Orlando City vs. Florida International: Final Score 3-1 as Lions Win Second Preseason Contest



KISSIMMEE — Orlando City continued its preparation for the 2023 MLS season by defeating FIU 3-1 at Osceola County Stadium tonight. Rookie Duncan McGuire had a goal and an assist after coming on at halftime and Martin Ojeda had a brace to lead the Lions. With the win, Orlando City improved to 2-0-0 during the 2023 preseason.

Oscar Pareja made two changes to the starting lineup from the team that beat Minnesota United 2-0 on Wednesday afternoon. Jack Lynn got the start up top for Ercan Kara and rookie Shak Mohammed started in place of Facundo Torres. Wilder Cartagena, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Abdi Salim started in front of Pedro Gallese. Ivan Angulo and Luca Petrasso were wing backs while Cesar Araujo started in the defensive midfield with Mauricio Pereyra. Mohammed and Ojeda were the attacking midfielders and Lynn started up top.

Orlando City dominated possession from the start, primarily playing through Angulo on the right. Ojeda and Mohammed tried to play the ball through the middle for Lynn, but the second-year forward was caught offside on multiple occasions. Even slipping past the defense early, none of his shots were on target.

The first good chance for FIU came in the 27th minute when Bernardo Monteiro sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal. Gallese let it go but no Panthers made runs into the six-yard box to get on the end of it.

Ojeda almost gave the Lions the lead in the 38th minute when he was pulled back just outside of the FIU box. His free kick was a shot at goal, but it went just over the target.

The best chance for either team in the opening period came just before the halftime whistle. Petrasso sent a cross into the box from the left, which found the foot of Lynn beyond the reach of the FIU goalkeeper. Unfortunately, Lynn missed the target again, squandering a golden opportunity for his first goal of 2023.

Pareja made three changes at halftime, replacing Gallese, Lynn, and Mohammed with Mason Stajduhar, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, and McGuire. The Lions came out of the break flying and McGuire was the spark.

Just two minutes into the second half, Thorhallsson’s shot was blocked. However, it fell to McGuire to the right of goal. The reigning MAC Hermann Trophy winner from Creighton slipped it past the FIU goalkeeper for the opening strike.

Three minutes later, the Lions doubled their lead. The FIU goalkeeper inexplicably came far outside his box in an attempt to clear the ball. However, several Orlando City players were in the area. McGuire quickly played the ball to Ojeda, who curled his shot from just outside the box with the outside of his left foot around the defender and into the corner of the net, giving the Lions a 2-0 lead.

Three minutes later, the Lions nearly scored a third when a cross into the box was redirected on goal. But this time the goalkeeper made a good stop, keeping the Panthers’ deficit at two.

A scary moment occurred for Orlando City in the 56th minute when club captain Pereyra went down in the FIU box. The referee signaled for the medical staff to come on and they examined the Uruguayan for a couple of minutes. However, he eventually rose to his feet and continued.

Two minutes later, the Lions got their third of the game. After receiving the ball from Thorhallsson, Petrasso sent a nice ball behind the FIU defense for the charging Ojeda. As the goalkeeper came out to challenge, the new Designated Player did well to tap it around him and slide it into the net, making it a 3-0 game.

Following the third goal, Orlando City’s defensive play got sloppy, providing opportunities for the opposition and FIU took advantage in the 67th minute. The visitors finally created a sustained attack for the first time, which included a free kick just outside of the box and a corner kick. The latter ended in a Panthers goal as a poor clearance fell to the foot of Matthias Lavenant, who placed a hard shot past Stajduhar and into the corner.

In the 85th minute, a great ball forward for Ojeda gave the Argentinian a chance at a hat trick, but he was unable to slip it past the goalkeeper.

In the 86th minute, FIU nearly got a second goal when Simon Afrifa shot from the left and just missed the far post. Less than a minute later, Fumiya Shiraishi went down near the end line and the referee pointed to the spot. Stajduhar guessed the right way on the ensuing penalty, but the shot was wide left, allowing the Lions to maintain their lead.

McGuire had one more chance at the end of the game to score his second, but the ball slammed off the face of a defender. The referee immediately called for the FIU medical staff to attend to the player and didn’t allow a restart, blowing the final whistle.

“The game was very good,” Angulo said after the 3-1 win. “It was very important, these kinds of tests, to get ready for the season, for the players to understand more of what El Profe Oscar Pareja wants.”

Here are the Orlando City goals from tonight’s game:

Orlando City has now completed two of the team’s six scrimmages leading to the start of the 2023 MLS season. They’ll take the field again on Tuesday, before facing the Colorado Rapids next Saturday, Stetson the following Wednesday, and wrapping up preseason with an open scrimmage against the New England Revolution at Exploria Stadium.


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