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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions rate in Orlando City’s 1-1 draw at home against New York City FC?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

After a difficult series of road games, Orlando City returned to Exploria Stadium and drew 1-1 against New York City FC. The Lions got out to an early lead thanks to a goal from Ercan Kara, but faded later in the first half. The defense did well to keep the Pigeons at bay until Gabriel Segal scored his first MLS goal to equalize late. It was a disappointing result when three points were so close to being secured. Here’s how each Lion individually performed in the match.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 7.5 (MOTM) — Gallese proved yet again why signing him to a new contract was Orlando’s best move this off-season. El Pulpo came up with five saves in this match, with each seemingly getting more difficult as the match went on. From denying a header from Maxime Chanot off of a free kick to laying out and saving a long-range shot from Gabriel Pereira, Gallese worked hard to maintain Orlando’s lead. His clean sheet was ruined late in the match on a goal he couldn’t do much about due to the speed on the skipping cross. As far as his distribution, he completed 69.6% of his 23 passes and was accurate on three of his 10 long balls. He’s our Man of the Match for keeping Orlando in front for a majority of the match. He also injured his right hand during the match, but carried on.

D, Kyle Smith, 6 — As NYCFC lacked a clear center forward, it often tried to stretch Orlando’s back line and Smith struggled at times to defend in open space. He picked up a yellow card by taking Pereira down after being beaten and had a few nervy moments. However, Smith did well enough and led the team with three tackles, adding a clearance as well. Although he didn’t have any crosses, Smith completed three of his five long balls and had 44 passes at a 90.9% success rate. He was subbed off in the 84h minute for some fresher legs in Rafael Santos.

D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — The center back served up a patented long ball to set up Orlando’s goal, finding Gaston Gonzalez out wide in a threatening area. The Beefy Swede connected on three of his five long balls and finished with 53 passes at a strong 88.7% success rate. Jansson anchored Orlando’s defense alongside Antonio Carlos and had four clearances, two blocked shots, and a tackle. Unfortunately, his night was marred a bit by not marking Segal’s run in the box well enough to stop him from equalizing.

D, Antonio Carlos, 7 — Carlos looked right at home in the center of defense at Exploria Stadium, finishing the match with four clearances and an interception. He was particularly dominant in the air, winning all three of his defensive aerial duels. Of his seven long balls, three were accurate and he was successful on 89.4% of his 47 passes. He nearly scored off of a corner kick in the second half by Spartan kicking a bouncing ball in front of goal, but Luis Barraza came up with the save.

D, Michael Halliday, 6 — His crossing could have been better overall, particularly when on the attack, but the right back also served up two key passes in this one. Only one of his four crosses was successful, as he completed 84.9% of his 33 passes on the right side of the field. He also delivered a fantastic long ball that coasted along the touchline for Martin Ojeda. There were a few defensive lapses, but he often recovered well enough to help put out the fire. Halliday had three clearances, an interception, and blocked a shot as well. He could’ve done better on NYCFC’s goal by heading away the danger more cleanly or stopping Talles Magno’s cross, but it’d also be a bit unfair to pin too much of the blame on him for a goal that seemed like a longtime coming from the opposition.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — The 22-year-old had a busy night, leading the Lions with 78 touches and also completing 82.8% of his 58 passes. Araujo completed three of his six long balls and had a shot blocked late in stoppage time following a corner. Defensively, he had two tackles and a clearance to help limit NYCF’s chances. It was a solid outing from him and the ninth game in a row in which he’s played all 90 minutes.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 7 — The Peruvian set a single-game club record by committing seven fouls throughout the match, all without receiving a booking. His 70 touches were second only to Araujo, and he had a team-high 60 passes at an impressive 90% completion rate. Cartagena had two clearances and a tackle to help out defensively as well. He put his only shot on target, although it was fired directly at Barraza, and was accurate on two of his five long balls. It was a strong performance from Cartagena and I wouldn’t mind seeing him taking more shots when the ball falls to him at the top of the box during attacking sequences.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo had 31 touches in 65 minutes and led the team with three shots, although he only put one of them on target. That effort earned a corner from a tight angle, with another attempt blocked and a third sent into the stands. He was successful on two of his four dribbles and gave the team some needed speed on both sides of the ball. One of his two crosses found their mark and he was successful on 85.7% of his 21 passes. It wasn’t a bad night from Angulo by any means, but he wasn’t as dynamic as he’s proven to be in other matches.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — Although he didn’t have a shot, he did contribute to Orlando’s goal thanks to some combination play alongside Gonzalez that earned him an assist on the stat sheet. His presence at the top of the box and opportunity to surge towards goal opened up space for Gonzalez to cross once Torres played it back to him. NYCFC had him in his crosshairs throughout the match, and that helped open avenues for other Lions to attack. Still, it was a fairly quiet night from the Young Designated Player, even if his movement off the ball is worth noting. In 58 minutes of action before being subbed off for Mauricio Pereyra, the Uruguayan had 20 passes at an 85% success rate and completed one of his five crosses.

MF, Gaston Gonzalez, 7 — The winger received great service throughout the match and made it count in the seventh minute. He whipped in a cross with enough speed and bend on it that only an expectant Kara could get to it, giving Gonzalez his second assist of the season. There were times, especially early on, when he looked like Orlando’s best attacking option, as he won set pieces in good areas. But as the game wore on and Mitja Ilenic came on to defend him, he lost some of his sharpness. Gonzalez missed a golden opportunity for the Lions to double their lead by dribbling into traffic rather than playing the ball to an open Duncan McGuire. His lone shot of the match was off target and he was successful on just one of his four crosses. The Argentine winger had 25 passes at an 84% success rate and his only long ball was unsuccessful. Although he couldn’t maintain it for the entire match, Gonzalez displayed why the Lions were eager to bring him to Orlando.

F, Ercan Kara, 7 — The Austrian forward scored his third goal in four matches by getting on the end of a great cross into the box by Gonzalez. Orlando’s finishing this season has been lackluster, so it was nice to see Kara cap off some great team play with his strong header. His goal was also his only shot of the game, as he didn’t receive much service and had just 16 touches in 65 minutes. His hold-up play was a mixed bag. While he completed all six of his passes, he also turned the ball over a few times and was successful on one of his three attempted dribbles. Kara remains in good form and his goal proved how he can excel up top when given good service.


MF, Mauricio Pereyra (58′), 6.5 — In his first match since April 22, Pereyra came off the bench and gave needed life to Orlando’s offense. The Uruguayan led the Lions with three key passes, was accurate on both of his long balls and both of his crosses, and completed all but two of his 25 passes for an excellent 92% success rate. He set up Ojeda at the top of the box in stoppage time but his teammate rushed a shot on the half volley when he may have been able to take a touch to split the defense. Although he wasn’t able to extend Orlando’s lead or give the team a late winner, this was a great performance as he eases back into action.

F, Duncan McGuire (65′), 6.5 — He may have only had eight touches and five passes, but McGuire was active while on the field. The rookie made good runs and his only shot of the game was blocked. Center backs Chanot and Thiago Martins gave him difficulty at times, but he was far from neutralized. McGuire’s positioning continued to put him in good spots, but the service was lacking to really capitalize on it.

MF, Martin Ojeda (65′), 6 — Ojeda played with hunger, but didn’t see all too much of the ball. He had 14 touches and completed 90.9% of his 11 passes while connecting on his lone long ball. His only shot was a difficult one on the half volley in the box that he scuffed and sent off target. With some more rest under his belt now, hopefully he can provide more of an impact in the upcoming matches.

MF, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson (84′), N/A  — The Icelandic midfielder had three touches and completed both of his passes during his cameo. He could’ve closed down Magno a bit better on NYCFC’s goal considering Halliday was preventing the angle at the near post. Thorhallsson had a tackle in the match as well.

D, Rafael Santos (84′), N/A  — The left back completed three of his four passes and had five touches in his brief appearances. Although neither his one cross or one long ball found their target, they were decent efforts. He didn’t play long enough to earn a grade from us this time around.

That’s how I saw each performance from the Lions in their 1-1 draw at home against NYCFC It’s tough seeing the Lions drop points at home, but hopefully they can turn it around against their rivals. Who was your Man of the Match? Make sure to vote in our poll and let us know what you think in the comments!

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  1. Art

    May 19, 2023 at 7:43 am


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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/29/23

Pareja disappointed with draw, Julie Doyle returns from injury, OCB hosts Red Bulls II, and more.



Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! There is a whole lot of soccer to cover today, following a weekend full of news, including your local teams in purple having matches, although not the results we wanted with the Lions allowing a late goal to draw 1-1 and the Pride falling in Chicago. The English Premier League came to an exciting close Sunday. The Young Lions have a match of their own tonight. So, while Mondays can often bring the work week blues (for those who don’t have today off, anyway), at least you have a whole lot of soccer reading to get you up and at it this week.

But before we dive all the way in, please join me in wishing former Orlando City defender and current Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines a happy birthday. Now, let’s get down to it in the links!

Oscar Pareja Disappointed for Fans

Following the Lions late draw on Saturday night, Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja showed some strong feelings towards the disappointing result. He said the team has to do better for its supporters and grind out wins after good performances.

“I have to say that we played well today and I want to congratulate that group of players that pushed that match and that energy. That’s the team that we want to see. The other part is the frustration of giving up another goal at the end and not walking away with the three points. At that part, the equation gets through things, soccer, fútbol, concentration, many things. But we want to see that team more often and we want to see that energy more often. We want to see that Orlando City. And to our fans, that support deserves much, much more.”

Check out the full post game press conference, which also featured interviews with goal scorer Kyle Smith and Orlando City defensive midfielder Wilder Cartagena.

Pride’s Loss Mars Doyle’s Return to the Pitch

The Orlando Pride dominated play but could not score on Saturday night, and that led to the end of the club’s four-game unbeaten run. With her start, Marta tied former teammates Ashlyn Harris and Toni Pressley for most regular-season appearances in Pride history with her 81st league match. Meanwhile, forward Julie Doyle also made her return to the field as a second-half substitute. Doyle had not played since the beginning of April due to an ankle injury. Head Coach Seb Hines said he was disappointed with the result but glad to see Doyle return to the lineup. Here’s what Hines had to say about Doyle:

“She’s an exciting player, she’s always active. We felt like it was the right time to bring her in, chasing the goal. She’s always on the move, making defenders defend and it’s nice to have another attacking option come off the bench, along with Ally Watt and Summer Yates. It just shows that we were being more aggressive towards the end again to try and get ourselves back in it. We felt that with the likes of Julie and Ally, Adriana, Marta, and Summer, we had an opportunity to get back in the game and ultimately win the game at the end, but we fell a little bit short. I can’t fault the players’ efforts. They put a lot into it, they’re working extremely hard and we have to just keep going and look forward to the next game away at Houston.”

Orlando City B Hosts New York Red Bulls II

The Young Lions of OCB are ready to host the Young Red Bulls tonight at Osceola Heritage Park. Leading the way for the team is forward Jack Lynn in red-hot form. Lynn has found the back of the net three times in the last two matches, with a game winner against intrastate rivals Inter Miami CF II on Thursday night. Lynn now leads the Young Lions in goals scored this campaign, with five in 2023, and has 20 goals total in his MLS NEXT Pro career. OCB will look to maintain its unbeaten record at home this season tonight, entering the match with a 3-0-2 record at Osceola County Stadium.

Premier League Relegation Battle

Heading into Matchday 38 of the English Premier League campaign, one team was already sure of its fate regarding relegation. Southampton was a good distance behind Leicester City and Leeds United, but both of those clubs had a chance to jump Everton in the standings. Southampton didn’t go quietly into the night though, as the team played to a 4-4 draw against Liverpool. Ultimately, Leicester City and Leeds United were relegated from the EPL on the final day of the season after Everton ensured its own survival with a narrow victory on Sunday. Leicester City fought to a 2-1 victory over West Ham United, while Leeds suffered a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Everton extended its unbroken 69-year tenure in the English top flight as midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure’s stunning strike earned the Toffees a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth as they avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

Free Kicks

I hope you have a great week, Mane Landers. Do something special for someone today. And, best of luck to the Young Lions tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Orlando City

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

How did your favorite Lions individually perform in Orlando City’s 1-1 draw against Atlanta United?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City closed out a busy May with a frustrating 1-1 draw against Atlanta United at Exploria Stadium. The Lions played well throughout the match, but couldn’t double their lead and paid the price yet again, as Atlanta scored a late equalizer to leave Orlando with a point. Here’s how each Lion individually performed in this rivalry match.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5  — Gallese didn’t have much to do until the 86th minute, when he pushed a deflected shot out for a corner. El Pulpo made a superb save on Matheus Rossetto’s low shot from the corner kick, but couldn’t get a hand on Tyler Wolff’s strike after the rebound fell to him. His distribution was good, as he was accurate on four of his seven long balls and 81.6% of his 16 passes.

D, Rafael Santos, 6 — His passing needed to be a bit better. Completing 78.3% of his 46 passes isn’t bad, but there were a few turnovers from him that mirrored his mistake last week. Only two of his seven crosses were accurate, but the misses weren’t egregious and many were still delivered into good areas that were difficult to defend. Santos was accurate on three of his seven long balls as well. Atlanta wasn’t able to get too much going when attacking his side of the field, and he finished with two tackles and a blocked shot.

D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 (MotM) — The Beefy Swede was extra beefy in this one. Jansson was tasked with keeping Giorgos Giakoumakis quiet and did well marking him to prevent him from taking a shot for just the second match this season. Jansson had two tackles, two clearances, an interception, and blocked a shot from Thiago Almada. On the attacking side of things, Jansson was accurate on seven of his 11 long balls and had 35 passes at an 82.9% success rate. The center back was a major reason why the league-leading offense didn’t manage a shot on target until late in the match.

D, Antonio Carlos, 7 — Carlos was a force to be reckoned with in the air, as he won three of his four aerial duels and led the Lions with six clearances. While an early yellow card limited how physically he played, it didn’t stop his effectiveness when dealing with Atlanta’s attack. He had an opportunity to score early on off of a free kick, with Mauricio Pereyra finding him crashing the far post. Carlos got to it with clean contact, but the header was directly at Brad Guzan. His other shot was a header from a corner kick, but it was sent off target. The Brazilian center back was successful on 88.9% of his 36 passes and was accurate on four of his eight long balls. His next yellow card will result in a suspension for accumulation.

D, Kyle Smith, 7 — The right back scored his first goal of the year and fourth in MLS by being in a great position to bury a rebound from Facundo Torres’ shot. Smith was all alone at the far post after a series of passes and a blocked shot and smashed the ball between Brad Guzan’s legs before the goalkeeper could close them. He had another shot after Torres laid the ball off to him in the box, but his strike was blocked. Derrick Etienne beat him a couple of times and he wasn’t able to get a body on Tyler Wolff on the equalizer, but he was defensively sound for most of the match. Smith came up with four clearances, an interception, and a huge tackle against Almada late in the match. He also won both of his aerial duels. The 31-year-old completed all but two of his 30 passes for a great 93.3% success rate as well. Although his only cross of the match didn’t find its target, both of his long balls did.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — The 22-year-old was composed in this rivalry match and did well to connect Orlando’s attack and defense. He was fairly active on offense, particularly on the right wing alongside Torres in the second half. Araujo recorded a pair of key passes and didn’t miss by much with a swerving shot from range. Defensively, he chipped in with two tackles and blocked a shot. The Uruguayan had 42 passes at an 83.3% success rate and one of his two long balls found its mark. It was another solid outing from Araujo in his 11th consecutive match playing all 90 minutes.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — The Peruvian midfielder led the Lions with five tackles, taking advantage of the pressure his teammates applied to win the ball and get it to Orlando’s playmakers. Cartagena also only committed one foul while doing so. He led the Lions with 54 passes, completing them at a great 92.6% success rate, and was accurate on two of his three long balls. Both of his shots were from outside the box, with one blocked and the other sent high and wide of goal. Cartagena made a few great passes, but a few disappointing ones that could have spelled danger as well.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6.5 — The winger did well to help create Orlando’s first goal, beating his man and making the cutback pass to kickstart the pinballing in the box that led to Smith’s goal. It was nice to see some fruit from Angulo’s efforts on the left wing, as he used his speed and skill to surge into the box and earn set pieces. He wasn’t as clinical as he should be in the attack, taking no shots, making no key passes, and sending his only cross out of bounds. Although he was successful on all four of his dribbles, he also had six unstable touches and 28 passes at an 82.1% success rate. While he didn’t have any defensive stats, he was quick to collect loose balls or put a body on Atlanta players. He did well in this match for the most part, but made some mistakes and couldn’t capitalize on some of the chances he created.

MF, Facundo Torres, 7 — He wasn’t credited with an assist, but his shot in the box was deflected and fell for Smith to put away. It was his second shot of the match, with his other effort sent just over the crossbar. Torres also had two key passes and was successful on 83% of his 53 passes. Neither of his two crosses were successful, but both of his long balls were. His preference for his left foot continues to limit him, as defenders know he will cut back towards the middle. Still, Torres did well creating space for his teammates and was at his best when he had a fellow Lion making a run to his right or behind him. He led the Lions with 79 touches, completed six of his 12 attempted dribbles, and was fouled three times. Torres helped fuel Orlando’s press and he had a tackle and an interception in this one.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7 — Orlando’s captain didn’t show many signs of rust in his first start since April 22. Although he finished with 27 passes at just a 74.1% success rate and was accurate on just one of his four crosses, Pereyra was sharp and daring throughout the match. He was successful on six of his seven long balls to really stretch Atlanta’s defense. He did the dirty work in Orlando’s first goal, springing Angulo forward and then finding a good position for the return pass so he could slip the ball in for Kara. The 33-year-old also won a crucial race against Almada, snuffing out a counter attack and quickly turning the tables with a pinpoint long ball. His lone shot of the match had to be taken quickly right in front of goal and Guzan made the save. Defensively, he helped apply pressure and made a pair of tackles.

F, Ercan Kara, 6 — He wasn’t able to score, but still did well spearheading Orlando’s attack. The Austrian forward had two shots, putting one on target that required a good save from Guzan and having the other blocked. Kara contributed two key passes as well. He had 17 touches in 72 minutes of action and completed all but one of his seven passes. Atlanta had him in its sights, marking him well and fouling him three times in a physical match. On Orlando’s goal, he cycled the ball into the path of Torres for him to get a shot off.


MF, Martin Ojeda (63′), 6.5 — Ojeda came on for Pereyra in the second half and helped keep Orlando’s offense moving. He had a key pass and his only shot of the match was a venomous strike from outside the box that forced a save from Guzan for a corner. Ojeda completed seven of his 10 passes and one of his three crosses. Defensively, he helped out with two tackles. Ultimately, he wasn’t able to find that insurance goal for Orlando, but looked dangerous with the ball at his feet.

F, Duncan McGuire (72′), 6  — The rookie subbed in for Kara and had good vision to set up a nice shot for Araujo. It was his only key pass and his best chance to score came a few minutes earlier with a cross into the box he couldn’t get on the end of before Atlanta cleared it. McGuire had six touches, completed all three of his passes, and had a clearance.

F, Ramiro Enrique (87′), N/A  — The forward made another brief appearance, coming on late to give the Lions another attacker to chase a winning goal. Enrique only had two touches, completed his one pass, and was successful on a dribble.

That’s how I saw each performance from the Lions in their 1-1 draw at home to Atlanta United. It was a frustrating result, but many Lions had positive performances. Who was your Man of the Match? Make sure to vote in our poll and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Atlanta United: Five Takeaways

Here’s what we learned from Orlando City’s 1-1 draw vs. Atlanta United.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando faced off against local rival Atlanta United in the friendly confines of Exploria Stadium on Saturday night but a late goal conceded for the second time in as many home games led to two dropped points in a 1-1 draw. What can we takeaway from sharing points at home against a bitter rival?

Playing with Purpose

For a good majority of the first half and even into the second, the Lions’ tactics and drive seemed to connect from the back line to the forwards in an aggressive attacking style. In the first 15 minutes, Orlando dominated the ball and possession, but the Lions didn’t start to generate chances until after the first 20 minutes had gone. And while they ultimately did not come away with results to show for their aggression, the effort to come out on the front foot was not in vain and eventually led to Orlando’s first goal of the match. It also continued a coaching trend over the last several matches that demonstrated the team’s ability to dictate the pace of play as opposed to being forced to be reactionary.

Defense Delivers Again

For the second week in a row, Orlando City benefited from a goal from the back line. Instead of a screamer from Rafael Santos, as was the case last week against Miami, this week, Orlando City found its first goal from defender Kyle Smith. It was Smith’s first goal of the year and came in the 30th minute at the end of a team wide effort to put pressure on the goal. Finding the back of the net for defensive players has become a welcome trend over the last two weekends and spreading out the goals and getting them from less likely sources can only help the club moving forward.

Smith’s Travels

Although he played fullback according to the lineup sheet, Smith essentially played in the midfield against Atlanta. His work helped Orlando boss the middle of the pitch throughout the first half and much of the second, preventing Atlanta from building momentum in its attack. Smith’s position on the pitch was often inverted, playing where one might normally expect to see Facundo Torres. He did an excellent job of helping win the ball back and getting into spaces that Atlanta wanted to play into. It also helped create space down the right for Torres. It was an unusual game plan but it worked well and Smith did a fine job in playing his role.

Captain Back in the Fray

Orlando City captain Mauricio Pereyra rejoined the starting 11 for the first time in several weeks and he contributed one shot that was unfortunately deflected right into Brad Guzan’s hands. He passed well and even helped defensively with two successful tackles — one of which was a vital one to dispossess Thiago Almada in transition. While it may take a few matches to fully reintegrate the maestro back into the attack, it’s apparent that Pereyra’s ability to pull the strings helps drive the attack. The team needs its captain to be on the field as he unlocks more options in the attack, but more importantly, it will need to see a defensive effort throughout the remainder of the year like the captain registered on Saturday.

Failure to Launch

For the third time in three matches, Orlando City has taken an early lead. In two out of those three matches, the Lions only have two points to show for their efforts. To make matters worse, two of those three results came at home. In their last three matches, the Lions have mustered five points from a potential nine that they held in hand before coughing up late results against New York City FC and Atlanta United. Despite continuing to climb the standings with a draw, Orlando City is dangerously close to creating a habit which its season may not recover from…good teams cover at home, and great teams secure all three points. While a draw against a team who is ahead in the table isn’t the worst result in the world, being able to score a win against both main rivals one week apart would have been so…so…so much sweeter.

Those were my big takeaways from a match that felt like it slipped through the Lions’ fingers. What were your most important moments of the match? Let us know in the comments below.

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