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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Seattle Sounders: Final Score 3-2 as Lions Come from Two Down to Win



Orlando City overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Seattle Sounders 3-2 at Exploria Stadium. The Lions (12-10-6, 42 points) created plenty of chances but fell behind by two before the shots started going in. It was Orlando’s first-ever win against Seattle (10-15-3, 33 points) and the team’s fourth victory in a row — with the last three game-winning goals coming in the 89th minute or later.

Facundo Torres, Ercan Kara, and Kyle Smith provided the goals in the comeback after Albert Rusnak and Raul Ruidiaz had staked the Sounders to a 2-0 lead.

“I’m very proud of this group of players,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “We understand that the best teams in the world are not the ones who don’t have difficult moments, but are the ones who overcome. This gives us today a lot of optimism of what we are and how things are coming (together).”

Pareja’s lineup was heavily rotated apart from goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and the back line of Joao Moutinho, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Mauricio Pereyra returned from yellow card suspension and played deep alongside Cesar Araujo in central midfield. From there it was almost all new faces. Joining Junior Urso in the attacking line was Ivan Angulo and Niko Gioacchini, who both made their first Orlando City starts. Tesho Akindele started, rather than coming off the bench as a super sub.

The game started almost two hours late due to lightning in the area. When play got underway, the first half was a bit back-and-forth, with Seattle having more possession in the opening 20 minutes and Orlando coming into the game after the visitors scored.

The Lions got a look in the first half when Gioacchini headed wide off a good cross by Moutinho 10 minutes in.

The visitors had their first decent chance in the 22nd minute when Ruidiaz got down the right but fired wide. But moments later, the Sounders scored.

Carlos was called for a foul about 25 yards out from the goal line and the Lions were incensed with the call, with three players surrounding referee Alex Chilowicz. Orlando was perhaps fortunate not to pick up a yellow card for dissent. Rusnak sent the free kick into the upper left corner where Gallese couldn’t reach it, putting Seattle up 1-0 in the 26th minute.

The Lions seemed to wake up after the goal and fashioned a chance in the 27th minute off a nifty set piece from distance. The ball was sent from left to right across the field and a diagonal ball came to Schlegel to the left of goal. Whether the defender meant to head on target or back across the box is unknown, but he ended up sending his effort at goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

The Lions had a golden opportunity to tie the match moments later. Gioacchini cut back to free himself for a shot and was taken down in the box by Jimmy Medranda. Chilowicz immediately signaled for a penalty kick. Pereyra took the spot kick after a lengthy discussion — for some reason — but sent his kick way too close to the middle and Frei made the save. Moutinho got to the ball and his follow-up shot was deflected out for a corner by a sliding save by Jackson Ragen.

In the 36th minute, Frei made a huge save to preserve Seattle’s lead. Pereyra sent a ball from the left to Gioacchini on the right. The forward headed across the box to Angulo to head toward goal but Frei got his hand on it.

Orlando couldn’t do much with a late corner kick and trailed 1-0 entering halftime.

Seattle held a slight edge in possession (52.1%-47.9%) and was more accurate in the passing game (85.1%-84%). Orlando had far more shot attempts (9-3), more shots on target (3-1), and corners (4-2).

Pareja sent Torres onto the pitch to start the second half in order to get a left-footed player on that side, withdrawing Gioacchini — a move he said he didn’t want to make because of the USMNT forward’s play, but felt he had to.

The visitors doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when they broke in transition and Ruan ended up isolated on Ruidiaz. Although the Brazilian tracked Ruidiaz across the front of goal, he was unable to prevent the Designated Player from scoring to make it 2-0.

Orlando’s reaction was immediate. Torres took a pass from Moutinho in the middle and found himself in space. The Uruguayan smashed a shot into the corner to pull the Ruidiaz goal right back and get the Lions back in it.

“I think he’s understanding much better the league and not just his role in the team, but I have seen too what this league is demanding,” Pareja said of Torres’ recent run of form. “I think he’s great and a fantastic moment for us that he stepped up and carried our team.”

The Lions continued attacking and looked dangerous. Angulo fired a shot but hit it right at Frei in the 62nd minute and seconds later Akindele got onto a Ruan cross but Yeimar blocked his header from point-blank range.

Second-half sub Kara tried an audacious shot from a tight angle in the 66th minute and got it on target, forcing Frei to be alert to make the save. A minute later, the Lions got their second penalty of the game when the ball hit Morris’ arm in the box. Kara took the spot kick and fired home his ninth goal of the year to tie the match at 2-2 in the 68th minute.

Orlando had two golden chances to take the lead in the 70th minute. Kara and Michel each got headers in front but Frei made a good save to deny the Austrian and the Homegrown couldn’t get much power on his and it fell into the goalkeeper’s arms.

Kara got his head to Torres’ corner kick cross in the 77th minute but his shot was just wide of the left post as the Lions continued to seek the game winner.

But the Sounders started to control the match over the final minutes, taking the ball away, keeping possession, and looking for a winner of their own. Lodeiro shook free from long range in the 82nd minute and forced a great diving save from Gallese.

Two minutes later, second-half substitute Andres Perea turned the ball over and the counter ended up with Morris, who fired wide. Lodeiro then baited Chilowicz into a soft foul call to set up a dangerous free kick but nothing came of it when Ragen popped his header over the bar and onto the roof of the net in the 86th minute.

Momentum flipped again as the end of the game approached. Smith sent a good cross to Perea at the back post but the midfielder headed his shot right at Frei in the 89th minute. Two minutes later, the Lions put the ball in the net but it initially didn’t seem to count.

Smith took a pass from Torres on the right and got into the box. He smashed a left-footed shot across the front of goal that deflected in but the flag came up as Kara was caught offside. Chilowicz went to the monitor and saw that the ball had hit Ragen and deflected past Frei and judged that Kara did not interfere with play, so the goal stood in the 91st minute and Smith had the game winner.

“ I was originally trying to get cross off,” Smith said. “But then I thought it was crowded in the box. So I chopped it back and then, at that point, I just wanted to put it on target as hard as I could. And then I hit it off the defender, I believe in the stomach and, you know, fortunately it went in.”

Smith said he originally thought he was being called for offside on the play.

After seeing out the last couple of minutes of stoppage time, the Lions had their initial win over the Sounders.

Seattle finished with more possession (54.1%-45.9%) and passing accuracy (84.2%-83.9%). The Lions had more shots (17-8), shots on target (8-3), and corners (7-3).

“We all know how good of a team we are,” Smith said of the current run of late game-winning goals. “And we all know that even if the goals don’t come in the first 60, 70 minutes, that they they still can come and very quickly. And we scored tonight three goals I think in like the last 30 minutes, maybe. So yeah, I think it’s just having confidence in ourselves to score goals.”

“One thing I like about the boys is they have their feet on the ground. They know where they are,” Pareja said of his team’s run of success with the upcoming cup final looming. “The league is still hard and we know we have a big challenge in front of us with our schedule and need to get points to qualify into the playoffs. We’re trying to live in the present today with Seattle. We didn’t want to touch the topic of playing in the final the last week or so. And after the game, I saw their faces and they said, ‘OK Oscar, we’re ready for the cup.’ Those things make you think that the team is getting mature. That’s important unity. But one day at a time. We’ll rest tomorrow. We’ll do anything that we have in our heart and in our bodies to give this trophy to Orlando in the next step — and without forgetting the commitment that we have in the league.”

The Lions will take a break from league play now as the Inter Miami game originally scheduled for this weekend was pushed into October. Orlando City’s next match will be the U.S. Open Cup final against Sacramento Republic FC next Wednesday at Exploria Stadium.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Five Takeaways

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



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

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

3-5-2 For the Win

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

Duncan McGuire Injured Early On

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

Ivan Angulo Defies Tired Legs

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

Jack Lynn After Dark

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

Making History On the Road

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

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/20/24

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



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

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

Lions Pull Out Late Win on the Road

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

Orlando Pride Win Against Seattle Reign FC

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

MLS Weekend Recap

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

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

Manchester City Wins English Premier League

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

Free Kicks

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

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

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Orlando City

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

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



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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