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Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union: Final Score 5-1 as Lions’ Win Streak is Snapped

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While many expected Orlando City to suffer a U.S. Open Cup hangover on short rest against the conference-leading Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park, the Lions came out in the mood for a battle. Unfortunately, some questionable officiating and a lucky deflection got the Union (18-4-9, 63 points) started and Orlando (12-11-6, 42 points) couldn’t climb back in it, suffering a lopsided 5-1 defeat on the road. That snapped City’s four-game MLS winning streak and five-game streak in all competitions.

It was the second straight time the Lions have gone to Subaru Park and had a legitimate complaint for an opponent to be sent off but nothing happened. Last year, Kacper Przybylko elbowed Rodrigo Schlegel in the face and then proceeded to score twice after not being sent off. This time, an early headbutt by Jose Martinez on Wilder Cartagena wasn’t seen by the referee and the video assistant referee didn’t bother to do anything about it either.

That could have changed the game, but instead the Union got goals from five different players — Oliver Mbaizo, Mikael Uhre, Daniel Gazdag, Alejandro Bedoya, and Jack Elliott — to more than offset Andres Perea’s goal.

“Well, first congratulations to Philadelphia and the way they were sharp in the box and the opportunities that they had, they just put it in the back of the net and that requires a lot of work,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “I know that it was going to be difficult in that end and in regards to the game, I thought it was very level. We tried to modify some positioning and some things worked, some things didn’t work.”

Pareja rotated his squad but perhaps a little less than expected. Mason Stajduhar got the start in goal behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Cartagena started in place of Cesar Araujo with Perea in central midfield behind an attacking line of Jake Mulraney, Mauricio Pereyra, and Niko Gioacchini, with Benji Michel up top.

The Lions played a decent first half, all things considered. Pereyra had a look in the 10th minute after Andre Blake punched a Mulraney cross out of the box. Orlando’s captain fired but the shot was blocked.

Martinez smashed a cannon shot over the bar in the 14th minute. Julian Carranza scored a minute later in transition but the flag came up and a VAR check confirmed the call.

Moments later, Cartagena and Martinez got tangled up and in the aftermath, the Philadelphia midfielder got up and appeared to headbutt Cartagena in the head. Referee Armando Villarreal didn’t see it because it happened behind the play but the broadcast picked it up. However, VAR Jose Carlos Rivero did not deem it worth a look for Villarreal and he continued.

“It was a very important play for sure,” Pareja said, without commenting further.

Moments later, Martinez took Perea down from behind in transition and wasn’t booked in a second curious non-call in quick succession.

Michel fired a shot at the end of that play and Blake got a piece of it to knock it out for a corner in the 20th minute. The Lions could not get the ensuing corner cross beyond the first defender.

Orlando had a golden opportunity in the 31st minute when Ruan shook free down the right side of the box. He needed only to get his pass through one defender to set up a sitter but couldn’t do it.

The Union found the breakthrough in the 39th minute on a lucky bounce that came after an Orlando giveaway. Perea had Mulraney wide open to his left in space but ignored him and tried to play a ball to Pereyra in traffic on the right instead. He got the pass wrong and Philadelphia came the other way. Mbaizo fired either a cross or a low-percentage shot that deflected off Moutinho and went high in the air, looped over Stajduhar and somehow found its way inside the far corner to make it 1-0.

“That first goal came on a very unfortunate play,” Pareja said. “It’s the game. We’ll take it, but it was a very unlucky play and then that kind of reduced (the team’s) energy.”

“Always in those situations when you score a goal or you make a good play, you firm up your confidence a little bit, and unfortunately, it just went the other way for us,” Perea said. 

That goal energized the Union and they started becoming more dangerous immediately. Uhre fired just wide in the 41st minute after clearing himself through the defense. But two minutes later he got his goal and doubled the lead. Cartagena tried to play Ruan in on the attack but the fullback was never making the run. The Union broke 3-on-2 and Uhre beat Carlos for pace and slipped his shot past Stajduhar to make it 2-0 in the 43rd minute.

“With this team, you have to be concentrated and organized all the time. You cannot allow them to go through that middle channel easily,” Pareja said. “That second goal came on a counter attack when we were trying to look for the game.”

The half came moments later and the Lions, who played well overall, were in a two-goal hole. Orlando City had more possession (52.6%-47.4%) and passing accuracy (80.8%-79%), but the hosts had more shots (7-3) and shots on goal (2-1). Each team had one corner opportunity.

Pareja sent Facundo Torres and Ivan Angulo on for Gioacchini and Mulraney to start the second half but the Lions couldn’t get back into it. In fact, things got worse and a Villarreal decision again was involved. Stajduhar spilled a cross in from his left and he and Uhre went for the ball. Uhre touched it first and sent it over the end line while at full stretch and there was some light contact. Villarreal gave a penalty and even though Rivero had him take a second look at it, he stuck with his initial call. Gazdag scored from the spot and the game was effectively over in the 55th minute.

Orlando’s legs left them after that and the Lions created very little. Stajduhar made a save on a long-range try in the 60th minute and then stoned Uhre 1-v-1 in the 62nd after the striker again beat the back line for pace on a ball over the top.

But the Union struck again in the 63rd minute when Schlegel failed to track Bedoya’s run and a perfect cross split the center backs for the former USMNT midfielder to head home, making it 4-0.

In the 67th minute, Stajduhar punched away a shot from distance off a set piece and then had to come up big to deny both Uhre and Gazdag in quick succession. Leon Flach tried his luck from outside the area in the 71st but Stajduhar made another save.

Perea gave the Lions a consolation goal in the 75th minute. Moutinho sent a long throw into the box that deflected to Perea’s feet. The midfielder smashed his shot inside the left post to make it 4-1.

Two minutes later, Moutinho sent in a great cross for second-half sub Junior Urso but he got under his header and popped it well over the goal.

Philadelphia tacked on a late goal off a corner kick when nobody on Orlando tracked Elliott and he easily headed in Kai Wagner’s cross for the final margin of victory.

The Lions held more possession in the game (51.8%-48.2%) and passed more accurately (80.5%-79.5%) but the Union led in all of the other major categories, including shots (19-9), shots on target (12-2), and corners (2-1).

“In that second half we did not have energy to cope with the game, and that was the difficult part of the game,” Pareja said. “ That first goal just made us lose a little bit of confidence and they raised. But at that point, we were better than them. And then after that, it was a normal game. There’s a way to play that they have, very direct, and they affect us. Any inch that you give them in the back they’re alert on them. And we couldn’t cope with that. There were no excuses. I thought on that part of the field they were much better than us.”

“We’re all trying to push. Every team is trying to qualify for the playoffs,” Perea said. “And we’ve got to make sure that we’re continuing to fight, because those situations depend on us. The situations that are coming ahead depend on us and the results that we make of them. So, we have to make sure that we’re keeping the energy high in the group, we have to find our way back to what we did these last five games, where we were able to take stronger results.”


The Lions come home for two matches next week, starting Wednesday against Atlanta United.

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 tomorrow at Camping World Stadium, right here 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 on 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 last night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage by a score of 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.

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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.

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  • 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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Opinion

Thoughts from Orlando City’s Open Training Session

What did we learn from an early morning summer scrimmage?

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Sean Rollins, The Mane Land

Orlando City opened up the gates of its training facility today for season ticket members to take in a morning training session. The team took the field close to 8:30 a.m. and proceeded to run a first team vs. second team scrimmage for the better part of an hour. The first team was made up of mostly regular-season starters with the exception of those players currently representing their countries on international duty or those rehabbing injuries.

Efforts put in during practice and on the training pitch should always be taken with a small grain of salt, but what follows are my rapid reactions from a hot and sunny training morning.

4-4-2 Formation

The first-team Lions took the field in a 4-4-2 configuration with the likes of Rodrigo Schlegel, Nico Lodeiro, and Luis Muriel on the pitch in their usual positions. Prior to the last match, it appeared as if Orlando might move away from the 3-5-2, but it never changed back from the shape used for the better part of the last month. I do, however, expect that the team will utilize a four-man back line when Orlando City takes the pitch again on June 15 against LAFC with Duncan McGuire and Muriel up top.

The action during the scrimmage period was mostly one sided, but without playmakers like Facundo Torres on the pitch during training, it seemed as if most of the action was funneled through Ivan Angulo up the left side of the field. The back line played well together in the scrimmage but did allow the second-team players to complete several long balls from time to time.

Old Habits Die Hard

One of the things I was most interested to observe during the training session was how the team attacked the goal and how aggressive their shot taking would be. Unfortunately, it does appear that the old saying “you play how you practice” could be seen in full force as several culprits who have shown bad decision-making during matches used the same poor decision-making in practice. I wish that I could say the results were different but they were not. There are still a handful of players who are very touch happy and often missed out on opportunities to take shots by trying to over dribble or by being too cute with combination passes in the box.

For a team that mustered fewer shot attempts than I have digits on one hand during its last outing against the New York Red Bulls, I would love to see the boys in purple pull the trigger from anywhere and at any time. It seems as though some of the offensive issues that have plagued the attack during matches is coming from habits shown on the training ground.

Jack Lynn’s Impressive Scrimmage

With McGuire away with the U-23 USMNT squad and Ramiro Enrique not on the training pitch, Jack Lynn started alongside Muriel up top for the first team. Lynn was easily the most impressive player from the training session today, scoring in a variety of ways that show he has continued to put in effort behind the scenes to improve his quality. While he may be lacking some of the pure athleticism of McGuire or the savvy of Muriel, Lynn continued to press toward goal throughout the scrimmage and I stopped counting after his third goal.

My favorite effort of his during the session was his first shot on frame, which was a beautiful curling ball from outside the 18 into the upper 90. Lynn has shown glimpses of his ability when he has been called upon this year and may be in line for more playing time depending on how the summer transfer window shakes out. Based upon the effort of the training session today, he will be ready when his number is called.


All in all, even under the hot Florida summer sun, it was a really nice event that the club put on for season ticket members of all ages, and I hope to see Orlando City host more of these events in the future. The Lions are on a bye week and will look to get back to their winning ways on June 15 at home against LAFC. Vamos Orlando!

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