Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Final Score 2-0 as Lions Suffer First Road Loss
Once again the Lions were simply not sharp enough with the final details as they suffered their first road defeat of the season.
If Orlando City went to Montreal looking for revenge for last year’s road playoff loss, you’d never know it. The Lions (4-4-2, 14 points) were lethargic and sloppy as they suffered their first road loss, another 2-0 defeat to CF Montreal (4-6-0, 12 points) at Stade Saputo.
The hosts weren’t particularly good for much of the night either, but did enough in the attack to get on the board and got away with their few defensive mistakes as the Lions helped them by missing the target repeatedly on their best scoring chances. A Robin Jansson own goal and Romell Quioto’s strike moments later lifted Montreal to its third consecutive 2-0 victory.
“A game with two very different phases from our performance,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “First half, I thought we dominated the game. I thought we were very clear with our actions that the boys put on the pitch. We had enough actions to unlevel the score and surely (should) just be leading it. But we came out of the half with a zero-zero that was dangerous. The reaction from Montreal in the second half made a difference.”
Pareja’s starting lineup was the same as last Saturday’s starting XI at home against the LA Galaxy, with Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Kyle Smith, Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Michael Halliday. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena held down the central midfield behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Facundo Torres, and Martin Ojeda, with Ercan Kara up top.
The first half began a bit lively but then slowed to kind of a crawl over the final 15 minutes. The Lions were often the better side in the opening 30 minutes but Montreal found some control as the pace slowed. Orlando City failed to take the lead in the first half by missing the target on decent looks at goal and because Gallese made one good save on Montreal’s best chance.
Angulo got a good look early in the game, taking the ball in the left corner of the box and cutting across to his right, unleashing a shot near the arch. He hit his effort wide of the right post and that was the theme of the first half for the Lions.
Halliday won a foul on Ariel Lassiter in the 13th minute near the right corner. The set piece delivery found Kara in front, but it was dipping and the Austrian center forward had a defender in front of him. He still got his head to it but beat it into the ground and it bounced up easily for goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois.
One minute after that half chance, Ojeda could have put the Lions on top. Cartagena did well to turn Montreal over in its own half and Ojeda had space outside the area. He fired a rocket toward the right side of goal but it stayed wide.
In the 19th minute, Halliday sent a dangerous cross into the box but it was just a bit too far in front of Kara at the near post and the ball took a deflection before Torres arrived and whiffed on his shot attempt. Seconds later, it was Torres firing wide right, as the Lions just couldn’t dial in.
Montreal’s best look came just after that, as Halliday got a foot on Lassiter’s nutmeg attempt but the ball bounced favorable for the former Inter Miami man. he took a shot from outside the box that was labeled for just inside the left post but Gallese made a good sprawling save.
The hosts started to get into the match over the rest of the first half, moving forward up the wings and getting both Orlando City’s starting fullbacks booked. Chinonso Offor got a head to a corner kick in the 32nd minute but his shot was right at Gallese’s chest.
Kara sent a free kick over the wall in the 38th minute after Torres drew a foul in a dangerous spot, but his shot didn’t have much pace on it and asked no questions of Sirois, who made an easy catch.
That was about it for a plodding end to the first 45 minutes and the teams went to the break without any stoppage time at all.
The Lions finished the half with more possession (58.1%-41.9%), shots (8-4), and passing accuracy (82%-80.5%). Both teams got two shots on target and Montreal won more corners (3-2).
The second half began pretty much how the first ended. Neither team was doing much and Orlando couldn’t find a final product. There were a few decent crosses into the area in the first 10 minutes after the break but no Lions could get onto them. Kara had a nice knockdown for Torres in the 54th minute but the Uruguayan had his shot blocked by defender Rudy Camacho.
Montreal got its goal on the dumbest play in a dumb game. Camacho came up the pitch and no one picked him up after he passed it away, although he continued his run. Of course the ball found him in the area on the rebound of Gallese’s save on Lassiter’s shot, and the center back fired off the right post. The ball came to Aaron Herrera on the right. The winger/fullback cut inside onto his left foot and fired a shot that would have gone 10 yards wide if it hadn’t hit Jansson and bounced in for the opening goal in the 62nd minute.
“One of their center backs got forward and that sure did create the overload,” Smith said. “And the cross came in and it was a little hectic. And then the ball popped out. I just remember the shot got off, hit the post, and then unlucky with the deflection, because I don’t think it was going to hit the target.”
“It was a moment where we lost concentration,” Pareja said. “We knew that their wingbacks are aggressive and we needed to control them. And then after that, our reaction was timid. It was not with the same intensity and the same fire that we had in the first half.”
Orlando tried to respond immediately but didn’t fashion much danger and that allowed the hosts to put the game away with a second. A ball out on the right side was played to Herrera, who ran away from Angulo and found a wide open Quioto near the penalty spot. Players of that quality don’t miss from there. Quioto didn’t, and the Montreal lead bulged to 2-0 at the 66-minute mark.
“We started probably shy. We were not the same,” Pareja said. “And then they started getting the spaces on the flanks and they were fine and precise more than us. Every team has a half, but we couldn’t score in the first and in the second Montreal did.”
Angulo could have pulled a goal right back in the 68th minute, freeing himself up nicely for a shot from the left but again he fizzed a shot just off target, slightly high and to the right.
Rather than throwing on additional attacking players, Oscar Pareja subbed off some attackers for others. Felipe, Duncan McGuire, Rafael Santos, Ramiro Enrique, and Gaston Gonzalez, but he withdrew Kara, Ojeda, and Angulo, along with Smith and Cartagena.
The substitutions made no real difference down the stretch. They did manage to win a few set pieces and get a couple of Montreal’s defenders booked, but that was the only effect they had on the proceedings.
The Lions’ best chances in the final 20 minutes resulted in Ojeda crossing to no one in particular when he seemingly had enough room to try a shot or hold the play for some runners to arrive; Halliday getting way under a half-volley effort with the goalkeeper out of position after he came out to punch away a cross; and a free kick from just outside the area that Felipe sent into low orbit. Jansson had a shout for a penalty when Herrera pulled him down from behind by his shirt but a review didn’t convince the video assistant referee to ask the on-field official to take a second look.
City’s frustration was evident in late yellow cards on Araujo, Enrique, and Felipe that were all unnecessary.
Orlando City finished with more possession (54.9%-45.1%), shots (13-7), passing accuracy (81%-79.4%), and corners (5-4), but the hosts had more shots hit the target (3-2). A lack of the final details have plagued Orlando throughout this first third of the season and this match was no different. Angulo, Ojeda, and Torres all could have hit their shots inside the goal frame, but as we’ve seen all too often in 2023, they simply couldn’t do it.
Kara put two of his four shot attempts on target and at least forced Sirois to do something, but the rest of the team went 0-for-9 in getting their shots within the goal frame.
“The game became very lazy,” Pareja said of the second half, following Montreal’s two quick goals. “Montreal started stopping the game in every second and then it was difficult for us to get back in the game.”
“I think an important piece is everyone maybe just look at themselves and what they can personally do better on,” Smith said about his team finding some consistency. “And then, if everyone just gets a little better, then the whole team gets better. And you know, once we get everyone being consistent, then as a team we’re more consistent.”
The Lions will stay on the road and pay a visit to Charlotte FC on Tuesday in U.S. Open Cup action. The next league game will be next Saturday in Columbus against the Crew.
Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Final Score 3-0 as Lions Extend Unbeaten Run to Five Games
A Facundo Torres brace and two goal contributions from Ivan Angulo led the Lions past 10-man New York.
Facundo Torres scored a brace — getting one of his goals from the penalty spot — after Ivan Angulo opened the scoring, and the two wingers led Orlando City to a 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. The Lions (6-4-5, 23 points) extended their unbeaten streak to five games (2-0-3), improved to 4-1-2 on the road, and beat the Red Bulls (4-6-7, 19 points) for the fourth consecutive match in all competitions.
Angulo’s first-half goal was the difference at halftime but just after the restart, the hosts had a player sent off, then conceded a penalty, and New York finished with nine men after using all five substitutions due to Lewis Morgan picking up an injury.
“It’s a great victory for our team. We needed something like that at this stage of the season,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “We’re still finding ways to get better, but when you look back and see how we have overcome moments…today was another good example of the character of the players. And under that discipline and cohesiveness with the players on the field, we found our ways to score in the right moments and beat a difficult rival that never gave up. So we’re very happy with the victory.”
It was Pareja’s 50th win as Orlando City’s coach in all competitions.
Pareja’s lineup was the same as last weekend vs. Atlanta, featuring Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Kyle Smith. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena continued their central midfield partnership behind an attacking line of Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, and Torres, while Ercan Kara led the attack up top.
The first half was a complete rock fight, with neither side getting much done in the first 15 minutes. New York had the better of the play, however, with Gallese getting caught far from his net in the 12th minute, but the defense was able to clear the centering pass. Two minutes later, New York got forward when Carlos took a forearm in the back and went down. When no call came, Dru Yearwood raced forward and got to the ball at the end line, but Gallese blocked his tight-angle shot out for a corner.
The Lions opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Defender John Tolkin got caught high up the pitch and Orlando made the hosts pay. Cartagena unlocked the defense with a through ball for Angulo to run onto. The Colombian dribbled in, avoided a sliding challenge attempt from Dylan Nealis, and fired home with his left foot for his third goal of the season.
Much of the rest of the half consisted of Orlando surviving transition attacks and then turning the ball over shortly after taking a goal kick. The Red Bulls had a golden opportunity in transition in the 30th minute, but Luquinhas hit a soft shot right at Gallese after Pererya lost the ball just past the halfway line, igniting the Red Bulls’ transition game.
Torres laid off a ball for Smith in the box in the 41st minute, and the defender should have done better from that position, but he sent his shot about six yards wide of the left post.
The Red Bulls presented a ton of difficulty in what was announced as a minimum of five minutes of stoppage time (for…reasons), which ended up becoming eight. Tom Barlow should have scored into an empty net in the seventh minute of injury time but he fired well over the bar from the top of the box with Gallese out of position from an initial shot attempt.
The Lions held more possession in the opening half (52.1%-47.9%). The Red Bulls had more shots (7-2) and shots on target (2-1), earning the only corner of the opening period. Neither team passed well, with Orlando City holding a slim 76.1%-74.9% advantage. But it’s where the Lions made poor passes — the middle third of the field — that was concerning and led to most of the danger New York presented.
The game got weird just after the restart. Just two minutes after the break, a ball over the top found Kara, who powered past Andres Reyes. The big center back, who was on a yellow card for a high hit on Torres late in the first half — a play that was reviewed as a possible red but wasn’t changed after review — pulled Kara back in transition and received a second yellow card, ending his night after 47 minutes.
The Red Bulls cleared the ensuing free kick, but moments later, when play stopped, referee Victor Rivas went to the monitor again to review the earlier set piece. Sean Nealis had pulled Jansson down from behind as the ball was arriving, and Rivas awarded a penalty after watching the replay. Torres stepped up to the spot and beat Coronel — who guessed correctly — putting it in the top right of the net with a great deal of power. Torres’ second goal via penalty against New York this season made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute.
Torres said Coronel tried to psych him out before the penalty.
“I think everyone agrees that if a penalty is well taken, there’s limited possibilities that the goalkeeper has to save it,” Torres said through a club interpeter. “And so, I had that in my mind walking up, even though this goalkeeper knows me a little bit. And he was actually saying that to me when I was walking up to take the penalty and mentioning that he knows me and that he’s faced me before. But like I said, when when you’re taking a penalty, if it’s well taken, the penalty taker has the more possibilities to put it in the back of the net. So that was kind of what I was thinking going in, is if I take this well, there’s not much that he can do about it.”
Torres took it well.
Things looked good for Orlando after the second goal, but then Araujo went down with an injury and had to be subbed off, with Felipe entering the battle in the 57th minute.
Even down two goals and a man, the Red Bulls continued to press high up the pitch. Even up a man, Orlando City continued to be careless with the ball, giving up possession repeatedly and flirting with New York’s counterattack game. Tolkin saw his shot deflect out for a corner in the 58th minute. Orlando cleared and Torres raced down the field in transition but somehow managed to get dispossessed, allowing the hosts to come the other way. Yearwood fired wide on the other end to end the counter-counterattack.
Pareja sacrificed Kara and Pereyra for Duncan McGuire and Martin Ojeda after that, and things calmed down for a few moments. Angulo was sent down the left in the 65th minute and his shot from a tight angle was saved by Coronel.
Torres put the game away in the 72nd minute. The Lions cleared a set piece and Ojeda knocked the ball down the pitch on the recycle attempt. The ball ended up in acres of space and Angulo blazed past Frankie Amaya to reach it first and carry it down the left. He drew a second defender toward him, and then fed a perfect pass to his right for Torres to bury.
The hosts, to their credit, did not give up. Down a man and three goals, after playing in Miami three nights earlier, the Red Bulls just kept coming. Second-half sub Elias Manoel fired a shot that Jansson blocked in the 76th minute.
Torres had a chance to complete his hat trick a minute later, but he unselfishly tried to cross for Ojeda, and the defense knocked it out for a corner. A minute later, Torres sent a well-shaped cross from the left to Ojeda, but the Argentine smashed his volley effort into the ground and it bounced off target.
New York then won a series of late corners and Orlando had a scary moment in the 82nd minute when Dylan Nealis fell into Gallese’s leg as the goalkeeper was landing after catching the ball. Gallese looked to be in a great deal of pain and distress, but after several minutes of treatment he was able to continue.
He didn’t look steady moments later though, when he took too much time to make a pass and it was nearly blocked into the goal behind him by Manoel. It went just wide.
Jansson blocked a menacing shot from Morgan in the 91st minute, and the New York midfielder went down after the shot. Morgan was unable to continue. The Red Bulls were out of subs and had to finish the game with nine men. Nevertheless, they kept pressing and winning the ball from a careless Orlando side, but the Lions were able to see out the eight minutes of stoppage and claim all three points.
The Lions finished with more possession (51.2%-48.8%) and fired more shots on target (5-2). The hosts passed more accurately (79.2%-78%), attempted more shots (14-7), and won more corners (8-2).
Orlando City’s three goals were the most conceded by New York’s stingy defense this season, and the Lions matched their season high with three goals in the match, which they set in their last road game at Inter Miami.
Pareja said the counterattacking style of play was the game plan entering the match.
“New York is a team who like to press high all the time, and their intensity to create chaos and and confuse the teams, forcing them to make mistakes, is a style that we respect and we know. Every time we play against them it’s that way. But that provides some spaces in behind and with them it’s a key to be sharp in the moments that the game allows us to get in behind and be lethal in those moments, and that was exactly what happened tonight.”
Orlando City returns home next Saturday to host the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m.
Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More
The Lions look to get their offense going on the road against one of the league’s stingiest teams.
Welcome to your match thread and preview for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (5-4-5, 20 points) and the New York Red Bulls (4-5-7, 19 points) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ (7:30 p.m., MLS Season Pass on Apple TV). This is the second of the two scheduled league matches between the sides this season.
Here’s what you need to know for the match.
The Lions are 7-9-2 in 18 league meetings with the Red Bulls in the all-time series (8-9-2 in all competitions), with a record of 3-5-1 in road matches.
The most recent meeting between the sides took place on opening day, with Orlando City winning 1-0 on a Facundo Torres penalty kick on Feb. 25 at Exploria Stadium. Sean Nealis’ handball allowed the Lions to start the season with a victory.
Orlando City won the most recent meeting at Red Bull Arena, a 1-0 decision on Aug. 13, 2022, thanks to a Torres goal. That allowed the Lions to split the regular-season meetings and take two of three against New York in all competitions in 2022.
The Lions scored five unanswered goals to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 romp in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals on July 27, 2022 at Exploria Stadium. Cesar Araujo scored his first two professional goals on set pieces, while Mauricio Pereyra, Torres, and Benji Michel also found the net.
The win last August allowed the Lions to snap a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) in the regular-season series. The last of those non-wins came on April 24, 2022, when the Lions were walloped 3-0 at home on goals by Luquinhas, Cristian Casseres Jr., and Lewis Morgan, and Orlando City failed to get any of its measly three shot attempts on target.
The Red Bulls swept the season series in 2021. The teams met at Exploria Stadium on July 3 of that season with New York taking home a 2-1 win. Casseres opened the scoring just six minutes in, but Chris Mueller pulled the Lions level early in the second half. Fabio’s late goal lifted the visitors. Pereyra’s poor penalty was saved by Carlos Coronel, which cost Orlando City a better result.
The Red Bulls also handed Orlando City its first loss of the 2021 season, a 2-1 affair at Red Bull Arena, on May 29, 2021. Nani was suspended for that match and it showed, as the Lions were sloppy in possession and lacked composure on the ball. New York took the lead on goals by Caden Clark and Casseres, before Silvester van der Water pulled one back late. The Dutchman had a golden opportunity to tie the match moments later but skied his shot well over the bar.
The Lions got a road draw on Oct. 18, 2020, with Brian White equalizing deep in stoppage time in a 1-1 match. Nani had put the Lions ahead in the second half with a penalty kick goal and Orlando clinched its first ever MLS playoff spot despite spilling those late two points. That was the last match in the club’s record 12-match unbeaten streak in MLS play.
Orlando got the better of New York at Exploria Stadium on Oct. 3, 2020, winning 3-1 on goals by Daryl Dike, Junior Urso, and Antonio Carlos. Florian Valot scored for New York.
The Red Bulls won 1-0 at Exploria Stadium on July 21, 2019. White’s goal stood up as Carlos Ascues, Tesho Akindele, and Sacha Kljestan each hit the woodwork in the second half. Prior to that, the Lions eked out a 1-0 win at Red Bull Arena on Kljestan’s goal on March 23, 2019. Before that game, the home team had won each of the previous five home games in the series, splitting a pair of matches during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The teams split two meetings in 2018, with the Red Bulls grabbing a 1-0 result in the 2018 season finale to capture the Supporters’ Shield and the Lions pulling off a 4-3 home victory on March 31, 2018. Each team won at home in 2017 to split the two-game series, with New York winning 3-1 on Aug. 12, and Orlando City opening the season series with a 1-0 win on April 9 behind Servando Carrasco’s goal.
The teams met three times in 2016, with New York going 2-0-1. The teams split two games in 2015, with the road team winning both times, including Orlando City’s 5-2 win in New Jersey behind a Cyle Larin hat trick.
Orlando City enters this match on a four-game unbeaten run but only one of those was a win (1-0-3) — on the road at Inter Miami two weeks ago. Two of those three draws saw Orlando take a 1-0 lead but fail to add a second goal, with both New York City FC and Atlanta United stealing points with equalizers after the 85th minute.
The Lions are 3-1-2 on the road this season, which is much better than their 2-3-3 home mark. City has gotten a result in two straight away games (1-0-1).
New York is coming off a 1-0 win at Inter Miami on Wednesday night. That was the Red Bulls’ first road victory of the year, as they improved to 1-4-4 away from Red Bull Arena. They’ve been much better at home, going 3-1-3 so far in 2023. New York has won two straight home games and has gone 3-1-2 since Troy Lesesne took over as coach following the firing of Gerhard Struber.
The Red Bulls’ success has been entirely predicated on their defense. They’ve scored just 11 goals in 16 games — the worst in Major League Soccer — but they have conceded only 13 goals on the season, which is second only to Nashville’s 10 (in 15 games). New York doesn’t allow many shots, and the Lions have been held to fewer than four shot attempts in two of the last three regular-season meetings and just six back in February (one on target). That defense, led by John Tolkin, Andres Reyes, and Nealis, and fronted by several capable defensive midfielders/wingbacks, has limited opponents’ chances and Coronel is a solid goalkeeper behind them.
Morgan’s return from injury could bolster the New York attack, which is generated largely through turning opponents over and getting transition opportunities. Tom Barlow and Cory Burke pace the Red Bulls with two goals apiece, along with Reyes — a formidable aerial presence — and the injured Omir Fernandez.
“We played them [the New York Red Bulls] already here at home. We know how they are and their characteristics,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the match. “We will work during the week with our tools. It will be great if we cannot just dominate the game but open it up and then lead the game and just walk out with three points. That’s what we want.”
Orlando City will be without Gastón González (thigh), Abdi Salim (knee), and Michael Halliday (international duty), while Luca Petrasso (thigh) has been upgraded to questionable. New York is without Serge Ngoma (hamstring), Fernandez (hamstring), Steven Sserwadda (knee), Cam Harper (red card suspension), and Daniel Edelman (international duty).
- Our Intelligence Report provides more background on tonight’s opponents, courtesy of Mark Fishkin of the Seeing Red podcast.
- The most recent episode of the PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions for today’s match.
- Our David Rohe gave his three keys to an Orlando City victory in this match.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Kyle Smith.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.
Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, Facundo Torres.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Thomas Williams, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Felipe, Shak Mohammed, Martin Ojeda, Ramiro Enrique, Duncan McGuire.
New York Red Bulls (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Carlos Coronel.
Defenders: John Tolkin, Sean Nealis, Andres Reyes, Dylan Nealis.
Defensive Midfielders: Dru Yearwood, Peter Stroud.
Attacking Midfielders: Tom Barlow, Cristian Casseres Jr., Luquinhas.
Forward: Cory Burke.
Bench: Ryan Meara, Hassan Ndam, Kyle Duncan, Wikelman Carmona, Frankie Amaya, Lewis Morgan, Elias Manoel, Dante Vanzeir.
REF: Victor Rivas.
AR1: Jeffrey Greeson.
AR2: Adam Garner.
4TH: Alexis Da Silva.
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
AVAR: Eric Weisbrod.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7;30 p.m.
Venue: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ.
TV/Streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
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!
Lion Links: 6/3/23
The Orlando Pride hit the road, OCB players called up, USMNT U-20 squad can make history, and more.
Merry match day morning, Mane Landers! I hope you have multiple screens ready as both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are in action this evening. Hopefully, it will be a weekend of better results for the clubs, as both are coming off difficult results. It’s been a busy week for me already and it won’t slow down anytime soon, so enjoying matches is a nice break. Let’s get to the links.
Orlando Pride Start a Busy Stretch
The Orlando Pride are heading west to play the Houston Dash tonight, followed by an NWSL Challenge Cup match against NJ/NY Gotham FC on Wednesday, and then back to Exploria Stadium to host the Portland Thorns next Sunday. Three games in nine days will test the club’s depth and it’s reasonable to expect a heavily rotated side in the Challenge Cup match. The Pride enter tonight looking for a second straight win over the Dash. To make that a reality the Pride will need to create and this time convert on the chances on goal.
OCB Venezuelan Call-ups
Goalkeeper Javier Otero and fullback/winger Moises Tablante have been called up to the Venezuelan National Football Team for a pair of friendlies this month (translate). Venezuela will face Honduras on June 15 in Washington, D.C. and Guatemala at Rentschler Field on June 18 in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Orlando City B may only be without them for one match, but the team will certainly miss the pair during the time they are on international duty. Otero has been very good in goal, and Tablante has been contributing to the attack. Of course, it is an honor for both to represent their national team and we wish them well.
Pride Month Kicks Off
Both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are celebrating Pride Month with logo changes for both squads. The Pride will be hosting the “Pride in our City” match against the Portland Thorns on June 11 in tribute to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy.
The Lions and the Pride are only two of many other sports teams to recognize and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ communities in June. Other teams include the Wilf-owned Minnesota Vikings and Florida-based Major League Baseball club, the Tampa Bay Rays.
USMNT U-20 Opportunities
When the U-20 USMNT squad meets Uruguay on Sunday there is the possibility that some of the players will also make an appearance for the senior squad in the 2026 World Cup. It’s also possible that this team can advance, possibly to the final. If so, they will make history. If the team makes it past Uruguay either Brazil or Israel will await in the semifinal. Of course, the U.S. is not the only team in Argentina with a path to the trophy.
- Orlando City’s match against the New York Red Bulls is a must watch for the faithful of the two clubs, but evidently not anyone else. Some feel that it is a must-watch in the way a car wreck is. Personally, I think that the way the Red Bulls play contributes to the ugliness way more than Orlando City does, but I am biased. Feel free to check out one of the more “watchable” matches on Saturday night if you want, but I’ll be tuning in to watch our Lions.
- Dallas United was removed from The Soccer Tournament (TST) by tournament officials on the basis of racial slurs made in the team’s match against West Ham United players. Such comments violated the code of conduct for the competition and the West Ham players walked off in protest. Do better, Dallas United.
- The MLS Disciplinary Committee dealt out several fines to some players and one suspension to DC United’s Lewis O’Brien for a serious foul against CF Montreal. Miraculously, no Orlando City players were fined.
- On a happier note, the MLS All-Star week kicks off on July 15. Here is a list of the events for the week. The Leagues Cup follows soon after, with Orlando City starting things off with a match against the Houston Dynamo.
- Members of the USMNT will be playing for their clubs this weekend, including Folarin Balugon in likely his last match for Reims.
- Sergio Ramos will play his last match for Paris Saint-Germain today. Ramos’ contract was not renewed, and he will be available on a free transfer.
- Daniel Farke is out at Borussia Mönchengladbach after just one season. Farke did manage wins against both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, but finished in 10th place in the Bundesliga standings.
- Colin Smith is leaving his role as the chief operating officer in charge of the World Cup division for FIFA. He oversaw the upcoming 2023 Women’s World Cup and the planning of the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The departure is amicable and mutually agreed upon.
- If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of the tech brand, Oppo. It is a partially-state owned Chinese company, and does not sell its product in the U.S. Of course, I’m certain you are familiar with former Orlando City player, Kaká. It turns out that he is a “Global Brand Ambassador” for Oppo, and recently made a trip to Indonesia in that role as a part of the company’s partnership with the 2023 UEFA Champions League. This was the welcome he received.
That will do it for today. Check back for our coverage of both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. Vamos Orlando!
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