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2022 Orlando City Season in Review: Mason Stajduhar

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Backup Orlando City goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar signed to a Homegrown Player contract all the way back on Nov. 9, 2015. After a 2021 season in which his role with the club grew, Stajduhar had his option exercised following the 2021 season to keep him under contract through 2022. He entered his second active season with the club this year and provided some memorable moments on the pitch prior to suffering a jaw injury during training in June, which saw the goalkeeper miss several weeks while healing from surgery. During the course of the season, he also inked a new three-year contract with the club which will go into effect on Jan. 1 and keep him in Orlando through 2025 with a club option for 2026.

Let’s take a look back at his 2022 season.

Statistical Breakdown

Stajduhar made his regular-season debut on March 27 in a 1-1 road draw against the Portland Timbers. During the regular season, Stajduhar played in two matches (both starts), conceding six goals on 31 shots faced (15 on target) in his 180 minutes of playing time. The Lions were 0-1-1 in those matches. He finished with nine saves, a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.00, and a save percentage of 60%. One of his six goals against was on a penalty at Portland. He passed at a 71% rate, committed one foul, and was not booked.

The Homegrown goalkeeper began Orlando City’s U.S. Open Cup run in net, starting three matches — against Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and Inter Miami — posting a record of 2-0-1 and playing 300 minutes. He allowed three goals in those games, for a 1.00 GAA. He made five saves on eight shots on target for a save percentage of 62.5%. Stajduhar passed at an 81.5% rate in USOC play. He stopped one of the four Miami shots on target during the postgame penalty shootout after the teams drew 1-1 on May 25.

Stajduhar also appeared in three matches (all starts) with OCB during the reserve side’s first MLS NEXT Pro season, playing 270 minutes. OCB was 1-2-0 with Mason in goal. He allowed seven goals for a 2.33 GAA and finished with a 63.2% save percentage, 12 saves, an 88.9% passing accuracy, and two clearances.

Best Game

While the sample size is small, Stajduhar had two clear-cut matches to choose from — both in the U.S. Open Cup. His best game of the season came back on May 10 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup vs. the Philadelphia Union. In his second straight start in the competition, Mason faced a high-powered Union side looking to break its U.S. Open Cup road winless streak. Boasting a 75% save percentage on four shots faced, Stajduhar stood strong until the 77th minute when Stuart Findlay was able to draw one back for the opposition on a recycled set piece from just outside the six-yard box. With the visitors pushing hard for an equalizer late into stoppage time, Stajduhar came up with a smothering stop on his goal line off of the head of Kai Wagner to secure the win for City and a spot in the Round of 16. As if the win wasn’t enough, Mason surprised his girlfriend with an on-field proposal, which she accepted in front of the supporters’ section.

2022 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff awarded Stajduhar grade of 6.5 out of 10 for the 2022 season. A run of strong form in the U.S. Open Cup helped propel the Lions to their first piece of hardware during the club’s MLS era. Stajduhar made the saves one would expect a goalkeeper at this level to make. The 5-1 drubbing at Philadelphia was largely beyond his ability to alter and he allowed no goals in the run of play against Portland.

2023 Outlook

Stajduhar has cemented himself as the team’s number two option over the last two seasons and as he’s under contract at least through 2025, that should continue. While Pedro Gallese is out of contract and may move on this off-season, Stajduhar would still likely be viewed more as backup goalkeeper material at age 24. Although young goalkeepers have excelled elsewhere in the league, Stajduhar hasn’t shown quite enough in terms of the kinds of spectacular game-changing saves that turn losses into draws and draws into wins just yet.

With City participating in far more than just a regular-season run of matches in 2023, a reasonable baseline expectation for the Homegrown keeper would be for him to continue developing while providing quality time anchoring the back of the Orlando City formation in a variety of matches from next year’s U.S. Open Cup, and spot starts in the MLS regular season.


Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/20/24

Lions and Pride win, MLS weekend recap, Manchester City wins Premier League title, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. It was another good weekend for our teams, as Orlando City and the Pride both won their respective matches. I’ve been busy covering high school playoff action with soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Pull Out Late Win on the Road

Orlando City pulled out a late 1-0 win on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park on Saturday. Jack Lynn came off the bench and scored the lone goal in this match for Orlando to grab the three points. Duncan McGuire started the match but had to be substituted out early in the first half due to injury and was replaced by Lynn. The Lions are on a three-match unbeaten streak after a scoreless draw at home against Inter Miami on Wednesday. Orlando City moves up to 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. The Lions return to action on Saturday to face the Columbus Crew at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando Pride Win Against Seattle Reign FC

The Orlando Pride won their seventh straight match after a 3-2 win against the Seattle Reign at Lumen Field on Sunday. There were plenty of goals in this one, with Barbra Banda lifting the Pride to their first ever win in Washington against the Reign. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 10 matches and the Pride sit atop the NWSL table with 24 points. The Pride return home for a Friday night matchup against the Portland Thorns at Inter&Co Stadium.

MLS Weekend Recap

It was another busy weekend in MLS, with four rivalry matches taking place. Let’s start with the Hudson River Derby, as New York City FC edged past the New York Red Bulls 2-1. Real Salt Lake got a thrilling 5-3 win against the Colorado Rapids in the Rocky Mountain Cup. In Canada, Toronto FC cruised past CF Montreal with a 5-1 victory. The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas battled to a 1-1 draw down in Texas. FC Cincinnati defeated St. Louis City SC 3-1, while the Columbus Crew beat the Chicago Fire 3-1 as well.

The Philadelphia Union shut out the New England Revolution 3-0 to snap its six-match winless streak. Austin FC won 3-2 over Sporting Kansas City, Minnesota United handed the Portland Timbers a 2-1 defeat, and Inter Miami got a late goal from Leonardo Campana for a 1-0 win over D.C. United.

Manchester City Wins English Premier League

Manchester City defeated West Ham 3-1 to win a historic fourth consecutive Premier League title on Sunday with 91 points on the final day of the season. Phil Foden scored twice in this match as Manchester City became the first club to win four straight Premier League trophies. Arsenal defeated Everton 2-1 but ended up short of the title, finishing second with 89 points. Liverpool won in Jurgen Klopp’s final match as manager, beating Wolves 2-0 to finish third. Aston Villa finished fourth despite a 5-0 loss to Crystal Palace, Tottenham finished fifth, and Chelsea finished sixth in the table. Luton Town lost 4-2 at home to Fulham to finish 18th, officially joining Burnley and Sheffield United in being relegated to the EFL Championship next season. 

Free Kicks

  • Former Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner has agreed to a one-year contract extension with Manchester United, with an option for another year. Manchester United won its first major trophy earlier this month, winning the Women’s FA Cup.
  • Former USMNT player Jonathan Bornstein has agreed to play for NPSL side Tallahassee SC in their summer season. He made his debut on Saturday as the Battle Lions won their opener 2-0 against the Miami Dutch Lions FC.
  • According to Tom Bogert, new MLS expansion side San Diego FC is reportedly closer to sealing a move to sign Chucky Lozano over from PSV Eindhoven.
  • Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi announced he will leave the club after its Premier League season ended in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday. 
  • Bayer Leverkusen completed its Bundesliga season unbeaten with a 2-1 win over FC Augsburg. The club also made history as the first team in the history of the Bundesliga to complete a full season without a loss. 

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

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Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions individually rate in Orlando City’s win on the road?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

The Lions went across the country to face the San Jose Earthquakes and will return to Orlando with all three points after a 1-0 win. Jack Lynn, who came on in the first half for an injured Duncan McGuire, scored the only goal of the game. Here’s how I saw each individual Lion’s performance in Orlando’s win on the road.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — El Pulpo came up with four saves in the shutout, with three of them coming within the span of a few minutes in the first half. Gallese wasn’t tested as much in the second half, but he did make a big save to deny Jack Skahan late in the match. In terms of distribution, eight of his 19 long balls were accurate and he completed 60.7% of his 28 passes. All in all, it was another strong outing from the Peruvian.

D, David Brekalo, 7.5 — Brekalo did a great job putting out fires in Orlando’s defense, leading the team with eight clearances. He won five of his seven aerial duels, and had two interceptions and a tackle as well. Although only one of his nine long balls was accurate, he had a key pass for setting up a shot by Martin Ojeda that was deflected out for a corner. He also did well winning a foul in the first half that stopped a potential San Jose counter and gave Orlando a set piece in a good area. Brekalo finished the game with 46 passes at an 80.4% success rate and is our Man of the Match for anchoring Orlando’s defense in a shutout.

D, Wilder Cartagena, 7.5 — The Peruvian started as a center back for the Lions and looked the part once again. Cartagena was patient and clinical when it came to his defending, leading the Lions with five tackles and stopping some of San Jose’s most dangerous attacks. He also had four clearances and two interceptions in an excellent defensive performance. Cartagena completed 86.1% of his 43 passes and two of his seven long balls found their mark.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Schlegel also did well as part of Orlando’s defense, recording four clearances, two tackles, and an interception. He won two of his three aerial duels as well, playing physically without committing any fouls. The Argentine defender was accurate on three of his 10 long balls and had 46 passes at a 73.9% success rate. He had a solid game and will return to Orlando with a few bumps and bruises along with the team’s clean sheet.

WB, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 5.5 — Thorhallsson returned to the starting lineup for the first time since May 4. There were a few nervous moments when he was tasked with marking players lurking at the back post, but San Jose wasn’t able to make Orlando pay for it. He had three clearances and two tackles before being subbed out in the 78th minute. Offensively, he did well to find open space, but wasn’t able to capitalize on his chances as neither of his two shots were on target. Thorhallsson’s best chance came when a cutback cross from Ivan Angulo found him with all the time in the world to pick out his shot in the box, only to send it wide. His passing could’ve been a bit tidier, as he had 30 passes at a 76.7% success rate, neither of his two long balls were accurate, and just one of his four crosses were successful. Regardless, it was nice to see Thorhallsson back in the swing of things after missing time.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 7 — Angulo applied plenty of defensive pressure throughout the match, but still had enough left in the tank to assist on Orlando’s winning moment. The Colombian raced down the left wing on a counter and then picked out Ojeda in the box, whose mishit volley wound up with Lynn scoring. Angulo nearly had another assist for his cutback cross that found Thorhallsson open as well. He completed 90.9% of his 44 passes and two of his three crosses were accurate. Defensively, he had three tackles and a clearance as well. This game was a testament to how much of an impact the speedy Lion can have on a match.

MF, Felipe, 6.5 — Felipe replaced the suspended Cesar Araujo in the starting lineup and did fairly well, shutting down San Jose’s passing lanes and plugging holes in Orlando’s defensive shape as needed. He had a team-high three interceptions, along with four tackles and two clearances. The midfielder had 40 passes at a strong 90% success rate and one of his three long balls was accurate. It was a fairly quiet night from the veteran, which isn’t the worst thing for a defensive midfielder and he did well filling in for Araujo.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6.5 — Lodeiro led the Lions with 94 touches and 75 passes, directing things while Orlando had possession. He was successful on 84% of those passes and two of his three long balls, though none of his five crosses found their man. Lodeiro’s lone shot went high and off target, but he did have two key passes to set up a pair of chances for Luis Muriel. He chipped in defensively with two tackles, an interception, and a clearance as well. Even though he wasn’t able to replicate the offensive output he showed against the Philadelphia Union, Lodeiro did well in his third straight match playing the full 90 minutes.

WB, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres didn’t have a shot in the match, but did have two key passes to generate some offense. Although only one of his five crosses were accurate, he still did well putting the ball into open areas in the box. His only attempted long ball wasn’t successful, but he did complete 91.9% of his 37 passes. Torres spent most of his time attacking through the wings, and didn’t contribute too much defensively beyond a clearance and sprinting back to give the back line support when needed.

F, Luis Muriel, 6.5 — The forward continued to look dangerous with the ball at his feet and had three shots in the match. Of his three shots, one forced a good save out of San Jose goalkeeper William Yarbrough, one was blocked before it could test Yarbrough, and another was sent off target from distance. He may have only been successful on one of his five attempted dribbles, but Muriel also had a key pass and both of his long balls were accurate. Muriel was fairly involved with 58 touches, won all three of his aerial duels, and helped out on defense with two tackles and a clearance.

F, Duncan McGuire, N/A — McGuire had to be subbed out in the 16th minute due to an arm injury after colliding with Bruno Wilson in the air. The Lions played with 10 men for a few minutes while medical staff looked him over, but Lynn ultimately replaced him on the field. McGuire had eight touches and completed three of his four passes, while also recording a clearance before his early exit.

Substitutes

F, Jack Lynn, (16′), 6.5 — Lynn came into the match to replace McGuire and scored the winner late in the match to give the Lions all three points on the road. The 24-year-old maintained focus when Ojeda didn’t strike the ball cleanly and buried the bouncing ball into the back of the net. His goal was his third shot and final shot of the match after sending a glancing header wide and having another header saved at point-blank range earlier on. Lynn may have only won one of his five aerial duels, but his hold-up play was decent. He had 18 passes at a 66.7% success rate and 33 touches before being subbed off in stoppage time after scoring. Lynn was a bit sloppy at times, but ultimately gave the Lions an unlikely win.

MF, Martin Ojeda, (79′), N/A — Ojeda was credited with an assist for his role in Lynn’s goal, even if he fully intended on scoring himself with his strike. While there was luck involved, he deserves credit for getting in a good position and taking a crack at goal. His other shot was a try from distance that was deflected out for a corner kick. He completed all but one of his seven passes, had 13 touches, and neither of his two crosses connected.

WB, Rafael Santos, (79′), N/A — Santos came into the match for Facundo Torres and it didn’t take long for him to make his presence known. He whipped in a pinpoint cross for Lynn in the 82nd minute that the forward should have done better with. It was a key pass for Santos and one of his two successful crosses in his limited time on the field. He completed four of his passes, helped secure the clean sheet with an interception and clearance on the defensive end.

WB, Kyle Smith, (90’+2), N/A — Smith came on in stoppage time to give the Lions some fresh legs and another defender to help see out the match, although he didn’t have any touches in his brief cameo.

MF, Jeorgio Kocevski, (90’+2), N/A — The rookie made his first appearance with the first team since March. He also didn’t have any touches or contributions in his short time on the field, although it was still nice to see Kocevski get some playing time.


How did you see the individual performances in this game? Make your voice heard down in the comments, and be sure to vote in our Man of the Match poll.

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Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Final Score 1-0 as Lions Steal Three Points Late

Jack Lynn’s late strike lifts Orlando City to 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC/Mark Thor

Orlando City (4-5-4, 16 points) claimed an unlikely three points tonight, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes (3-10-1, 10 points) 1-0. Jack Lynn came off the bench early in the game and scored a late winner to give the Lions a much-needed three points.

Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw against Inter Miami Wednesday night. Cesar Araujo was out due to yellow card accumulation and Martin Ojeda was left on the bench. They were replaced in the lineup by Dagur Dan Thorhallsson — who started his first game since suffering a concussion on May 4 against FC Cincinnati — and Felipe.

The Lions went back to the same 3-5-2 lineup they displayed against Inter Miami. The three center backs in front of Pedro Gallese were David Brekalo, Wilder Cartagena, and Rodrigo Schlegel. Thorhallsson and Facundo Torres were the wingbacks, while Felipe, Ivan Angulo, and Nico Lodeiro made up the midfield. Duncan McGuire and Luis Muriel were the striking duo again.

The Lions started this game shorthanded and an early injury to McGuire made things more difficult. It appeared for most of the game like the visitors would eventually concede, but they showed a strong defensive effort. Counter attacks were the best options for both teams as they looked to find a late goal. Solid goalkeeping by Gallese and William Yarbrough kept the game scoreless and a bit of fortune enabled Orlando City to get its first win in San Jose.

The first attack came in the opening seconds when the Earthquakes quickly went forward on the kickoff and created a chance for their newest Designated Player, Hernan Lopez. As the Argentinian arrived at the top of the box, the ball met him for the game’s first shot. He had space but couldn’t get over the ball and it sailed well over the goal.

On the other end, the Lions attacked with Torres on the left. The midfielder sent a pair of nice crosses that landed inside the six-yard box, but neither McGuire nor Muriel could get on the end of them. As a result, they traveled harmlessly across the field.

Trouble struck Orlando City in the 12th minute when McGuire collided with Bruno Wilson on a long ball up field by Gallese. The striker attempted to break his fall with his hand after Wilson undercut him and remained on the ground holding his elbow while the medical staff attended to him. The injury forced the Lions into their first change of the game as he was replaced by Lynn.

“Duncan had that pain there in the shoulder before but the recovery for him has always been good,” Pareja said about his starting striker. “I saw him in the locker, obviously sad with the event. But I see him with a very positive face and a very positive attitude. So let’s wait for the doctors to see what he got. But Duncan has been there before and he came up from that as well very easily.”

“We went through the game plan pretty well this week, so I think everyone on the bench knew what was expected of them if they had to come in,” Lynn said about the early substitution. “So I felt ready.”

In the 20th minute, a give-and-go between Lopez and Carlos Akapo saw Lopez sent down the right. The midfielder was gearing up for a cross, but Felipe slid in with an excellent tackle to knock it out for a corner kick. Vitor Costa and Brekalo went up for the ensuing set piece with the San Jose defender reaching it, but the header was over the target.

The Lions nearly had a chance in the 25th minute when Jackson Yueill was ready to collect a Thorhallsson clearance but slipped. Lynn raced to the ball, but Akapo was closer and quicker, reaching it before the Lions striker.

Gallese was forced into his first save of the night in the 26th minute. San Jose worked the ball across the field until it ended up with Carlos Gruezo from distance. It was a hard strike by the midfielder, but right at Gallese, who knocked it away.

The Orlando City goalkeeper was forced into another save in the 30th minute. A cross into the box by Cristian Espinoza was flicked on by Costa to the back post where Rodrigues was wide open. The center back’s shot was directly at Gallese, who got down to block it away with his legs.

The Lions had their first good chance of the game in the 35th minute. A Schlegel throw-in was headed out by Wilson, but only to Thorhallsson near the top of the box. The wingback had plenty of time and his second touch was a shot towards goal. The ball skipped just wide, but it was close enough for Yarbrough to feel the need to dive after the attempt.

In the 37th minute, Espinoza sent a curling ball into the six-yard box. Brekalo headed the ball out the other end, but Rodrigues was there again, left wide open. Thorhallsson attempted to close him down, but the center back got his shot off. This time he sent the ball past Gallese, but just wide of the far post.

The hosts nearly scored in the 43rd minute when, after a blocked cross, Akapo laid it back for Espinoza on the right side. The playmaker sent a dangerous cross through the box and beyond the reach of several players. Amahl Pellegrino was making a run to the back post and it appeared as though he’d reach it. Fortunately for Orlando, it was just too far and went all the way out of play for a goal kick.

San Jose led in all major statistical categories after 45 minutes of play with more possession (55.8%-44.2%), shots (7-5), shots on target (3-1), corner kicks (4-3), crosses (9-6), and better passing accuracy (82%-78%). However, two quality saves by Gallese kept the hosts off the board and the Lions got into the locker room scoreless.

The host had the first dangerous attack of the second half in the 51st minute. Quick passing from Gruezo and Jeremy Ebobisse sent Espinoza behind Orlando’s back line. The second-touch shot by Espinoza was wide, but the flag went up for offside.

Orlando City should’ve taken the lead in the 59th minute when Angulo made a long run into the San Jose box and played it across. Thorhallsson met the ball with plenty of time and space. The Icelandic player tried to send it inside the near post, but put it wide.

The Earthquakes had their second chance of the half in the 62nd minute when Costa brought the ball down well and carried it across the top of the box. He found Espinoza with some space and the midfielder’s first touch was a shot. However, it didn’t trouble Gallese at all, rolling well wide of the target.

Muriel forced Yarbrough into his toughest save of the night in the 73rd minute. Lodeiro found the striker left of the box. He took on Yueill, creating enough space for a shot. It wasn’t a bad attempt, but Yarbrough did well to get down and knock it wide, where Costa was able to clear.

The Orlando City forward attempted another shot in the 76th minute but this one didn’t bother Yarbrough as much. After receiving the ball short from Torres, Muriel dribbled inside and attempted a long shot. It was heading over the crossbar as soon as it left his foot and sailed well over the target.

It looked like San Jose would have a good chance to score in the 78th minute when Costa received the ball just outside of the box. He used a strong touch to get past Thorhallsson that went straight to second-half substitute Benji Kikanovic. The first touch was back to Costa who shot with space, but hit it wide.

Immediately after the miss, Pareja made two more changs. Martin Ojeda and Rafael Santos came into the game for Torres and Thorhallsson. The changes would prove to be vital in the Lions’ win.

The Lions nearly scored in the 82nd minute when Santos sent a beautiful ball with Lynn entering the box between Rodrigues and Costa. The Orlando City striker was just looking to get a touch on the ball and barely got his head to it, but Yarbrough came out to make himself big and the ball bounced off of his knee.

An Orlando City corner kick in the 86th minute turned into a good chance for San Jose when the clearance turned into a transitional attack. Jack Skahan came out with the ball and, after a long run, played it wide for Preston Judd. The substitute immediately sent it across the field for Espinoza, who cut inside to lose Santos and took a shot for the far post. Gallese dove for the ball, but it went just wide.

In the 88th minute, Skahan took the chance himself and nearly scored. Receiving the ball from Niko Tsakiris just outside of the box, the attacker took one touch to control it before aiming to the far post. The shot appeared to be on target, but Gallese dove to his right, tipping it wide. The ensuing corner kick was headed out by Brekalo to Angulo and the Lions broke the other way.

Dribbling down the left, Angulo used his speed to pass and remain ahead of Skahan. His cross was to the other side of the box for Ojeda, who attempted to volley it on goal. He mishit the attempt, but the ball went off the heel of Wilson and right to Lynn inside the six-yard box. It was an easy finish for him, giving the Lions an unlikely 1-0 lead.

“If I remember correctly, I think it was a pretty quick transition. Ivan was sprinting down the sideline and I think me, Tincho (Ojeda), and someone else were just busting our butt to get into the box,” Lynn said about the play. “And, you know, fortunately the ball fell to me kind of the top of the six and I just passed it in.”

“Orlando City has another fantastic striker. A number nine that came from college and a player he has been proven already enough in the second group,” Pareja said about Lynn. “And the evolution of Jack is great. We kept him in the game because we knew that he just needed one action. But this time we were wrong. He needed just two and he put the ball in the back of the net. That’s what he can do.”

The fourth official showed five minutes of second-half stoppage time, which gave the visitors a little more work to do. Pareja made his final two changes two minutes into added time and they were defensive moves as his team looked to see out the game. Defender Kyle Smith and defensive midfielder Jeorgio Kocevski entered for forwards Muriel and Lynn.

Despite needing a goal and pushing numbers forward, San Jose couldn’t create anything in the final minutes. In fact, Orlando City held possession for much of injury time, enabling them to see the game out and claim all three points.

At full time, San Jose had slightly more possession (51.1%-48.9%), corner kicks (6-5), and crosses (13-11), as well as better passing accuracy (82%-80.9%). Meanwhile, Orlando City ended the game with more shots (12-11) and both teams put four chances on target. Lynn being in the right place at the right time ended up being the difference.

“It was a great result for a group of players that are giving us all of the energy that they have, and they showed a lot of pride on the pitch, trying to resolve the problems,” Pareja said about the game. “I thought they had a lot of personality to overcome some bumps in the game. I liked much better the second half when we had more control. The boys that came off of the bench helped us a lot too. But I saw a team that is growing, their confidence is growing. The way we’re playing is much better in terms of the efficiency in the other side of the box. And so we’re proud, but the thing that we are so happy to see is them battling all the time and trying to do the right things.”

The Lions got off to a tough start this year, staying near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the first quarter of the season. But they’ve now gone three games unbeaten, including two wins and a draw against the team currently on top of the conference. The run has seen them jump into 10th place and only a point out of eighth.

“Well, always has been our desire is to get results and not need to have the bad moments in order to bounce back,” Pareja said about the recent run. “They always want to win games and get good performances. We have navigated very difficult times without losing the direction. They are a group of friends there that work together every morning. We still need a lot of things to get better. We still have a lot of work to be done. And we all know it. but it’s much better when you do it while winning.”

“I think the coaching staff did a really good job of reminding us we’re a really good team,” Lynn added about turning the season around. “Even though we weren’t getting the results early in the year, you’re putting in some good performances. And I think recently we’ve been able to see those performances translate into results and hopefully we can continue that going forward.”


The next chance the team has to turn a good performance into a result is next Saturday night when they welcome the Columbus Crew to Inter&Co Stadium.

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