished fourth despite a 5-0 loss to Crystal Palace, Tottenham finished fifth, and Chelsea finished sixth in the table. Luton Town lost 4-2 at home to Fulham to finish 18th, officially joining Burnley and Sheffield United in being relegated to the EFL Championship next season. 

Free Kicks

  • Former Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner has agreed to a one-year contract extension with Manchester United, with an option for another year. Manchester United won its first major trophy earlier this month, winning the Women’s FA Cup.
  • Former USMNT player Jonathan Bornstein has agreed to play for NPSL side Tallahassee SC in their summer season. He made his debut on Saturday as the Battle Lions won their opener 2-0 against the Miami Dutch Lions FC.
  • According to Tom Bogert, new MLS expansion side San Diego FC is reportedly closer to sealing a move to sign Chucky Lozano over from PSV Eindhoven.
  • Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi announced he will leave the club after its Premier League season ended in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday. 
  • Bayer Leverkusen completed its Bundesliga season unbeaten with a 2-1 win over FC Augsburg. The club also made history as the first team in the history of the Bundesliga to complete a full season without a loss. 

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions individually rate in Orlando City’s win on the road?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

The Lions went across the country to face the San Jose Earthquakes and will return to Orlando with all three points after a 1-0 win. Jack Lynn, who came on in the first half for an injured Duncan McGuire, scored the only goal of the game. Here’s how I saw each individual Lion’s performance in Orlando’s win on the road.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — El Pulpo came up with four saves in the shutout, with three of them coming within the span of a few minutes in the first half. Gallese wasn’t tested as much in the second half, but he did make a big save to deny Jack Skahan late in the match. In terms of distribution, eight of his 19 long balls were accurate and he completed 60.7% of his 28 passes. All in all, it was another strong outing from the Peruvian.

D, David Brekalo, 7.5 (MotM) — Brekalo did a great job putting out fires in Orlando’s defense, leading the team with eight clearances. He won five of his seven aerial duels, and had two interceptions and a tackle as well. Although only one of his nine long balls was accurate, he had a key pass for setting up a shot by Martin Ojeda that was deflected out for a corner. He also did well winning a foul in the first half that stopped a potential San Jose counter and gave Orlando a set piece in a good area. Brekalo finished the game with 46 passes at an 80.4% success rate and is our Man of the Match for anchoring Orlando’s defense in a shutout.

D, Wilder Cartagena, 7.5 — The Peruvian started as a center back for the Lions and looked the part once again. Cartagena was patient and clinical when it came to his defending, leading the Lions with five tackles and stopping some of San Jose’s most dangerous attacks. He also had four clearances and two interceptions in an excellent defensive performance. Cartagena completed 86.1% of his 43 passes and two of his seven long balls found their mark.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Schlegel also did well as part of Orlando’s defense, recording four clearances, two tackles, and an interception. He won two of his three aerial duels as well, playing physically without committing any fouls. The Argentine defender was accurate on three of his 10 long balls and had 46 passes at a 73.9% success rate. He had a solid game and will return to Orlando with a few bumps and bruises along with the team’s clean sheet.

WB, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 5.5 — Thorhallsson returned to the starting lineup for the first time since May 4. There were a few nervous moments when he was tasked with marking players lurking at the back post, but San Jose wasn’t able to make Orlando pay for it. He had three clearances and two tackles before being subbed out in the 78th minute. Offensively, he did well to find open space, but wasn’t able to capitalize on his chances as neither of his two shots were on target. Thorhallsson’s best chance came when a cutback cross from Ivan Angulo found him with all the time in the world to pick out his shot in the box, only to send it wide. His passing could’ve been a bit tidier, as he had 30 passes at a 76.7% success rate, neither of his two long balls were accurate, and just one of his four crosses were successful. Regardless, it was nice to see Thorhallsson back in the swing of things after missing time.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 7 — Angulo applied plenty of defensive pressure throughout the match, but still had enough left in the tank to assist on Orlando’s winning moment. The Colombian raced down the left wing on a counter and then picked out Ojeda in the box, whose mishit volley wound up with Lynn scoring. Angulo nearly had another assist for his cutback cross that found Thorhallsson open as well. He completed 90.9% of his 44 passes and two of his three crosses were accurate. Defensively, he had three tackles and a clearance as well. This game was a testament to how much of an impact the speedy Lion can have on a match.

MF, Felipe, 6.5 — Felipe replaced the suspended Cesar Araujo in the starting lineup and did fairly well, shutting down San Jose’s passing lanes and plugging holes in Orlando’s defensive shape as needed. He had a team-high three interceptions, along with four tackles and two clearances. The midfielder had 40 passes at a strong 90% success rate and one of his three long balls was accurate. It was a fairly quiet night from the veteran, which isn’t the worst thing for a defensive midfielder and he did well filling in for Araujo.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6.5 — Lodeiro led the Lions with 94 touches and 75 passes, directing things while Orlando had possession. He was successful on 84% of those passes and two of his three long balls, though none of his five crosses found their man. Lodeiro’s lone shot went high and off target, but he did have two key passes to set up a pair of chances for Luis Muriel. He chipped in defensively with two tackles, an interception, and a clearance as well. Even though he wasn’t able to replicate the offensive output he showed against the Philadelphia Union, Lodeiro did well in his third straight match playing the full 90 minutes.

WB, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres didn’t have a shot in the match, but did have two key passes to generate some offense. Although only one of his five crosses were accurate, he still did well putting the ball into open areas in the box. His only attempted long ball wasn’t successful, but he did complete 91.9% of his 37 passes. Torres spent most of his time attacking through the wings, and didn’t contribute too much defensively beyond a clearance and sprinting back to give the back line support when needed.

F, Luis Muriel, 6.5 — The forward continued to look dangerous with the ball at his feet and had three shots in the match. Of his three shots, one forced a good save out of San Jose goalkeeper William Yarbrough, one was blocked before it could test Yarbrough, and another was sent off target from distance. He may have only been successful on one of his five attempted dribbles, but Muriel also had a key pass and both of his long balls were accurate. Muriel was fairly involved with 58 touches, won all three of his aerial duels, and helped out on defense with two tackles and a clearance.

F, Duncan McGuire, N/A — McGuire had to be subbed out in the 16th minute due to an arm injury after colliding with Bruno Wilson in the air. The Lions played with 10 men for a few minutes while medical staff looked him over, but Lynn ultimately replaced him on the field. McGuire had eight touches and completed three of his four passes, while also recording a clearance before his early exit.

Substitutes

F, Jack Lynn, (16′), 6.5 — Lynn came into the match to replace McGuire and scored the winner late in the match to give the Lions all three points on the road. The 24-year-old maintained focus when Ojeda didn’t strike the ball cleanly and buried the bouncing ball into the back of the net. His goal was his third shot and final shot of the match after sending a glancing header wide and having another header saved at point-blank range earlier on. Lynn may have only won one of his five aerial duels, but his hold-up play was decent. He had 18 passes at a 66.7% success rate and 33 touches before being subbed off in stoppage time after scoring. Lynn was a bit sloppy at times, but ultimately gave the Lions an unlikely win.

MF, Martin Ojeda, (79′), N/A — Ojeda was credited with an assist for his role in Lynn’s goal, even if he fully intended on scoring himself with his strike. While there was luck involved, he deserves credit for getting in a good position and taking a crack at goal. His other shot was a try from distance that was deflected out for a corner kick. He completed all but one of his seven passes, had 13 touches, and neither of his two crosses connected.

WB, Rafael Santos, (79′), N/A — Santos came into the match for Facundo Torres and it didn’t take long for him to make his presence known. He whipped in a pinpoint cross for Lynn in the 82nd minute that the forward should have done better with. It was a key pass for Santos and one of his two successful crosses in his limited time on the field. He completed four of his passes, helped secure the clean sheet with an interception and clearance on the defensive end.

WB, Kyle Smith, (90’+2), N/A — Smith came on in stoppage time to give the Lions some fresh legs and another defender to help see out the match, although he didn’t have any touches in his brief cameo.

MF, Jeorgio Kocevski, (90’+2), N/A — The rookie made his first appearance with the first team since March. He also didn’t have any touches or contributions in his short time on the field, although it was still nice to see Kocevski get some playing time.


How did you see the individual performances in this game? Make your voice heard down in the comments, and be sure to vote in our Man of the Match poll.

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