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

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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: 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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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/15/24

Lions beat D.C. United, Pride pick up road win over Utah Royals, Barbra Banda arrives in Orlando, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City and the Pride both won over the weekend, and there has been plenty of action in European soccer. Over the past week, I’ve been busy covering high school sports like lacrosse and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Top D.C. United

Orlando City overturned a late 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 against D.C. United at Audi Field over the weekend. David Brekalo scored the equalizer in the second half to tie the match at 2-2. Duncan McGuire came off the bench in the second half and scored in stoppage time, as the Lions beat D.C. United for the first time since Oct. 2, 2021. The Lions were 0-3-1 against D.C. United over the last two seasons prior to Saturday’s win. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last three matches. Orlando City will be on the road again this weekend when it takes on CF Montreal on Saturday.

Orlando Pride Defeat Utah Royals; Help Arrives

The Orlando Pride got their first win of the 2024 NWSL last Friday with a 1-0 against the Utah Royals. Marta came off the bench in the second half and scored the lone goal to seal the win for Orlando. The Pride drew each of their first three matches to start the season against Racing Louisville, Angel City FC, and the Chicago Red Stars. Friday’s result means the Pride have six points through four league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table.

Despite needing four matches to pick up their first win of the year, the Pride are ahead of last year’s pace at the same point in the season, and remain undefeated (1-0-3) despite still waiting to play with this off-season’s marquee signing, Zambian international striker Barbra Banda. The new Pride forward arrived on Sunday to a warm welcome at Orlando International Airport.

It will be interesting to see how quickly Seb Hines can get Banda acclimated to the club and the league. Orlando could use Banda’s offensive firepower, as the club has struggled to score goals in the early part of the season. The Pride will be back in action against the San Diego Wave this Friday.

Bayer Leverkusen wins Bundesliga; Manchester City Leads EPL Title Race

Bayer Leverkusen cruised to a 5-0 win against Werder Bremen on Sunday to win its first ever Bundesliga title with five league matches left to spare. Xabi Alonso’s side won the league title by a 16-point margin, ending Bayern Munich’s 11-year run as title holders. Leverkusen is also unbeaten through 43 matches across all competitions. Meanwhile, in England, we have a new Premier League title race leader as Manchester City crushed Luton Town 5-1 on Saturday. On Sunday, Arsenal lost 2-0 to Aston Villa and Liverpool lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace. There are six match days remaining and this race could go down to the wire. Manchester City is at the top of the table with 73 points, while Arsenal and Liverpool remain two points behind in second and third, respectively, with 71 points.

Free Kicks

  • Houston Dash winger Maria Sanchez has reportedly requested a trade four months after signing a record-breaking deal in NWSL history in the off-season to remain with the club.
  • Manchester United edged Chelsea 2-1 to beat the Blues for the first time ever. Making the win even bigger was that it took place in the Women’s FA Cup semifinal. United will play Tottenham in the final at Wembley on May 12.
  • The EFL Championship is three weeks away from its finale, with a few clubs featureing Americans still in the mix for promotion. Josh Sargent’s Norwich City side holds the final playoff spot, while Haji Wright’s Conventry and Duane Holmes’ Preston North End in the hunt for a shot at promotion.
  • The AS Roma versus Udinese match was suspended after defender Evan Ndicka collapsed away from play and had to be stretchered off. The game was tied at 1-1 with about 20 minutes remaining when Ndicka went down. The club shared this update on social media.

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

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