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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Final Score 1-0 as Facundo Torres’ Goal Lifts Lions to Road Win

The Lions snapped a three-match losing streak and a five-match winless skid in league play with a win at Red Bull Arena.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Facundo Torres scored in the first half and Orlando City played well defensively to beat the New York Red Bulls, 1-0 on the road at Red Bull Arena. With the win, the Lions (9-10-6, 33 points) snapped a three-game losing streak and a five-match winless skid in MLS play. It was Orlando’s second straight win over the Red Bulls (10-8-7, 37 points) following last month’s U.S. Open Cup victory and only the team’s third win ever at Red Bull Arena (3-5-1),

“A tremendous victory for our team. A tremendous effort for the players,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “A tremendous week of work that they have done as well, after a couple weeks where we could say that we deserved much more but the game did not reward them. They kept pushing, and today, in a difficult place against a difficult rival, they confirmed first that they are committed with this group. Second, that what happened in Open Cup was not just a one-day thing.”

Pareja doubled down on 10 of his 11 starters from the past three matches, with the only change being Kyle Smith going into the lineup at right back for Ruan. As a result, Pedro Gallese took his place in between the sticks behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Smith. Cesar Araujo and Mauricio Pereyra played in central midfield behind an attacking line of Torres, Alexandre Pato, and Junior Urso, with Benji Michel up top.

The first shot of the match fell to New York in the third minute. A long throw from John Tolkin was headed out of the area by Carlos and came straight to Lewis Morgan, who fired immediately but sent his shot over the bar. A few minutes later, Kyle Duncan sent a shot well over off a free kick played short to the top of the box.

Orlando opened the scoring in transition in the 17th minute. Gallese sent a ball forward from the box toward Pato, who faked out a Red Bulls player and then chested it down, sending it to Urso up the middle. Urso cut to his left and sent a pass wide to Torres while Michel dragged a defender toward the middle. Torres fired from a tight angle and goalkeeper Carlos Coronel got a piece of it with his left foot, but it found the post and bounced into the back of the net to make it 1-0 .

It was Torres’ fifth goal of the MLS season and eighth in all matches (five MLS, two U.S. Open Cup, and one in the Arsenal friendly).

New York got forward more in transition late in the half as Orlando City held more of the ball. A turnover by Pato led to a counterattack that ended in a ball skipping through the six in the 33rd minute. Jansson blocked a Patryk Klimala cross out for a corner two minutes later.

Urso got taken off the ball by Tolkin moments later and Smith fouled him to set up a dangerous free kick. Tolkin sent the set piece short to Morgan, but Pereyra did well to close and block the shot in the 37th minute. A minute later, Morgan sent a shot just inches over the bar from the left after Orlando City failed to adequately defend the box, allowing the ball to ping around from New York’s right to left.

The Lions had an excellent chance to make it 2-0 in the 41st minute as Torres got to the end line and cut a good pass back for Pato, who attempted to take his shot right away. Pato was hit from behind while he was in the process of shooting by Dru Yearwood, who got a significant chunk of the forward’s plant leg cutting across from behind. Referee Rubiel Vazquez and video assistant referee Joe Dickerson judged it to be a fair challenge, but Pato had to be stretchered off in a lot of pain.

Pareja said the play was a foul in the box in his eyes.

“We could have gone to two-zero with the PK they didn’t call against Pato that hurt him also. I don’t know why they didn’t see that,” Pareja said. “Everybody tries to do their job well. I think referees try very hard to do it well and sometimes it works, sometimes not. The play was a foul because it was the player who hurt (Pato) and I thought it was surely when he tackled his knee.”

Pato left the stadium on crutches and Pareja said they’ll have to wait for a medical evaluation to determine his condition.

Pareja sent Jake Mulraney on to see out the first half, with the delay for the injury costing the Lions a substitution window as Orlando couldn’t afford to risk playing four minutes while a man down at the end of the half.

The Lions escaped a late scare on a pair of turnovers by Smith in his own defensive third and Carlos did well to clear a corner kick, allowing Orlando to get into the locker room with a 1-0 lead.

Orlando held more possession (58.5%-41.5%) despite starting the game by absorbing pressure, and passed more accurately (79.8%-70%). New York had more shots (5-2), although Orlando got one on target to none for the hosts, and more corners (3-1) than the Lions.

Without Pato, Pereyra moved back into the No. 10 role and Urso left the wing, dropping back deeper to his No. 8 spot. Orlando wasn’t able to create much of anything after halftime and didn’t even register a shot in the second 45 minutes.

Smith conceded a dangerous free kick early in the second half after Tolkin beat him. Morgan’s set piece was cleared to Frankie Amaya, who sent a shot right at Gallese in the 48th minute. Three minutes later, Urso coughed up the ball in his own half and Klimala blasted a shot well wide.

Mulraney crossed in from the left on one of Orlando’s rare forays into the final third in the 55th minute but hit his pass deep into the six, where it was easily caught by Coronel. After a poor shot from distance by Amaya, Moutinho got forward and sent the ball into the area but nobody made a near-post run and Coronel again collected.

Luquinhas fired over the bar in the 66th minute off a long throw-in. He was freed up for the shot when Carlos mistimed his jump and missed his attempt to clear with a header. Araujo did well to read a cutback pass in the 77th minute and chest it away for the clearance but the Red Bulls kept coming.

Cameron Harper sent a shot/cross just over Gallese’s bar in the 83rd minute. Moments later, Orlando did nothing with a corner kick and Luquinhas got down the right side of the box in transition, sending a shot into the outside netting from a severe angle.

Omir Fernandez and Tom Barlow came nowhere near hitting the net as time wound down, but substitute Tesho Akindele conceded an unnecessary free kick just outside the box to Gallese’s right late in stoppage time. Morgan sent the set piece on target, but Moutinho got his head on it just in front of the line and it was cleared by midfielder Wilder Cartagena, who subbed on late to make his Orlando City debut.

That was the last decent look for either side and even though Vazquez allowed yet another attack nearly a minute after his already generous five minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle eventually blew on a much-needed Orlando victory.

Orlando finished the match with more possession (55.1%-44.9%) and passing accuracy (73.4%-69.3%), with each team winning four corner kicks. New York badly out-shot Orlando (15-2), with each getting one on target, but the Lions prevented the Red Bulls from getting into good scoring positions throughout the match and the hosts were forced to take most of their shots either from outside the area or from wide areas.

“Sometimes the game’s like that,” Mulraney said about the lack of chances created in the second half. “Sometimes you score five goals like you did last time. Sometimes you just have to grind out the three points and we did that tonight.”

The Lions will be back on the road next Sunday night when they visit Charlotte for the first time. They’ll have to play without Moutinho, who picked up a yellow card in the match and will be suspended for caution accumulation.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/27/23

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



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

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

Orlando City Drops Two Spots in Power Rankings

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

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

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

U.S. Open Cup Final Preview

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

Spain Wins First Home Match Since World Cup Victory

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

Free Kicks

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

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

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Orlando City

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

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



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/26/23

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



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

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

Pedro Gallese Recognized

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

Orlando Pride and Orlando City Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

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

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

Campeones Cup Preview

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

Americans in Midweek Action

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

Spanish Players Will Testify Against Rubiales

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

Free Kicks

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

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