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Orlando City vs. Charlotte FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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The Cardiac Cats were back as Tesho Akindele’s late strike lifted Orlando City to a huge 2-1 win over Charlotte FC. It’s the Lions’ second consecutive win away from home after they gave up the lead in their three previous road games. The win moves them up to fifth in a crowded Eastern Conference.

Let’s take a look at how the Orlando City players did individually in this game.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — Gallese didn’t have a lot to do as Charlotte only got three shots on target. The goal wasn’t his fault as McKinze Gaines got between Kyle Smith and Rodrigo Schlegel redirecting the cross on goal from within feet of Gallese. The goalkeeper nearly got beat a second time in the dying seconds when Brandt Bronico shot just over the crossbar. But it was a solid performance overall for the Lions shot stopper and another win under his belt.

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — It wasn’t a bad performance by Smith but he was involved in one key negative play. Starting for the suspended Joao Moutinho, Smith won five tackles, had three clearances, and completed 85.1% of his 47 passes. However, he was beaten by the Gaines run in the 66th minute that resulted in the equalizing goal for Charlotte.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Schlegel wasn’t supposed to start this game after going 90 minutes for OCB on Wednesday night, but an injury to Robin Jansson pushed the center back into the starting lineup. It was a good performance by the defender, who recorded one interception and a team-high five clearances, including a couple of huge clearances when it appeared that Charlotte had a chance at goal. He completed 96.5% of his 57 passes and 10 of his 12 long balls. The only negative on Schlegel’s game was his involvement in the Charlotte goal as Gaines got between him and Smith.

D, Antonio Carlos, 6.5 — The Brazilian center back put in a strong performance, which has become quite common. Carlos recorded one tackle, four clearances, and one blocked shot on the defensive end. He completed 80.6% of his 67 passes, including one key pass, and took two off-target shots. He did concede a dangerous free kick that was inches outside the box, however.

D, Ruan, 5.5 — The right back didn’t have nearly the impact he did the first time these two teams met, when he had a goal and an assist, but it was a good game defensively for Ruan. The Brazilian ended up with one tackle won, two interceptions, and one clearance. The Lions looked to send him down the right early but the balls were too far for him to reach. He completed 71.4% of his 21 passes and had one key pass. That was it for Ruan, who was less visible than you would expect.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7 — Araujo has proven to be a key addition for Orlando City and he had another excellent performance tonight. The defensive midfielder won five tackles, one interception, and one clearance. Going forward, Araujo completed all 40 of his passes, including two long balls. He also didn’t pick up a yellow card, which is always a risk with the hard-tackling midfielder.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 — With Alexandre Pato out injured, Pereyra was expected to be the key playmaker for the Lions in this game. On the defensive end, the midfielder had one tackle and two interceptions. He completed 83.3% of his 42 passes and three of his four crosses. Both shots he took were on target and he had two key passes in the attack. In the 70th minute, his free kick forced Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina into a diving save. However, he picked up a yellow card in the 82nd minute which will see him suspended for next Sunday’s game against New York City FC. It’s a big loss for the Lions who will be looking to extend a two-game winning streak.

MF, Jake Mulraney, 5 — It was a difficult game for the Irish midfielder, who will likely be challenged for a starting spot by Niko Gioacchini and Ivan Angulo. The attacker only completed 58.3% of his 12 passes, though he did have a key pass. He also only completed one of his six crosses and didn’t take any shots on goal.

MF, Junior Urso, 7 (MotM) — It was a terrific performance by Urso, who had one tackle, two interceptions, and blocked one shot. He completed 83.8% of his 37 passes and had a pair of key passes. One of those key passes resulted in a secondary assist on Ercan Kara’s goal in the 62nd minute. The other would’ve been a primary assist had Akindele put his first shot past Kahlina. Having a key part in both goals results in him being my Man of the Match.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — After scoring the game-winning goal in New York last weekend, it was another good showing for Torres in Charlotte. He completed 74.4% of his 39 passes and had two key passes. He had three dribbles and put his only shot on target. Torres’ biggest impact was his assist on the Kara goal. After receiving a nice pass from Urso, Torres quickly played a great ball through for Kara, putting him behind the Charlotte defense when he could slide it past Kahlina.

F, Ercan Kara, 6.5 — Kara was on a roll earlier this season after scoring five goals in six games  between May 22 and July 4. However, he hadn’t scored in his last three appearances and had been sidelined by a couple of minor knocks, keeping him out of the lineup since July 31. So it was a welcome sight to see the striker net the opening goal in the 62nd minute. He didn’t do much other than his goal, only recording eight touches, but that’s fine when a target striker scores.

Substitutes

F, Benji Michel (71’), 5.5 — Michel came on for Mulraney in the 71st minute as the Lions looked to see out a draw. He didn’t have a big impact on the game, only recording 10 touches and completing 83.3% of his six passes.

F, Tesho Akindele (79’), 6.5 — Similar to Kara, who he replaced, Akindele wasn’t very active but had a huge impact. He only had 11 touches and completed 71.4% of his seven passes, but he scored the winning goal and had a key clearance on a set piece. His first shot on the counter attack was right at Kahlina, but the rebound went right back to him and he put the second chance in.

MF, Wilder Cartagena (86’), 5.5 — Cartagena was brought on for Pereyra in the final minutes prior to Akindele’s goal. The midfielder didn’t have any defensive stats, but completed both of his passes.

MF, Niko Gioacchini (86’), 5 — Gioacchini came on with four minutes remaining in regular time for Torres. He only had eight touches and didn’t complete any of his four passes, but he did win four aerial duels, which were key as the team was looking to hold onto a 2-1 lead late.


That’s how I saw the individual performances in this game. Let us know how you saw it and vote on the Man of the Match below.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Ercan Kara
0
Facundo Torres18
Cesar Araujo23
Tesho Akindele17
Junior Urso8
Other (let us know in the comments)0

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/28/24

Yutaro Tsukada earns recognition, Americans in midweek action, European coaching updates, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a restful holiday weekend, and if you didn’t, then I hope you’re well on the way to recovery. We’ve got an exciting schedule this week, with two Orlando City games before an Orlando City B game on Sunday. It’s also OCB forward Yeiler Valencia’s birthday today, so let’s wish him well and jump into today’s links!

Yutaro Tsukada Earns MLS NEXT Pro Honors

OCB winger Yutaro Tsukada was named MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 11 for his performance in the team’s 5-0 home win against Huntsville City FC. The 22-year-old provided the assist on OCB’s first goal after using some nice skill on the ball to shake his defender. Tsukada then scored a goal of his own off of a free kick in the second half. The rookie has been electric for the Young Lions this season, recording four goals and four assists so far. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling when OCB faces Inter Miami II this Sunday.

Major League Soccer Stock Watch

Every week gives us a better idea of each MLS team’s capabilities, so let’s check in on how things are looking following the latest matchday. LAFC is on a great trajectory, as it’s won three consecutive league games and five straight in all competitions. Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of play to stretch its unbeaten streak to 11 games, and Cristian Arango didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting. At the other end of things, the New England Revolution have lost three straight games, and six of their last seven. Likewise, the shine looks to have worn off from St. Louis City’s expansion season, as the team has also lost three straight games and simply doesn’t look the same as last year.

Americans in Midweek Action

With most of the European club seasons having concluded, there aren’t as many United States Men’s National Team players in action during the working week, but there are still some important games to make note of. Chief among those is Venezia’s game against Cremonese on Thursday. Tanner Tessmann, Gianluca Busio and Venezia will take on Cremonese over two legs, with the winner gaining promotion to Serie A. Left back Jonathan Gomez may take the field tomorrow morning in Real Sociedad’s friendly against Tokyo Verde as well.

In a pair of friendlies on Friday, Mexico plays Bolivia and Uruguay takes on Costa Rica. With the USMNT set to face both Bolivia and Uruguay in group play of this summer’s Copa America, the two matches present a good chance to better gauge the Yanks’ opponents.

European Coaching Updates

Several notable European club teams have coaching vacancies to fill this summer, and there are some updates on a few of those positions. Chelsea has reportedly made an approach for Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca, and has requested permission to talk to the manager who guided the Foxes back to the Premier League in his first year with the club. Meanwhile, despite interest from Manchester United, Kieran McKenna is reportedly set to stay at Ipswich Town, and has had talks about extending his contract. Finally, Aston Villa has extended Unai Emery’s contract, with his new deal keeping him at the club until 2029.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

Transfer season is kicking into gear, and we have several rumors to sift through this morning. Up first, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are reportedly all in hot pursuit of Stade Rennais winger Desire Doue. Casemiro reportedly has a deal lined up with a team in the Saudi Pro League, and may have played his last game for Manchester United. Newly promoted Southampton is reportedly interested in signing Adam Lallana as a free agent. Finally, Paris Saint-Germain is said to have entered the race to sign Bruno Guimaraes, and will face stiff competition from Manchester City and Arsenal.

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. the Columbus Crew: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in a 2-0 loss at home against Columbus?

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Rafael Santos Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

The Lions returned home riding a three-game unbeaten streak but a bizarre video review call moments before halftime set the tone for a physical match against the Columbus Crew. Ultimately, Orlando fell to the Crew 2-0. Here’s how I saw each individual Lion’s performance in Orlando’s fourth loss at home on the season.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — The Peruvian No. 1 saw a relatively quiet first half come to a close in a fury as he was forced into action to face a penalty kick before halftime. Gallese guessed correctly, but Diego Rossi’s placement was just above Gallese’s outstretched trailing hand. The Crew put three of their eight shot attempts on target and Gallese was credited with one save on the night. He completed 94.1% of his 17 passing attempts, including two accurate long balls out of three attempts.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7 (MotM) — Schlegel continued to fill in for injured starter Robin Jansson and has now strung a few solid performances together on the back line. Defensively, he put out multiple fires for Orlando City. He tied Wilder Cartagena for the team lead with five clearances. Schlegel also added three tackles and one blocked shot. He committed one foul while he suffered three throughout the match. He completed 93.1% of his 58 passing attempts, including two key passes. He also completed one of his three long-ball attempts on the night. For his total effort throughout the game he is our Man of the Match.

D, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — The Peruvian international continued to function as a center back in the squad’s 3-5-2 lineup. Defensively, he tied for the team lead with five clearances and added three tackles and a blocked shot. He won two aerial duels and was whistled for two fouls on the night. He completed 91.7% of his 48 passes, including two successful long balls out of four attempts. Offensively, Cartagena put one of his two shot attempts on target and completed one successful dribble.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo continued to perform well in the back as he has become more comfortable in his role, leading the team with four total tackles and chipping in one clearance. He completed 91.3% of his 46 passes and was successful on both long balls that he sent up the field. He committed one foul in the match. Offensively, he did not contribute any statistics.

WB, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres again slotted in at wingback, which limits the number of looks he gets at goal, but it’s nice to see a Designated Player willing to change positions for the good of the team. The Uruguayan logged one tackle, one clearance, and one interception on defense. He committed one foul and earned a foul as well. He completed 91.5% of his 47 passes, which included two key passes. He completed three of his eight crossing attempts on the night and was successful on one of two long balls. Offensively, he logged one shot, which was off target, and completed one successful dribble.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6.5 — Lodeiro played solidly throughout the match and was asked to do a little bit of everything during the game. Defensively, he contributed three tackles and one interception. He led the team with 77 total touches and completed 84.8% of his team-high 59 passing attempts, including one key pass. He successfully completed one of his five crosses and both of his long-ball attempts. Offensively, he put one of his two shot attempts on target. He was whistled for being offside once. Lodeiro saw his night come to an end in the 66th minute when he was replaced by Martin Ojeda.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6 — Returning from suspension for yellow card accumulation, Araujo functioned as the only true defensive midfielder. Araujo’s effort on the night will ultimately be remembered for the jersey tug and subsequent yellow card recieved for the “foul” on Aidan Morris, which resulted in a penalty kick attempt for the Crew (instead of Orlando City) after a confusing and frustrating video review. Araujo finished the night quietly from a statistical standpoint with one interception as his only defensive stat. He committed four fouls total, including the aforementioned “foul.” He completed 96.3% of his 27 passes, including two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively, Araujo was credited with one successful dribble. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute as Orlando chased the game.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6.5 — Angulo slotted into the midfield for the second straight game. Defensively, he contributed one tackle. He completed 86.5% of his 52 passes, including a team-high three key passes. He also completed his lone through ball attempt. Offensively, he did not log a shot attempt, but he did complete two dribbles and was fouled once. Angulo was able to use his speed to get into dangerous positions throughout the match but continued to lack precision when it came to the final pass or dribble.

WB, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson joined Torres as the wingback on the opposite side in the 3-5-2 system and seemed to be an afterthought throughout much of the match as the team played down the left side of the field for the majority of the game. Defensively, he contributed three total tackles and one clearance while also winning one aerial on the night and did well to deny the speedy Yaw Yeboah multiple chances to get inside him on give-and-go plays. He completed 83.3% of his 24 total passing attempts. He was unsuccessful on both crossing attempts but completed one of his two long balls. Offensively, as a byproduct of much of the action happening opposite his side of the field, he failed to record an offensive statistic. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute.

F, Luis Muriel, 6.5 — Muriel put in a good effort on a night when the scoreboard unfortunately would not reflect it. His effort to get in on goal — and subsequently be taken down from behind — earned what everyone thought at the time to be a penalty attempt for the Lions, although it was taken away by the referee after the review. Defensively, Muriel was credited with one interception. He completed 88% of his 25 passes and was successful on his lone crossing attempt. He won one aerial and offensively put one of his three shot attempts on target while completing three successful dribbles and suffering one foul.

F, Jack Lynn, 5.5 — With the injury to Duncan McGuire, the hero of the Lions’ last match, Lynn made Orlando’s starting lineup. Defensively, Lynn contributed one clearance. He completed 81.8% of his 11 passes. Lynn was unsuccessful on his lone crossing attempt. Offensively, Lynn failed to record a shot attempt but was credited with one successful dribble while being whistled for offside twice. He was subbed off in the 58th minute for Ramiro Enrique.

Substitutes

MF, Felipe, (59′), 5.5 — Brought on for Araujo just before the hour mark, Felipe looked to help control the midfield. Defensively he logged one tackle and one clearance while committing one foul, which landed him a yellow card. He completed 89.5% of his 19 passes, including one key pass and two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively he did not record a shot attempt.

WB, Rafael Santos, (59′), 6 — Santos came on for Thorhallsson but went over to fill the left wingback role, sending Torres forward and Angulo to right wingback. He recorded one interception on the defensive end. Santos completed 84.2% of his 19 passes, which included one successful long ball on his one attempt. He was fouled once and was whistled for offside once.

F, Ramiro Enrique, (60′), 6 — Making his return from an extended absence due to injury, Enrique came on for the final half hour in the hopes of providing an offensive spark. He got into good areas but struggled to finish on some of Orlando’s best scoring chances of the night. Enrique completed 66.7% of his six passes and was unsuccessful on his lone cross. In a little over 30 minutes of game time, Enrique managed to tie Muriel for the most shot attempts, with three, and put two of them on target, albeit right at the goalkeeper. Despite the poor overall outcome of the match, it was good to see Enrique return to the pitch.

MF, Martin Ojeda, (67′), 5.5 — Designated Player Ojeda came off the bench to replace Lodeiro as Orlando faced a two-goal deficit. Defensively, Ojeda logged one interception. He completed all eight of his pass attempts, with two key passes, and three of his five crosses. Ojeda attempted one shot, which was off target.


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. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/27/24

Orlando City loses to the Crew, Pride and OCB win, Southampton seals return to Premier League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend. I worked at Under Armour all weekend while wrapping up my high school sports coverage for the spring season. It was a mixed weekend for our teams. Orlando City lost, but both the Pride and OCB won their matches. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Lose at Home to Columbus Crew

Orlando City lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium and saw its three-match unbeaten streak end. The match’s first goal was controversial as the referee, Jair Marrufo, initially awarded the Lions a penalty late in the first half but went to the monitor and reviewed a play at the other end of the pitch. He instead awarded Columbus a penalty kick. Diego Rossi scored from the spot to put the Crew ahead 1-0 before halftime. Columbus extended its winning streak to three matches. Orlando has struggled at home, going just 1-3-4 so far this season. The Lions have not scored a goal at home since April 27. Despite the loss, the Lions still remain in 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Next up for Orlando is a pair of road matches this week, starting Wednesday at the Chicago Fire, followed by a Saturday night matchup against the New York Red Bulls. 

Pride Win at Home Over Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride won their record-setting eighth straight match with a 2-1 victory at Inter&Co Stadium against the Portland Thorns Friday. Barbra Banda scored two goals in the first half to give the Pride a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Portland pulled one back, but the Pride held on for the victory and claimed three points. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 11 matches, and the Pride stay atop the NWSL table with 27 points. The Pride are off this week but will return to action on the road next Friday, June 7, against the San Diego Wave.

OCB Win at Home against Huntsville City FC

On Sunday, Orlando City B bounced back with a season-high five goals in a 5-0 win over Hunstville City FC at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed put OCB ahead 3-0, while Yeiler Valencia scored his first two OCB goals to seal the win for the Young Lions. OCB is now in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Meanwhile, Huntsville City FC remains winless through 10 matches and stays at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. OCB’s next match will be on the road Sunday at Inter Miami CF II. 

Southampton Clinches Promotion to Premier League

Southampton booked its return to the Premier League with a 1-0 over Leeds United in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Sunday. Adam Armstrong scored the lone goal in this match as the Saints returned to the top flight after being relegated the previous season. Southampton joins Leicester City and Ipswich Town, securing promotion to the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the table, Leeds’ playoff woes continue as this is the sixth time it missed out on securing promotion and finished its season with only one win out of its last six matches. 

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

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