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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 vs. Cavalry FC, Concacaf Champions Cup: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions play their first competitive match of 2024 north of the border in the Concacaf Champions Cup.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night Concacaf Champions Cup matchup between Orlando City and Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League at Starlight Stadium in Langford, British Columbia at 10 p.m. (FOX Sports 2, TUDN). It’s the first meeting ever between the teams and Orlando City’s first ever match against a CPL team.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.


There isn’t any. These teams have never met, nor has Orlando City faced anyone in the Canadian Premier League before.

The Lions will be experiencing their fourth international cup competition and their second foray into Concacaf Champions League/Cup, having drawn twice against Tigres UANL last season. Orlando bowed out of last year’s competition due to the away goals tiebreaker. Orlando City has also competed twice in Leagues Cup.


Both teams will be playing their first competitive match of the 2024 season. Orlando City is coming off a 4-0-1 preseason, drawing 1-1 against Flamengo before reeling off four straight wins against Rhode Island FC, the New England Revolution, the Houston Dynamo, and the Colorado Rapids. City reached the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 2023 and is looking to build on its most successful season to date in MLS.

Cavalry FC is coming off a season in which it finished top of the table in the regular season, but fell 2-1 after extra time in the CPL championship match against Forge FC. As far as CPL teams go, the Lions will be facing one of the league’s best, as you’d expect in a competition called “Champions Cup.”

“We’re very proud and very happy to bring Orlando City to this beautiful city and this excellent competition,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “(We’re) Feeling proud of playing in Champions Cup in Concacaf and obviously aiming for the best prize, and here we are starting the season with obviously a very competitive game.”

Pareja is suspended for tonight due to his red card in the second leg against Tigres in 2023.

Projected Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Michael Halliday.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Nico Lodeiro, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Duncan McGuire.

Cavalry FC (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Marco Carducci.

Defenders: Bradley Kamdem, Daan Klomp, Eryk Kobza, Fraser Aird.

Defensive Midfielders: Charlie Trafford, Jesse Daley.

Attacking Midfielders: William Akio, Sergio Camargo, Ali Musse.

Forward: Myer Bevan.


REF: Juan Gabriel Calderon (Costa Rica).
AR1: William Arrieta (Costa Rica).
AR2: Henri Pupiro (Nicaragua).
4TH: Keylor Herrera (Costa Rica).
VAR: Oscar Mejia (Mexico).
VAR1: Erick Miranda (Mexico).

How to Watch

Match Time: 10 p.m.

Venue: Starlight Stadium — Langford, British Columbia.

TV: FOX Sports 2, TUDN.

Streaming: The match can be streamed on FOX Sports GO, the FOX Sports app, and the TUDN app.

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).

Enjoy the match. Go City!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/21/24

Orlando City takes on Cavalry FC tonight, Lions sign Jeorgio Kocevski, USWNT wins in Concacaf W Gold Cup, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you in Florida as we get to watch the Lions in action tonight in the Concacaf Champions Cup. There’s not much new with me this week other than staying busy covering high school basketball and hockey. Let’s also wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride forward Amanda Allen. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Takes on Cavalry FC Tonight

Orlando City will be in action tonight in the first round of the Concacaf Champions Cup, as it takes on Cavalry FC at Starlight Stadium at 10 p.m. This matchup will be the Lions’ first competitive match of 2024, with their MLS season opener against CF Montreal set for Saturday. The Lions were knocked out by Tigres due to away goals in last year’s Concacaf Champions League. Cavalry FC will make its debut in this competition tonight and qualified by winning the 2023 Canadian Premier League Shield. The second leg between these two sides will be on Feb. 27 at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando City Signs First-Round Draft Pick Jeorgio Kocevski

Orlando City signed 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick Jeorgio Kocevski to a contract through the 2024 season, with club options for 2025, 2026, and 2027. Kocevski scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time in Orlando’s final preseason match against the Colorado Rapids this past weekend. The midfielder was selected 21st overall in the first round of the 2024 MLS SuperDraft by the Lions in December. He played four years for Syracuse, recording seven goals and 18 assists in 71 matches. Kocevski is the only player the club has signed from the Lions’ 2024 draft class and will likely get some minutes with Orlando City B this season.

St. Louis City and Philadelphia Union Win in Champions Cup

Orlando City isn’t the only MLS team kicking off its Concacaf Champions Cup campaign this week. St. Louis City edged out the Houston Dynamo 2-1, with rookie Hosei Kijima scoring the winner in stoppage time. The Philadelphia Union were on the road in Costa Rica to face off against Deportivo Saprissa and won 3-2 thanks to a hat trick from Julian Carranza in the second half. As for other tournament matches this week, the New England Revolution face Independiente in Panama tonight, with Nashville playing Moca FC in the Dominican Republic and FC Cincinnati taking on Jamaica’s Cavalier SC tomorrow.

USWNT Beats the Dominican Republic in W Gold Cup

The United States Women’s National Team got its Concacaf W Gold Cup campaign off to a great start with a 5-0 win against the Dominican Republic in Group A. Olivia Moultrie scored her first USWNT goal to give her team an early lead, with Lynn Williams giving the U.S. another goal before halftime. Moultrie scored another in the second half to earn her brace, and Jenna Nighswonger converted a penalty for her first USWNT goal as well. Former Pride forward Alex Morgan replaced Mia Fishel on the roster due to injury and scored from the penalty spot in stoppage time. The USWNT’s next game will be against Argentina on Friday at 10:15 p.m.

UEFA Champions League Roundup

The UEFA Champions League had plenty of drama as the round of 16 continued. Inter Milan won 1-0 in its first leg against Atletico Madrid at home, with Mark Arnautovic scoring the only goal in the match. In the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund played to a thrilling 1-1 draw. The second legs for both matchups will be played on March 13. There is more Champions League action today, as FC Porto hosts Arsenal while Napoli takes on Barcelona.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS power rankings are out just before the regular season begins. Orlando City begins the season in the fifth spot.
  • Orlando City and the Orlando Pride announced fan experience upgrades at Inter&Co Stadium featuring Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in merchandise shops, stadium Wi-Fi upgrades, and a jersey history experience.
  • The MLS Players Association released a statement on the ongoing referee lockout.
  • Here is the list of MLS Season Pass commentator assignments for opening week.

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

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Orlando City

Orlando City Signs First-Round Draft Pick Jeorgio Kocevski

Orlando City signs its first-round draft pick Jeorgio Kocevski to a one-year deal with three option years.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City SC announced the signing of first-round 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick Jeorgio Kocevski today. The deal is through the upcoming 2024 season with club options for 2025, 2026, and 2027. The Lions selected the Syracuse midfielder with the 21st overall pick in the draft in December.

“Jeorgio has had a really strong preseason camp with us, demonstrating everything we saw in him when we were scouting him and analyzing his game in college,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “He’s done well working his way into the group, even starting in our friendly against Flamengo and holding his own against some of the best in Brazil, and we’re excited to have him with us this season.”

The box-to-box midfielder made three appearances this preseason, starting against Brazilian club Flamengo and the following scrimmage against USL Championship side Rhode Island FC. He came on at halftime against the Colorado Rapids last weekend, scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute.

Prior to being selected by the Lions, the Liverpool, NY, native made 71 appearances with 65 starts and logged 5,599 minutes for Syracuse in four years. He scored seven goals and recorded 18 assists, putting 33 of his 93 shots on frame. Additionally, he was part of Syracuse’s 2022 NCAA national championship team, playing 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw, but missing in the team’s victorious shootout over Indiana.

Kocevski had a breakout junior year, being named to the United Soccer Coaches’ All-South Region third team, All-ACC third team, NCAA All-Tournament team, and ACC All-Tournament team. During his senior year, he wore the armband for the Orange and was named All-ACC first team and ACC Co-Midfielder of the Year.

What It Means for Orlando City

Kocevski was the most likely pick from this most recent draft to be signed by Orlando City. The departure of club captain Mauricio Pereyra left a spot in the midfield and Head Coach Oscar Pareja seemed to feel the rookie could fill it from early on. His start against Flamengo was in the place of regular starter Cesar Araujo, who was on international duty with the Uruguay U-23 national team. He played against Flamengo’s best lineup and did quite well in almost an hour on the field in his first minutes of play at the professional level.

While a spot was open for the signing of Kocevski, he likely won’t see much of the field for the first team this season. In addition to being behind starters Araujo and Wilder Cartagena, the defensive midfielder will be behind Felipe on the depth chart. In all likelihood, the rookie will slot in with Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro to get some minutes, but there is room for him to start regularly with that team.

Kocevski is currently the only player signed by the club from the Lions’ 2024 draft class. West Virginia midfielder Yutaro Tsukada, Pittsburgh midfielder Filip Mirkovic, and Charlotte midfielder Riyon Tori remained unsigned, with the latter opting to return to school for his senior season.

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