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Orlando City vs. Inter Miami CF: Final Score 3-1 as Lions Maul Herons in Fort Lauderdale

The Lions win the first 2023 installment of the Tropic Thunder rivalry convincingly on the road.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Ercan Kara scored another goal and assisted on the winner as Orlando City got back in the win column with a 3-1 victory over Inter Miami at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The Lions (5-4-4, 19 points) conceded a second-half equalizer to Leonardo Campana, but Martin Ojeda and Rafael Santos added goals to lead Orlando past its intrastate rival, Miami (5-8-0, 15 points).

The win turned a four-match winless skid (0-2-2) in all competitions into a modest three-game unbeaten run (1-0-2). The Lions improved to 5-3-2 in the all-time, regular-season series, 5-3-3 in all competitions against Miami, and 2-3-0 at DRV PNK Stadium.

“We’re very happy to just have such a performance here on this field against a main rival, so we’re very proud,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “Also I want to congratulate the players with the way they played tonight. I think it was until minute 60 until there was a first shot against. So, we had a very solid structure and the character for them, the initiative to play the game and be protagonists in an away game, it was super.”

Pareja’s lineup offered a few surprises. Without Michael Halliday (international duty), the prevailing thought was that the Lions would return to a back line with three center backs, as has been used primarily in road games this year. Instead, Pedro Gallese started in goal behind a four-man back line of Santos, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Kyle Smith — starting just one yellow card short of suspension for accumulation. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena continued to log miles in central midfield during a busy May schedule behind an attacking line of Gaston Gonzalez, Facundo Torres, and Ivan Angulo, with Kara up top.

Orlando City dominated the first half in terms of chances and creating threatening situations. That started just five minutes in when Gonzalez got down the left channel on a nice pass from Torres, but the Argentine’s cross was too close to goalkeeper Drake Callender, who caught it. Two minutes later, it was Torres spoiling a nice buildup with a heavy touch in traffic. He caught back up to the ball but then sent too heavy a through ball forward for Gonzalez, and it went out of play.

At the 10-minute mark, Kara rattled the goal frame when Angulo’s cross found him in transition, and the big Austrian escaped from the marking of former Lion Kamal Miller and headed off the left post. Kara was sent in behind in the 12th minute but the flag came up and Callender made a fantastic reaction save against him anyway.

In the 13th minute, it was Angulo getting to the end line and having his cross deflect high. It may have gone in, but Callender leaped up and tipped it to himself to keep it out.

Orlando finally cashed in at minute 19. The Lions won a throw-in on their right side and Araujo went over to take it. The Uruguayan’s long throw found Kara at the near post. The striker was able to fend off a great deal of grabbing and tugging and nodded the ball behind himself. Callender couldn’t react in time and the ball went in to make it 1-0. It was Kara’s third consecutive game with a goal and his fourth in five league games.

Referee Ramy Touchan then started to give out some weird cards. Antonio Carlos was booked for his first foul, which was a rather mundane-looking one against Campana. Angulo got one later for kicking the ball back to the spot of an innocuous-looking foul on Kara.

But the bigger issue for Orlando was a lack of killing off the half. Torres and Angulo fired wide of goal in the 28th and 30th minutes, respectively, despite having plenty of space at the top of the area. A minute after Angulo’s miss, Gonzalez did well to get around his defender inside the left side of the box, but then he sent his cross into the middle of several Miami players instead of anywhere near a teammate.

Inter Miami made a sub at minute 33, sacrificing Sergii Kryvstov for Nicolas Stefanelli, and changed to a four-man back line look. That helped the hosts win more possession — Orlando had most of the ball to that point — but they didn’t create much with it, although they started keeping the ball for much longer spells and snuffing out Orlando counters more successfully.

Angulo got caught between two minds at the top of the area in the 45th minute and fired a shot about 15 or 20 yards wide right of goal.

The Lions saw out an unexpected six minutes of stoppage time and took their 1-0 lead into the break.

The Herons had more possession in the opening half (58.9%-41.1%), due in large part to holding most of the ball after their shape change, and they passed more accurately (83.7%-75.9%). The Lions fired more shots (5-0) and more shots on target (1-0), and won the lone corner of the opening period. However, a lack of precision continued to plague the team and kept the lead from growing.

Holding the hosts without a shot showed how the first half went, despite the teams only being separated by one goal at the break.

“In the first half, I thought we all had a great game,” Araujo said. “And being able to maintain that zero (shots against) in the first half was very important to set up ourselves in the second half. I think we hit all together in a great moment, and we were able to take home three points.”

“I think we played one of our best 35 minutes in the first half,” Pareja said. “We dominated the game. We had personality to dominate the possession and create chances. And then Miami changed their model. They took one of the center backs off the field and they brought one of their midfielders who started getting in behind our two midfielders. That made us drop 10-15 yards that we didn’t want (to do). The problem was that we lost possession of the ball because we started giving the ball away again.”

Not much changed to start the second half. Miami kept the ball more and worked it around, but after halftime the Herons were able to start finding enough space to attempt shots.

Chances at the other end were few to start the second period, but Kara did get to a corner cross that was a bit behind him and headed it over the bar in the 50th minute. Two minutes later, the Lions stole the ball in the attacking third and broke in transition, but Angulo took too many touches at the top of the box trying to figure out what to do with it and ultimately lost control of it.

The Herons made Orlando pay for not extending the lead — and for a bad turnover — in the 57th minute. A poor — and very much telegraphed — outlet pass from Santos to Torres was easily won by DeAndre Yedlin in the attacking third, and the ball was quickly given to Josef Martinez. Araujo came to close him down and then ran with the former Atlanta striker when he dropped it off for Campana. The Miami Designated Player made a move to cut back against an aggressive close-out by Cartagena, and then had time and space to blast a shot high past Gallese to tie the match. Cartagena nearly recovered to block it but couldn’t make contact and the game was level.

Gallese kept things from getting worse in the 63rd minute when Dixon Arroyo had time outside the area and drove a hard shot on frame. El Pulpo got down to make the save on a difficult ball that bounced right in front of him.

Seconds later, Gonzalez pulled up and went down in apparent pain. He was subbed off along with Smith. Rodrigo Schlegel and Ojeda came on and Orlando went to a three-center-back system. That helped the team regain some control of the match, as the Lions were again able to get into transition opportunities and find outlets that they couldn’t in the middle third of the game.

Pareja said he wanted to see if his team could re-establish itself to start the second half, but that not only didn’t happen but the hosts also equalized.

“The goal came and made me decide to change the model,” he said. “We knew Miami was going to give us spaces in behind and at some point we were going to bring fresh players and we thought of exploiting those spaces. And that happened. That was a very good job from the players who made us look much better.”

It only took a few minutes for the changes to pay off. Schlegel sent a long ball forward in the 68th minute that Kara deftly flicked on, sending Ojeda in behind the defense. The Argentine calmly slotted his shot past Callender to restore Orlando City’s lead.

Five minutes later, the Lions had an opportunity to put the game away as Torres was sent into the left side of the box. Before the Young Designated Player could square himself to shoot or pass, he slipped and the ball trickled out of play for a goal kick.

Pareja sent Duncan McGuire and Mauricio Pereyra on moments later, providing fresh legs for the attack, and again it paid off.

Just seconds after entering, Pereyra got the ball and threaded it between two defenders to McGuire in the box. The rookie tried to turn and shoot but the ball was deflected away. In the 79th minute, Santos ran onto a ball that was knocked out of the Miami area and hit a shot just wide of the right post. That served as a warning shot for later and Inter Miami did not heed the warning.

Orlando got forward more often and Miami’s buildups started to look less threatening as the extra OCSC defenders had the desired effect. On one foray up the field, Araujo had a go from distance. He struck the shot well but put it right in Callender’s breadbasket in the 84th minute.

Two minutes later, the Lions put the game to bed. Araujo and late substitute Dagur Dan Thorhallsson played the ball back and forth in the Orlando end, before Araujo came forward and picked out Pereyra with a pass. The captain’s first touch sent Ojeda down the right flank. Ojeda crossed the ball in for McGuire’s run, and when the defense arrived to shut down the rookie, he laid it off for Santos. This time, the left back didn’t miss, sending a shot through a defender’s legs and inside the right post for the insurance goal in the 86th minute.

It was Santos’ first MLS goal and it provided Orlando a third goal in a match for the first time all season. The Lions hadn’t scored more than two goals in a match since last season, when they beat Toronto FC, 4-0, on Sept. 17.

Miami’s frustrations spilled over a bit after that and there were some ugly fouls and some jawing between the teams, but not much came of it. McGuire bore the brunt of those fouls. Orlando saw out the rest of the game with only one major scare, but Jansson did well to make a vital slide tackle to not only prevent Martinez from getting a scoring chance, but also winning a goal kick in the process.

Inter Miami ended up with a lopsided advantage in possession (61.1%-38.9%), but failed to threaten much with it, although constantly working the ball left to right, backwards and then back the other way also enabled the Herons to finish with a higher passing accuracy (86.4%-77%) and more corners (3-2). The Lions had more shots (11-6) and more shots on target (4-2).

“It was a great game, and thankfully, we were able to take all three points, which is something that we try to do whether we’re playing at home or we’re playing on the road,” Araujo said. “I thought we played well today.”

“Just thrilled for our fans. Obviously it’s a derby. It was very emotional for us to see that corner dressed in purple,” Pareja said. “Many trusting the team, supporting us. They deserve this and I promise that we won’t stop working to see if we can get this better and better.”

The Lions will get an honest-to-goodness normal work week ahead of next Saturday’s match against Atlanta United at Exploria Stadium.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/23/24

Ivan Angulo makes Team of the Matchday bench, Americans in action, Sergino Dest to miss Copa America, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was an excellent weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, as the three sides took seven of the nine points on offer. There’s no rest for the wicked this week as the Orlando Pride travel to play the Washington Spirit on Friday, Orlando City hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, and Orlando City B finishes things up at home against Toronto FC II on Sunday. Let’s take a look at today’s links.

Ivan Angulo Earns Recognition

Ivan Angulo has been named to the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. The Colombian got the start on Saturday up in Montreal, and had a good game, going the distance and completing 82% of his passes and putting one of his two shots on target. That shot was an important one, as it gave the Lions a late equalizer and helped them salvage a valuable point on the road. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 in his player grades from the match, a rating that likely would have been higher had Martin Ojeda’s pass been accurate enough to allow Angulo to grab a possible winner just a few minutes after he equalized. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of Americans taking part in big games this week, and the good people over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with the whole rundown. First up, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, and Juventus will try to advance to the Coppa Italia final this afternoon, as they enter the second leg of the semifinal against Lazio with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Tomorrow sees Monaco and Folarin Balogun meet Lille in Ligue 1 action, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League. Things wrap up on Friday in Serie B when Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessman, and third-place Venezia face Cremonese as they try to overtake Como and finish in one of Serie B’s two guaranteed promotion places.

Sergino Dest Sidelined Long Term

Following up on a story from yesterday’s Lion Links, The Athletic is reporting that the knee injury suffered by Sergino Dest will keep him out of Copa America, and sideline him for the rest of the year. That would be a big blow for the United States Men’s National Team, as Dest has been the nailed-on starter at right back since winning a place in the team during the qualifying cycle for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks aren’t without options at the position, as Joe Scally could step in for Dest, or Gregg Berhalter could try deploying Weah there, but neither of the two possesses Dest’s level of offensive threat.

Inter Milan Wins Serie A

Inter Milan dispatched rival AC Milan 2-1 guaranteed that Inter will win its 20th Serie A title in club history. Fikayo Tomori’s goal in the 80th minute was the closest Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s club could get to leveling the score, and Inter is now a whopping 17 points clear of AC Milan with five games left to play. Inter has been imperious on its way to a 20th Scudetto, scoring the most goals in the league while also conceding the fewest and losing only once this season.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City hosted a clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day on Monday.

That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 2-2 draw with CF Montreal?



Image courtesy of Orlando City / Mark Thor

Orlando City scored in second-half injury time for the second consecutive weekend to claim points. However, this time it was an equalizer as the Lions drew CF Montreal 2-2 north of the border. The Lions ended their two-game road trip with four points and extended their points streak to four games after dropping three straight. It’s an improvement as they look to climb up the Eastern Conference standings.

Here’s how I saw the individual performances in the draw.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 5.5 — Gallese conceded a pair of goals in this game, though neither were necessarily his fault. The first was a breakaway after Robin Jansson kept Mason Toye onside and the second was blocked wide, but Kyle Smith was caught flat-footed. However, he did concede twice while saving three of Montreal’s five shots on target. Additionally, the Lions’ goalkeeper completed 55.6% of his 27 passes, including eight of his 20 long balls.

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — Smith had a solid game other than one specific play. The left back had a team-high 86 touches and completed 78.3% of his 60 passes, including five of his 12 long balls. Defensively, he recorded two tackles, two clearances, an interception, and a blocked shot. Unfortunately, his most impactful play was getting caught watching on a Gallese block while Ariel Lassiter beat him to the rebound to give the hosts a late lead. That play lowers his grade for this otherwise quality performance.

D, Robin Jansson, 5.5 — Similar to Smith, Jansson had a solid game apart from one play. He had 72 touches and completed 79.7% of his 59 passes, including a key pass and three of his 14 long balls. He added a tackle, an interception, a blocked shot, and a team-high seven clearances to his stat sheet. But his failure to step up in the 16th minute enabled Toye to get behind the back line and score the opening goal, lowering his grade.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo has proven himself to be the first-choice partner for Jansson and he was arguably the better center back in Montreal. The Slovenian international had 53 touches and completed 85.1% of his 47 passes, including two of his five long balls. The defender recorded two tackles, an interception, and three clearances defensively in a strong performance.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson was in his usual right back position for this game, playing 90 minutes and recording 44 touches. He completed 82.8% of his 29 passes, but only one of his four long balls and neither of his two crosses. He cleared the ball twice and didn’t really get into the attack, but was solid in his defensive duties.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 (MotM) — This was possibly Cartagena’s best performance of the season. His 85 touches were second-most on the team and he completed 76.5% of his team-high 68 passes, including a key pass and two of his six long balls. It was his shielding of Nathan Saliba and strong pass forward for Duncan McGuire that started the last goal, though he didn’t get an assist. The defensive midfielder was also active defensively with five tackles and three interceptions, and he won a pair of aerial duels. His overall performance earns him my Man of the Match.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — Araujo had a similar performance to Cartagena, but fewer touches and more accurate passing. He recorded 55 touches and completed 93.9% of his 49 passes, including a key pass. He was less active than his partner defensively, recording three tackles, and was booked in the 63rd minute.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo had one of his better performances in this one, recording 48 touches and completing 82.1% of his 39 passes. His biggest impact on the game came two minutes into second-half stoppage time, when he connected with an excellent Martin Ojeda cross to even the game at 2-2. He nearly scored a winner five minutes later, but the pass from Ojeda was just a bit too far for him. His goal was one of his two shots and the only one on target.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6 — Lodeiro’s 45 touches were the fewest of the Orlando City midfield, but he did the most with them. The playmaker completed 91.4% of his 35 passes, including a key pass, but couldn’t connect on his long ball or either of his two crosses. He was also caught offside and dispossessed twice before being replaced by Ojeda in the 77th minute.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres’ 65 touches were the most in the Lions’ midfield and the fourth most on the team. He completed 83.7% of his 49 passes, but didn’t connect on his two crosses or four long balls. The attacker took three shots and put one on target. In the 22nd minute, the midfielder stepped up and buried his second penalty of the season and ninth as a Lion, continuing her perfect record from the spot.

F, Luis Muriel, 6 — While Oscar Pareja had previously been starting Muriel behind McGuire, the forward got the start alone up top for the second consecutive game. He had 34 touches and completed 68.4% of his 19 passes, including his lone long ball but neither of his two crosses. His biggest impact on the game came in the 20th minute, when he tipped the ball past Montreal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois, drawing the penalty that resulted in the first equalizer. He also had a shot of his own, but it was off target.


F, Duncan McGuire (63’), 6 — McGuire came on in the 63rd minute for Muriel. He had 16 touches in 27 minutes, completing eight of his 10 passes (80%) with a key pass. His lone shot came in the 90th minute, when Jansson headed the ball over to him and he probably should’ve equalized, but his volley was just wide. The striker also won three aerial duels.

MF, Martin Ojeda (77’), 6.5 — Ojeda came on in the 77th minute for Lodeiro and, similar to Lodeiro last week, made a big difference. He had 15 touches and completed four of his six passes (66.7%), including a key pass. Two minutes into second-half injury time, his excellent cross found Angulo, who touched it in for the equalizer. Five minutes later, he had another great cross that nearly found Angulo for the winner, but was just out of his reach.

D, Rafael Santos (85’), 6 — Santos came on in the 85th minute for Torres as the Lions looked to see out a point. He had nine touches and completed two of his three passes (66.7%), but didn’t connect on his cross or long ball. Coming on to assure the defense, Santos did his job as he recorded a tackle, an interception, and two clearances.

This is how I saw Orlando City’s 2-2 draw with CF Montreal. Let us know how you saw the game and don’t forget to vote for your Man of the Match.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/22/24

Orlando City draws CF Montreal, Pride and OCB win, FA Cup drama, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City drew, while the Pride and OCB both won over the weekend. I had friends in town, so I went to Wrigley Field to check out a Cubs game and show them around Chicago. Let’s wish former Orlando City midfielder Kaka and Pride defender Brianna Martinez a happy birthday! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Draw at CF Montreal

Orlando City again had to overcome a 2-1 deficit on the road when it faced CF Montreal Saturday night. The Lions needed a late stoppage-time goal from Ivan Angulo to walk out of Stade Saputo with a 2-2 draw. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last four matches. Orlando City will face CF Montreal again on July 26 in the MLS Leagues Cup during the competition’s group stage. The Lions’ next match will be Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium as it takes on Toronto FC.

Orlando Pride Defeat San Diego Wave

The Orlando Pride shut out the San Diego Wave 1-0 on Friday at Inter&Co Stadium and got their second consecutive win with that same scoreline. Summer Yates scored the lone goal in the first half to seal the win for Orlando. Zambian international striker Barbra Banda made her debut for the Pride, coming off the bench in the second half. The Pride remain undefeated through five league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table with nine points. The team will be on the road to face the Washington Spirit Friday.

OCB Wins on the Road at Crown Legacy FC

Orlando City B got a 2-0 win against Crown Legacy FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Friday. Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored for the Young Lions, and Javier Otero made six saves. OCB completed its two-match road trip, securing four out of a possible six points, and has kept its unbeaten streak on the road alive at four matches. OCB is in fifth in the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference with nine points, while Crown Legacy is winless in five matches. OCB will be back in action this Sunday as it hosts Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium.

Manchester United and Manchester City Advance to FA Cup Final

Manchester United won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to the final. It was a thrilling match at Wembley as United had a 3-0 lead before Coventry City rallied to get back into the match. USMNT forward Haji Wright scored the equalizer to tie the match 3-3 late into stoppage time. Coventry City thought it scored the game-winning goal late into extra time from Victor Torp, but it was ruled offside after video review. Casemiro missed his penalty for United, while Wright and Torp gave Coventry City a 2-1 advantage. United converted four straight penalties while Coventry City missed two to seal the win for the Red Devils. Manchester City edged past Chelsea 1-0 in their semifinal matchup, with Bernardo Silva scoring the lone goal in the second half. The FA Cup final will be played at the end of May and will feature a Manchester Derby for the second consecutive time.

Free Kicks

  • In case you missed it, check out this video on Orlando City’s social media page on Ivan Angulo’s equalizer to tie the match in stoppage time against CF Montreal on Saturday.

According to OptaJack, the Pride have secured the most points at home during the regular season since last May, with 26.

  • USMNT defender Sergino Dest suffered a knee injury during training with PSV Eindhoven over the weekend. Dest will miss the remainder of the Eredivisie season and could miss the 2024 Copa America this summer.
  • Real Madrid came back from being 2-1 down to defeat Barcelona 3-2 and stay ahead of its rivals by 11 points with six league matches left.
  • Bayer Leverkusen extended its unbeaten run to 45 matches after scoring a late goal from Josip Stanisic in stoppage time to get a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Serie A side Udinese is reportedly set to hire former Juventus and Real Madrid player Fabio Cannavaro as its next head coach.

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

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