Connect with us

Orlando City

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

Published

on

After displaying a weakened team in Philadelphia over the weekend, Orlando City returned home to face Atlanta United Wednesday night. The team was looking to gain ground on the New York teams with a home result, but fell 1-0 to their Georgia rivals. Despite having more possession and doubling the opposition in shots, the Lions struggled to put shots on target, resulting in a devastating loss as they attempt to clinch a postseason spot, let alone claim a home playoff game.

Let’s look at how the Lions performed individually in the loss.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — Gallese had an excellent game, despite conceding the game’s only goal. His saves in first-half injury time and in the 72nd minute kept the game scoreless. Those were two of his three saves on the night. The goal wasn’t his fault as lackluster defending allowed Thiago Almada to find himself free on goal.

D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — Overall, it was a pretty good night for Moutinho. Defensively, the left back had two interceptions and three clearances. On the attack, the defender completed 80.4% of his 46 passes, including one key pass. His 77 touches were second on the team, only behind Mauricio Pereyra. What hurts Moutinho is that he only completed one of his seven crosses, a problem for the Lions in this game.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6.5 — This was a really good game for Schlegel, who was strong in the defensive and attacking end. Defensively, Schlegel had one tackle, one interception, three clearances, and two blocked shots. He completed 84.9% of his 53 passes and two of his four long balls. He was involved in the Atlanta goal, but it was a nice touch to free Almada and Schlegel was in the correct position to avoid his man getting a shot off.

D, Antonio Carlos, 5.5 — Carlos wasn’t as active in the attack as Schlegel, recording one interception and one clearance. But he completed 90.4% of his 52 passes and an impressive 13 of his 15 long balls. He missed the net badly on his lone headed shot attempt. Unfortunately, Carlos’ biggest contribution was an poorly-timed slide tackle attempt on the Atlanta goal, where he didn’t even touch the ball. The last defender, Carlos slid in, allowing Almada to tap the ball around him and have a free shot on target. That mistake is what knocks his grade down a little.

D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Smith had a solid game, with one tackle and one interception. He completed 86.7% of his 30 passes, including one key pass. Similar to Moutinho, Smith only completed one of his six crosses, which in part doomed the Lions to defeat. The key play from Smith in this game was a clearance off the line in the 37th minute that would’ve gone in. He was taken off for Ruan in the 58th minute, but it was due to Ruan’s attacking presence rather than Smith’s performance.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7 (MotM) — Pereyra was the conductor of the team that Orlando City fans love to see. Everything the Lions did going forward went through the captain. He led the team in touches (89), passes (71), key passes (five), and tackles (three). Pereyra completed 85.9% of his 71 passes and two of his four crosses, also a team high. He took two off-target shots, though one missed by inches, resulting in yells from the crowd as they thought the ball went in.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — With Cesar Araujo out with an illness, Cartagena was thrown into the starting lineup for this important game and he played very well. The defensive midfielder recorded one tackle and one interception on defense and was terrific going forward. He completed all of his 34 passes and four long balls, including one key pass. While he may not have had the impact of Araujo, it was a terrific performance by the Peruvian.

MF, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres has been arguably Orlando City’s best player but this wasn’t his best game. The attacking midfielder completed 76.7% of his 43 passes but had two key passes. He completed one of his two long balls and took two off-target shots. Torres helped out defensively with two tackles and one clearance but he’ll be looking for a better performance on Saturday.

MF, Junior Urso, 6 — While Urso didn’t have a tremendous impact on the game, it was a solid performance. The midfielder completed 93.3% of his 30 passes, including one key pass. He had a chance to score in the 21st minute when he headed an Ercan Kara cross towards goal, but he didn’t get enough on it and hit it close to goalkeeper Raul Gudino, who got down to make the stop. Urso also completed three long balls in 74 minutes..

MF, Ivan Angulo, 5.5 — Angulo came off with Urso late in the game, replaced by Tesho Akindele in the 75th minute. While Angulo is an upgrade on Jake Mulraney, it wasn’t Angulo’s best performance. He completed 84.6% of his 26 passes but no key passes. He took three shots but all were off target — the first by just inches — and completed one of his two crosses.

F, Ercan Kara, 5 — Kara wasn’t very involved in this one, only recording 21 touches. He completed 44.9% of his nine passes but the Austrian’s main contribution is expected to be in the final third. Kara only had one shot in this game, getting his head to a good cross by Smith. However, he headed it just wide when he should’ve gotten it on target. Kara’s first-half cross to Urso was a good one but unfortunately didn’t lead to a goal. Opposing back lines will never need to mark Kara tightly if his teammates continue to ignore his calls for the ball when he’s in position to split the center backs, as he again was several times in this game.

Substitutes

D, Ruan (58’), 6 — Ruan came on for Smith in the 58th minute as the Lions looked for more in the attack. The usual starting right back did well, completing 70% of his 20 passes and recording two key passes. Additionally, he completed one of his three crosses. Ruan’s three tackles were tied for the team lead and he also recorded an inception.

F, Benji Michel (58’), 5 — At the same time as the Ruan substitution, Michel came on for Kara. Oscar Pareja was looking for some more energy up top but Michel didn’t provide much for his team. He only completed 66.7% of his nine passes and all three of his shots were off target.

MF, Andres Perea (65’), 5.5 — For the most part, Perea was pretty good in this game. He completed all of his 22 passes, including two long balls. However, his most impactful moment of the game was getting caught flat-footed as a quick one-two resulted in Atlanta’s goal. He fired a shot off the facing of the upper deck that he should have done better with and he had the game’s final shot when he headed a corner cross straight at the goalkeeper from a few yards out.

MF, Jake Mulraney (74’), 5.5 — Mulraney came on for Urso in the 74th minute. The midfielder completed 83.3% of his six passes, including two key passes and a long ball. Just after coming on, a lovely cross to Akindele nearly resulted in the equalizer, but Gudino made a good save. That was his only completed cross in seven attempts and took three off-target shots.

F, Tesho Akindele (75’), 5.5 — Akindele came on with Mulraney and the two almost tied the game in the 76th minute. A good ball by Mulraney found the head of Akindele, who forced Gudino into a good diving save. Akindele had one other off-target shot but that was his contribution to the game. Most importantly, he was unable to find the game-tying goal.


That’s how I saw the individual performances for Orlando City in this midweek clash. Let us know how you saw the game in the comments and don’t forget to vote on your Man of the Match.

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Pedro Gallese12
Mauricio Pereyra3
Wilder Cartagena0
Rodrigo Schlegel3
Other (Tell us in the comments below)2

Lion Links

Lion Links: 12/8/23

Orlando City will play Flamengo in preseason friendly, Kylie Strom signs new deal, USMNT’s Copa America group draw, and more.

Published

on

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Friday! The work week is almost over and I’m really looking forward to the weekend. I’ll be celebrating a friend’s birthday and knocking out most of the holiday shopping that I haven’t gotten around to just yet. Hopefully the malls aren’t too chaotic. Regardless, it should be a nice next few days. But for now, let’s get to the links!

Orlando Will Face Flamengo in 2024 FC Series

Orlando City’s first preseason game will take place on Jan. 27 when it takes on Flamengo at Camping World Stadium as part of the 2024 FC Series, which was previously known as the Florida Cup. Going up against one of Brazil’s powerhouses should be great preparation for the Lions after a record season in 2023 that earned them a spot in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup. It will be the second meeting between the two sides after a 2015 friendly in Brazil that Flamengo won 1-0. It will be nice to see the Lions in action at Camping World Stadium again and the kickoff time for next month’s match will be unveiled at a later time.

Kylie Strom Signs New Deal With Pride

Defender Kylie Strom, who was a free agent following the 2023 season, will return to the Orlando Pride after signing a three-year deal with the club. She joined the Pride in the summer of 2021 from Atletico Madrid and started in 26 games this past year, holding down the left back position. The Pride now retain their starting back line heading into 2024 and have full protection in Tuesday’s expansion draft. Although the defense struggled at times, it improved as the season wore on and the Pride nearly made the playoffs. Jordyn Listro is now the only free agent left from last year’s squad.

NWSL Announces Blueprint for 2024 Schedule

The framework for the 2024 NWSL season was revealed and the 182-match regular season has been formatted so that NWSL games don’t take place during international breaks. The biggest change is that the NWSL Challenge Cup is no longer a tournament and now just a match between the NWSL Shield winner and the NWSL champion, meaning San Diego Wave FC will play NJ/NY Gotham FC on March 15. However, there will be a weekend tournament organized by the league for all 14 teams during a break in the regular season while the Summer Olympics take place. The playoffs will feature eight teams and won’t include byes this year, with the quarterfinals starting on Nov. 9 and the NWSL Championship set for Nov. 23. Clubs can begin their preseason camps as early as Jan. 22 and no later than Jan. 29.

Copa America Teams Learn Their Groups

The United States Men’s National Team will take on Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia in its group in the 2024 Copa America. Uruguay was one of the strongest opponents the U.S. could get drawn against, as the South American team has scored 13 goals so far in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying. The important match between the USMNT and Uruguay will take place on July 1 in Kansas City. We’ll see how much Orlando City winger Facundo Torres plays for Uruguay in the tournament. As for Orlando’s Peruvian pair of Pedro Gallese and Wilder Cartagena, Peru is in a tough group against Argentina, Chile, and whichever nation prevails between Canada and Trinidad & Tobago.

We also have a clearer idea on which teams will be playing in Orlando. Two games will take place at Exploria Stadium, with Chile playing either Canada or Trinidad & Tobago on June 29 before Bolivia and Panama face off on July 1.

Gisele Thompson Signs With Angel City FC

Angel City FC signed young defender Gisele Thompson to a three-year contract that had this year count as the first year, with an option for an additional year in 2026. She turned 18 earlier this month and turned down an offer to play at Stanford to instead sign with Angel City, meaning the club did not need to use a draft pick for her to join. Gisele is the sister of Alyssa Thompson, who Angel City traded up to select with the first pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft. They are the youngest players on Angel City’s roster and will become the second pair of sisters to play in the league.

Free Kicks

  • The Colorado Rapids are reportedly in talks with American goalkeeper Zack Steffen to sign him from Manchester City.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

Continue Reading

Orlando City

2023 Orlando City Season in Review: Favian Loyola

The Homegrown midfielder spent most of the year with OCB but made his MLS debut in July.

Published

on

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City signed midfielder Favian Loyola to a Homegrown Player deal through 2025 on Dec. 2, 2022, with club options for 2026 and 2027. The OCSC Academy product became the club’s 13th all-time Homegrown signing and it was no surprise after his fantastic 2022 season. The Camp Lejeune, NC, was coming off a breakout year in the club’s youth system, which culminated with his selection to the 2022 MLS NEXT All-Star Game, in which he was named MVP. After starting the 2022 season on an academy contract, Loyola earned an MLS NEXT Pro deal, signing it last August. When he signed his Homegrown deal in December he became the first player to climb the club’s developmental ladder from the academy, to the current OCB setup in MLS NEXT Pro, to the first team.

Let’s take a look back at Loyola’s 2023 campaign, which was abbreviated due to surgery on his arm to remove a blood clot on Aug. 27.

Statistical Breakdown

Loyola played in just one MLS match with the Lions, making his first-team debut July 1 in a 3-1 home win over the Chicago Fire. The 18-year-old came on as a substitute in the third minute of stoppage time for Facundo Torres and is officially credited with one minute played, although that match went to nine minutes of stoppage. In that short amount of time he managed six touches and attempted six passes, completing all of them — one of them being a key pass. Loyola did not attempt a shot or record any defensive stats, but he did commit one foul, but he was not booked for it.

The bulk of Loyola’s 2023 season was spent with Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro, where he was a key player off the bench for Martin Perelman’s side. He appeared in 20 of the team’s 28 matches, starting seven, and logging 732 minutes. He scored two goals and added three assists, putting 10 of his 21 shots on target during the year. Loyola completed 80.3% of his passes with OCB, served up seven key passes and six successful long balls, and completed three crosses. He recorded four tackles and three interceptions, committed 11 fouls while drawing 10, and was booked three times.

Best Game

With just the one MLS match to his credit, Loyola’s MLS debut against Chicago was his best game of the 2023 Major League Soccer Season. It was a memorable match, as he subbed on for Torres, who set the tone for the Lions with a brace that night, and it was also the game in which Mauricio Pereyra made his 100th appearance with Orlando City. Loyola made the most of his short amount of time on the pitch, despite committing a foul during his first minute of MLS play. He settled in and completed all six of his passes and created a scoring chance just seconds after his foul, when he sent a ball to Ramiro Enrique, although the Argentine had his shot attempt blocked from a tight angle.

2023 Final Grade

As Loyola came up short of the minimum total of 450 minutes played to receive a rating on our 1-10 scale, The Mane Land has no choice but to mark his grade as incomplete for the 2023 season. If his meteoric growth continues, Loyola will likely have much more than one appearance next season as his skills at passing and finding pockets of space translate well to the next level. He wasn’t able to return to the pitch after the surgery for his blood clot, but he should be ready to go for 2024.

2024 Outlook

With Loyola being just 18 years old and the club having him under contract, I would expect his role to be the same in 2024. He’ll be learning the ropes with OCB, playing most of the season with the club’s reserve side in MLS NEXT Pro, where he will continue to be a key player. However, if he continues to develop his game, he could push for more late substitute appearances with the first team or even get a start if the Lions draw a lower-league team in the U.S. Open Cup. One thing Loyola will need to work on is controlling the ball, as he turned the ball over 15 times with OCB in 2023.


Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

Continue Reading

Orlando City

Orlando City to Play Friendly vs. Brazilian Side Flamengo

The Lions will face the Brazilian giants for the first time since November 2015.

Published

on

Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Orlando City announced its first preseason match of the 2024 season this morning. The Lions will square off against Brazilian Serie A side CR Flamengo in a friendly on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024 to kick off the team’s preparations for the 2024 MLS season. The match, which will take place at the club’s former home grounds at Camping World Stadium, will be OCSC’s second meeting with Flamengo and is part of the 2024 FC Series (formerly known as Florida Cup). Kickoff time will be officially announced later this month.

“This is both an exciting way to open the new year for our supporters and a great test for our team, as we look toward a 2024 that also includes Concacaf Champions Cup early on,” Orlando City SC Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “We’re excited to have the eyes of the Nação on Orlando during this time and are hopeful that this match will be the springboard for a very successful 2024 for our team and fans.”

“We are thrilled to return to our traditional January preseason window focused on top South American clubs,” FC Series / Florida Cup CEO Ricardo Villar said in the press release. “We look forward to delivering a first-class experience to Flamengo while in town and welcoming the Orlando City fans back to Camping World Stadium, where the club’s MLS campaign began back in 2015.”

The two sides met after the MLS season in 2015, when the Lions traveled to Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 15 of Orlando City’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer. Flamengo claimed a 1-0 win at the Maracana that day on a goal by Luis Antonio on a free kick that deflected off of Orlando City midfielder Darwin Ceren and left trialist goalkeeper Thierry Graca unable to recover. That match could have gone differently had Lions striker Bryan Rochez converted a first-half penalty, but he had a weak effort saved.

The match should serve as a good early test for the Lions, who are coming off their most successful season in Major League Soccer play and reached extra time all square with MLS Cup finalist Columbus despite being down a man in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Flamengo is one of Brazil’s most storied clubs, having won eight Serie A championships, three Copa Libertadores titles, four Copa do Brasil crowns, and one Intercontinental Cup.

“This preseason in the United States, including games with MLS (conference) semifinalists, is a great opportunity to grow the Flamengo brand inside the very important American market, where we will play in the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup,” Flamengo Vice President for Communications and Marketing Gustavo Oliveira said in the press release. “With the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the investments that are being made by the country, world football has in the United Stated, a new, enormous point of attention. Flamengo, as major European clubs, are alert to this and will, more and more, reinforce their presence in the country, may that be with work on social media focused on the American public, may it be by way of in-person events of the Flamengo brand, as this pre-season will be.”

Ticket information for groups and individuals can be found at FCSeries.com. Public tickets go on sale Tuesday, Dec. 12. Orlando City Season Ticket Members will have a match ticket presale and will be contacted directly by their ticket representative at a later date.

Continue Reading

Trending