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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Toronto FC: Final Score 4-0 as Lions Romp Over the Reds



Orlando City bounced back from two straight losses in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 demolition of Toronto FC at Exploria Stadium. The Reds (9-16-7, 34 points) were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss as three different Lions scored and Toronto chipped in an own goal. Orlando City (13-12-6, 45 points) climbed back to .500 at home at 8-8-0.

Facundo Torres, Ercan Kara, and Tesho Akindele scored to go along with a Lukas MacNaughton own goal to provide all the scoring.

“A very complete performance with a group that is very responsible, with a group that in spite of these quantity of games with no time to rest, they came out today and put in a very important victory and, more important, a very good performance,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “I thought we were solid. I thought we were hard (to break down). We scored goals and we had good moments on the field where the team looked very connected.”

Pareja’s lineup included Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Wilder Cartagena started in central midfield with Junior Urso, behind an attacking midfield line of Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, and Torres, with Kara up top.

The Lions controlled most of the first half, working the ball through Pereyra in his now-familiar, deeper-lying position. Still, it was Toronto winning a corner shortly after the start of the game. Gallese did well to catch a sizzling cross that may have been an Olimpico attempt.

Orlando then went on the attack, with a Cartagena shot dribbling well left of goal in the fifth minute. Angulo took a layoff from Kara in the eighth minute and fired from inside the box but his shot deflected out for a corner. But a minute later, the Lions had the lead.

A switch in play from Angulo was flicked deftly by Carlos, who was still forward from the corner kick. His flick found Torres out on the right wing. The Uruguayan cut inside and smashed a shot past Quentin Westberg to make it 1-0 in the ninth minute. It was Torres’ seventh goal in MLS play this year and his 16th goal contribution.

“I love that type of play,” Torres said of Carlos’ backheel assist on the goal. “I know that he looked back and he already saw that I was behind him, and I just really love that type of play where you can take it back through the middle and get one on one with someone, so it was great.”

Toronto tried to pull that goal back, with Lorenzo Insigne firing over the bar in transition after shedding Ruan’s defensive efforts in the 15th minute.

Orlando doubled the lead shortly after. Pereyra sent a fantastic seeing-eye pass through the defense to Kara, who was streaking down the left. Kara carried it into the box and fired a shot past Westberg with his left foot to make it 2-0 in the 22nd minute. It was Kara’s 10th goal of the MLS season.

“I watched before the goalkeeper with my brother — he’s a goalkeeper and he analyzes the goalkeepers for me,” Kara said. “And he told me the near post is always open (against Westberg).”

“I think that those first 20 minutes gave us fresh air,” Pareja said.

Pereyra’s assist gave him 10 on the year, making him the first Lion to reach double-digit assists in a season twice.

After a shot high into the stands by Ruan in the 33rd minute, Toronto controlled the ball for a good chunk of the remainder of the first half. Federico Bernardeschi missed the target in the 35th minute after Carlos turned it over in his own end with a wayward pass that found Michael Bradley instead of a teammate.

Orlando nearly got a third in the 42nd minute when Torres took a pass and smashed a shot off the left post.

Urso sent a weak shot on goal in stoppage time and that was it for the opening period.

Orlando City held a slight edge in possession (50.2%-49.8%), and the Lions had more shots (9-3) and more shots on target (3-0). Both teams had two corners and Toronto passed slightly more accurately (89.3%-88.8%).

Orlando’s lead bulged to 3-0 early in the second half. A cross from Moutinho was deflected past Westberg by MacNaughton in the 47th minute for an own goal.

Toronto had a good flurry in the 52nd minute. Bradley had a shot blocked out for a corner and, on the ensuing set piece, Domenico Criscito fired over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, Angulo freed himself up on the left side at the top of the box and sent a soft shot to Westberg. Kara then saw a shot deflect out for a corner moments later and on the set piece he launched a shot off the facing of the upper deck.

Gallese made a nice save on substitute Jesus Jimenez in the 61st minute as Toronto made a nice cutting move in the attack. A minute later, Insigne headed a shot on target but Gallese was able to catch it, although he needed treatment on his thigh after landing on one foot and tweaking something.

Torres nearly scored again in the 79th minute but his shot fizzed just over the top left corner of the net. However, the Lions didn’t have to wait long for their fourth goal. MacNaughton was booked for taking down Angulo in transition, giving Orlando a free kick, although referee Nima Saghafi should have played advantage, as Akindele reached the ball first and Orlando had numbers forward. Akindele scored anyway after the restart, powering a shot through Westberg off an Angulo assist in the 84th minute.

Angulo notched his second assist of the night on the play and he was also involved on the MacNaughton own goal, sending Moutinho to the end line with a well-timed and well-weighted pass. His contributions in this win were vital.

“I think Ivan was definitely that player who could connect us all up front,” Pareja said. “It’s just amazing how a piece just makes things clear. I think the way that he possessed the ball and he kept it for us and protected the ball when we needed it. And also that change of speed that he has that provides as well some fast plays in the last third — all those things are helping us a lot, and we’re very happy with his contribution.”

Gallese robbed Jimenez in the 88th minute in a one-on-one chance for his best save of the night on his way to his ninth clean sheet of the year, extending his club single-season record.

After a couple of near misses by Andres Perea late, the game was over.

Toronto finished with more possession in the end (55.9%-44.1%) as Orlando was content to stay organized once the Lions built their big lead. The Reds also passed more accurately (88.8%-84.9%). The Lions had more shots (18-11) and shots on goal (7-3), while both teams finished with four corners.

“They kept going and I think that’s what I like from the effort today,” Pareja said of his team’s response to the Atlanta loss. “But I will highlight all the effort of the players. Today against Toronto, on a day we must win it, they came out with such a good performance, so that makes us feel very optimistic, that’s for sure.”

The international break is upon us, so the Lions won’t be back in action until Oct. 2 when they visit New York City FC.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Photo Gallery

An album of images from Orlando City’s hard-fought draw at home against the Herons.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

The Lions brought much more roar on Sunday night to face their southern rivals but had trouble finding the net, allowing the Herons to nick a point even while short staffed. None of Miami’s high-priced talent traveled for the match after facing Toronto midweek, and physicality ensued, firing up the sold-out crowd at Exploria Stadium.

Talking with some of the other photographers on the sideline who had flown in for this match, they rated the Orlando atmosphere top-notch; in their experience, other cities don’t compare to the in-stadium fan enthusiasm.

The Lions were in “the net is lava” mode, with Duncan McGuire and Iván Angulo each missing prime one-on-one chances with Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender in each half, McGuire leaving it straight at Callendar, and Angulo badly missing the net after a missed first touch. So of course Miami struck first, with David Ruíz scoring early in the second half.

This fired the Lions up even more and Martín Ojeda pinballed McGuire in behind the Miami back line, allowing Duncan to do what Duncan does to draw the score level. The Lions generally looked the more dangerous team for most (but not all) of the night. However, it is scoring goals that actually counts, leaving both teams unchanged in their respective Eastern Conference standings. Orlando remains second at 14-7-9, while Miami stays in 14th at 9-15-5.

The Lions continue to control their own destiny in terms of getting a top-four finish as they look to lock up home field advantage for a best-of-three matchup in the MLS Cup playoffs.

With home dates left against Montreal and a sputtering-but-dangerous New England remaining, there’s still plenty of time to be part of that world-class gameday atmosphere by going out to support the team as they push for a strong finish.

We hope that you enjoy these images from a hard-fought, come-from-behind draw against Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium.

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Five Takeaways

Here’s what we learned from Orlando City’s 1-1 draw at home against Inter Miami.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City returned to Exploria Stadium after a midweek loss to New York City FC and had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Inter Miami. The Lions did well to equalize after conceding first, but will likely feel that they left opportunity knocking as the Eastern Conference remains tight near the top. Here are my five takeaways from the third Tropic Thunder clash this year.

Lack of Execution Plagues the Lions

Orlando’s offense struggled to put the ball in the back of the net in this match. That’s not to say they didn’t create quality chances, as the Lions served up good crosses and dangerous long balls throughout the match. Only three of Orlando’s 16 crosses found their mark in the end. The execution just wasn’t there when it came to finishing attacks, whether it be poor decision-making when the time came to play the final ball or just missing the target completely. Of Orlando’s 13 shots, six were on target and only a couple of those gave Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender much difficulty. Ivan Angulo missing the goal entirely after Dagur Dan Thorhallsson picked out a perfect pass for him stands out. Expecting every promising attack to end with a goal is unfair, but weak finishing cost the Lions from claiming a big win at home.

Corner Kicks Gave the Lions Headaches

While the Lions didn’t have any corner kicks in the match, Inter Miami had seven and created some of its best chances with them. In the 61st minute, a corner kick taken by Robert Taylor found Leonardo Campana all alone in the center of the box. The Ecuadorian forward’s header mercifully went wide, but it was indicative of how Orlando had its hands full on set pieces. Pedro Gallese had to come up with a remarkable save in the first half as well after Campana barreled through Cartagena to head the ball at goal. Even though the Lions didn’t concede from a set piece, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something focused on this week just to ensure the team is organized enough to overcome uncalled fouls without needing its star goalkeeper or some luck.

Plenty of Physicality in Rivalry Match

It was easy to tell these two teams didn’t care much for each other, as they both fought hard on and off the ball. There were 27 fouls and seven yellow cards handed out by referee Armando Villarreal. Miami committed 16 of those fouls and received five of the yellow cards as they did whatever it took to slow down Orlando’s progress. Facundo Torres suffered the brunt of it and was fouled four times so that he couldn’t work his magic against Miami’s defense. It was the kind of physical match that can be expected of two rivals and made for an intense match that will likely have players from both sides seeking an ice bath. The Lions did well to stay composed for a majority of a very chippy match.

Duncan McGuire Shakes Off the Rust

Forward Duncan McGuire got back to his scoring ways with a crucial equalizer for his ninth goal of the MLS season. It was an important goal for reasons beyond the scoreline as well, as McGuire had squandered a golden opportunity to score earlier in the match by not being able to get his shot past Callender. He was also kicking himself for not getting on the end of a few other chances as well. His 84 minutes on the field were the most from him in one game this season, and the Lions will need him more often now that Ercan Kara is in Turkey. It was the rookie’s first goal since July and, although not perfect, the kind of performance to build upon moving forward.

Orlando Showcased Its Depth and Versatility

Head Coach Oscar Pareja switched things up at halftime, replacing Cesar Araujo with Martin Ojeda and having Mauricio Pereyra sit a bit deeper in the midfield to potentially create chances on the break a bit quicker using his service. Although Ojeda didn’t get a goal or an assist, his presence was notable on both sides of the ball and he played a key role in Orlando’s goal. Having a player of his caliber able to come off the bench has been a boon for Orlando this season, letting Pareja really kickstart the changes he wants to make to the team. Similar things could be said about Orlando’s other substitutes: Junior Urso, Ramiro Enrique, Gaston Gonzalez, and Michael Halliday. Their energy and skill kept Orlando pushing for more and gave the sense that a winner would have come had the game lasted a bit longer.

That’s what I took away from Orlando’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami. Let me know what you gathered from the match in the comments below

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/25/23

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Viviana Villacorta out for the season, OCB wins last game of the regular season, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Last night’s Orlando City match wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. It’s a pretty fitting feeling on a Monday, as we all get back into the swing of the work week after a nice weekend of soccer. There are plenty of ups and downs from a rollercoaster Sunday, so let’s dive right into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws With Inter Miami

In the latest edition of the Tropic Thunder rivalry, Orlando City and Inter Miami split the points at Exploria Stadium in a 1-1 result. Miami struck first, but the Lions did well to find an equalizer, even though they couldn’t find a winner in the end. It wasn’t Orlando’s best game by any means, but it was a decent response to a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Orlando now has 51 points, tying its club record for the most points in a season, set in 2021. The Lions will have a chance to break that record on Saturday when they host CF Montreal.

Viviana Villacorta Out for the Season

Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta will miss the remainder of the NWSL season after suffering an ACL tear in her left knee during training. The 24-year-old was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, but was not able to make her debut until 2022 due to sustained an ACL tear in her right knee that kept her out for all of the 2021 season. This year, she has 21 appearances across all competitions for the Pride and notched the first assist of her career in a big road win against the San Diego Wave on April 29. This is a tough blow to the Pride’s midfield with just three games remaining as she has ended her season early due to injury for the third straight year. The Pride are only a point out of a playoff spot and are back in action on Oct. 2 against Angel City FC.

Orlando City B Wins On Decision Day

On the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, Orlando City B won 2-1 at home over FC Cincinnati 2. The Young Lions had already clinched a spot in the postseason heading into this match, but the win secured their spot as the fifth seed. Jack Lynn briefly held the Golden Boot lead after scoring, but ended up tied at 19 goals with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2’s Remi Cabral. The trio ended in a three-way tie for the league’s Golden Boot honors. OCB will hit the road for its first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game, although the opponent is not yet known thanks to the new rule where higher seeds choose which team they want to face.

USWNT Wins in Megan Rapinoe’s Final Match

The United States Women’s National Team beat South Africa in a 2-0 win at Soldier Field. Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett scored and the defense did well to secure its second shutout against South Africa after a 3-0 win this past Thursday. This game also marked forward Megan Rapinoe’s final game with the USWNT, with the 38-year-old subbed off for the last time in the 54th minute. These were solid wins from the USWNT following the World Cup and it will aim to keep the momentum rolling next month in a pair of friendlies against Colombia.

Free Kicks

  • Three Orlando City academy sides came up with shutout victories this weekend.
  • Before the USWNT’s friendly with South Africa, U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker stated that plans remain in place for a new head coach to be at the helm in time for the training camp in December
  • American midfielder Yunus Musah did well in his AC Milan debut, playing all 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Verona.
  • A match in the Netherlands between Ajax and Feyenoord had to be abandoned due to fans throwing fireworks onto the field while Feyenoord led 3-0. According to police, tear gas had to be used to stop unrest outside the stadium after the match, and Ajax later fired Sven Mislintat, its director of soccer.
  • Newcastle became the first English Premier League team to have eight different players score in a match after crushing Sheffield United, 8-0.
  • Atletico Madrid ended Real Madrid’s perfect start to the season by beating its rival 3-1, with Alvaro Morata bagging a brace.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have an easy Monday and rest of your week!

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