Connect with us

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union: Final Score 2-1 as Lions Snap Philly’s Long Home Unbeaten Streak



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Martin Ojeda scored a goal and set up Ivan Angulo for another inside the first nine minutes of the match and Orlando City held on for a 2-1 win at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. The Lions (2-1-2, 8 points) played a brilliant, counter-attacking game plan to perfection and should have scored a few more goals to make the outcome more comfortable after former Lion Andres Perea pulled one back for the hosts.

With the victory, the Lions handed the Union (2-3-0, 6 points) their first home loss since a 1-0 decision to the New England Revolution on Sept. 3, 2021 — that’s a span of 24 straight matches without a defeat (19-0-5) that came screeching to a halt tonight.

“I think the first half we controlled the game,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “Not just in transition but in the middle of the field. I think we were much better there.”

Pareja’s lineup was missing its international players, so Mason Stajduhar started in goal — his second career start in Philadelphia — behind a back line of Luca Petrasso, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Kyle Smith. Cesar Araujo and Felipe started in the central midfield behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, and Martin Ojeda, with Ramiro Enrique up top. It was Felipe’s first start for Orlando City. Ercan Kara (thigh), who was listed as questionable, was not on the bench.

Orlando City had a dream start, opening the scoring in just the second minute. Enrique knocked down a Stajduhar long ball over the top to Pereyra in the middle of the field. The captain’s first touch was a lofted ball over the back line that checked up nicely for a streaking Ojeda. The Designated Player smashed his shot past goalkeeper Joe Bendik to open the scoring.

Seven minutes later, Ojeda set up a goal, slipping Angulo behind the defense. The Colombian slotted past Bendik for his first MLS goal, doubling the lead in just the ninth minute.

“Important to score early in the game,” Pareja said. “That just gave us confidence, for sure against a rival that is very strong at home. We know about their verticality and their volume going forward but being as (we were) leading the score and having consecutive goals — that for sure just gave us confidence during the game. That was very important for us.”

“Every single day this week, we knew exactly where we want to attack the way we want to attack,” Felipe said. “I think the most beautiful thing tonight is that we won in the way that we trained, in the way that we planned for this game. We were able to find the pockets and our moments in behind the synchronizing was very good. Our front four had an amazing game.”

Although both teams were missing key attacking players, Philadelphia’s excellent back line was completely intact for this match. The Lions simply pulled them apart at times. Orlando’s front four attackers — Enrique, Angulo, Pereyra, and Ojeda — played their best match of the season.

Smith had a difficult first half, and that began in the 13th minute, when he unnecessarily conceded a corner kick. Just after that, a silly foul near the corner flag gave the Union a free kick. Orlando was able to deal with both set pieces without damage but the Union started to gather momentum from the sustained pressure.

The bad half continued in the 17th minute when Smith was defending former Lion Perea on a routine cross. Smith got destroyed on the aerial ball and Perea’s initial shot came right back to him off the upright. He put the second chance home to pull one back for Philadelphia.

Perea played with a great deal of determination and showed a side of himself he never did while with the Lions, perhaps wanting to make his old team pay for trading him. Regardless of the reasons, it was a Perea Orlando fans never got to see.

Stajduhar made a mess of a goal kick in the 23rd minute, sending it right to Mikael Uhre. The Philadelphia striker got a shot off from just outside the area but it was right at the goalkeeper.

Ojeda sent a shot from distance high and then had a shot blocked as the Lions continued to look for counter opportunities. Felipe set up the latter with a great read of the play, stealing a pass and starting the break.

A nice buildup down the right in the 31st went awry when Smith sent his low cross straight to Bendik.

Stajduhar made a key save in the 37th minute on a set piece try from Jack Elliott after a questionable handball call gave the Union a free kick in a dangerous spot just outside the area.

Schlegel cleared the ensuing corner and the Lions went on the counter but Angulo made a mess of the final pass and Pereyra ended up with the ball but his shot was blocked.

Smith conceded a dangerous free kick just outside the box, straight out from goal, in the 44th minute with a silly challenge on Perea and it nearly cost Orlando.

Philadelphia worked a training ground short free kick to Perea down the left. Stajduhar caught onto it just before the kick was taken and called it out to his teammates but they were slow to react and Perea fired into outside netting from a severe angle.

Philadelphia held a slim edge in possession (51.2%-48.8%), corners (2-1), and shots on target (3-2) and a big lead in shot attempts (12-5) in the opening half. Orlando passed slightly more accurately (71.9%-70%), but neither team was clinical in that area.

Although neither side scored in the second half, there were plenty of chances both ways. The first chance came seconds after the restart. Joaquin Torres’ header either went straight off the post or Stajduhar got a touch on it but either way, the Union came within inches of tying the match just after the second-half whistle.

Ojeda tried a cheeky spinning volley in the 55th minute but it bounced in weakly for Bendik to collect. Three minutes later, Ojeda broke into the box on the right but his shot attempt was blocked by Olivier Mbaizo.

Torres blasted a shot in the 59th toward Stajduhar’s goal but the rising shot fizzed over the bar.

The Lions lacked the final bit of precision throughout the second half, preventing them from building on their lead. Ojeda’s pass in the box was intercepted in the 60th minute and just seconds later, Angulo was sent in down the left side but his shot went just wide of the right post. It appeared on the replay that Bendik got a fingertip to it but referee Allen Chapman signaled for a goal kick. Another chance went wanting in the 63rd minute when another poor pass in the final third from Smith was knocked aside by Jakob Glesnes.

Philly got back on the front foot after that and Glesnes blasted a knuckling shot from long range that Stajduhar could only fight off with a punch.

Uhre sent a header well wide of the right post from the top of the area in the 68th minute as the Union kept coming. Kai Wagner smashed a laser shot just over the bar on a solid volley attempt in the 74th minute.

A minute later, Stajduhar made a massive save, getting a hand up to knock Alejandro Bedoya’s point-blank header over the bar.

Bedoya then sent a shot wide on the ensuing corner kick.

Pareja sent Carlos on for his first minutes of the season, going to a five-man back line. Petrasso came off for the Brazilian and Smith moved to the left side, with Schlegel sliding to the right. Ojeda played deeper on the right side after the change.

The Lions had some excellent chances to put the game away in the late stages. McGuire unselfishly slid a centering pass across for Ojeda in the 87th minute but the Designated Player’s point-blank shot was right at Bendik, who gave no rebound with three Orlando players nearby.

In the 90th minute, Matthew Real’s header from around the penalty spot sailed wide, and moments later Perea sent a one-time shot right at Stajduhar for the easy save.

Ojeda missed another opportunity to put the game away in stoppage time and seconds later, substitute Dagur Dan Thorhallsson sent a shot from the right side just wide of the left post.

The last half-chance of the game fell to defender Jack Elliott in front of Orlando’s goal but he was surrounded and his shot was deflected, bouncing harmlessly off to the side for Stajduhar to collect.

The Lions were able to see out the final seconds and claim their first road win of 2023.

Orlando City held the edge in possession (52.6%-47.4%) and passing accuracy (76.2%-71.8%), while the Union had a lopsided advantage in shots (26-12), but just a slight lead in shots on target (6-4). The hosts also won more corners (7-4).

“Second half, knowing that we were leading the game and Philadelphia pushed ahead their structure and started getting more players forward, we understand that those spaces were going to be created. Not easy to sustain it with that pressure but we found ways. We could have scored two, three goals more in the second half also, so the match was very well played by the players.”

“We train for those moments where we are going to suffer and stick together, and this is just what we train every day,” Felipe said. “We know in difficult times we’re going to stick together and suffer, and that’s exactly what we did today.”

The Lions return home next Saturday to host Nashville SC at 7:30 p.m. at Exploria Stadium.

Orlando City

Orlando City at D.C. United: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to earn its first away victory of the season?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

Orlando City is back in action this Saturday night against D.C. United at Audi Field. Despite coming off back-to-back results, the off-week was well timed for the Lions. A little extra rest for the squad, plus giving players time to recuperate from various knocks should mean a nearly full strength Orlando City.

What does Orlando City need to do to earn all three points on the road against its Eastern Conference rivals?

The Dynamic Duo Return

Cesar Araujo returned to the Orlando City lineup against the New York Red Bulls, meaning the Lions should finally have their top choice defensive midfield pairing back together. The timing couldn’t be more perfect given Orlando City will be dealing with D.C. United striker Christian Benteke. He has five goals in five matches, which is half of the 10 goals D.C. United has scored all season.

So far this regular season, every match in which the Lions give up more than one goal has resulted in a loss. Keeping Benteke and the rest of D.C. United off of the score sheet is critical to getting a result. Orlando City can concede one goal and still walk away with points on the road, but only if the Lions manage to accomplish the next key below.

Goals are the Goal

To say Orlando City has been wasteful in front of goal is a bit of an understatement. So far this regular season, the Lions have 93 shots, with 27 on target, but only five goals. Orlando City has created scoring opportunities, but failed to convert them in anything close to an efficient manner. Of the five goals scored, Duncan McGuire has two, Nico Lodeiro has one, and Jack Lynn has one. The other was credited as an own goal on Lynn’s backheel attempt.

The list of players who haven’t scored yet this season is too long to type, but I don’t need goals from the defenders — though I will take them. I just need Facundo Torres, Ivan Angulo, Luis Muriel, and Martin Ojeda to get something going. Ideally, all four of them score in this match, but I’ll take whatever goals we can get.

End the Trend

Orlando City hasn’t fared well against D.C. United recently. Nearly a year ago, the Lions lost at home 3-1 to the visitors. The last trip to Audi Field was a 1-1 draw in which Orlando City gave up a goal in the 80th minute to settle for a single point. In 2022, Orlando City lost both matches to D.C. United. It’s time to get things going in the right direction.

The Lions also need to stop losing on the road. Losses to Inter Miami and Atlanta both came on the road, with Orlando City yet to find any points away from home. Last season, the Lions were veritable road warriors. The team needs to find that form again as it was a major reason the club finished second in the Supporters’ Shield race.

That is what I will be looking for this weekend as Orlando City takes on D.C. United. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/11/24

Learning more about Morgan Gautrat, OCB plays tonight, Champions League action, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I’m having a fairly stressful but great week after adopting my first cat and getting him all set up here. It may take a few weeks to turn him into a loyal Orlando soccer fan, but I have high hopes. Regardless, I’m looking forward to the gauntlet of games with Orlando City B playing today, the Orlando Pride tomorrow, and Orlando City on Saturday. Let’s get to the links!

Getting to Know Morgan Gautrat

Orlando Pride midfielder Morgan Gautrat was the latest player to field questions as part of the video series for fans to learn more about the players who wear purple. She weighed in on how she changed her game once she transitioned to the United States Women’s National Team at age 19, going from a playmaking attacker to a player who slots in deeper in the midfield. Gautrat brings leadership, experience, and a strong skillset to a young Pride team that’s built a strong culture around it. She also spoke on how Florida is her soccer home, what her spirit animal is, and the team’s aspirations this season.

Orlando City B Takes On Philadelphia Union II

The Young Lions are on the road today at 4 p.m. for an MLS NEXT Pro match against Philadelphia Union II. OCB last played in Chester, PA in last year’s season opener, winning 3-1 in an impressive victory. The team will hope for a similar result tonight to get back on track after a loss to Inter Miami II earlier this month. Philadelphia has yet to lose in regulation this season and has won both of its home matches. It should be a tough match for the Young Lions, but a great chance to climb back up the Eastern Conference standings for them.

Assessing USWNT After SheBelieves Cup Win

The United States Women’s National Team is moving towards the Olympics with plenty of momentum after winning the SheBelieves Cup and Concacaf W Gold Cup. There were plenty of parallels between the SheBelieves Cup final and the Gold Cup semifinal against Canada, one was just a bit more waterlogged. Canada used a late penalty to send the game to penalty kicks, Sophia Smith scored, and Alyssa Naeher stood on her head in the penalty shootout. The key differences were that Mallory Swanson has given the attack some needed dynamism after returning, and the defense struggles without Naomi Girma to anchor it. It was also Twila Kilgore’s final game as the USWNT’s interim head coach, and now attention will turn towards how Emma Hayes can elevate the team once she takes over.

Champions League Quarterfinals Roll On

Atletico Madrid and Barcelona both won in their first legs of the Champions League quarterfinals, although neither match was a blowout. Atletico Madrid hosted Borussia Dortmund and scored twice in the first half. Dortmund brought one back in the second half, but Atletico Madrid held on to secure a 2-1 win. The road team completed the comeback in the other match though, with Barcelona winning a 3-2 thriller against Paris Saint-Germain that included four goals in the second half. All in all, this was a great round of quarterfinal first legs filled with plenty of goals, and the second legs next week should be pretty entertaining.

Free Kicks

  • Andrew Wiebe was the latest analyst to dive into Orlando’s attacking woes this season. I personally think things will naturally improve once the team gets some rest under its belt and Luis Muriel settles in. I agree with Wiebe though that Wilder Cartagena and Cesar Araujo must return to form.
  • The Champions League shouldn’t overshadow a strong slate of Europa League quarterfinals today. My favorite matchup of the four would have to be the Italian showdown between AC Milan and Roma.
  • English forward Rachel Daly announced that she is retiring from international soccer. The 32-year-old scored 22 goals last season with Aston Villa and has scored 16 goals in 84 appearances with England.
  • Midfielder Dillon Serna is hanging up his cleats at age 30 after a career that included time with the Colorado Rapids and Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
  • Manchester City’s Rodri is feeling the wear and tear of his team’s pursuit for silverware. Rest may be hard to come by for him during a congested schedule, and he hasn’t lost in the past 66 games he’s played in.
  • Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy shared the struggle he had after retiring, providing details on his drug addiction and the despair felt after he quit playing.

That’s all I have for you today on this fine Thursday. Treat yourself to something you deserve, check in with a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, and have a great day!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/10/24

MLS Earth Day kits are in, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson gets noticed, U.S. wins SheBelieves Cup, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. Time to start your day with some tasty links. Orlando City and the Pride are back in action this weekend, and OCB has a match tomorrow. That means plenty of goodness to end the week. Three straight days of Orlando matches is something for which to be grateful. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City’s Greener Goals

Orlando City joins the other clubs in MLS in celebrating Earth Day with the Greener Goals week of service. Each club will volunteer time to help the environment. The club has two cleanups scheduled, including one in the area around the stadium in which fans can contribute to the effort. Additionally, all the clubs will have special One Planet pre-match kits. The kits are made from recycled materials and represent either soil, woods, or water. I’m guessing that the Orlando City kit is of the soil variety.

Dagur Dan is Da Man

The Mane Land PawedCast isn’t the only outfit noticing that Dagur Dan Thorhallsson is a force to be reckoned with. To be fair, he had some struggles during Orlando City’s hectic start to the season. Once he was rested, he was back in form and others outside of Orlando are taking notice. It’s not particularly surprising given his very nice right foot on crosses, his ability to take on opponents, and his ability to get back on defense. I’m looking forward to more from him because I don’t want no Fop! I’m a Dagur Dan man!

Barbra Banda Sends Zambia to the Olympics

After a 2-1 loss to Morocco in the first leg, Zambia bounced back with a 2-0 road win in the second leg to qualify for this summer’s Olympics. Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda scored twice in the match, including a penalty in extra time to secure the win on aggregate. It’s the second straight trip to the Olympics for Zambia, with Banda scoring six goals in the group stage of the last Olympics. This year, Zambia is in a tough group against the U.S., Germany, and Australia, but has the talent to make a run.

Once Upon a What?

Once Upon a Coconut is now the official coconut water sponsor of Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and Inter&Co Stadium. If you’re like me, your first response was, “I was unaware that official coconut water sponsors were a thing.” Well, they are, and now the club is a leader in this exciting new frontier. All kidding aside, sponsors mean money for the club, which is a good thing, and the product will be available to sample in the Mane Street Plaza Fan Zone. Drink up, me hearties!

USWNT Wins the SheBelieves Cup

It took the USWNT all the way to penalty kicks to finally win the 2024 SheBelieves Cup, defeating Canada 2-2 (5-4). Canada struck first before the U.S. took the lead on a Sophia Smith brace. Canada equalized late on a soft penalty conceded by Crystal Dunn, and the match went to spot kicks to decide things. Despite missing the first shot, the U.S. eventually won, thanks to three saves by Alyssa Naeher, who also contributed a goal in the shootout.

In the third-place match, Brazil and Japan also went to penalty kicks, with Brazil winning the shootout 3-0 after a 1-1 draw, with Lorena saving all three of Japan’s penalty kicks. Cristiane scored the equalizer for Brazil in the 71st minute to ultimately send the game to penalties. The Orlando Pride’s Angelina and Marta played for Brazil.

Racial Abuse in El Trafico

Following LAFC’s 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy Saturday, the Galaxy’s Ghanaian forward, Joseph Paintsil, was the victim of online racial abuse. Reportedly, an LAFC fan used a derogatory slur and criticized Paintsil’s performance in the match. MLS, the Galaxy, and LAFC all condemned the incident. The parties are continuing to work with local authorities to hold the person accountable.

To be very clear, as far as I’m concerned, there is no room for this in soccer or anywhere. No racism, no homophobia, no transphobia — just stop being horrible.

Free Kicks

That will do it for today. Remember to check back daily as we get you ready for all the upcoming matches. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading