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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Final Score 2-0 as Lions Finish Season with Loss in Canada



Orlando City’s 2022 MLS season opened at home with a 2-0 win over CF Montreal, but tonight it ended with a 2-0 loss to the same team at Stade Saputo in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs. The seventh-seeded Lions went to Canada with the mentality of being difficult to break down and looking for opportunities to score in transition against No. 2 seed Montreal — and had the better of the few chances for much of the game — but in the end, the hosts found a breakthrough in the late stages of the second half and flattered their winning margin with a penalty deep in stoppage time.

Ismael Kone and Djordje Mihailovic provided the offense for CF Montreal as the home team won each of the three meetings between the teams this season.

“First of all, congratulations to Montreal,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “We had our chances, especially in the first half. These kinds of games, you have to be decisive. You have to finish.”

Pareja’s lineup included Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Cesar Araujo took up his central midfield position with Junior Urso, behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, and Facundo Torres — with Pereyra and Urso swapping as has been common this year — with Ercan Kara up top.

The first half was incredibly nervy, with Montreal keeping the bulk of the possession and trying to pull the Lions’ shape apart. Orlando had to keep Angulo deep to prevent switches down the right to Alistair Johnston and Mihailovic and, although it worked from a defensive standpoint, the Lions could get little going the other way as a result.

Orlando had to wait patiently for opportunities to counter and managed to get the best shot opportunities of the opening half but could not maintain enough composure to hit the target behind goalkeeper James Pantemis.

The first attacking movement that resulted in an attempt for either side came eight minutes in when former Lion Kamal Miller sent in a cross from the midfield and Kei Kamara got a head to it but could do nothing with it, popping it up well out of play. A minute later, Lassi Lappalainen beat Ruan on the left wing and cut inside but his cross/shot was blocked away. Montreal’s best attack in transition came in the 10th minute and Carlos did just enough to get his backheel to a cross from Johnston to keep it from finding Kamara in front.

Montreal players tried to bait referee Ismail Elfath into a couple of penalty kicks in the first half. Kone went down softly after contact with Ruan in the 18th minute but Elfath immediately waved off the penalty shouts and the video assistant referee upheld the no-call.

Orlando should have scored against the run of play in the 25th minute. Kara got in behind on the left and had Ruan breaking for the net to his right. The Austrian chose to go for goal himself, but his attempt fizzed agonizingly just over the bar.

Ten minutes later, it was Pereyra unlocking the defense with a filthy pass through the back line for Angulo to run onto. Angulo had options to his right but cut inside his defender and fired his right-footed shot over the crossbar.

In the 45th minute, Lappalainen went down easily, looking for a penalty after beating Ruan and feeling pressure from Araujo. There was minor contact between the two while Araujo was pulling his leg out of the way but Lappalainen was already going down. Again, Elfath waved off penalty shouts and the VAR check upstairs upheld the no-call.

Orlando got one more look in first-half stoppage time off a free kick near midfield. The Lions worked the kick to the right and then fired a cross into the box. Carlos chested it down and then blasted a shot — you guessed it — over the bar. The center back may have been offside anyway, but with the shot going out for a goal kick, there was no need for a review.

The half ended all even on the scoreboard despite Montreal dominating possession and preventing the Lions from finding any kind of rhythm. Montreal led in possession (62.7%-37.3%), passing accuracy (89%-80.8%), and corners (1-0). Both teams attempted three shots and neither put one on target.

Rudy Camacho headed wide on a corner early in the second half for Montreal as the hosts looked to keep the pressure on Orlando.

But the Lions again fashioned a decent look at goal in the 51st minute when Torres got free at the top of the area. However, like everyone else on the night, Torres missed the target with his shot.

“We have to convert those chances and take those opportunities, and in those moments, the details slipped from us,” Torres said. “They had chances on their side that they were able to take and convert.”

Kamara got his best opportunitiy of the game in the 59th minute on a transition opportunity but he hit his effort into the outside netting. A few minutes later, Urso did well to jump and block a Mihailovic set piece shot.

Orlando had a promising counter attack in the 65th minute, but it broke down when Angulo sent an errant pass forward that was easily picked off. That loss of possession was costly.

Montreal came the other way and scored in the 68th minute. Passing around their right side, the hosts worked the ball from the wing to the top of the box, and eventually to Mihailovic outside the top of the area. Pereyra was late getting to Mihailovic, who slipped it to Kone, who had crept in the back side without any attention from Ruan, while Carlos had drifted left to provide coverage in case Kamara turned on Schlegel. However, the veteran striker quickly played back for Mihailovic instead, which opened up the defense. Kone slotted past Gallese to open the scoring.

“We were defending in that particular moment in the lower blocks,” Pareja said. “They were moving the ball. We didn’t close our gaps on the right side and then (Mihailovic) just finds Kone on that connection. We were separated from our defenders in that moment. It was a moment that we couldn’t control.”

Pareja brought on Benji Michel and Jake Mulraney for Urso and Angulo to try to add something to the attack but neither made much of a mark at all on the match. The duo combined for just 10 touches — only three by Mulraney — over the game’s final 13 minutes of normal time and about 10 minutes of added time.

Moutinho knocked down Mihailovic near the edge of the box late in stoppage time, trying to recover possession. Elfath gave the foul as a free kick, but after reviewing the replay, he awarded a penalty, as the initial contact was just inside the box. The unnecessary foul was costly as Mihailovic slotted his spot kick inside the right post to double the lead and put the game away.

Montreal finished with more possession (59%-41%), shots (11-5), shots on target (2-0), corners (2-1), and passing accuracy (87.6%-81.8%). Despite the hosts having all of those statistical advantages, it simply came down to one team finishing two chances and the other not putting its own opportunities on target.

“The way (Montreal) played and they used the spaces, I thought we did a great job on that, but it is what it is,” Pareja said. “I’m very proud of this group, very grateful for the effort of the boys. They made us feel very proud. They took this club to a different level and people should be proud about the season.”

“Everyone’s very sad with not being able to get the victory and move on to the next round,” Torres said through a club interpreter. “Just hurting from a very painful loss, but now we regroup and get better in the off-season for next year.”

That’s it for the season, and each year the finality of that is always painful for fans of every team except the one hoisting MLS Cup. The Lions were not supposed to win this match but still put themselves in a position to do so against the league’s hottest team down the stretch — and did so on the road.

While the result may sting, it’s easy to forget that this is a team that had to completely rebuild the attack from last year, played without a starting central defender. and lost Alexandre Pato to injury months ago.

Still, Orlando made the playoffs for a third straight year, had a double-digit goal scorer for the eighth consecutive year — the first team in MLS history to do it in its first eight years consecutively — and won the U.S. Open Cup.

It’s not an MLS Cup-winning season, but it wasn’t a bad run in 2022.

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 scorin ggoals 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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