Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City and the New England Revolution (7:30 p.m., MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+). This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the two MLS Eastern Conference rivals this season and the only one at Gillette Stadium. The Revs will make the return trip to Orlando on Saturday, Oct. 7 in the Lions’ regular-season home finale.
Here’s what you need to know for the match.
The Lions are 2-6-7 in the all-time, regular-season series against New England and 3-7-7 in all competitions. On the road, Orlando City is still looking for its first win against the Revs in regular-season matches, taking just two points home from Foxborough with a record of 0-5-2.
These teams last met at Exploria Stadium on Aug. 6, 2022 and the previously struggling Revolution whipped Orlando City, 3-0. New England got goals from unlikely sources, as central midfielders Matt Polster and Wilfrid Kaptoum and center back Henry Kessler provided the offense. The last time the teams met at Gillette Stadium was back on June 15 of last year, when the Revs went ahead on a Carles Gil goal but the Lions pulled that back with a Robin Jansson strike en route to a 1-1 road draw.
New England went unbeate in the 2021 season series. The teams played to a 2-2 draw at Exploria Stadium on Oct. 24, 2021. The Lions built a 2-0 lead through goals by Nani and Daryl Dike, but two late Adam Buksa goals allowed the Revs to steal a point. The teams met at Gillette Stadium just over a month prior to that draw in Orlando, with Nani’s missed penalty a costly one in a 2-1 Revs home win. The Revolution jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a goal by Buksa and an own goal off of Rodrigo Schlegel, in which the referee was quite lenient with Buksa’s treatment of the Orlando defender in the lead-up to Tajon Buchanan’s cross. Dike pulled one back for the Lions and won a penalty but Nani’s attempt to go down the middle was read at the last second by Matt Turner, who got his shoulder to it to preserve the lead. Orlando played well in that match but wasn’t clinical enough with its chances.
The Revolution ended the Lions’ season at Exploria Stadium in the 2020 playoffs, knocking Orlando City out of MLS Cup contention in the conference semifinal round on Nov. 29, 2020 That 3-1 win by the Revs was the first road win for either side in the all-time series in any competition. Gil put the Revs up early from the penalty spot after a call against Uri Rosell and Gustavo Bou doubled the lead eight minutes later, finishing a play that started with a Nani turnover the captain said should have been called a foul. Junior Urso pulled a goal back before the halftime whistle, but Mauricio Pereyra was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Polster at the hour mark. Still, Nani had a chance to equalize from the spot, but a poor penalty was saved by Turner. Bou added a late insurance goal.
In the final year of the pre-pandemic times, the Revs went 1-0-1 in the season series. The Lions and Revolution met at Exploria Stadium on Sept. 14, 2019, with Orlando overcoming a Tesho Akindele own goal and two deficits — the second by two goals — and rallying for a 3-3 draw. Akindele’s own goal opened the scoring 15 minutes in, but Nani tied things up less than 10 minutes later. Cristian Penilla and Bou scored goals five minutes apart just before halftime to seemingly give the visitors control. But Dom Dwyer pulled one back after the restart and Nani tied it up with more than a half hour to play. Neither side could find a winner, however.
The teams also met at Gillette Stadium in 2019 on July 27, and the Revs put the Lions on full blast, 4-1. Bou scored within the first two minutes of the game and the Revolution got more goals from Penilla, Gil, and Diego Fagundez. Akindele pulled one back to avoid the shutout.
The teams also met at Exploria Stadium in U.S. Open Cup action that year on June 19, with the Lions scoring twice in a 30-minute extra time session and holding on for a 2-1 victory. Benji Michel and Akindele staked Orlando to a 2-0 lead before Justin Rennicks pulled one back off a Gil back-post cross. City was able to see the game out.
The last meeting of 2018 saw the Revs top a depleted Orlando side, 2-0 in Gillette Stadium on Oct. 13. Penilla and Fagundez provided the offense. In the first match-up of 2018, the teams combined for six goals in a 3-3 draw at Orlando City Stadium on Aug. 4. Orlando battled back from a 2-0 deficit after Juan Agudelo and Penilla found the net. Dwyer pulled one back and Amro Tarek scored his first MLS goal to level things. Teal Bunbury restored the Revolution’s lead, but Scott Sutter headed home a Yoshimar Yotún set piece delivery in stoppage time to rescue a point for the Lions.
Orlando City and New England split the season series in 2017. City completed a 6-1 demolition of 10-man New England at home Sept. 27, 2017. Kaká scored a brace, with Dwyer getting his first home goal as an MLS Lion and Yotún and Antonio Nocerino each scoring their first-ever goal with OCSC. Seb Hines also scored for Orlando and Lee Nguyen got the Revs’ only tally on a free kick. New England won at Gillette Stadium that year by a 4-0 count and it could have been worse. Kei Kamara netted a hat trick and Bunbury also scored, with Nguyen assisting on all four goals to tie an MLS record. Jose Aja was sent off after receiving two yellow cards.
The Lions went 1-0-2 in the series in 2016, winning 3-1 at home on July 31. The teams played a controversial 2-2 draw in Orlando on April 17, 2016. The second 2016 meeting reached the same final score on April 30 in New England.
The teams met twice in 2015, with Orlando City rallying from a 2-0 deficit in the final 17 minutes to draw 2-2 at the Citrus Bowl in April. The Sept. 5 rematch at Gillette Stadium didn’t go as well, with New England taking a 3-0 win. Fagundez, Agudelo and Chris Tierney scored for the Revolution.
Orlando City is coming off a 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids a week ago. The Lions played a bit cautiously but controlled play and eventually went up a man — and then two — which led to the Rapids rarely threatening and Orlando winning on goals by Facundo Torres and Ramiro Enrique. The Lions have gone unbeaten in six matches (3-0-3) but that streak will be in jeopardy tonight in a building that has been unkind to them over the years.
City will be without several key players. Torres, Wilder Cartagena, and Pedro Gallese are away on international duty, and defenders Kyle Smith and Antonio Carlos are suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Look for Mason Stajduhar to start in goal and guys like Martin Ojeda, Michael Halliday, Rodrigo Schlegel, and potentially Felipe step into the starting XI.
The Lions are 4-1-2 on the road in 2023. To continue that trend, they’ll have to end New England’s streak of home success.
New England is unbeaten at home in 2023, entering tonight with a 5-0-3 mark at Gillette Stadium. The Revs are not only a good team, but they know the intricacies of their stadium’s fake plastic grass better than anyone who visits them, which is a big advantage. The Revolution enter on a four-match unbeaten run (1-0-3) and New England has hung three goals on the board in three of its past four games.
In fact, New England has the third-best attack in the Eastern Conference, having scored 28 goals on the year. Meanwhile, only five teams in the conference have conceded fewer goals than the Revs, as Bruce Arena’s group has been a complete team despite suffering through some injury issues in 2023. Key veteran additions from within MLS have bolstered the team’s offense and defense in the form of Bobby Wood and Dave Romney, respectively.
Having any success against New England, however, always demands that the opposition keeps tabs on Gil, one of the league’s most lethal playmakers and a guy who can score goals of his own, as well. Gil and Wood pace the Revs with six goals apiece, with the Spaniard adding a team-high seven assists on the year. New England has the luxury of having Bou and Giacomo Vrioni (two goals, and three goals, respectively) coming off the bench in recent weeks.
“New England is a good team. They have good players and a very experienced coach,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said earlier this week. “Like always, it’s a different story and the context always helps us see the game, but I don’t think you can dictate what is going to happen. We’re building our game against New England like always. This time we hope we can get there and bring [back] three points.”
Orlando City will be without the following players on international duty: Cartagena (Peru), Gallese (Peru), Wilfredo Rivera (Puerto Rico), and Torres (Uruguay). Smith and Carlos are out with suspensions for yellow card accumulation. Adam Grinwis (concussion protocol) and Abdi Salim (knee) are also out. Gaston Gonzalez (thigh) has been upgraded to questionable. To add some squad depth for the match, the Lions signed goalkeeper Javier Otero and midfielder Juninho to short-term agreements from Orlando City B on Friday.
New England will be without several players as well, but the most dangerous ones will be in the lineup. The Revolution’s injured include Dylan Borrero (knee), Nacho Gil (leg), Kessler (hamstring), Maciel (Achilles), and Tommy McNamara (leg). In addition, Christian Makoun (Venezuela), Djordje Petrović (Serbia), and Damian Rivera (Costa Rica U-23) are on international duty.
- Our Intelligence Report provides more info on the Revs from Jake Catanese from independent New England blog, The Blazing Musket.
- Our most recent PawedCast includes our key matchups and score predictions for the match and a preview with The Blazing Musket’s Sam Minton.
- David Rohe provided his three keys to victory for Orlando City against the Revs.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.
Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Michael Halliday.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Felipe.
Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, Martin Ojeda.
Forwards: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Javier Otero, Luca Petrasso, Alex Freeman, Thomas Williams, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Juninho, Favian Loyola, Ramiro Enrique, Duncan McGuire.
New England Revolution (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Earl Edwards, Jr.
Defenders: DeJuan Jones, Dave Romney, Andrew Farrell, Brandon Bye.
Defensive Midfielders: Matt Polster, Noel Buck.
Attacking Midfielders: Emmanuel Boateng, Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou.
Forward: Bobby Wood.
Bench: Jacob Jackson, Ben Sweat, Omar Gonzalez, Jack Panayotou, Joshua Bolma, Justin Rennicks, Esmir Bajraktarevic, Giacomo Vrioni.
REF: Fotis Bazakos.
AR1: Claudiu Badea.
AR2: Jeffrey Swartzel.
4TH: Matthew Corrigan.
VAR: Geoff Gamble.
AVAR: Jonathan Johnson.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30p.m. ET.
Venue: Gillette Stadium — Foxborough, MA.
TV/Live Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Accion 97.9, 810 AM (Spanish).
Enjoy the match. Go City!
2023 Orlando City Season in Review: Abdi Salim
We continue our Orlando City player retrospectives with a look at one of the Lions’ 2023 draft picks.
Orlando City used its third pick of the 2023 MLS SuperDraft to select Abdi Salim with the 17th overall pick. Salim played his college soccer at Syracuse and the Lions picked up the center back to help with depth at a position that didn’t really have a ton of established bodies behind Antonio Carlos, Robin Jansson, and Rodrigo Schlegel. He was then signed to a one-year deal in February that contained three option years for the 2024, 2025, and 2026 seasons.
Let’s have a look at Salim’s first season as a professional.
Salim made his Major League Soccer debut at home against FC Cincinnati on March 4. It was Salim’s only start of the year and he went the full 90 minutes as the Lions drew 0-0 against the eventual Supporters’ Shield winners. He made two other appearances in away games against D.C. United and Charlotte FC, both of which ended as 1-1 draws as he finished with 148 MLS minutes on the year.
Defensively he recorded four tackles, four interceptions, three clearances, a block, and won two aerial duels. He did not record any offensive statistics, but was solid with his distribution as he averaged 87.3% passing accuracy and completed one cross and one long ball each.
Given that it was only his first season as a professional, he spent the bulk of his time in MLS NEXT Pro with Orlando City B. With the Young Lions he played in 16 matches, starting 14 of them and racking up 1,162 minutes. He finished with 11 interceptions and a tackle while committing seven fouls and drawing 11 and picking up one yellow card. Salim took nine shots, put two of them on target, and scored a goal on each one he got on frame. He passed very well, finishing with a 90.2% success rate, two key passes, and 18 long balls.
The honor of his best game goes to his first ever professional appearance, when he started and played the whole game in the aforementioned 0-0 draw against FC Cincinnati. Salim finished with three tackles, three clearances, and an interception while passing with 87% accuracy, completing a long ball on his only attempt, and helping the Lions keep a clean sheet at home. He was a bit shaky at first, as he was deployed as the third center back in a three-man back line, but he settled down in the second half and finished with a grade of 5.5 out of 10 from Nic Josey.
2023 Final Grade
Given that Salim didn’t crack 200 minutes and we require a minimum of 450 to award a grade for the season, he receives an incomplete for the 2023 season. He did some good things when down with Orlando City B, and filled in well enough with the senior side when called upon, but we simply need to see more of him in order to figure out what he’s really able to do.
It’s likely that Salim will spend more time with Orlando City B next season, but with no one seemingly laying claim to the fourth center back position, he should have a chance to show what he’s capable of during preseason. He seemed to be in competition with Thomas Williams for the back up spot not occupied by Rodrigo Schlegel, but he may have moved past him in the pecking order as he made more appearances than the Homegrown signing, both with OCSC and OCB. Regardless, as an inexpensive young player with potential, there’s no reason to think he won’t be here next year.
Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)
- Alex Freeman: (11/29/23)
Lion Links: 12/1/23
Rodrigo Schlegel fined, MLS roster updates, USWNT faces China tomorrow, and more.
Welcome to December, Mane Landers! It always feels like a good sign when a month starts on a Friday. I don’t have many plans this weekend beyond helping a friend move and trying to make pad Thai for the first time. It should be a nice next few days to reset after a hectic week. But for now, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world.
MLS Issues Disciplinary Rulings After Playoff Games
Orlando City center back Rodrigo Schlegel was fined an undisclosed amount by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for not leaving the field in a timely manner after receiving a second yellow card in the team’s playoff match with the Columbus Crew. Schlegel did not crowd the referee or plead his case disruptively, but he did linger a bit before exiting the match. It was one of many fines handed out by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for violations during the playoffs, and Crew forward Cucho Hernandez was fined for embellishment for going to ground clutching his face after Schlegel shielded the ball from him.
The Vancouver Whitecaps players and staff received fines and suspensions for their actions during and after their playoff match with LAFC on Nov. 5. Head Coach Vanni Sartini was fined $20,000 and suspended for an additional five games for entering the field of play in a confrontational manner and his comments about the refereeing following his team’s elimination. Vancouver defender Mathias Laborda was also handed a one-match suspension for his actions during the match.
MLS Teams Update Rosters as Deadline Looms
The deadline for MLS teams to decline contract options is today and clubs around the league are getting their affairs in order. The Portland Timbers confirmed that Sebastian Blanco won’t be with the team next year, as he was out of contract after seven seasons with the club. Designated Player Jaroslaw Niezgoda and fellow forward Franck Boli had their options declined by Portland as well. FC Dallas triggered the options on the contracts of midfielder duo Asier Illarramendi and Liam Frasier, while declining the options for midfielder Facundo Quignon and defender Jose Martinez. The New York Red Bulls kept a key part of their defense by signing Dylan Nealis to a contract through the 2024 season. Nashville SC declined seven options, and veterans Dax McCarty and Fafa Picault are out of contract. Both players could be worth keeping an eye on as an Orlando supporter, depending on if Wilder Cartagena and Ivan Angulo will return. According to The Athletic‘s Tom Bogert, McCarty is not likely to return to Nashville.
Racing Louisville Names Beverly Yanez as Head Coach
Beverly Yanez was announced as Racing Louisville’s next head coach after serving as an assistant coach during the 2023 season. The 35-year-old retired as a player in 2020 and was an assistant coach with NJ/NY Gotham FC for two years before joining Louisville prior to this season. Louisville has yet to reach the playoffs since joining the NWSL in 2021 and Yanez is now the club’s third head coach. She’s earned plenty of praise from Louisville’s players and it will be interesting to see how her first season as a head coach goes in 2024.
Alejandro Bedoya Receives Impact Award
Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya won the MLS Impact Award, along with a $100,000 contribution by Audi to The Philadelphia Equity Alliance. Bedoya has worked with the nonprofit to promote inclusive economic growth and reduce poverty. He was also named 2022 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year for his efforts to make a difference in the Philadelphia community. The Crew’s Darlington Nagbe and Nashville’s Taylor Washington were the other finalists for this year’s award.
Analyzing China Ahead of USWNT Friendlies
The United States Women’s National Team will close out its 2023 schedule with a pair of friendlies against China this month. The two nations will clash tomorrow at 3 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale before playing again in Frisco on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Although China lost all three of its group stage games in this past summer’s World Cup, it recently won the bronze medal in the Asian Games. China fell short in Olympic qualifying though, and 2022 AFC Women’s Coach of the Year Shui Qingxia’s contract was terminated, with Wang Jun taking over in an interim capacity for these friendlies. The USWNT should be able to find success on set pieces and crosses, although China has been working on strength training this year to compensate for that weakness. Tang Jiali, Zhang Linyan, and Shen Menglu are a few of the players in China’s versatile attack that could spell trouble for the Americans.
- Orlando Pride defender Rafaelle started as Brazil’s captain and Marta and Adriana came off the bench in a 4-3 win over Japan in a friendly. In her international debut, 19-year-old forward Priscila gave Brazil the late winner. The two teams will play again on Sunday.
- The Kansas City Current dedicated their press box to journalist and Kansas City native Grant Wahl.
- The New England Revolution have promoted Curt Onalfo to sporting director after four years as the club’s technical director. Onalfo served as the interim sporting director after Bruce Arena’s resignation in September and now gets the job fulltime.
- The MLS Players Association released a statement regarding Matt Miazga’s three-game suspension.
- Pierre Emerick-Aubamayeng scored a bicycle kick and a late winner as part of his hat trick in Marseille’s 4-3 win over Ajax in the Europa League.
- The 2023 Women’s College Cup semifinals kick off tonight, with Florida State facing Clemson and BYU playing Stanford. There are many talented players in action who are worth watching tonight before the NWSL Draft next month.
- Lyon, which is last in Ligue 1 with just seven points from 12 games, has sacked Fabio Grosso after less than three months as head coach.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!
Lion Links: 11/30/23
Orlando City faces big questions, Matt Miazga suspended, Emma Hayes meets USWNT for first time, and more.
November is finally coming to a close. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of a month for me, with highs, lows, and many things in between. All in all, I’m pretty glad it’s nearly over, although I expect December to be similarly hectic. At least this weather is allowing me to break out some winter clothes and turn on the fireplace in this new apartment. I’m not sure why a fireplace was installed in a Floridian apartment, but I’m not complaining. Let’s dive into today’s links!
Big Decisions Await Orlando City
With Orlando City’s season over, attention now turns to a critical off-season for the club. Head Coach Oscar Pareja is out of contract after leading the Lions to the playoffs for the past four years. The club will also need to decide if it will exercise the 2024 options on the contracts of both Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi and Technical Director and Assistant General Manager Ricardo Moreira. All three have orchestrated Orlando’s transformation that’s included winning its first trophy, having its best season this year, and qualifying for both the Concacaf Champions League and Champions Cup. Potentially transferring Facundo Torres to Europe, filling the empty Designated Player slot, and deciding which players to bring back for 2024 are also on the agenda. However, figuring out who will lead the Lions into this exciting next chapter is paramount. Personally, I think the club should do everything in its power to keep the people who brought Orlando to this point.
Matt Miazga Suspended for Three Games
FC Cincinnati will be without MLS Defender of the Year Matt Miazga for Saturday’s Eastern Conference final, as he was suspended by MLS for three games due to his misconduct after the match with the New York Red Bulls on Nov. 4. Miazga was also fined an undisclosed amount and will undergo a behavioral assessment as part of the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. Following that aforementioned playoff match, reports surfaced that Miazga gained unauthorized access to an area reserved for the referees and acted aggressively. Any suspended games not served during Cincy’s playoff run will carry over into the 2024 season, although Miazga can petition for a reduction based on compliance with recommended treatment plans.
Emma Hayes Meets With USWNT Players and Staff
Emma Hayes, who was hired as the next United States Women’s National Team Head Coach earlier this month, made the trip to Florida to meet the team for the first time. Although she won’t be coaching the team for its upcoming pair of friendlies against China, she collaborated with interim head coach Twila Kilgore on the latest training camp roster and will continue to work with her until taking over in May. There won’t be much time between Hayes’ official start date and the 2024 Summer Olympics, making these moments of face time between player and future coach all the more important. USWNT captain Lindsey Horan spoke on the team’s goals after meeting Hayes for the first time.
“There’s so much talent in this team, and I don’t think the world has seen enough of it yet just because we need to go out and show it,” Horan said. “We need to be able to mesh together and show everything that we have, and what we’re all about, and how we can really collaborate and play together — be more of a team and be a powerhouse again.
“It’s going to be exciting for us to have her and see what she can do with this team and how she can help us moving forward.”
Ricardo Pepi Sends PSV Into Champions League Knockout Stage
PSV Eindhoven clinched its spot in the next round of the UEFA Champions League in dramatic fashion, with American forward Ricardo Pepi scoring the winner in a 3-2 comeback win over Sevilla in Spain. Trailing 2-0 in the second half, American left back Sergino Dest provided the assist on PSV’s first goal and Pepi found the winner in stoppage time, with fellow American Malik Tillman also coming off the bench. From his little flick to send a teammate forward to his run and clinical header, it was a great goal by the 20-year-old.
Elsewhere in the Champions League, Arsenal beat Lens 6-0 to advance, Real Madrid won 4-2 against Napoli to win its group, and Real Sociedad played to a scoreless draw with RB Salzburg. Manchester United remains in last place of its group after a 3-3 draw with Galatasaray, with goalkeeper Andre Onana unable to stop Hakim Ziyech from scoring off of two free kicks. All’s not lost for United though, as it can still qualify for the round of 16 by beating Bayern Munich at home so long as the other match ends in the group ends in a draw. It all makes for what should be an exciting final matchday in the group stage.
- The Kansas City Current announced that American midfielder Sam Mewis will not be returning to the club for the 2024 season. The 31-year-old has not played since 2021 as she continues to recover from a knee injury.
- The Utah Royals have signed free agent forward Imani Dorsey on a contract through the 2025 season. Dorsey has most recently played for NJ/NY Gotham FC, although she didn’t participate in this past season due to mental health reasons.
- Manchester United is reportedly ready to move on from Mason Mount just six months after he joined the team from Chelsea.
- Tomasz Kwiatkowski, the video assistant referee involved in a controversial handball that eventually led to Paris Saint-Germain’s equalizer in stoppage time against Newcastle, was removed from his next scheduled duty by UEFA.
- Amidst a four-game winless streak, French club Nantes has fired Pierre Aristouy as its manager, immediately replacing him with Jocelyn Gourvennec.
- We’ll end our links with this interesting article that dives into how Romelu Lukaku unexpectedly arrived at AS Roma and how he’s thriving at the Italian club.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!
2023 Orlando City Season in Review: Abdi Salim
Orlando Pride Sign Finnish Goalkeeper Sofia Manner
Lion Links: 12/1/23
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Player Grades and Man of the Match
Lion Links: 11/29/23
Lion Links: 11/27/23
Orlando City5 days ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Five Takeaways
Orlando City6 days ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Final Score 2-0 as 10-Man Lions Fall at Home in Extra Time
Orlando City6 days ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More
Orlando City5 days ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Player Grades and Man of the Match
Orlando City7 days ago
Intelligence Report: Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew
Orlando Pride2 weeks ago
Orlando Pride Announce Roster Decisions Following 2023 NWSL Season
Opinion2 weeks ago
Defense Key to Orlando City Reaching Conference Final
Opinion2 weeks ago
Rodrigo Schlegel Has Earned the Right to Continue Starting