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Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Final Score 2-1 as Tesho Akindele Scores Another Late Winner

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Tesho Akindele scored deep in stoppage time on a corner kick to snap a 1-1 tie and lift Orlando City to a 2-1 win over New York City FC at Exploria Stadium. The Lions (11-10-6, 39 points) deserved all three points with a lopsided advantage in attacking stats but were seconds away from an unsatisfying draw with NYCFC (13-8-6, 45 points) after Junior Urso and Maxi Moralez scored early in the first and second half, respectively.

Orlando notched its third consecutive win — each by one goal — and finally managed to put together a good performance at home that claimed maximum points.

“I thought it was a great victory — one that was deserved by the players,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “I think the effort that they did during the whole game today showed this character that they’ve brought in the last three games.”

Pareja started Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Wilder Cartagena got his first MLS start in central midfield with Urso, behind an attacking line of Jake Mulraney, Facundo Torres, and Benji Michel, with Ercan Kara up top.

Orlando came out swinging at its 2015 MLS expansion rivals. Cartagena took the game’s first shot just two minutes in but missed the net from outside the area. But five minutes later, the Lions grabbed the lead.

Torres saw space and played an aerial ball for a well-timed run by Urso, who took it down nicely with his first touch and blasted it past Sean Johnson. The flag came up immediately but the play looked good with a defender keeping him on. Referee Chris Penso went to the monitor to look at it again and ruled the goal good, giving Orlando a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute.

“I was really free. And Facu, he’s so intelligent, so he gave me a nice ball,” Urso said. “The ball jumped a little bit and that was perfect (height) to shoot so, for me, it was incredible.”

Urso said the delay during the video review was nerve-wracking.

“I almost died on the field,” Urso said with a laugh. “I was like praying to God, please, I’m not off. So, it was OK.”

NYCFC got a long-distance free kick in the 12th minute but Gabriel Pereira sent the set piece kick right at Gallese for the easy catch.

A few minutes later, the skies opened up over Exploria Stadium, with rains so heavy and so prolonged that puddles began forming on the normally quick-draining pitch and creating issues. Passes stopped dead if they hit a watery patch and the game got sloppy for both sides. The Lions seemed to handle it better but couldn’t string together passes in the slop.

“In the first half it was a lot of courage (by the players) with this rain,” Pareja said. “Congratulations to the fans that suffered that rain too. It was difficult to play but I think we showed a lot of personality too and we came out winning the half.”

Urso sent a shot from outside the box wide in the 28th minute off a recycled corner kick. A minute later, the Bear came close to adding a second goal. Urso smashed a shot on target but Johnson made a spectacular diving save to keep his team’s deficit at one goal.

Cartagena fired another shot wide off the ensuing corner kick after the visitors cleared it out of the area.

The rain diminished late in the first half and the drainage was able to do a better job of keeping up with the extra moisture.

Late in the half, Torres put in a good cross for Kara but Maxime Chanot did well in defense to make the chance difficult and Kara could only hit his shot wide.

Talles Magno fired wide from distance late in first-half stoppage time and the Lions took their 1-0 lead into the break.

NYCFC held the advantage in possession (57%-43%) and passed more accurately (81.8%-74.6%), while Orlando fired more shots (7-1) and shots on target (3-1), and earned more corners (5-0).

Two minutes after the restart, it appeared the game was about to swing in the visitors’ favor. Carlos won a tackle just outside his area and dribbled up the field. As he was dribbling past New York City FC’s Nicolas Acevedo, the defender stepped on his opponent’s foot and Penso went straight to the red card. Again the referee went to the monitor but he quickly changed his mind upon seeing the replay and changed the card to yellow, much to the relief of Orlando City players and fans.

The game changed moments later anyway. Mulraney turned the ball over near midfield and New York City FC broke the other way in transition. The ball ended up with Thiago Andrade on the left and he did well to slip in a perfect pass for Moralez, who split the defense with his run and slotted a shot past Gallese to make it 1-1 in the 53rd minute.

The goal was NYCFC’s only shot on target in the match. Moralez got into a decent position to give his team the lead in the 56th minute but fired his shot into the outside netting from the right side.

Pareja chased the game by bringing on Ivan Angulo and Andres Perea for Cartagena, who put in a solid shift for Araujo, and Mulraney. Araujo came on in the second half but the plan was to rest him in this match after the young midfielder experienced tightness after playing on the turf last week at Charlotte.

Angulo, Araujo, and Perea were joined a little later by fellow second-half subs Akindele and Kyle Smith, and those players were crucial in changing the energy of the game over the final half hour. Schlegel and Torres both fired over the crossbar as the game entered its final 20 minutes, as the Lions continued to get into scoring positions.

The Lions nearly went ahead in the 80th minute when Angulo sent in a good cross to the back post for Smith, but the fullback couldn’t keep his volley shot under the crossbar with Johnson out of position to make a save.

Torres tried to send Akindele through on goal in the 88th but the two were on different pages on where the ball placement should be and the pass skipped harmlessly out for a goal kick.

But the Lions kept coming, winning set pieces. In the 91st minute, a corner kick cross was headed across the box but NYCFC cleared. A minute later, Angulo unleashed a hard shot on goal that Johnson fought off.

Angulo won the Lions a late corner when his cross was deflected out by Anton Tinnerholm and Orlando had one more chance as time wound down. Angulo took the set piece himself and sent in a good cross that found Akindele at the near post. The forward flicked his header toward the far post and it found its way through traffic and nestled in the back of the net.

It was the second late winner in consecutive games for Akindele, who scored the winner at Charlotte in the 89th minute a week ago.

“The call (on the set piece) was just get in the box,” Akindele said. “I was just thinking that I had seen (Angulo) hit some near post. I was like, ‘I’m just going to guess near post.’ That’s what you do a lot of times. You just guess. Our set piece coach won’t want to hear me saying that, but that’s what I do sometimes — just guess. So I just thought, ‘Maybe Ivan’s going to hit it near post,’ and he did, luckily. And then I hit it and then I didn’t even know if it went in but then I heard everybody screaming and I said, ‘Oh dang, it went in.’”

“The situation with Tesho is a good example for all,” Pareja said. “Generosity on our team is non-negotiable. We may lack of things sometimes but when you see a team that is giving what they have, then you can sleep — happy, sad, but you can sleep — thinking you’ve done your best.”

Orlando cut into NYCFC’s possession lead in the second half, but the visitors finished with a slight edge in that category (50.8%-49.2%). The Pigeons also passed more accurately on the night (83.6%-79.3%) but had a slimmer advantage at full time than at the break. Orlando City had far more shots (17-5), shots on target (5-1), and corners (7-0).

“The second half, New York came up with some other ideas that complicated us and I thought they took the middle of the field,” Pareja said. “And then, after their goal, our reaction — especially with the players that came in — it was phenomenal. I think they lifted us, they took the team on their shoulders and gave us that energy that we needed. More than the energy, just the ideas, and we ended up being the best team.”

“Honestly, I think our team played a great game. And I think we deserved the win,” Akindele said. “So it was good for us to get it. I’m glad I was the one to be able to provide it for us.”


The Lions have a quick turnaround as the Seattle Sounders visit Exploria Stadium on Wednesday night.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/17/24

Orlando City rises in power rankings, Orlando Pride waive two players, Champions League results, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. Time to start your day with some tasty links. It’s shaping up to be an exciting weekend with Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B all playing. Last week, Orlando’s teams ended up with seven out of nine possible points. Here’s hoping we see nine out of nine this weekend. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Moving On Up

Starting the season 0-3-1 is a good way to be in the cellar of the utterly meaningless MLSsoccer.com power rankings. Orlando City is now starting to climb up the rankings thanks to three straight results. The Lions moved up four spots to 21st after the 3-2 victory over DC United. It was Duncan McGuire’s goal that secured the win, and his performance off the bench was a talking point for this week as well.

Farewell Kaylie Collins and Tori Hansen

The Orlando Pride announced that goalkeeper Kaylie Collins and defender Tori Hansen were waived on Tuesday. Both players were on loan in Australia’s A-League Women ,with Collins at Western Sydney Wanderers FC and Hansen with Melbourne Victory FC. Collins and Hansen were both NWSL draft picks for the Pride, though neither saw significant minutes with the club.

Barbra Banda Begins Training

Barbra Banda participated in her first training with the Pride Tuesday. It’s uncertain how much playing time she may get this week, but it’s possible she makes her first appearance against the San Diego Wave this Friday. Please remember that it sometimes takes new players time to get used to a new club, a new city, and a new league. Of course, I’m still hoping she comes on and scores a brace against the Wave.

Wild Matches in Champions League Quarterfinals

Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund both overcame deficits in the first leg to advance to the UEFA Champions League semifinals. PSG dropped four goals on Barcelona to win 6-4 on aggregate. Barcelona scored first, but made things hard on itself when Ronald Araújo was sent off.

Borussia Dortmund also scored four goals, defeating Atletico Madrid 5-4 on aggregate. Dortmund gave up an own goal, but battled back to take the lead in the match and then the lead in the tie thanks to goals scored in the 71st and 74th minutes. It was a wild, fun match to watch. Dortmund and PSG will meet in the semifinals.

Free Kicks

  • MLS will now start implementing the new rules for off-field treatments, timed substitutions, and in-stadium VAR announcements. The idea is to maximize effective match time.
  • The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will test new time limit rules during the 2024-2025 season for how long keepers can hold the ball with potential consequences including giving the opposing team a corner or a throw-in.
  • Finally, our thoughts are with the friends and family following the passing of Joel McKell.

That will do it for today. Check back later in the week as we get you ready for the Orlando City, Orlando Pride, and OCB matches this weekend. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/16/24

Nico Lodeiro earns recognition, Marta up for Goal of the Week, MLS stock watch, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you had a good weekend and got your taxes filed correctly and on time. It was a good weekend for Orlando soccer, as the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and Orlando City went undefeated and picked up seven of the nine points on offer. As always, we have a lot to talk through today. Before we get into today’s links, let’s all wish Luis Muriel a happy birthday!

Nico Lodeiro Makes Team of the Matchday Bench

Midfielder Nico Lodeiro has earned recognition for his part in Orlando City’s 3-2 win over D.C. United, making the bench of the latest edition MLS Team of the Matchday. The Uruguayan entered the fray in the 72nd minute and helped OCSC come back and take all three points. He took the corner kick that David Brekalo equalized from, (even though he was not initially credited with the assist) and provided an outstanding through ball for Duncan McGuire’s game-winner. Sean Rollins graded him a 6.5/10 and named him Man of the Match in his player grades as well. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Marta’s Goal Nominated

Marta’s game-winning strike during Friday’s contest against Utah Royals FC has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week. On the road and in the game as a substitute, it didn’t take long for the Brazilian to make her mark on the match. She was barely on the field for five minutes when she met a ball that was rolling across the box with a first-time strike that she powered in off the back post. It proved to be the game’s only goal and was enough to give the Pride their first win of the season. Make sure you vote for her to win this week’s honor!

MLS Stock Watch

The fortunes of Major League Soccer teams are in constant flux, and it’s always nice to keep track of how your enemies are doing. Former Lion Sacha Kljestan weighed in on which clubs’ stock went up and which went down after the weekend’s games. We start on a good note, as a resilient performance from Orlando City saw the good guys pick up their second win of the season. The LA Galaxy hammered the Vancouver Whitecaps by a score of 3-1, and proved that their place atop the Western Conference standings is no fluke. On the other side of the coin, Toronto FC has given up 10 goals in its last three matches, and Jon Herdman needs to find a way to keep things from getting worse until the Reds’ group of injured players can return to the field.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are two big matches featuring American players this week, so get them marked down on your calendar and don’t miss any of the action. Thursday sees Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and AC Milan travel to the Italian capital to try to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit to Roma in the Europa League quarterfinals. Musah started Sunday’s match against Sassuolo and Pulisic subbed on in the second half as Milan clawed its way back to a 3-3 draw. Friday then has Juventus and Weston McKennie traveling to Cagliari for a Serie A tilt. Juve is currently third in the league and needs to keep picking up results to secure a UEFA Champions League place for next season.

UEFA Champions League Preview

Speaking of the Champions League, the quarterfinals wrap up today and tomorrow and there are a number of storylines to keep an eye on. Luis Enrique is strong in his belief that Paris Saint-Germain can overcome a 3-2 loss in the first leg to advance past Barcelona. Xavi has promised that Barca will look to attack rather than sitting and protecting its lead. Elsewhere, Bayern Munich will be without the suspended Alphonso Davies and likely Kingsley Coman due to injury, and their replacements will be hard pressed to contain Ben White and Bukayo Saka. Finally, Edin Terzic’s substitutions gave Borussia Dortmund a spark in the team’s 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid in the first leg, which means the coach may have a selection headache on his hands as he tries to lead his side to a comeback.

Free Kicks


That’ll do it for me this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. D.C. United: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 3-2 win over D.C. United?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City came back from two deficits against D.C. United to claim a huge 3-2 win this weekend — the team’s second victory of the season. It looked like it would be a long night for the Lions in the first 20 minutes, but they turned it around. Down a goal late, David Brekalo and Duncan McGuire converted to earn Orlando City three points.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances by the Lions.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — Gallese took his usual position in goal and had a strong night. He allowed himself to get pushed out of the play on the opening goal by Christian Benteke, though it arguably should’ve been a foul on D.C. He ended the game with four saves from six on-target shots, including two huge saves in second-half stoppage time. In addition to his shot stopping, Gallese completed 51.9% of his 27 passes, including seven of his 20 long balls. He was also credited with three clearances on the night.

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — Smith got the start at left back in this game over Rafael Santos, recording 53 touches. He had three tackles, three clearances, and a blocked shot. Going forward, he only completed 76.5% of his 34 passes, but connected with his lone cross and five of his nine long balls. He also won two aerial balls and was booked just before coming off for handling a ball that he should’ve cleared, giving D.C. a free kick in a dangerous position. The defender was replaced by Santos in the 73rd minute.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was a strong point for Orlando City once again in this game. He recorded one tackle, two interceptions, a blocked shot, and three clearances. Going forward, the center back completed 80.4% of his 46 passes, including four of his seven long balls. Arguably his biggest play of the game was drawing a foul late at the top of the box when D.C. was pushing for an equalizer.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo had 60 touches and completed 76.6% of his 47 passes, including three of his 13 long balls. Defensively, he recorded one tackle, one interception, and two clearances. He made his first significant offensive impact as a Lion by getting his head to a Nico Lodeiro corner kick in the 82nd minute to even the game at 2-2.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson only had 58 touches in the game, but the right back made the most of them. He completed 76.7% of his 30 passes and three of his six long balls, but failed to connect on his lone cross. Defensively, he recorded two tackles and three clearances. However, his biggest impact came in the 28th minute, when he got his head onto Ivan Angulo’s cross to even the game at 1-1.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5 — Araujo’s 70 touches were the most on the team for this game. He only completed 78.2% of his 55 passes, but connected on two of his four long balls. Defensively, he won two tackles and blocked one shot while committing a team-high four fouls. He was also late getting over to cover Gabriel Pirani on the second goal for D.C. Overall, it wasn’t one of Araujo’s best games.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 5.5 — Cartagena started in the defensive midfield alongside Araujo. He recorded 41 touches and completed 81.3% of his 32 passes, including a key pass, his one cross, and one of his three long balls. Defensively, he recorded two clearances. As is common with the midfielder, he was booked in the first half for standing over Jared Stroud after a foul by Angulo. He was taken off during a triple substitution in the 72nd minute, replaced by Lodeiro.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo was the least involved of the midfielders, only recording 35 touches. However, he completed 76.2% of his 21 passes, including a wonderful cross to Thorhallsson on the Lions’ first goal of the night. His lone shot was off target, but he helped defensively with a tackle and team-high three interceptions.

MF, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres recorded 50 touches in this game and completed 90.9% of his 33 passes with no key passes. He was accurate on only one of his three crosses, which was an issue. His lone shot was off target but not by much, as he sent his effort just wide of the right post from outside the area. He came off in stoppage time after the Lions took the lead for center back Rodrigo Schlegel.

MF, Martin Ojeda, 5.5 — Ojeda started in the attacking midfield for this game, recording 46 touches. He completed 71.4% of his 21 passes, including two key passes, one accurate cross on his four attempts, and two of his four long balls. He also had four unstable touches and an off-target shot. Defensively, the attacking midfielder had a team-high four tackles, helping his team retain possession before being replaced by Duncan McGuire in the 72nd minute.

F, Luis Muriel, 5 — Muriel got the start alone up top, but had a difficult night. He got involved in the game with 36 touches and completed 64.7% of his 17 passes, including two key passes. He took two shots, with one on target, and completed two dribbles, but had five unstable touches. He could’ve had a much better performance, but attempted to dribble through the opposition in the box rather than finding a teammate, losing possession. The forward’s night ended in the 87th minute when he was replaced by Felipe.

Substitutes

D, Rafael Santos (73’), 5.5 — Santos came on in the 73rd minute for Smith at left back. He had 14 touches and completed seven of his 10 touches (70%), but failed to connect on his one long ball and three crosses. He also didn’t record any defensive stats in his 17 minutes of action.

MF, Nico Lodeiro (72’), 6.5 (MotM) — Lodeiro came on in the 72nd minute for Cartagena, looking to make a difference. The midfielder touched the ball 18 times and completed 75% of his 12 passes, including two key passes, two of his three crosses, and one of his three long balls. Both of his shots were on target and his through ball for McGuire in second-half stoppage time gave him the assist on the game-winning goal. Although the stats sheet credited Torres with the assist on Brekalo’s goal, it was the veteran who took the set piece, which should result in a two-assist night once the league has had a chance to review the tape (see below…even Evan Weston calls him ‘Torres’ on his call). Lodeiro was a game-changer when he came on so, despite his lack of minutes, he earns my Man of the Match.

F, Duncan McGuire (72’), 6 — McGuire came on with Lodeiro as the Lions were chasing the game. He had 14 touches and completed 44.4% of his nine passes. However, the striker was brought on to score and did so in stoppage time, timing his run perfectly and finishing well on the breakaway. He also recorded a tackle and clearance but gets a high grade from me for doing exactly what he was brought on to do in scoring the winning goal.

MF, Felipe (87’), N/A — Felipe came on for Muriel as the Lions looked to see out a point, but he only touched the ball three times. He completed both of his passes, but didn’t record any other stats in his minimal time on the field.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (90+2’), N/A — Schlegel came on right after the game-winning goal for Torres as the Lions looked to see out the win. He had two touches and an incomplete pass, but no other statistics.


That’s how I saw the individual performances in Orlando City’s win over D.C. United. Let us know how you saw the game and vote for your Man of the Match below.

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