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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?



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.


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.


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!

Orlando City

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

The Lions meet the Herons in the first Tropic Thunder battle of 2024.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday afternoon Tropic Thunder matchup between Orlando City and the team’s Publix Enemies, Inter Miami CF at Chase Stadium (4:30 p.m., FOX, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+). It’s the first of two scheduled meetings between the sides this season with the return leg in Orlando set for Wednesday, May 15. It is the only scheduled meeting in Fort Lauderdale.

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


Orlando City is 5-4-4 in the series in all competitions, 2-3-0 on the road in the MLS regular season, and 2-4-0 away in all competitions. The most recent meeting resulted in a 1-1 draw in Orlando on Sept. 24, 2023. Duncan McGuire brought Orlando back from a 1-0 deficit after David Ruiz had given the Herons a 1-0 lead early in the second half.

The most recent meeting in South Florida took place on Aug. 2 of last year in Leagues Cup action. The Herons were fortunate to not see Lionel Messi sent off with a second yellow late in the first half and even more fortunate to get a soft penalty call on Antonio Carlos as they won, 3-1. Messi opened the scoring after being ignored in the box early. Cesar Araujo made up for his uncharacteristic defensive lapse by scoring 10 minutes later. Josef Martinez put Miami back on top with the Downy-soft penalty just after halftime and Messi sunk in the dagger in the final 20 minutes.

The teams also met in Fort Lauderdale in MLS play on May 20, 2023, with Orlando City winning, 3-1. Ercan Kara’s early goal was canceled out by Leonardo Campana shortly before the hour mark, but Martin Ojeda and Rafael Santos found the net in the second half to power the Lions.

Inter Miami won at home, 4-1, on Oct. 5, 2022. Campana scored in the game’s first minute and Orlando City never settled in. Gonzalo Higuain added two goals — one from the spot — and Ariel Lassiter also scored before Kara pulled one back to spoil the shutout.

The first regular-season meeting of 2022 resulted in a 1-0 Orlando City win at Exploria Stadium on July 9, as a stoppage-time own goal by Damion Lowe was the difference between the Lions earning just one point or all three. The ball was sent into the box by Jake Mulraney.

The teams also met at Exploria Stadium on May 25, 2022 in U.S. Open Cup action, with the two sides needing extra time after a scoreless 90 minutes. In extra time, Miami got a goal from Jean Mota against the run of play, but Facundo Torres quickly equalized for Orlando. The match ended 1-1 and Orlando won the ensuing penalty shootout, 4-2. Bryce Duke was denied by Mason Stajduhar and DeAndre Yedlin missed the net during the spot kicks, while all four Orlando shooters scored.

The intrastate rivals played to a scoreless draw in Orlando on Aug. 27, 2021. Tesho Akindele missed a penalty in the match, but the Lions had several other good opportunities to score (but didn’t) in a wasteful performance. Orlando and Miami battled to a 1-1 draw at Exploria Stadium on Aug. 4, 2021. Carlos scored in first-half stoppage time but was knocked into concussion protocol on the play by Kelvin Leerdam. Kieran Gibbs equalized in the 66th minute on a header in front of a less-than-attentive Ruan. Akindele had a goal called back after video review for being offside and the teams split the points. Earlier in the season, the Lions came from behind in Fort Lauderdale to win 2-1 on a pair of brilliant goals by Chris Mueller and Nani on June 25, 2021.

In the final meeting of 2020, the Lions saw their 12-match unbeaten streak end on Oct. 24 in a 2-1 road loss in Fort Lauderdale. Miami defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez’s header in the 89th minute was the difference after a Daryl Dike goal and an own goal off Robin Jansson saw the game tied up at halftime. The teams met in Orlando on Sept. 12, 2020 with Orlando battling to a 2-1 win on Mauricio Pereyra’s goal. The Lions had taken the lead on an own goal by Andres Reyes. Former Lion Brek Shea tied things up in the 65th, before Pereyra answered with a nice goal off the left post in the 69th minute.

The first meeting in Fort Lauderdale opened Phase 1 of Major League Soccer’s return to regular-season play after the MLS is Back Tournament. That one was an uncharacteristically sloppy match for the Lions, who fell 3-2 in Inter Miami’s first-ever home match. It was Miami’s first franchise win after an 0-5-0 start. Orlando trailed by more than one goal for the first time all season in that game. Dike and Nani provided the offense for Orlando, but Julian Carranza’s brace and Rodolfo Pizarro’s insurance goal were enough to lift the Herons.

The first Tropic Thunder match went Orlando City’s way, with Nani scoring late to lift the Lions to a 2-1 win over the upstarts from South Florida in the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament. Despite it being a tournament match, it was also a league game. Juan Agudelo opened the scoring for the Herons, but Mueller equalized, setting the stage for Nani’s 97th-minute winner.


The Lions are coming off a 3-1 win over Canadian Premier League side Cavalry FC Tuesday. That victory gave Orlando City a 6-1 aggregate score across two legs and the Lions advanced to the Round of 16 in Concacaf Champions Cup. Despite heavy rotation, Orlando got goals from Nico Lodeiro, Ramiro Enrique, and Kyle Smith to advance.

Orlando City last played in a regular-season match a week ago at home against CF Montreal, drawing 0-0. Tonight’s match represents Orlando’s first road game of the 2024 MLS season.

Inter Miami is coming off a 1-1 draw on the road against the LA Galaxy last Sunday. The Herons (stop me if you’ve heard this before) got an enormous break when Mark Delgado was sent off with a second yellow in the 87th minute. Messi scored five minutes later against the shorthanded Galaxy and Miami claimed a point. Delgado’s second yellow was, of course, overturned unanimously by the MLS Disciplinary Committee, but the damage has been done.

The Herons are 1-0-0 at home, having dispatched Real Salt Lake 2-0 in Inter Miami’s home opener Feb. 21.

Miami is one of the favorites in 2024 and is playing confidently under Gerardo Martino and is one of the league’s heavy favorites to win MLS Cup. The Lions must do what they can to limit Messi’s involvement as much as possible. Miami’s attack is formidable enough that it helps the team’s defense, as it is often difficult to dispossess the Herons and maintain extended spells of possession long enough to get at Inter Miami’s back line. That’s exactly what the Lions love to do, so today’s match will be an interesting battle of wills.

It’s a rivalry game, so anything can happen. History suggests it’ll be tight.

“We’re very optimistic after advancing in the Champions Cup and in the performance that we had (at home) in the opener,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “We’re very confident to keep going in this journey. I know we’ll be busy in the next few weeks, but the boys are ready. We’re ready to compete. Now, we’re refocusing on going to Miami, the first time against our rival and getting a result there. Then we’ll think about the game on Tuesday (against Tigres), but first is focusing on our next rival. We already have our feedback, already have our reviews in, but now we’re ready.”

The Lions don’t have any players listed on the team’s availabilitly report. Miami will be without Benjamin Cremaschi (sports hernia), Facundo Farias (knee), Ian Fray (knee), Franco Negri (knee), and Robbie Robinson (medical evaluation), while Ryan Sailor (oblique) is questionable.

Match Content

Official Lineups:

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

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

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.

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

Forward: Duncan McGuire.

Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Kyle Smith, Michael Halliday, David Brekalo, Felipe, Jeorgio Kocevski, Nico Lodeiro, Ramiro Enrique, Luis Muriel.

Inter Miami (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Drake Callender.

Defenders: Jordi Alba, Tomas Aviles, Nicolas Freire, DeAndre Yedlin.

Midfielders: Diego Gomez, Sergio Busquets, Julian Gressel.

Forwards: Robert Taylor, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi.

Bench: CJ dos Santos, Ryan Sailor, Sergii Kryvtsov, Shanyder Borgelin, Jean Mota, Lawson Sunderland, David Ruiz, Noah Allen, Leonardo Campana.


REF: Jaime Herrera.
AR1: Bruno Rizo.
AR2: Regis Cardoso.
4TH: Ivan Cid Cruz.
VAR: Sandro Ricci.

How to Watch

Match Time: 4:30 p.m.

Venue: Chase Stadium — Fort Lauderdale.

TV/Live Stream: FOX, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.

Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Acción 97.9 FM, 810 AM (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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Orlando City

Luis Muriel Flashed Playmaking Ability vs. Cavalry FC

Luis Muriel showed signs of what he can do with a strong performance in his Orlando City debut.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Luis Muriel is the newest man to wear the no. 9 shirt for Orlando City, taking over for Ercan Kara after the big Austrian left the City Beautiful for the Turkish top flight last summer. Muriel arrived just before the season officially got underway, and we had to wait until the third game of the year against Cavalry FC to see him take the field, as the necessary paperwork had to be completed first.

Once he was on the field, he was a joy to watch. While Cavalry isn’t the toughest opposition that OCSC will face this year, the Canadians (et al) aren’t slouches either, and the Colombian gave them all sorts of trouble as soon as the game got underway. With 14 minutes gone, he directed a header on target, and moments later he broke through the defense with a great run, and only last-gasp closing down from two defenders and an excellent save from Marco Carducci denied him a goal on his debut. He also fizzed a dangerous shot just outside the post with a little under 30 minutes played, continuing his high level of involvement to start the match.

He wasn’t limited to just taking shots though. When Muriel’s signing was announced, Luiz Muzzi went out of his way to highlight the striker’s “…ability to combine with and make his teammates better.” That’s something that we got to see quite a bit of on Tuesday night, as the no. 9 repeatedly dropped into the midfield in search of the ball, showing up as far back as the defensive midfielders at times. Doing so pulled Cavalry players out of position, opened up space in the center, and made it easier for him to either connect with teammates or drive at the defense once he had collected the ball. He spoke after the game about how he liked to go find the ball and get into unexpected areas, and he certainly did a lot of that.

Muriel’s playmaking chops eventually paid dividends on the scoreboard when the Lions grabbed the opening goal of the game. He collected the ball on the right side of the box, and cut onto his left foot where he could have had a shot at goal. Instead, he picked his head up and squared a perfect ball for Nico Lodiero at the top of the 18-yard box, who made it look easy as he hit the well-weighted ball first time and put it off the inside of the left post and into the back of the net.

If you did your research, you had a pretty good idea of what the Lions would be getting when they signed the Colombian international to a three-year deal. Per, in the last year, Muriel is in the 99th percentile for passes attempted per 90, progressive passes per 90, expected assisted goals per 90, shot-creating actions per 90, and successful take-ons per 90. He’s in the 98th percentile for shots per 90, and the 86th percentile for non-penalty goals per 90. Those numbers all paint the picture of a forward who scores but is also comfortable as a playmaker, doesn’t hesitate to get his teammates involved, and does so at a high level.

His numbers on Tuesday night only served to reinforce what the scouting told us. Muriel finished with three shots, two of which were on target, and completed 87% of his passes while recording a key pass and an assist — in his first competitive minutes with his new teammates. It was a well-rounded performance that allowed more traditional playmakers like Facundo Torres and Lodeiro to be limited to substitute appearances, helping to preserve their legs at a time when fixture congestion is high.

Tuesday night was a nice preview of what fans can expect when Muriel is on the field. His tendency to go looking for the ball and willingness to bring his teammates into play means that Orlando has the sort of striker that the club hasn’t really had before. It gives the team more options and tactical flexibility, and that’s going to be something to watch as the season continues. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 3/1/24

Orlando’s girls teams playing in national event this weekend, USWNT will face Colombia, Paul Pogba banned for four years, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to March! It always feels like a good sign when a month starts on a Friday. Spring may not officially be here, but it definitely feels like winter is truly behind us. I plan on getting plenty of spring cleaning done this weekend before a fairly busy month. Let’s get this month started with today’s links!

ECNL Girls National Event Kicks Off Today

Some of the best youth soccer players are coming to Florida this weekend for the Elite Club National League’s spring event at Lakewood Ranch. It’s a great chance for clubs to play teams outside of their conference and there are plenty of scouts to impress as well. Orlando City will have four youth teams take part and each team will play at least three games over the three days. Orlando’s G07 squad has notably won five of its eight games in conference play and will take on Real Colorado National today. Orlando’s squads in the other age groups have some strong opponents lined up as well, so it should be a great experience for the club.

USWNT Will Face Colombia in Concacaf W Gold Cup

After finishing second in its group after a loss to Mexico, the United States Women’s National Team will take on Colombia this Sunday in the Concacaf W Gold Cup quarterfinals. The U.S. and Colombia squared off in friendlies last fall, with the teams playing to a scoreless draw in Utah before the U.S. won 3-0 in San Diego a few days later. Colombia also finished second in its group, conceding just once so far this tournament. The winner of Sunday’s match will play whichever team advances from tomorrow’s game between Canada and Costa Rica. On the other side of the bracket, Orlando Pride players square off when Rafaelle, Adriana, and Brazil play Mariana Larroquette and Argentina tomorrow. The winner of that match will play the victor between Mexico and Paraguay.

Portland Timbers Cut Ties With Jersey Sponsor

The Portland Timbers have dropped DaBella Exteriors as their jersey sponsor amid allegations that the company’s CEO, Donnie McMillan, Jr., sexually harassed employees. The accusations did not become public until Feb. 23 and the Timbers have removed DaBella’s image from their website as well. It makes sense that the Timbers would want to distance themselves from this. There was an investigation by U.S. Soccer in 2022 regarding former Portland Thorns head coach Paul Riley, and the club was also fined by MLS for not reporting an incident of alleged domestic violence involving former Timbers player Andy Polo in a timely manner. DaBella replaced Alaska Airlines as the team’s shirt sponsor for this season and the Timbers will now go without one until a new sponsor is chosen.

Paul Pogba Banned for Four Years

After testing positive for testosterone while playing for Juventus, French midfielder Paul Pogba was banned for the maximum four years by Italy’s anti-doping court. In response to the ruling, Pogba stated that the verdict was “incorrect” and that he will appeal this decision.

“I am sad, shocked and heartbroken that everything I have built in my professional playing career has been taken away from me,” Pogba said. “When I am free of legal restrictions the full story will become clear, but I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations.”

It’s fair to wonder just where this news leaves his career if his appeal is denied and he serves the full ban. Pogba turns 31 later this month and he is still under contract with Juventus through 2026, although this ban may obviously change that. Injuries have limited him in recent years as well, as he missed out on the most recent World Cup with France.

Free Kicks

  • Toronto FC signed English midfielder Matty Longstaff to a contract through the 2025 season. Longstaff has previous played for Newcastle United and should help improve a Toronto team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2020.
  • LA Galaxy midfielder Mark Delgado’s second yellow card he received in his team’s opener has been rescinded and he’s eligible for Saturday’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes. Delgado was sent off while the Galaxy were up against Inter Miami, and the Herons then went on to score and leave with a point.
  • The New England Revolution beat Independiente to advance to the Concacaf Champions Cup’s round of 16.
  • Bay FC forward Racheal Kundananji had to exit Zambia’s Olympic qualifier against Ghana due to an injury.
  • The United States Men’s National Team’s next away kit was reportedly leaked and it sure is something. It’s like a Bomb Pop got mixed into the team’s laundry.
  • The USL Super League’s Fort Lauderdale United unveiled its branding and the colors are pretty nice. However, the logo has a bit too much alphabet soup going on for my liking.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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