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Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions rate in a 3-1 win on the road against Inter Miami?



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

In the first Tropic Thunder rivalry match of the year, Orlando City went on the road and won 3-1 against Inter Miami. Ercan Kara, Martin Ojeda, and Rafael Santos all scored to overshadow a great goal from Leonardo Campana. It was Orlando’s first win during a hectic May and should be a good result to build off of. Let’s dive into how your favorite Lions individually performed in a huge road win.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5  — Gallese was beaten by Campana’s strike from distance, unable to get to it before it was in the back of the net. Dixon Arroyo tested him again soon after, but he did well to get low and make the difficult save. It was Gallese’s only save of the night as his back line did well to keep Miami from troubling him too much. El Pulpo’s distribution could have been a bit better as he was accurate on four of his 11 long balls and completed 46.2% of his 13 passes. The way the game played out influences those stats a bit though as Gallese didn’t need to help Orlando build possession out of the back.

D, Rafael Santos, 6.5 — A turnover in Orlando’s own half led to Miami’s equalizer, as the Herons picked off Santos’ pass and then worked the ball to Campana for him to work his magic. However, Santos made up for his error with his first goal as a Lion late in the match. Duncan McGuire found him at the edge of the area and he smashed it home. It was his second shot of the match, as he had a similar opportunity prior to his goal that went just wide. It was only his sixth professional goal and gave the Lions an insurance tally they’ve struggled to find in past matches. Santos did struggle in other ways though. His crosses looked threatening, but he was unsuccessful on both attempts and inaccurate on his four long balls as well. He had 42 passes, but only completed 73.8% of them as well. That being said, he was defensively sound with two tackles, three interceptions, and two clearances.

D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 — The Beefy Swede was dominant in the center of Orlando’s defense, finishing the match with seven clearances, three interceptions, and two blocked shots. His distribution was great as well, as he was successful on 88.9% of his 27 passes and completed three of his five long balls. Jansson was a big reason why Gallese had a fairly quiet night as he positioned himself well to force Miami’s attack to go through him or try attempts from range or bad angles. The edge and decisiveness he defended with also went a long way in a rivalry match on the road.

D, Antonio Carlos, 7.5 — This match was a testament to just how well Carlos can put out fires. Campana and Josef Martinez are not the easiest forwards to wrangle with, but Carlos kept them limited while helping Kyle Smith out on the right side of the defense when needed. He had seven clearances and two interceptions to see out danger and prevent service from reaching Miami’s biggest weapons. Carlos only completed 73.9% of his 23 passes, but was accurate on four of his five long balls. This match was another strong outing from the Brazilian in his seventh start of the season.

D, Kyle Smith, 6.5 — The right back didn’t see too much of the ball in 63 minutes on the field. Smith had 29 touches and 17 passes at a subpar 64.7% success rate. He didn’t get involved on offense much either, with his only cross of the match missing its mark. But on the defensive side of things, he had two interceptions and three clearances while communicating with Carlos to deal with the danger when it came knocking. Perhaps most notable was that, in a match in which referee Ramy Touchan handed out seven yellow cards, he wasn’t booked. In fact, he didn’t even commit a foul, which is important considering he’s a yellow card away from suspension and Michael Halliday is on international duty.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7.5 — Araujo notched his first assist of the season with a great long throw that had plenty of power to reach Kara at the near post. It’s nice to see this part of his game result in a goal. Araujo led the Lions with 69 touches and 55 passes at an 87.3% success rate. He also had a team-high two key passes and put his only shot on target, although it was right at Drake Callender. Of his 10 long balls, second only to Gallese, six found their mark, including starting the sequence that resulted in Santos’ goal. Defensively, he had two tackles and an interception to help limit Miami’s chances. Araujo made it easy to forget he’s just 22 years old, as he comfortably played himself and his teammates out of trouble. This was his 10th straight match that he’s played all 90 minutes, so he is likely looking forward to the week of rest.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — The Peruvian was juked by Campana and couldn’t close him down in time to stop his goal. It was a blemish on a fairly strong defensive effort in the midfield from Cartagena, who led the Lions with five tackles. Cartagena didn’t have any shots or key passes, but he did connect on two of his three long balls to contribute offensively. The 28-year-old had 46 passes at an 84.8% success rate and won his only aerial duel of the evening.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6.5 — Angulo was an active part of Orlando’s offense, using his speed to collect the ball and charge into dangerous areas. It often felt like he happened to be in the right place at the right time. However, his decision making led to mixed results. In one moment he was whipping in an excellent cross to Kara for a key pass, but in the next he was sending a shot miles wide of goal. Both of his two shots were off target and that cross was his only one of the match. He didn’t connect on either of his two long balls and he had 26 passes at a 76.9% success rate. His quickness kept the Herons on their toes, even late in the match before being subbed off in the 83rd minute. Angulo also helped out defensively with two tackles and a clearance. He did pick up his fourth yellow card of the season though, meaning his next will result in a suspension.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — El Cuervo’s movement both on and off the ball helped create space for his teammates. Torres attempted a whopping 10 dribbles in 75 minutes and was successful on four of them to shake defenders and increase Orlando’s tempo. However, his touch was poor at times and he continued to lean heavily on his talented left foot, which limited him a bit when attacking. Despite how active he was with his 59 touches, Torres had no key passes and neither of his shots were on target, as one went wide and the other was blocked. He was accurate on one of his two long balls, missed on his lone cross, but finished with 37 passes at a strong 89.2% success rate. Although he didn’t have any defensive stats, the pressure he provided was certainly felt. Still, he needed to be more clinical in this match to capitalize on the team’s chances.

MF, Gaston Gonzalez, 6 — The Argentine winger’s night came to an unfortunate end in the 63rd minute when he pulled up near the touchline grabbing his leg with what looked to be a hamstring injury. Up to that point, he’d been solid playing along the left wing, completing 60.9% of his 23 passes and working his way into good areas. Gonzalez was successful on one of his two crosses as well, connecting with Kara on a corner kick for a key pass. Given his injury history, it was tough to watch him exit this match just as it looked like he was picking up steam in the offense.

F, Ercan Kara, 8 (MotM) — Kara is simply on fire, as he scored his fourth goal in five games. The Austrian forward got his head on Araujo’s long throw at the near post and flicked it on past Callender for Orlando’s first goal. He had more brilliance in the second half for an assist as well, knocking the ball forward for Ojeda to run in on goal unimpeded. The Lions targeted him early and often, and he finished the match with three shots, all with his head. One went just over the crossbar and the other smacked the post early in the match. He won his only aerial duel and completed half of his 16 passes in 75 minutes of action. It was an excellent performance from Kara and he is our clear Man of the Match.


MF, Martin Ojeda (63′), 7 — In his first taste of the Tropic Thunder rivalry, Ojeda scored to restore Orlando’s lead in the second half with his only shot of the match. Only a few minutes after coming on as a substitute, Ojeda was sent in on goal by Kara and beat Callender to swing the momentum back in Orlando’s favor. He was also credited with an assist on Santos’ goal for slipping the ball through a defenders legs for it to reach McGuire, who then found Santos. His fresh legs helped see the game out and he had an interception and a clearance on the defensive side of things. He only had nine passes, completing six of them, and 15 touches, but he certainly made a difference in this one.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (63′), 7  — The center back came on for Smith in the second half to change the shape of Orlando’s defense. He only had eight touches, but he made them count with three clearances, an interception, and his first MLS assist. A long ball from Schlegel found Kara in the center of the field and the striker passed it along to Ojeda for Orlando’s second goal. He completed three of his four passes and was accurate on one of his two long balls. It’s nice knowing a center back like Schlegel is available, as he can provide both depth and versatility for the Lions.

F, Duncan McGuire (75′), 7 — His assist on Santos’s goal was a simple one, but he did well to hold up play in the box and finding his teammate rather than trying to force a shot from a tough angle or dribbling away from goal. The rookie didn’t take a shot, but got into good positions and was fouled twice. McGuire completed five of his seven passes and added some pressure to help Orlando take all three points back to Orlando.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra (75′), 6.5 — The midfielder was sharp coming off the bench, immediately combining with McGuire in the box to create a chance. He won’t receive credit on the score sheet for his role in Orlando’s third goal, but he did well to receive and then send the ball forward without a sacrifice in tempo. Pereyra completed six of his eight passes and looked good when on the ball.

MF, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson (83′), N/A  — It was another brief appearance for the Icelandic midfielder, as he had four touches and completed all three of his passes in the build up to Orlando’s third goal. There wasn’t enough time in the match for Thorhallsson to receive a grade in this one.

That’s how I saw each performance from the Lions in their 3-1 win over Miami. It’s always nice to see the Lions win, but it’s even sweeter when it’s against a rival. 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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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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