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Orlando City vs. Minnesota United FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions grade out in a come from behind road victory?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

After a two-week hiatus, Orlando City traveled north for what could be considered a frigid clash on the pitch against Minnesota Untied. What started as an uneventful match ended in a flurry of goals during the last half hour and ultimately led to Orlando City returning to the City Beautiful with three much-needed points from a 2-1 road win. Here is how we saw OCSC’s performances in Saturday’s road victory at Minnesota.

GK, Pedro Gallese, 7 – El Pulpo did well for a significant portion of the match to keep the game level. Gallese faced 17 shots, with four of them on target. He recorded three saves in the game and the lone goal that Minnesota scored was so clinical and well placed that he had no shot at getting a body part on the ball. His best save of the game came in the 85th minute of the match, when he used his core to block a shot attempt from point blank range from Fanco Fragapane. With an expected goals against of 2.34, holding Minnesota to one is an accomplishment, although some of that was a lack of ruthlessness by the hosts. Gallese completed 70% of his passes and five of 11 long balls.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 – The new father joined forces with fellow center backs Jansson and Carlos on the back line for Orlando City during the away match, logging a full 90 minutes. Out of the back, Schlegel passed at an 81.1% clip including one accurate long ball on four attempts. He committed two fouls on the night and recorded four successful tackles and five clearances. He was partly responsible on Minnesota’s goal, watching Robin Lod, while Hassani Dotson cut in behind him to take the pass and pull Orlando’s defense out of shape. Dotson took Lod’s pass and was able to send in the dangerous pass across the box for the Loons’ goal.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 – Jansson went the full 90 minutes and completed 86.8% of his passes on the night, including two successful long ball passes, albeit on eight attempts. Jansson recorded one interception and no successful duels, with four clearances and one blocked shot. His error while marking Mender Garcia on a long ball early in the match gave Minnesota a golden opportunity to open the scoring, but Bongokuhle Hlongwane muffed his chance. He was also unable to prevent the cross that led to the Loons’ easy goal in the second half as he tried to cover for Schlegel.

D, Antonio Carlos, 6.5 – A welcome sign for Orlando City fans everywhere, not only was AC back in the starting lineup for the first time this season, but he also went the full 90 minutes. Carlos completed 85.2% of his passes on the night and logged an impressive seven successful long balls in the match on nine attempts. AC also logged two interceptions, two clearances, two blocked shots, and two aerials won. He attempted one shot at the other end. Perhaps his biggest contribution was an excellent switch of play to Gaston Gonzalez that started the sequence on the equalizing goal.

MF, Gaston Gonzalez, 6 – Gonzalez drew the start on the left side for this match. His long crossing pass to Ivan Angulo was responsible for Orlando City’s equalizer, but he struggled at times to free himself up for clean crosses and sent several into the shins of Minnesota fullback DJ Taylor. Gonzalez completed 77.4% of his passes but was dispossessed twice and led the team with four unstable touches. He only completed one successful dribble but won two corners for Orlando City. If Gonzalez is going to be in the starting XI, City will need the winger to be more technical and decisive on the field in the attacking half, but he at least acquitted himself well overall on the defensive end with two tackles, an interception, three clearances, and one blocked shot.

MF, Maurico Pererya, 6.5 – The captain saw the field for the first 87 minutes of the match before eventually being subbed off for Dagur Dan Thorhallsson right before Orlando City scored the go-ahead goal. He completed 83.6% of his passes, was credited with one shot — which was blocked — and committed one foul while drawing two. Pereyra was also credited with an assist, his third of the year, as he had the secondary pass on Angulo’s goal. He had no key passes but two dribbles on the night. Defensively he recorded three tackles, an interception, a clearance, and one aerial won.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 – Araujo put in the type of blue collar effort that Orlando City fans have come to know and expect from the defensive midfielder. A steady force in the midfield is important for a team that tends to build out of the back, and Araujo passed at an 87.7% clip on the night and completed four of his six long balls. Additionally, Araujo drew six fouls while only committing one. He logged two successful tackles and an interception. He has shown time and again that his motor never stops and while the end product is not always sexy or flashy, it is exactly the steadying force that Orlando needs.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 7 (MotM) — Angulo’s growth and development on the year so far was put on display from the opening whistle of the match. When acquired last year, fans came to know Angulo for his speed and desire to take multiple players off the dribble. Playing as a wingback, Angulo had a mixed defensive performance, snuffing out multiple attacks but also getting bested by Hlongwane multiple times down his side of the pitch. One of those nearly resulted in a Lod goal but the Finnish winger got under his shot. After being beaten by Hlongwane on a back-post run in the 58th minute, Angulo switched into a different gear and in the 66th minute slotted home a beautiful shot on a cross from Gonzalez to draw the club level. In the 88th minute, from almost the exact same location, he took a cross from Facundo Torres and found himself 1-v-1 with Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair. This time, instead of smashing a rocket blast, Angulo tried to chip the keeper for what looked to be his second goal of the night. The ball instead clanked off the crossbar, but fell to the head of Duncan McGuire for the go-ahead goal. Angulo passed at 72.7% rate with one key pass and one successful cross on two attempts. He attempted two shots, getting one on target. Defensively, Angulo recorded two tackles and two clearances.

MF, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Orlando City needs Torres to find his way on the field, as he was invisible throughout most of the match. Going the full 90 for OCSC, Torres passed at 78.4% accuracy, went 0-for-2 on crossing accuracy, 2-for-2 on long-ball accuracy, and created one chance with a key pass. The Uruguayan Young Designated Player recorded only one shot which was well off target. He chipped in defensively with four tackles and a clearance, committing one foul without drawing any, and he was dispossessed once and had two unstable touches. Defenders are ready for Torres’ favorite move, his cut back to the middle of the field, and are taking that motion away from him outside of the box. As the Lions head into the dog days of summer, they desperately need Torres to find his goal-creating form. He helped set one up Saturday in Minnesota, but only because his cross for McGuire was a bit too high.

MF, Martin Ojeda, 6.5 — Ojeda logged two shots on the night, one which was blocked and the other off target. He completed a solid 81.5% of his passes and was part of the buildup on the equalizing goal, dropping a layoff for Pereyra to send Gonzalez down the left flank. Ojeda led the Lions with four key passes, and was accurate on three of five cross attempts and one of his two long balls. He was dispossessed once and had three unstable touches. Defensively, he recorded one tackle, one interception, and two clearances on the night. Once Orlando City equalized, Ojeda was subbed off for Felipe in a more defensive-minded move aimed at coming home with at least a point.

F, Ramiro Enrique, 6 — Enrique was given the start up top once again and tried to use his speed and positioning to track down balls and hold up play. He took a team-high three shots but none were on target, having one of them blocked. He scompleted 78.3% of his 23 passes while drawing one foul and committing one as well. He also logged three tackles and a clearance on the defensive end and won four aerials. Enrique was subbed off in the 75th minute for McGuire.

Substitutes

MF, Felipe (70′), 6.5 — Felipe came on for Ojeda in the 70th minute to provide an additional defensive presence in the midfield. In his 20 minutes of game time, Felipe completed 91.7% of his passes, including a ridiculous through ball that the attack should have done more with. Defensively, he contributed a clearance in the game’s late stages.

F, Duncan McGuire (75′), 7 — Orlando runs on Duncan. The MLS Super Draft pick subbed on in the 75th minute for Enrique and once again made his presence known with his smart positioning and his late go-ahead header. One of his more mature moments came in stoppage time, when he found himself 1-v-1 in the penalty area with defender Michael Boxall. Rather than trying to ice the match and potentially giving up possession, the rookie calmly took the ball to the corner and burned up a few more valuable seconds.

D, Luca Petrasso (86′), N/A — Petrasso came on in the 86th minute as an additional defensive substitute to spell Gonzalez and ensure that Orlando would not concede a second goal on the road. He did better than that, working a nifty play up the left sideline with Thorhallsson that broke Minnesota’s pressure and eventually led to the game-winning goal. He completed three of his four passing attempts and only touched the ball those four times.

MF, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson (87′), N/A — Thorhallsson was a late sub replacing the captain in the 87th minute. He completed 63% of his six passes on eight touches and successfully completed one dribble. He and Petrasso worked their play along the sideline to perfection and unleashed Torres down the left flank on the game-winning play.


That’s how I saw the individual performances in the come from behind road victory over Minnesota United FC. Let me know how you saw things in the comments, and be sure to vote in the Man of the Match poll below.

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.

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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.

History

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.

Overview

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.

Officials:

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 TUDN.com, 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: 2/21/24

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

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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.

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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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