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

How did your favorite Lions rate in Orlando City’s 2-0 defeat in the conference semifinal against the Crew?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

It is with a heavy heart that I bring to you the final player grades article of the season. After an outstanding regular season, the best by any margin in team history, the Lions fell 2-0 to the Crew in front of a sold-out Exploria Stadium, exiting the 2023 MLS Cup playoffs in the conference semifinal round. There were individual moments of strong technique but ultimately finding the back of the net which had plagued Orlando City at various times throughout the year turned out to be the difference between joy and sorrow.

Let’s take a look at how Orlando City’s players rated individually in the last match of the 2023 season.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 7 (MotM) — It’s not often you give a good score and Man of the Match honors to the losing goalkeeper, but without several herculean saves by El Pulpo, the match may very well have never made it to extra time in the first place. For the vast majority of the match, his positioning was spot on, and he did well coming off of his line to win several balls from Crew corner kicks. The first goal was a bouncer through the six yard line across his box and while he initially got a touch on it, the rebound unfortunately was too close to the onrushing Christian Ramirez, who was able to get just enough of it to bundle it home. For the second goal, Gallese was about as far off his line as a keeper could be, but to no fault of his own. The minutes were winding down and with City down a man and a goal, the Lions had to push numbers forward and use him as a sweeper. Gallese’s distribution could have been better, as he passed at a 67.6% rate and only completed eight of his 20 long balls. He also recorded a clearance and was credited with five saves on the evening.

D, Rafael Santos, 6 — This game seemed like a bit of a mixed bag for the young Brazilian defender. He got forward and tried to build the attack with either Ivan Angulo or Facundo Torres but his crosses more often than not sailed over heads and were far from threatening. Defensively, he was sound, nothing flashy, but put in a decent shift. He was 0-for-5 on crossing accuracy and just one of his seven long balls found its target. His passing rate was 71.4%. Defensively, he contributed two interceptions, two clearances and a tackle.

D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — Jansson put in the type of performance that Orlando City fans have grown to expect match in and match out. That is not to say that it was a perfect performance as the Beefy Swede found himself out of position a few times which luckily amounted to nothing from the Columbus attack. Jansson passed well at 87% and 10 of his 17 long balls were accurate. Jansson led the team in touches (90) and total passes attempted (77) which probably goes a long way to speak to how the game was played from the Orlando perspective. Defensively, he recorded two tackles and three clearances and three blocked shots. Jansson was also credited with one shot, which was not on target and suffered one foul while not committing any.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 5 — Schlegel went full Schlegel in this one and you never want to go full Schlegel. The center back, who had been a staple of the starting 11 throughout the second half of the season, got the nod once again next to Jansson after the extended time off during the international window. After picking up a yellow card in the 16th minute of the match, Schlegel did well not to draw another serious call for 61 minutes. The problem is that the match still had 13 minutes to go and Schlegel was shown a second yellow for dragging down Diego Rossi to prevent him from getting to a long ball. Prior to being sent off, Schlegel led the team in passing accuracy by completing 94.1% of his passes while completing one of his three long ball attempts, and he was credited with a key pass. Defensively, he led the team in clearances, with five, and logged one interception, one tackle, two aerials won, and two blocked shots.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6.5 — I am not sure what the Icelandic national did prior to the match to the referee but it seemed clear that the two were not fans of one another and probably won’t be following each other on Myspace any time soon. Thorhallsson grew into the fullback role quite well throughout the season and had what could be his best defensive moment of the year, when he broke into a full sprint to catch up and deflect a breakaway opportunity. Defensively, he recorded one tackle, one interception, a blocked shot, and three clearances. He passed at a 79.3% rate, and he was successful on one of two crosses and two of six long balls. He was shown a yellow in the 104th minute for subtly disagreeing with a foul call that went against him.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — It was another solid night from the Uruguayan who was tasked with silencing both Rossi and Cucho Hernandez. His passing was a solid 88.9%, including a perfect three for three on long ball attempts, and he recorded one shot which was off target. The defensive midfielder recorded a team-high six tackles and one blocked shot. Araujo committed four fouls on the night and was issued a yellow in the 71st minute for persistent infringements. He was partly responsible for the Crew’s opening goal by not getting rid of the ball, but to be fair to the Uruguayan, he appeared to get caught for a foul that wasn’t given on the turnover that led to Ramirez’s goal.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6 — The second part of the Lions dynamic defensive midfield duo failed to leave as much of a mark against Columbus as he did against Nashville. Cartagena passed at an 85.7% clip, contributing a key pass and completing four of his five long balls. He recorded one interception and one blocked shot while committing a team-high five fouls. Oscar Pareja, perhaps afraid of going a man down if Cartagena picked up a second yellow, sacrificed him in the 62nd minute to send more fire power onto the pitch by introducing Designated Player Martin Ojeda.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo got into several dangerous places throughout the night using his speed as a weapon but failed to connect the dots when he could have put City on the front foot and in the lead. Despite getting a clear-cut breakaway, Angulo was not credited with a shot. He passed at a 90.9% rate, which was the best percentage of all midfielders. He was credited with one key pass, setting up an early chance for Facundo Torres, and did not attempt a cross or long ball. Defensively, he chipped in with two tackles. Angulo was subbed off in the 82nd minute as the Lions looked to shore up their defensive shape after going a man down.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 5.5 — The captain was unspectacular throughout much of his time on the pitch, especially in the first half, when it seemed like Columbus was running free through a large expanse of the Orlando midfield. Offensively, he did not attempt a shot and completed 78.1% of his passes. He was unsuccessful on his lone crossing attempt, completed two of his three long balls and was credited with a key pass. Pereyra won two aerial duels. He chipped in one interception while committing two fouls and drawing two as well. Pereyra came off in the 72nd minute for Junior Urso.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — Torres had the best early chance to put Orlando ahead in what was otherwise an ugly first half when he recieved a pass from Angulo and then peppered the ball just a few inches above the crossbar. He nearly set up a game-winning goal for Martin Ojeda, but his fellow DP just missed the net deep in stoppage time. Facu contributed two shots, which were both off target, and recorded two key passes while passing at an 82.6% rate, completing two of his three long balls. He won an aerial duel and was fouled once. Defensively, he contributed two tackles and one clearance.

F, Duncan McGuire, 5.5 — The breakout star from the 2023 campaign failed to leave much of a mark on the final game of the year. In a win-or-go-home scenario, one shot which failed to even fall on frame doesn’t cut it. His passing rate of 66.7% was lowest out of the starters and he only won one aerial duel. He did manage to draw three fouls and contributed one tackle and once clearance. McGuire was subbed off in the 71st minute for Ramiro Enrique. His next task will potentially be the toughest of his young career…proving that a 13-goal, three-assist year was no fluke once the calendar turns to 2024.

Substitutes

MF, Martin Ojeda (62′), 6 — Orlando City fans will be left wondering what could have been as the DP super sub took a great through ball from Torres in stoppage time and shot it just wide of the corner post. Ojeda passed at a 68.8% rate and despite coming on as a substitute was credited with a team-high three key passes. Ojeda completed three of six crosses and one of three long balls. Defensively, he contributed one interception.

F, Ramiro Enrique (71′), 6.5 — Arguably the most potent of the substitutes, Enrique was brought on as fresh legs in an attempt to unlock the over-the-top game. Both of his shot attempts were on target (which now that I realize it, is the first time that I am writing that tonight) and he won four aerial duels. He completed 50% of his 10 passes and was not accurate on his lone crossing attempt. If not for some outstanding goalkeeping, Enrique may have once again been the sparkplug that Orlando desperately needed. On defense, the forward contributed one tackle and two clearances.

MF, Junior Urso (72′), 6 — The bear subbed on for the captain with a little less than 20 minutes to go in the match but wound up playing for nearly a full hour when extra time was taken into account. He demonstrated strong ball control and did well in his time on the pitch. He passed a a 79% success rate and was credited with a key pass, which should have unlocked god-tier Kyle Smith if not for an outstanding save from the Crew keeper. Urso was unsuccessful on both of his crossing attempts and on defense was credited with a lone tackle.

D, Antonio Carlos (82′), 6.5 — AC came onto the pitch with Orlando down a man, looking to desperately force the game into extra time, and he helped accomplish just that. Carlos completed 76.7% of his passes, including two out of four long ball attempts. Offensively, Carlos logged two shots, both which missed the target, and was fouled twice. Defensively, the Brazilian added two interceptions and two timely clearances while winning a team-high five aerial duels.

D, Kyle Smith (82′), 5.5 — The American defender had a terrific chance to bring Orlando level and hit a shot after a brilliant run with pace in the 100th minute. Unfortunately, Patrick Schulte was able to make the save to keep Columbus ahead. On the defensive side, Smith was caught up in the play which led to the first goal of the match, as he was just a step slow at being able to poke the ball out of bounds for a Crew corner kick instead of a Crew goal. He completed 84% of his passes in a little over 40 minutes of action but failed to connect on either of his two crossing attempts and only completed one of his four long balls. Defensively, Smith recorded one tackle and one clearance.


That’s how I saw the individual performances on Saturday night as Orlando City was eliminated at the hands of the Columbus Crew. Let me know what I got right and wrong in your opinion. Be sure to vote for your Man of the Match in our poll below and provide your thoughts in the comments section.

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.

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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.

History

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.

Overview

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.

Referees:

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


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.

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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 FBref.com, 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.

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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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