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Orlando City vs. Houston Dynamo, Leagues Cup: Final Score 1-1 (5-4) as Lions Win Penalty Shootout after Controversial Draw

The Lions conceded a highly questionable penalty at the end of the first half, then battled back to equalize and won the postgame shootout.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City kicked off play in the South 2 group of Leagues Cup with a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo in front of an announced crowd of 14,005 at Exploria Stadium, but claimed an extra point by winning the postgame shootout, 5-4. It was a bit of a disappointing result for Orlando (0-0-1, 2 points) considering the Dynamo (0-0-1, 1 point) were awarded a penalty that never should have been given.

Amine Bassi scored Houston’s goal from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time, but that was canceled out in the opening minute of the second half by Duncan McGuire’s strike.

“A very difficult match against a team who in the first half came with ideas we neutralized well but we couldn’t create with our sequences that many chances that we wanted,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “At the end (of the half) the PK that was not, in our opinion, unbalanced the result. We came out in the second half much more sharp.”

Pareja’s lineup was nearly the same as the one that beat Atlanta United a week ago. Pedro Gallese started in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Kyle Smith. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena played central midfield behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Martin Ojeda, and Facundo Torres, with Duncan McGuire up top. Mauricio Pereyra picked up a knock in training late in the week and was not in the lineup, nor was Junior Urso, who is still awaiting the arrival of his international paperwork.

The teams played a cagey first half and it took a while for either side to get a look at goal. Ojeda took the game’s first shot in the 12th minute from outside the area, spinning and firing a weak shot that was easy for Andrew Tarbell to handle. Orlando City then won a couple of corners and nearly created something from them.

On the first, the service found Araujo at the back post but his shot was deflected out off of Griffin Dorsey for another corner. The second found Carlos in front of goal but the defender sent his header whistling just over the bar in the 15th minute.

Houston grew into the game a bit for the next 10 minutes after that, with Nelson Quinones causing problems for Smith with his speed.

Orlando City didn’t generate too much for the rest of the first half hour, but Torres sent a shot over the bar in the 23rd minute.

Jansson blocked a headed shot from Dorsey after Smith again was beaten by Quinones to allow the cross.

Just after the hydration break, Smith knocked a ball in traffic toward the middle in his own end. Carlos gave it away and Aliyu Ibrahim intercepted but fired his shot over the bar.

Angulo was sent in front by Torres in the 39th minute but his first touch was too heavy and all he could do was win a corner. On the ensuing set piece, the Lions played short and Ojeda eventually fired a blast toward goal that deflected wide off a defender. Two minuts later, Torres again fizzed a shot over the bar.

Disaster struck in first-half stoppage time as Dorsey flopped in the corner of the box. Rafael Santos was called for a foul, a penalty was awarded to Houston by referee Filip Dujic, and somehow the video assistant referee did not overturn the awful call and penalize Dorsey for the obvious dive. To make matters worse, Jansson was booked for dissent and Gallese for time wasting before the penalty took place. Bassi stepped up to the spot and scored to put Houston ahead.

Following the penalty, Dujic didn’t even add the full amount of time the penalty took back onto the clock. The Dynamo took a 1-0 lead into the half.

Orlando City held the advantage at the break in possession (54.8%-45.2%), shots (8-3), shots on target (3-1), corners (4-1), and passing accuracy (84.9%-79.7%) but the horrible call had the Dynamo ahead at the half.

“I think the heat played a fairly large role today and really made us take a passive role in the first half, and that’s something that we talked about coming into halftime — that we had to change the energy of the team,” Torres said.

Pareja brought Dagur Dan Thorhallsson on for Smith at the break, and he played well in the second half, but that’s not what changed the energy of the team.

The Lions struck back right after the restart. A back pass from the Houston defense to Tarbell went badly wrong for the visitors. Tarbell’s pass was picked off by the onrushing McGuire who slotted into the empty net to tie the game in the 46th minute.

“When he dropped it back, I didn’t see any defenders helping out, running back, so I decided to press, and hopefully he’d kick it long, so we could win that. That was my thought process,” McGuire said. “I saw the defender to my right and I thought maybe he’d go there, so I just put my foot out and it came right to me, so it was pretty easy for me from there on out. I’m really glad we got that one early and set the tone for the rest of the game.”

Corey Baird tried to pull the goal right back for Houston but hit his shot over the bar at the other end.

Araujo won the Lions a corner after the ensuing goal kick and that got knocked out for a long throw. During the long throw-in by Araujo, Carlos went down in the box under heavy contact but Dujic suddenly wasn’t concerned with actual contact in the penalty area and waved play on.

Houston Head Coach Ben Olsen sent on MLS All-Stars Adalberto Carrasquilla and Hector Herrera after that to go after the win. The move helped the Dynamo who controlled more of the midfield and Orlando players didn’t help themselves with some poor passing in the middle of the pitch and in the attacking third.

Just a minute after the substitutions, Carrasquilla was set up near the top of the box and had an open look but his shot hit Carlos in the back.

Torres’ best opportunity came in the 70th minute but his shot was blocked behind for a corner. Three minutes later, Ramiro Enrique got to a fantastic long ball from Jansson. Tarbell was well off his line and Enrique tried to chip him but his shot went just over the crossbar and landed on the roof of the net.

Ercan Kara, another second-half sub, had two decent chances to break the deadlock as time wound down. He freed himself up for a shot in the 76th minute and hit it with a ton of power, but it skipped off the outside of the right post, going just inches wide. In the 81st minute, he made a sliding lunge at a Santos cross that was a tad too far out in front and he made contact with it but it deflected off of Tarbell and the goalkeeper was able to collect it.

Torres cut inside and smashed a shot on target in the 87th minute but again Tarbell was able to save it. Thorhallsson couldn’t keep it from going out but rather than a corner, a goal kick was awarded.

Neither team could find a winner late and the game ended in a draw. Orlando City dominated the stat sheet, finishing with the advantage in possession (54.6%-45.4%), shots (16-7), shots on target (5-1), corners (8-2), and passing accuracy (84.8%-77.2%).

The format of the competition means that in group play, draws go to penalties to determine which team gains an extra point in the standings — much like in MLS NEXT Pro.

Gallese made a huge stop on Houston captain Herrera to start the penalty shootout, giving Orlando City the advantage.

Pareja called the save “tremendous.”

“With Pedro’s experience and the way he manages himself and the confidence that he brings to us is incredible,” Pareja said. “So, his professionalism and that confidence is inspiring for us.”

“Every penalty kick shootout that we go into, Pedro has started off by looking at us in our faces and saying he’s going to stop at least one,” Torres said. “Obviously, he was able to get the first one and it just filled us with a ton of confidence, knowing that all we had to do is score our penalties, because he had already stopped one, and we were going to come out on top.”

Kara then scored for Orlando to push the Lions out front.

The rest of the shooters all found the mark. Thor Ulfarsson got Houston on the board, but Santos put Orlando City back in front after two rounds. Carrasquilla leveled things but Jansson responded by scoring. Dorsey tied the shootout at 3-3, but that was followed by a goal by Carlos to push Houston to the brink.

Gallese got his hand to Brad Smith’s penalty as the Dynamo’s fifth shooter, but it still got past him and Orlando needed a goal to end things. Torres stepped up and smashed home an unstoppable shootout winner.

The Lions gained two points in the standings but it should have been three, if not for the insanely soft penalty given to Houston at the end of the first half. But winning that shootout left Orlando City players feeling better than the way the game could have gone after that late first-half penalty was awarded.

“It feels just as good as winning any other game,” Torres said. “Obviously, going to penalties and being able to win in the PK shootout and get that extra point put us further up in the group table standings is always great.”


The Lions will host Santos Laguna in their final group stage match in the 2023 Leagues Cup next Saturday, July 29. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Nashville SC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions close out a two-game road trip with a visit to Tennessee.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night matchup between Orlando City (8-9-6, 30 points) and Nashville SC (6-9-8, 26 points) at Geodis Park in Nashville, TN (8:30 p.m., FS1, free on Apple TV+). It’s the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season, with Nashville set to make the return trip to Orlando on Aug. 31.

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

History

The Lions are 2-2-4 against Nashville in MLS regular-season matches and 4-3-5 in all competitions. Orlando is 1-0-3 on the road in the series in league play and 2-1-3 away in all competitions.

Orlando City last met Nashville SC at Geodis Park on Nov. 7, 2023 in the second game of a best-of-three, first-round playoff series. The Lions got an early goal from Ivan Angulo in a 1-0 win to sweep the series. Orlando City drew first blood in the series by beating Nashville 1-0 on Oct. 30, 2023 at Exploria Stadium. Wilder Cartagena’s blast from outside the area hit the underside of the crossbar near the right corner and bounced in for the game’s only score.

The teams last met in the regular season on Oct. 4, 2023 with Orlando City stealing a 1-0 win in Music City on Duncan McGuire’s goal just before halftime. That was one of only two shot attempts by the Lions all night and the only one on target. Orlando played well defensively and Pedro Gallese didn’t have to make a save as the hosts didn’t put any shots on frame.

Nashville visited Orlando back on April 1 of last year at Exploria Stadium and it was the visitors who made fools of the Lions, as Nashville won, 2-0. Fafa Picault and Hany Mukhtar did the damage for Nashville.

The teams did not face each other in regular-season play the year before, meeting only in the U.S. Open Cup in Orlando on June 29, 2022. Mukhtar scored in the second half, and that looked like it would be enough until Rodrigo Schlegel equalized deep in stoppage time. After a scoreless 30 minutes of extra time, the Lions won the ensuing penalty shootout, 6-4.

These sides met in the 2021 postseason in Tennessee, with Orlando scoring first through Daryl Dike’s early goal, but Nashville won 3-1 on Nov. 23, 2021 to knock the Lions out of the playoffs. Mukhtar tied it up before halftime on a fluky deflected goal off of Antonio Carlos and then put his team up in the 74th minute on a counterattack. Jhonder Cadiz put things away deep in stoppage time.

The teams met in Orlando on Oct. 31, 2021 and ended in a 1-1 draw after referee Allen Chapman’s Halloween Heist chalked off Andres Perea’s apparent stoppage-time winner. The referee’s excuse for overturning the goal was an imagined foul on Dike, who, if anything, was the fouled party. The decision cost the Lions a valuable home playoff match, which instead sent Orlando to Nashville. Mukhtar scored for Nashville to equalize in the second half after Dike’s first-half goal.

The teams met in Nashville on Sept. 29, 2021 with a late rally by the Lions earning the team a 2-2 road draw at Nissan Stadium. The hosts had taken a 2-0 lead on goals by Mukhtar — scoring off the rebound of his own saved penalty — and Randall Leal, but a penalty by Dike and a stoppage-time own goal by Brian Anunga turned the game around. On Aug. 18 of that season, the teams finished in another 1-1 draw. C.J. Sapong put the hosts ahead in the first half and Carlos leveled the score in the second half. The Lions, who played poorly in the opening 45, were the better team throughout the second half and Tesho Akindele’s shot off the crossbar was inches from providing a winner for Orlando.

The teams met on Decision Day of 2020 at Exploria Stadium, with Orlando melting down late, allowing two goals from the 88th minute on, and falling 3-2 at home on Nov. 8, 2020 — the team’s only home loss on the season. Dike and Nani goals sandwiched a strike by Daniel Lovitz, giving the Lions a lead until late. Headers by Mukhtar (in the 88th minute) and Cadiz (in the 93rd minute) turned the game on its head.

In the Lions’ first trip to Nissan Stadium, the teams played to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 2, 2020. Benji Michel put the Lions ahead with a stunner of a goal, but Leal knotted things up and that’s the way the match ended.

That 1-1 draw came a week after a 3-1 Orlando City win on Aug. 26 at Exploria Stadium. Dave Romney had opened the scoring for Nashville with a header off a free kick but Orlando scored the last three. Dike took a star turn for Orlando City, scoring a brace, and Chris Mueller also scored for the Lions.

Overview

The Lions are coming off a 3-1 win Saturday at New England. That was Orlando City’s first win over the Revolution at Gillette Stadium in club history. Facundo Torres’ brace put him on the MLS Team of the Matchday and gave him four goal contributions in his last five matches. Ramiro Enrique also scored, filling in for McGuire, who is away with the U.S. Olympic team. The Lions have won three straight games and four of their last five, and have a 5-4-3 road record on the season.

Tonight’s hosts are coming off a 2-1 away loss to D.C. United. Nashville is 4-3-5 at home, but has lost its last four games, but the three most recent losses have come on the road. The last home match was a 2-1 loss to Inter Miami. Mukhtar leads Nashville in goal contributions with 12 (five goals, seven assists), and has four goals and five assists against the Lions in his career. You should never bet your house on anything, but if you did, betting on Mukhtar to have a goal contribution against the Lions seems a near certainty. Meanwhile, forward Sam Surridge paces the Tennessee side with eight goals in 2024.

As it usually is, this matchup should be a tightly contested battle to the end.

“Every game has its own context, whether we have memory of, or feelings of, what happened in the prior games. In this case, with Nashville SC, we have had good experiences, and last year, we succeeded on the things that we wanted and our gameplan,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the match. “But we always say that every game brings different challenges and different things that we need to prepare (for), because the game is dynamic, it moves, and they have changed their coach. All those things add up in preparation, but most important is that we can continue our line of improvement. That’s what we’re focusing on now.”

In addition to McGuire, Orlando City will be without Michael Halliday (knee) and Mason Stajduhar (lower leg). Nashville will be without Walker Zimmerman (Olympic duty), Julian Gaines (ankle), Anibal Godoy (lower body), Randall Leal (hip), and Lukas McNaughton (ankle), while Surridge (ankle) is listed as questionable.

Match Content


Projected Lineups:

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

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

Defensive Midfielders: Wilder Cartagena, Cesar Araujo.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Martin Ojeda, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Ramiro Enrique.

Nashville SC (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Joe Willis.

Defenders: Daniel Lovitz, Jack Maher, Josh Bauer, Shaq Moore.

Defensive Midfielders: Dru Yearwood, Sean Davis.

Attacking Midfielders: Sam Surridge, Hany Mukhtar, Tyler Boyd.

Forward: Teal Bunbury.

Referees

REF: Pierre-Luc Lauziere.
AR1: Jeffrey Greeson.
AR2: Ben Pilgrim.
4TH: Matt Thompson.
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
AVAR: Jozef Batko.


How to Watch

Match Time: 8:30 p.m.

Venue: Geodis Park — Nashville, TN.

TV/Streaming: FS1, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+ (free).

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Mega 97.1 FM (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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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/17/24

Orlando City’s attendance is up, Viviana Villacorta signs new contract, USWNT draws Costa Rica, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane land

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s match day for Orlando City as the Lions hit the road once again for a match against Eastern Conference foe Nashville SC. We will have your preview and full coverage of the match later today. To pass the time until then, please enjoy these links.

Orlando City Attendance on the Rise

So far in 2024, attendance at Orlando City matches has averaged 22,632, which is more than last season’s 20,804 average. That total is good enough to put the Lions at 11th best in MLS attendance this season. Attendance is up across the league this season, with some citing the Lionel Messi effect, but I’m partial to the idea that more people are simply finding out about the beautiful game. I also think that the last few successful seasons for Orlando City have much more to do with the increase at home.

Villacorta Signs New Contract

Haley Carter and the Orlando Pride front office continued their trend of locking down current players by extending Viviana Villacorta’s time in purple with a new contract through the 2025 season with an option for 2026. Villacorta has had a rough go of it due to injuries, but the talent is there for her to contribute to the project Seb Hines is building.

Pride Top the Olympic List

The NWSL will send 56 players to the Olympics, setting a record for most players from any women’s league in the world. The Orlando Pride tied NJ/NJ Gotham FC for the most players participating on the women’s side, with seven. The Pride players making the trip are Barbra Banda and Grace Chanda with Zambia, Emily Sams for the USWNT (as an alternate), and four of the Pride’s Brazilians — Marta, Adriana, Rafaelle, and Angelina (as an alternate). If seeing all of those excellent players compete against each other in the Olympics doesn’t get you excited, you should probably see a doctor.

Orlando City/Pride to Host Olympics Watch Parties

If you were wondering where to watch the Orlando City and the Orlando Pride players representing their individual nations, then wonder no more. Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are hosting watch parties in Orlando. If you want to support the club’s internationals, like Duncan McGuire for the USMNT U-23s, and all of the Pride players, you can do so with your fellow Orlando City and Orlando Pride supporters. There will be four watch parties in total. Check out the schedule and venues here.

USWNT Draws, U-20 USWNT Wins

The United States Women’s National Team played its final friendly before the start of the Olympics against a stubborn Costa Rica side at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Despite having 80% possession and taking 26 shots — with 12 shots on target — the wasteful Yanks were unable to find the net, playing to a scoreless draw. Costa Rica’s low block was effective, as was goalkeeper Noelia Bermúdez, but the U.S. simply squandered too many opportunities. The USWNT will next play against Banda’s Zambian squad in the Olympics.

The U-20 USWNT defeated the U-20 Mexico Women’s National Team 3-0 at the Jack Turner Soccer Complex at the University of Georgia in Athens. Ally Sentnor provided a brace, and Riley Jackson added the third. The Pride’s Ally Lemos got the start in this match and played just over an hour after subbing on in the team’s most recent match on July 13.

Free Kicks

  • Gareth Southgate will torment England supporters no longer as he has stepped down, having failed to “bring football home.”

That will do it for today. Don’t forget to follow @themaneland on Twitter for updates during the match tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/16/24

Facundo Torres named to Team of the Matchday, Colombian soccer president arrested, transfer rumor roundup, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I had a slightly subdued start to my week, as my beloved Colombia was unable to get past Argentina to win Copa America. Life goes on though, and with a pair of Orlando City games this week, as well as an Orlando City B match, things will continue to be very busy around here. As usual, we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get started on today’s links.

Facundo Torres Makes MLS Team of the Matchday

Facundo Torres’ efforts in Saturday’s victory were recognized with a place in the MLS Team of the Matchday, along with an MLS Goal of the Week nomination to boot. Torres gets the nod on the left wing following the brace he scored to help the Lions come back to win over the New England Revolution. His second goal was nominated for the best one of the matchday, as he beautifully curled a first-time strike into the side netting to double Orlando’s advantage. Here’s hoping this run of form continues.

Colombian Federation President Arrested

As if losing the Copa America final 1-0 to Brazil wasn’t painful enough, Ramon Jesurun, the president of the Colombian Football Federation, was arrested in the hours after the game ended. Jesurun faces three felony counts of battery on a specified official or employee. His son was also arrested, and faces the same charges in addition to a misdemeanor battery charge. The specified incidents seem to have occurred while the final was taking place, with the event as a whole being marred by massive security and overcrowding issues.

Transfer News Roundup

We’ve got plenty of transfer news to catch up on, and we’ll get started in Major League Soccer. The Colorado Rapids have sold goalkeeper Marko Ilic to Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade. Sticking with the Rapids, Tom Bogert reports that the team is in talks with Lyon over selling Canadian defender Moise Bambito to the French side. Moving to Europe, Everton has reportedly made contact with Juventus about signing Weston McKennie. Arsenal and Aston Villa are both reportedly interested in signing Mikel Merino from Real Sociedad following his strong Euro 2024 showing with Spain.

International Retirements Abound

A number of high-profile players have retired from international play following the conclusion of this summer’s international tournaments. Olivier Giroud has called time on his international career, confirming what he had said before the start of the tournament. He retires as France’s all-time leading scorer, with 57 tallies in 137 matches. Xherdan Shaqiri has retired from playing for Switzerland, and he bows out as the only Swiss player to appear in seven major tournaments. Finally, like Giroud, Angel di Maria stuck to what he said prior to the start of Copa America, and has retired from playing for Argentina after winning the latest edition of the tournament.

Free Kicks

  • New Orlando Pride player Grace Chanda stopped by to take a look at her new home.
  • Orlando City rose one spot to 14th in ESPN‘s MLS power rankings.
  • Former Orlando Pride player Chioma Ubogagu has signed with USL Super League side Dallas Trinity.
  • Cristian Arango has been suspended four games for violating MLS’ Anti-Harassment Policy. He will serve one game of the suspension during the MLS All-Star Game, which is…weird.

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

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