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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!

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, and More

The Lions return home hoping to bounce back from another rough night on the baseball diamond.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night Tropic Thunder matchup between Orlando City and the team’s Publix Enemies, Inter Miami CF at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m., FS1, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+). It’s the third meeting between the sides this season and the second time in regular-season play. It is the only scheduled meeting in Orlando.

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


Orlando City is 5-4-3 in the series in all competitions, 2-0-3 in all contests at Exploria Stadium (2-0-2 in regular-season play and 0-0-1 with a shootout win in the U.S. Open Cup), and 3-0-3 in all games played in the Orlando area (adding the win in the MLS is Back Tournament at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in 2020).

The most recent meeting took place at DRV PNK Stadium on Aug. 2. The Herons were fortunate to not see Lionel Messi sent off with a second yellow late in the first half and even more fortunate to get a soft penalty call on Antonio Carlos as they won, 3-1 in Leagues Cup action. Messi opened the scoring after being ignored in the box early. Cesar Araujo made up for the defensive lapse by scoring 10 minutes later. Josef Martinez put Miami back on top with the Downy soft penalty just after halftime and Messi sunk in the dagger in the final 20 minutes.

The teams also met in Fort Lauderdale in MLS play on May 20, with Orlando City winning, 3-1. Ercan Kara’s early goal was canceled out by Leonardo Campana shortly before the hour mark, but Martin Ojeda and Rafael Santos found the net in the second half to power the Lions.

Inter Miami won at home, 4-1, on Oct. 5, 2022. Campana scored in the game’s first minute and Orlando City never settled in. Gonzalo Higuain added two goals — one from the spot — and Ariel Lassiter also scored before Kara pulled one back to spoil the shutout.

The first regular-season meeting of 2022 resulted in a 1-0 Orlando City win at Exploria Stadium on July 9, as a stoppage-time own goal by Damion Lowe was the difference between the Lions earning just one point or all three. The ball was sent into the box by Jake Mulraney.

The teams also met at Exploria Stadium on May 25, 2022 in U.S. Open Cup action, with the two sides needing extra time after a scoreless 90 minutes. In extra time, Miami got a goal from Jean Mota against the run of play, but Facundo Torres quickly equalized for Orlando. The match ended 1-1 and Orlando won the ensuing penalty shootout, 4-2. Bryce Duke was denied by Mason Stajduhar and DeAndre Yedlin missed the net during the spot kicks, while all four Orlando shooters scored.

The intrastate rivals played to a scoreless draw in Orlando on Aug. 27, 2021. Tesho Akindele missed a penalty in the match, but the Lions had several other good opportunities to score (but didn’t) in a wasteful performance. Orlando and Miami battled to a 1-1 draw at Exploria Stadium on Aug. 4, 2021. Carlos scored in first-half stoppage time but was knocked into concussion protocol on the play by Kelvin Leerdam. Kieran Gibbs equalized in the 66th minute on a header in front of a less-than-attentive Ruan. Akindele had a goal called back after video review for being offside and the teams split the points. Earlier in the season, the Lions came from behind in Fort Lauderdale to win 2-1 on a pair of brilliant goals by Chris Mueller and Nani on June 25, 2021.

In the final meeting of 2020, the Lions saw their 12-match unbeaten streak end on Oct. 24 in a 2-1 road loss in Fort Lauderdale. Miami defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez’s header in the 89th minute was the difference after a Daryl Dike goal and an own goal off Robin Jansson saw the game tied up at halftime. The teams met in Orlando on Sept. 12 of 2020 with Orlando battling to a 2-1 win on Mauricio Pereyra’s goal. The Lions had taken the lead on an own goal by Andres Reyes. Former Lion Brek Shea tied things up in the 65th, before Pereyra answered with a nice goal off the left post in the 69th minute.

The first meeting in Fort Lauderdale opened Phase 1 of Major League Soccer’s return to regular-season play after the MLS is Back Tournament. That one was an uncharacteristically sloppy match for the Lions, who fell 3-2 in Inter Miami’s first-ever home match. It was Miami’s first franchise win after an 0-5-0 start. Orlando trailed by more than one goal for the first time all season in that game. Dike and Nani provided the offense for Orlando but Julian Carranza’s brace and Rodolfo Pizarro’s insurance goal were enough to lift the Herons.

The first Tropic Thunder match went Orlando City’s way, with Nani scoring late to lift the Lions to a 2-1 win over the upstarts from South Florida in the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament. Despite it being a tournament match, it was also a league game. Juan Agudelo opened the scoring for the Herons, but Mueller equalized, setting the stage for Nani’s 97th-minute winner.


The Lions are coming off their first loss since getting knocked out of Leagues Cup with Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at New York City FC in a match they never settled into. Clinching a playoff spot that night likely took a little of the sting out of the loss, but it will be interesting to see how the team responds. Orlando City is 7-3-4 at home this season in MLS play and will look to extend an unbeaten run of 7-0-4 in all competitions at Exploria Stadium.

Inter Miami is coming off a 4-0 home destruction of Toronto FC in the midweek. The Herons are just 3-10-1 on the road in MLS play this season but much of that record was compiled prior to the league and its major sponsors helping Miami’s ownership bring Messi to MLS and Messi getting his buddies to take less money than they could get elsewhere to come help his new project in Fort Lauderdale, while fitting within the league’s roster rules. Inter Miami is 2-1-0 on the road since Leagues Cup ended.

Tonight’s visitors may or may not have Messi and Jordi Alba for this match. Miami coach Gerardo Martino declared they would miss the game after Wednesday’s match but neither are on the MLS availability report. Did the Herons intentionally leave injured guys off the report to keep them eligible for the U.S. Open Cup final or will the visitors’ stars play?

Regardless, the rest of Inter Miami has played better and more confidently since the arrival of Martino, as well as Messi and friends. An Orlando City defense that leaked badly despite the modest scoreline Wednesday will have to deal with the likes of Campana, Martinez, Robert Taylor, and others tonight, while trying to beat one of the best young goalkeepers in MLS in Drake Callender. They will also have to press high to keep Sergio Busquets from picking out forward runs from deeper positions.

It’s a rivalry game, so anything can happen. History suggests it’ll be tight.

“We returned from New York and (have been) trying to get some corrections from the game, but we are still looking at the better things we did in that match also and keep going,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “I have to evaluate it, but the team has been playing very well and we have to keep going in that direction. Now we have a rival, we have Miami in a very important game, not just because it is a derby but because those points will get us closer to the objective that is to keep fighting for that first position or at least qualify in that first four. The team is good, the boys are recovering from the trip, and we are good.”

The Lions will be without reserve players Adam Grinwis (thigh) and Favian Loyola (arm), but defender Antonio Carlos has been upgraded to questionable. Miami will not have Ian Fray (ACL), Gregore (Lisfranc), Franco Negri (ACL), or Corentin Jean (ACL). Will the Herons have Messi and Alba? Their coach said no, but their availability report says yes.

Match Content

Here’s your match content for this one:

Projected Lineups:

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Duncan McGuire.

Inter Miami (5-3-2)

Goalkeeper: Drake Callender.

Defenders: Noah Allen, Kamal Miller, Sergii Kryvstov, Tomas, Aviles, DeAndre Yedlin.

Midfielders: Fadundo Farias, Sergio Busquets, Benjamin Cremaschi.

Forwards: Robert Taylor, Leonardo Campana.


REF: Armando Villarreal.
AR1: Jeremy Kieso.
AR2: Stefan Tanaka-Freundt.
4TH: Lukasz Szpala.
VAR: Carol Anne Chenard.
AVAR: Fabio Tovar.

How to Watch

Match Time: 7:30 p.m.

Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.

TV/Live Stream: FS1, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.

Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Acción 97.9 FM, 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 game. Go City!

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Orlando City

Orlando City Enjoyed the Best Summer Stretch in Team History

Orlando City climbed the table in the club’s best summer since joining MLS.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

June, July, August (plus, most of September), and the dog days of summer are officially in the rearview mirror and Orlando City is set to put a cherry on top of what was the best summer stretch in team history when they face Inter Miami tomorrow night at Exploria Stadium. As the season starts to wind down, I felt it was only necessary to take some time to examine the what we all just witnessed…the best summer in team history.

A quick Google search says that the season of summer in the U.S. traditionally starts June 21 on the summer solstice, which we will use as the starting point. I looked historically at the team’s performance from that point in time through the end of summer each season, a.k.a. today, Sept. 23. As a new expansion team in Major League Soccer, Orlando City dealt with the summer heat fairly well and earned 15 and 17 points in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The next two seasons, on the other hand, were much darker times to be a city fan, as Orlando City racked up seven and 10 losses in 2017 and 2018, respectively, during those two seasons. It does not take Sherlock Holmes-level detection skills to know that those summer stretches did not lead to postseason playoff berths. In 2019, the team amassed a decent 18 points during the summer, but only tallied 37 on the season overall.

It should not come as a surprise to any OCSC fan that the team’s best years of success have all come while Oscar Pareja has been at the helm. Prior to this season, the best summer stretch that the team had enjoyed was back in 2021 — also under Pareja’s reign — when the boys put up 23 points, setting a summer team record with six wins. Despite their great summer success, the 2021 Lions were unfortunately not able to keep their strong summer momentum going as they dropped four straight matches after Labor Day that year. Enter 2022, or as I like to call it “the summer of the trophy.” Technically speaking, in the MLS regular season, it was the team’s second best summer, with 20 points to their name. Orlando also happened to lift the U.S. Open Cup during that span last year, so there is an argument to be made that without the additional fixtures, the Lions may have been able to commit more resources to the regular season and would have wound up with more points. I will take the hardware!

This summer it has seemed as though Papi has pulled all the right strings at the right times. Orlando currently not only sits in second place in the Eastern Conference, but second overall in the Supporters’ Shield race and has only dropped two matches from June 21 to Sept. 23 while sporting a +6 goal differential. The Lions amassed 24 points during the summer this year.

Orlando City finding the back of the net more often than conceding makes for quite fun matches to enjoy. The two losses OCSC has picked up throughout the summer this season both have come on the road (at Real Salt Lake and at NYCFC), despite Orlando City earning an MLS-best 25 points away from Central Florida this year.

Orlando City did a great job getting through the hottest part of the calendar while locking up results left and right. Orlando has already secured a spot in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year in no small part due to the amazing summer the team just enjoyed. As fall comes barreling at us and the MLS playoff home-field advantage race begins to heat up, the performance of the squad this summer should not be taken for granted as championships might not be won in June, July, or August, but poor performances can certainly ensure that they are lost.

Did you have a favorite moment or match from this summer? My favorite moment was what I am calling the Hail Ojeda Mary goal in Charlotte, and my favorite match was the electrifying 4-3 come-from-behind victory against the Columbus Crew. Let us know in the comments below your favorites, and as always, vamos Orlando.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/23/22

Lions and Herons meet again, Carly Nelson is writing a book, NWSL free agency opens, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Happy Founder’s Day, Mane Landers! It was on this day in 2014 that our fearless leader and Managing Editor Michael Citro started our first ever WordPress website. It’s safe to say that I’m sure The Mane Land has impacted your life as much as it has mine over the years, whether that be through daily reading or weekly podcasts. Cheers to Michael and all those who have come before me.

In my own personal news, I have been grinding away on the new EA FC 24 (the franchise formerly known as EA’s FIFA.) So far, the gameplay and updates have been great in my initial 15+ hours of play, and my online Ultimate Team is starting to really take its shape. I’m sure in a couple weeks that I’ll transition to a traditional Career Mode and take the Lions all the way to an MLS Cup and beyond.

Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a very happy birthday to everyone’s favorite defensive midfielder, Wilder Cartagena!

Third Bout for Orlando City and Inter Miami

Orlando City and Inter Miami have already met twice this campaign. Sunday’s match will look to break the deadlock between the two rivals as both clubs have a victory to their name in this year’s series. In May, the Lions grabbed a 3-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale-based club. The two sides met for a second time in the knockout round of Leagues Cup 2023 with Inter Miami taking the 3-1 result at DRV PNK Stadium. No matter the result this time around, Orlando City has already clinched a playoff spot, however, the Herons need every point they can get to attempt to do the same.

Carly Nelson, Goalkeeper and Author

It isn’t unheard of to learn that an athlete might have tried another sport before finding soccer, Orlando Pride goalkeeper Carly Nelson came from a background of gymnastics, tennis, basketball, and baseball before her father started a club soccer team with her in mind. While Nelson might have idolized USWNT legend Hope Solo as a child, she started her playing days as a forward, winger, and midfielder. Outside of protecting the Pride’s net, Nelson is spending time writing a book about her life growing up in Utah and the issues her family faced to hopefully help others that might find themselves in similar situations.

NWSL Opens 2024 Free Agency

The National Women’s Soccer League has officially opened the league’s unrestricted and restricted free agency periods. In accordance with the NWSL Players’ Association’s collective bargaining agreement, eligible free agents can begin negotiations for their 2024 Standard Player Agreements. Players eligible for unrestricted free agency include all who have at least five years of service within the NWSL and contracts expiring in 2023, while players eligible for restricted free agency include those who have at least three years of service. For the Orlando Pride, defender Kylie Strom is set to be an unrestricted free agent and midfielder Jordyn Listro is under restricted terms. Any club that currently holds the rights of a restricted free agent has a seven-day period to match an incoming offer from another club or else the player may sign with the new club under the terms of the offer.

USMNT’s Tyler Adams Nearing Return

Tyler Adams will not make his Bournemouth debut this weekend, but he could return as early as next week. Bournemouth’s manager, Andoni Iraola, provided a positive update on the U.S. Men’s National Team captain as he finishes up rehabbing a long-term hamstring injury.

“He has started this week at least to train partially with the group, so probably we can have a chance of having him next week or two weeks, something like this. Tyler is really close because once you start training partially with the group, it’s a matter of sensations, and if you are physically good enough. He has a very good physical base. So I think it will take not a long time to see Tyler with the team.”

Adams has not played since March after having a hamstring surgery. Even with a known injury, the 24-year-old still completed a move from Leeds United to Bournemouth following Leeds’ relegation to keep him in the top flight.

MLS Weekend Preview

Aside from the Florida derby, there are plenty of matches to be excited about around the league this weekend. Personally, I’m looking forward to catching a bit of the D.C. United and New York Red Bulls match. Manager Wayne Rooney’s club is right on the bubble in a tight Eastern Conference race while the Red Bulls can do themselves a huge service and come back into the playoff picture with a win. Out in the Western Conference, there is a real buzz around a Portland Timbers squad after a manager sacking. It could be a huge win for the Timbers and likely push them above the play-in round should they find a result against the Colorado Rapids.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Saturday. Be safe on Sunday at the match. Stay hydrated and look out for those around you. Vamos Orlando!

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