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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: 6/12/24

Leagues Cup forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup win, USMNT U-23 loses to Japan, NWSL expansion options, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. The USMNT plays tonight in Orlando, and I hope that you have tickets. If not, we can still watch as we wait for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday. On a personal note, this Friday will mark my ninth anniversary with The Mane Land. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m glad you’ve been there with us. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s get to the links.

Leagues Cup Forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Win

Orlando City is playing in the Leagues Cup starting at the end of July and here’s a nice guide to Orlando’s group for the tournament. Of course, the Leagues Cup organizers want you to be pumped so that you watch and buy tickets. I think that is something we should do simply to support the club. However, I don’t think they went about promoting the competition in quite the right way. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the tournament’s social media team stated the Leagues Cup would be Orlando’s chance to win its first trophy. Did you catch the mistake? Taylor Twellman did.

Good on you, Taylor. Facundo Torres was indeed brilliant in that match, as was Benji Michel. Of course, there were others that caught the faux pas as well.

I think we should also be mentioning the USL Championships, but what do I know? Evidently, more than the Leagues Cup’s social media team.

USMNT to Honor Pulse Victims

There’s plenty of fake, corporate shows of support for Pride Month , but in general I think that the USMNT and USWNT have done a good job of being legitimate allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Tonight, the USMNT will play a friendly against Brazil at Camping World Stadium on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The players will be wearing Pride jerseys to honor those who lost their lives so senselessly eight years ago.

In terms of the game, the USMNT will be without Josh Sargent for the match, and Tyler Adams will only get limited minutes if he plays, as both are coming back from injuries. Get well before the Copa America, lads.

Lions on International Duty

The United States U-23 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan in its final friendly match before the Olympics. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire found himself on a bit of an island up top as the U.S. had difficulty moving the ball through the midfield. Hopefully, the U.S. got such play out of its system heading into the Olympics.

OCB’s Wilfredo Rivera made the most of his time playing in Puerto Rico’s World Cup qualifier against Anguilla, scoring a brace in the 8-0 victory. This win comes after a scoreless draw with El Salvador last week and Puerto Rico’s remaining group games during this round of qualifying will be next June.

Exploring NWSL Expansion Options

The NWSL will be expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with many cities vying for the next franchise. The leaders include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville are potential choices as well. If it was to be given to either Atlanta or Jacksonville they would be regional rivals for the Orlando Pride. The league is expected to make a decision by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to the U-15 United States Women’s National Team, which won 4-0 over Germany.
  • Did you ever have one of those dreams that was a little scary, but also absolutely hilarious? This preview of Inter Miami’s new mascot is a bit like that. To misquote Jaws: “Ever seen an Inter Miami mascot’s eyes, Chief? He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.”
  • The Cayman Islands Men’s National Football Team forfeited its match against Cuba because many of its players are on visas in the United States. If those players were to travel to Cuba, the U.S. may have canceled those visas due to travel restrictions.
  • This is one of the most ridiculous no-calls I’ve ever seen. India got royally hosed.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday night. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America Wednesday night at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up Monday night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team, Nani FC, fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

Free Kicks


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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/10/24

Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo won’t play for Uruguay in Copa America, Pride and OCB draw, USMNT drilled by Colombia, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Alex Corrie

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well down in Florida. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend and managing the broadcast operations for the NISA league’s matches last night. The Lions were off this weekend, but we had the Orlando Pride and OCB in action. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Torres and Araujo Not On Uruguay Squad for Copa America

Uruguay National Team manager Marcelo Bielsa confirmed his roster for the 2024 Copa America over the weekend, and Orlando City’s Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo didn’t make the final roster.

Torres and Araujo played briefly in the second half in Uruguay’s 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly match last week. Uruguay will now prepare for its upcoming group stage matches in the Copa America against Panama, Bolivia, and the United States. Torres and Araujo will be back with Orlando City this week to get ready for their upcoming matchup against LAFC on Saturday.

Orlando Pride, San Diego Wave Play to 1-1 Draw

The Orlando Pride drew 1-1 Friday against the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium and saw their NWSL record win streak end at eight matches. Julie Doyle scored the opener for the Pride, but the Wave were able to grab an equalizer in the second half as both sides got a point. The Pride remains unbeaten this season in the NWSL. After this weekend’s results across the league, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are tied with 28 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will be on the road again this weekend to take on the North Carolina Courage Saturday.

OCB Draws at Home vs. Carolina Core FC, Snags Shootout Point

On Friday, Orlando City B drew 2-2 against Carolina Core FC at Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions were off to a poor start early in the match, trailing 2-0 in the first half. In the second half, OCB got things back on track with goals from Alex Freeman and Imanol Almaguer to tie the match. It went to penalties after finishing tied. OCB won the extra point with a 6-5 shootout win over Carolina. That result puts the Young Lions back in the playoff hunt in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. OCB will be back in action Thursday at home against Chattanooga FC.

Colombia Dominates USMNT in Friendly Action

The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 5-1 to Colombia Saturday at FedEx Field and suffered its heaviest defeat under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. It wasn’t good from the start as the USMNT conceded two goals in the first 19 minutes of the match in the first half. Tim Weah pulled one back for the U.S. before Colombia added three more goals towards the end of the second half to seal the win. Colombia is on a seven-match winning streak and is unbeaten in 22 matches. The last time the USMNT gave up this many goals was in the 2009 Gold Cup final in a 5-0 defeat to Mexico. The U.S. needs to improve fast with its Copa America opener less than two weeks from now. It will be a quick turnaround for the Americans as they take on Brazil Wednesday at Camping World Stadium in their final friendly match before Copa America starts.

Free Kicks

  • FC Dallas has announced the departure of Head Coach Nico Estevez. Assistant Coach Peter Luccin will lead the team on an interim basis while the club begins its search for a new head coach. FC Dallas is 13th in the Western Conference with 14 points.
  • The Chicago Red Stars broke an NWSL attendance record in their match over the weekend as 35,038 fans showed up at Wrigley Field, but the Red Stars lost 2-1 to Bay FC.
  • Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney is renewing his efforts to lure former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale out of retirement to join the club. He also stated that the club’s offer is still on the table.
  • In Jesse Marsch’s second match as Canada’s head coach, Canada held France to a scoreless draw in a friendly match on Sunday.

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

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