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Orlando City vs. Nashville SC: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions rate in Orlando City’s 1-0 win over Nashville SC up in the Music City?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City is on to the Eastern Conference semifinals! Another 1-0 win over Nashville SC was enough to get the job done, as Ivan Angulo scored early and the Lions controlled the game the rest of the way. The game won’t win any awards for being high octane, but no one will be complaining about a professional performance against a very difficult team. What follows are my player ratings for OCSC’s Game 2 win up in Tennessee.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — It was a relatively calm night for El Pulpo, as he recorded his third shutout against Nashville in his last three tries. He made four saves, controlled his box well, and drew a couple of fouls that helped slow the game down, preventing Nashville from getting into a good rhythm. He completed nine of his 27 long balls, and while his 50% overall passing accuracy wasn’t great, for much of the game he was just lumping the ball down the field to help the defense clear its lines.

D, Rafael Santos, 5.5 — The left back didn’t find himself as involved offensively as he’s been at times this year, but that’s not altogether surprising, given that the Lions took an early lead and didn’t necessarily need to bomb forward. Still, he completed the one dribble that he attempted, although his 65% passing accuracy left a lot to be desired, and then some. Defensively, he chipped in a whopping six clearances, which were the second most on the team, and did a very good job of containing Fafa Picault down the left hand side. He picked up a yellow card which was a blemish on his night, but it was a solid outing overall.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7.5 (MotM) Rodrigo was immense in this game, as he has been for much of the year when deputizing for Antonio Carlos. His 41% passing accuracy was downright ugly but that just wasn’t what he was on the field to do. He is there to be a rock defensively and that’s exactly what happened. He had a tackle, an interception, won a team-high five aerials, and had an absurd 11 clearances. He seemed to find his way to every ball and even won two fouls, although he also picked up a yellow card, which was basically the only thing he did wrong all night. He also got under several Nashville players’ skin, making them think about him rather than the game.

D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 Jansson was his typically steady self during this one. He had one shaky moment in the first half when he and Gallese had a mixup that resulted in Hany Mukhtar putting the ball in the back of the net, but the offside flag saved any potential blushes. He won two aerial duels, had three clearances, and drew two fouls while passing with 78% accuracy and connecting on four long balls. He and the rest of the defense will be very satisfied with yet another clean sheet.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 Thorhallsson found himself getting forward a little more than Santos on the other side of the back line. He completed a dribble, put one shot on target that was blocked, and had an 83% passing rate. He did the work defensively too, as he won two aerial duels, made one tackle, and had two clearances. He did commit two fouls, but kept his nose clean and avoided picking up any bookings for them.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Cartagena had a very good game. He was a constant and reliably tough presence in the midfield, something that we’ve long since become accustomed to seeing. The stats back that up, as he won an aerial duel, had a team-high six tackles, one clearance, and one interception. He passed with 78% accuracy, and took one shot from the top of the box on the volley, which he missed, but not by a lot. He also committed two fouls and picked up a yellow card. Still, it was a night that he should be plenty proud of.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7 Araujo and Cartagena are just plain formidable. As good of a game as Cartagena had, Araujo’s may have been a touch above. He also played a great defensive game with four tackles, a clearance, a block, and two won aerial duels. He carried more of a threat going forward than we’re often used to seeing, and that’s what gets him a slightly higher rating. Cesar passed the ball with 90% accuracy, and played two key passes and four successful long balls on four attempts. He also drew three fouls while not committing any of his own, something that was very good to see from a player who’s struggled with bookings at times.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 7.5 Aside from the obvious point of scoring a goal, Angulo had a very good game. He took four shots, putting three on target and having the remaining one blocked, and it took a strong save from Joe Willis to deny him a brace in the first half. Aside from that, he passed with 91% accuracy, provided two key passes and completed a dribble when it came to attacking contributions. He also popped up on defense several times, and had an interception and a tackle.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 The captain was involved in a lot of Orlando’s play during the time that he was on the field. He did a particularly good job of finding the spaces of the Nashville defense and getting onto the ball to orchestrate things in the attacking half. He took two shots, one of which was blocked and the other off target. He passed the ball with 86% accuracy, contributed two key passes, and completed a successful dribble. He wasn’t quite able to find the pass to fully break open the home side, but that’s been the case for more than one player against Nashville over the years. If there was a knock on his evening it was that he was caught from behind in possession a couple of times when he had plenty of time and space to release the ball to an open teammate.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 Facu didn’t have his best game in an Orlando shirt, but it wasn’t a horrible night from him. The good things include 90% passing accuracy, a completed cross, a completed long ball (on two attempts), four key passes, and three shots. He only put one of those three on target though, and his reluctance to use his right foot remains a sticky wicket in his game offensively — although he did take one of his shots with his right. Still, had Angulo’s finishing been better, he likely would have picked up an assist and he still found ways to be involved when he wasn’t at his best.

F, Duncan McGuire, 6 Like Facu, Duncan didn’t have his most potent offensive game. He only took one shot on the night and had it blocked, and also committed one foul. That being said, he made two tackles, drew two fouls, and played three key passes, while passing with 83% accuracy and winning one aerial duel. He hasn’t been as offensively involved as he’s capable of in the playoffs to this point, but that just means that he’s due for a big game.

Substitutes

MF, Junior Urso (68’), 6 Urso entered the fray to replace Angulo with just over 20 minutes left in the game. He didn’t record any defensive stats but was pretty active on offense during his short time on the field. He passed with 95% accuracy, took two shots, both of which were off target, and completed a pair of dribbles. One of those dribbles was a fantastic run through the Nashville defense, and only a last-gasp challenge by Sean Davis prevented what almost certainly would have been a goal for The Bear. Overall, it was a nice body of work in a brief appearance.

MF, Martin Ojeda (68’), 6 Ojeda subbed on for Mauricio Pereyra and helped to close the game out while still giving Orlando some threat going forward. He took two shots, one of which was a positively wicked drive from distance that Joe Willis was able to fight off, but he didn’t record any other stats besides his 84% passing accuracy.

D, Kyle Smith (72′), 6 — Smith is so often Mr. Reliable for this team, and that’s what he was in a brief substitute appearance. He passed at an 80% clip and chipped in with one tackle, but a lot of the work that he did to help close the game down and run out the clock won’t show up on the box score, and he didn’t put a foot wrong.

D, Antonio Carlos (80′), N/A Carlos was brought on with 10 minutes left to play as Oscar Pareja moved to a back five to shut up shop and secure the result. He won two aerial duels but didn’t record any other stats as he helped provide a steady presence at the back to see out the game. His presence also allowed Schlegel to range out and provide help in the defensive midfield or out wide to the left, preventing Nashville from creating much in the dying minutes.

F, Ramiro Enrique (80′), N/A Ramiro came on for Duncan McGuire to provide a speedy release valve up front as the Lions went more defensive to end the game. He connected on two of his three passes for 66% accuracy, provided a key pass, won an aerial duel, and drew a foul while committing one of his own.


That’s how I saw the individual performances in this game. It might not have been the flashiest win either statistically or on the scoreboard, but it was a game that Orlando was in pretty comfortable control of from start to finish. How did you see the performances in this one? Be sure to let us know in the comments below and to vote for your Man of the Match. Vamos Orlando!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/18/24

Euro 2024 roundup, MLS transfer happenings, U.S. stars on Copa America prep, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It was a mixed bag for Orlando’s soccer teams over the weekend, as none of Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, or Orlando City B managed to win, with a loss and two draws. The only way out is through though, and there are plenty of chances to get back to winning ways this week. Before we get to today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Pride defender Rafaelle!

Euro Results Roundup

It was another pulsating day of action at Euro 2024, with the theme of early goals and exciting contests continuing. The early contest saw Romania beat Ukraine 3-0 with a trio of very well-taken goals. Nicolae Stanciu opened the scoring in the 29th minute and a pair of second-half goals just four minutes apart sealed Romania’s first win at the Euros in 24 years. In the second game of the day, Slovakia grabbed a goal in the seventh minute courtesy of an ill-advised Belgian attempt to play out of the back, and managed to hang on for a 1-0 win. The game wasn’t without controversy, as Romelu Lukaku missed several excellent chances, and also had two goals correctly ruled out by video review. The last game of the day saw France beat Austria 1-0 courtesy of an own goal in the first half, but the biggest talking point was Kylian Mbappe’s broken nose that will reportedly require surgery.

MLS Transfer Happenings

We have several important MLS transfers to catch up on this morning. First, the Houston Dynamo have broken the club’s transfer record to sign Argentine striker Ezequiel Ponce from Greek club AEK Athens. The 27-year-old will be a Designated Player, and although he can’t play for Houston until the secondary transfer window opens on July 18, he should help a Dynamo team that’s scored the fewest goals in the Western Conference. Moving to the Eastern Conference, the Columbus Crew are reportedly closing in on a trade to acquire Aziel Jackson from St. Louis City in exchange for $650,000 of General Allocation Money, in addition to other incentives.

Finally, Tom Bogert has identified Brighton and Hove Albion’s Marc Leonard as a player who could move stateside this summer. His loan spell at Northampton Town last season saw him named the club’s player of the year.

U.S. Players Speak About Copa America Prep

The Copa America kicks off on Friday, and Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams recently spoke about how they and the rest of the United States Men’s National Team have been preparing for the tournament. McKennie spoke on how this team has never been in camp for this long before, and that the extra time is helping them iron out little issues. He also talked about his willingness to fill in wherever needed on the field, something that could be relevant for both him and Adams given the injury to Sergino Dest. For his part, Adams discussed how a bright spot to missing so much time last year due to injury was that it allowed him to spend plenty of time with his newborn son.

UEFA Investigating Racism at Euro Match

UEFA is probing an alleged incident of racial abuse that took place in the match between England and Serbia. While the complaint did not come from the English Football Association, UEFA released a statement that it was investigating Serbia for objects that were thrown and the “transmission of a provocative message.” If the charges are proven, then Serbia could face sanctions from UEFA.

Free Kicks

  • The sensor placed inside the ball was instrumental in overturning what would have been an equalizing goal for Belgium.
  • Polish television is doing some very cool things with its soccer coverage.
  • An English fan woke up still in the stadium well after his team’s win over Serbia.

That does it for me this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Orlando City

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

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s home loss to LAFC?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Despite dominating most of the game and nearly all of the second half, Orlando City fell 3-1 to LAFC Saturday night. The Lions continue their troubles at home, with the last win in front of their home fans coming on March 23. It’s more frustration for a team and fanbase that has had plenty this season.

Let’s take a look at how the players performed individually in the loss.

Starters

GK, Mason Stajduhar, 5.5 — With regular starting goalkeeper Pedro Gallese on international duty with Peru, Stajduhar got the nod for the second time this season. Conceding three goals is a bad night for any goalkeeper, though he wasn’t the only one at fault for any of them. The first was a penalty and the other two were breakaway counterattacks. The goalkeeper made four saves on the night but wasn’t challenged much. He completed all of his 14 passes, which included six long balls, and had to clear the ball once.

D, Rafael Santos, 5.5 — Santos had 101 touches in this game, second on the team. The left back completed 94.8% of his 77 passes, but only two of his 13 crosses. One of his passes was a key pass, but his poor crossing haunted the Lions in this game. Defensively, Santos recorded one tackle and one clearance.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was terrific for the first 85 minutes of this game, recording 88 touches. He completed 89.9% of his 79 passes, including four of his six long balls. Defensively, he added four tackles and a clearance. Unfortunately, he got caught up field in no-man’s land on LAFC’s second goal and got beat by Nathan Ordaz, resulting in a counterattack on the third. He was my Man of the Match until the final few minutes.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Schlegel was on the ball less than Jansson, recording 60 touches. He completed 96.4% of his 56 passes and two of his three long balls. Defensively, he only had a tackle. Overall, it was a solid night by the center back. While he didn’t have a part in the first two goals, he was unable to clear the ball on a tackle in the box on the third, allowing LAFC to take a 3-1 advantage.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 5.5 — Thorhallsson started in his usual right back position, recording 66 touches. He completed 89.4% of his 47 passes, including a key pass, one of his five crosses, and none of his three long balls. He was among the most active players defensively with four tackles and interceptions. Additionally, he recorded one shot and had one successful dribble. Like other players in the team, his crossing struggles impacted the final result.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 5.5 — The Lions’ attack mainly went through the opposite side of Angulo, so the midfielder only had 47 touches, second-fewest of the 11 starters. He completed 87.6% of his 30 passes, including one of his four crosses and two key passes, but was plagued by some heavy touches in the final third. The attacker also helped out defensively with two successful tackles before being replaced by Martin Ojeda in the 61st minute.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 5 — Araujo was the only natural defensive midfielder in the starting lineup for Orlando City. He recorded 84 touches and completed 95.5% of his 67 passes. However, he only completed one of his two long balls, neither of his crosses, and didn’t record any key passes. He took two long distance shots but both were off target. Defensively, he recorded three tackles and one interception. It was a tough night for Araujo as he had a part in all three LAFC goals. He conceded the penalty, failed to keep up with Mateusz Bogusz on the second, and allowed Denis Bouanga to dribble around him on the third, although it’s perhaps harsh to fault a player for not being as fast as another or handle a player like Bouanga in space.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6 (MotM) — Lodeiro was unquestionably the most active player in this game, recording a team-high 132 touches. He completed 93% of his team-high 114 passes, but none of the seven crosses. The midfielder took three off-target shots and contributed defensively with two tackles and a clearance. He would’ve had a higher grade if he had completed some of his crosses, but his inability to do so hurt his team. Despite those missed crosses, Lodeiro gets my Man of the Match.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres was often involved in the Lions’ buildup play, recording 89 touches. He completed 89.7% of his 68 passes, including a team-high five key passes. Two of his eight crosses failed to find teammates and his one long ball was incomplete. He took three shots, tied for second on the team, but none hit the target. Like some other players in this game, his grade would’ve been higher but he completely missed the target with his penalty in the 33rd minute. It was the first missed penalty of his professional career, but it had a major impact after LAFC converted one of its own 11 minutes later.

F, Luis Muriel, 5.5 — As usual, Muriel played a deeper role than Duncan McGuire, recording 69 touches. He completed 88.7% of his 53 passes, including three key passes. He failed to connect on his one cross and one of his two long balls. Additionally all five of his shots were off target. Muriel’s biggest problem in this game was attempting to dribble through multiple players, which resulted in him losing possession in dangerous positions. However, his perfectly weighted ball for Ojeda set up the game-tying goal in the 69th minute. While his assist was beautiful, it wasn’t enough to overcome his constant turnovers in the LAFC third of the field.

F, Duncan McGuire, 5 — McGuire played the target position in this game, recording 28 touches. He completed 81.8% of his 22 passes, but failed to connect on his lone long ball. Strikers are judged by goals and McGuire didn’t participate in any in this game, failing to hit the target on his only two shots. It was a forgettable performance that came to an end in the 78th minute when he was replaced by Jack Lynn.

Substitutes

MF, Martin Ojeda (61’), 6 — Ojeda came on in the 61st minute for Angulo and made an immediate impact. He provided a burst of energy for the team and the Lions quickly began creating dangerous chances. The attacking midfielder had 31 touches and completed 85% of his 20 passes. While he didn’t complete any of his four crosses, he scored the equalizing goal in the 69th minute. In addition to his goal, he had a late chance that hit the side netting. While I gave Lodeiro my Man of the Match, there’s an argument for Ojeda because of the impact he made.

F, Jack Lynn (78’), N/A — Lynn came on with 12 minutes to go for McGuire, who clearly had no more energy. The Lions were looking for a game-winning goal, but Lynn was unable to help. He only touched the ball three times and completed two of three passes without taking any shots. It was easy to forget he was on the field as the minutes wound down.


That’s how I saw the individual performances in Orlando City’s disappointing loss to LAFC. Let us know how you saw the game and don’t forget to vote on your Man of the Match below.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/17/24

Lions fall to LAFC, Pride draw on the road, Euro 2024 roundup, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well with you down in Florida and had a great Father’s Day for all you dads out there. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend, but I try to catch some action from the Euros when possible. As for our teams, the Lions lost at home while the Pride drew on the road. Before we get started, let’s wish Orlando Pride midfielder Summer Yates a happy 24th birthday. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Fall at Home to LAFC

Orlando City lost 3-1 to LAFC on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium, extending its winless streak to four matches. The Lions also remain winless against LAFC. Facundo Torres missed a penalty kick that would have put Orlando ahead before LAFC grabbed a goal late in the first half, converting a penalty of its own. Martin Ojeda scored an equalizer for the Lions in the second half, but LAFC countered with two more goals to put the match away. LAFC has won six straight league matches and is second in the Western Conference with 33 points. Meanwhile, Orlando dropped to 14th in the Eastern Conference with 17 points. It will be a quick turnaround for the Lions with a midweek matchup on the road Wednesday at Charlotte FC.

Pride, Courage Split Points in Scoreless Draw

The Orlando Pride played the Courage to a scoreless draw on the road Saturday in North Carolina at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Pride had chances throughout the match but could not score a goal for the first time this season. Still, Orlando remains unbeaten this season and is the first team this year to take any points away on the road against the Courage. After all the action across the NWSL over the weekend, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are still tied at the top with 29 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will return home Friday at Inter&Co Stadium to take on the Utah Royals.

Euro 2024 Roundup

The 2024 European Championship kicked off in Germany over the weekend with seven matches. We haven’t had any upsets yet, as Germany cruised past Scotland 5-1 in the opener on Friday. On Saturday, Switzerland beat Hungary 3-1, Spain shut out Croatia 3-0, and Italy bounced back after being down 1-0 to beat Albania 2-1. On Sunday, Slovenia and Denmark battled to a 1-1 draw. Orlando City defender David Brekalo came off the bench for a cameo appearance during stoppage time. The Netherlands overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat Poland 2-1, and England defeated Serbia 1-0, with Jude Bellingham scoring the lone goal. In today’s matches, Romania takes on Ukraine, Belgium faces Slovakia, and Austria takes on France.

MLS Weekend Recap

It was another busy weekend of MLS action. The lone Friday matchup saw the Columbus Crew beat New York City FC 3-2. On Saturday, the New England Revolution defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2. It was the Revs’ third straight win. Charlotte FC shut out D.C. United 1-0, Inter Miami escaped Subaru Park with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union, and the Chicago Fire stunned Toronto FC with a 4-1 win on the road. Peter Luccin got his first win as interim head coach as FC Dallas defeated St. Louis City 2-0 and snapped a five-match winless streak. Atlanta United and the Houston Dynamo battled to a 2-2 draw, CF Montreal and Real Salt Lake ended in a scoreless draw, and the New York Red Bulls and Nashville SC also played to a scoreless draw. In the later matches, the Colorado Rapids and the Seattle Sounders defeated Austin FC and Minnesota United FC, respectively, by identical 2-0 scorelines. Finally, the LA Galaxy handed Sporting Kansas City a 4-2 defeat, while FC Cincinnati needed a a Yuya Kubo hat trick to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 on the road.

Free Kicks

  • Major League Soccer has placed Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez on administrative leave as the league investigates allegations that he violated the league’s gambling policy.

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

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