Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Flamengo, Preseason Friendly: Final Score 1-1 as Ivan Angulo’s Goal Erases 1-0 Deficit

The Lions held against a strong Brazilian side in their first test of the 2024 preseason.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City fell behind early but Ivan Angulo’s goal just before halftime brought the Lions back in a 1-1 preseason draw at home against Brazilian giants CR Flamengo. Pedro opened the scoring for the visitors in front of a crowd of 22,678 that skewed heavily toward fans of the Brazilian side, but the Lions were able to fight back and get a result.

“I thought it was a game that was very rich on soccer and we enjoyed it a lot,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “We’re proud of our boys. Both teams played with a lot of quality.”

Pareja’s lineup was unusual for a preseason friendly, in that most of the expected starters began the game on the pitch. Pedro Gallese started in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. With Cesar Araujo on international duty, draft pick Jeorgio Kocevski started in central midfield with Wilder Cartagena behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Nico Lodeiro, and Facundo Torres, with Duncan McGuire up top.

The first half went back and forth, with each team seeing plenty of the ball and having opportunities to build attacks. The Lions got the first good opportunity of the game when Santos sent McGuire in behind with a fantastic ball but the defense was able to close and knock it out of play from behind before the striker could shoot. McGuire then fired wide off of the set piece, which the Lions played short.

Orlando came within inches of opening the scoring in the seventh minute when Lodeiro fired a shot off the woodwork. Flamengo was able to get to the rebound first and clear the danger.

Flamengo broke the deadlock in the 13th minute. A good cross in from the right wing found Flamengo forward Pedro slicing left to right through the box. Jansson was playing the passing lane and no midfielder tracked Pedro’s run. Pedro’s finish just inside the far post left Gallese no chance to stop it, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Five minutes after the goal, Orlando nearly pulled level from an unlikely source. City took a long-range set piece near midfield after sending the defense forward into the box. A cross in from the left found the foot of Schlegel, who redirected it on target but Flamengo goalkeeper Augustin Rossi made a diving save to deny the shot and force a corner in the 18th minute.

Flamengo’s defense cleared the corner kick cross but it came back to Torres on the left. He gave off to Santos, who sent a cross fizzing into the area but McGuire couldn’t quite get onto it. McGuire headed over moments later after another Orlando corner.

Cartagena was booked for a dangerous challenge on Nicolas de la Cruz, giving Flamengo a free kick just outside the area on the left side. Rather than go for goal, the visitors sent a cross to the back post for Fabricio Bruno, who tried to head it back in front of goal, but Gallese was there to catch it in the 28th minute.

Flamengo had a golden opportunity to double the lead in the 40th minute when Kocevski turned the ball over in his own defensive third. The ball found its way to Pedro again but this time he sent his shot just wide of the left post. It was a costly miss, as the Lions tied the game moments later.

Santos had the ball out on the left side and played it into the box to Angulo. The Colombian turned and worked a quick give-and-go with Lodeiro, accelerating past the defense and taking the ball back from Orlando’s new playmaker. All alone in front of goal, Angulo calmly slotted past Rossi to make it 1-1 in the 42nd minute. Lodeiro got the assist on the goal.

“I’m very happy with the goal, and especially for helping the team,” Angulo said. “We trained that with Nico, that combination, and we made it this time. Nico is a great player. He’s helping us a lot, so I’m very happy overall with the result.”

“We trained a lot last week, especially with Ivan, Facu, Duncan and the forwards for this type of play,” Lodeiro said. “We are lucky we (could) do that in the game and I’m happy for Ivan because he played really well and he trained this play.”

Orlando nearly slipped in behind the defense again right after the goal. Torres got behind his man down the left flank and was taken down from behind. Guillermo Varela was booked and the Lions had a set piece a yard outside the left side of the penalty area. Lodeiro played it to the top of the box for Torres, but City’s Designated Player got under the shot, sending it over the bar. There was a lot of contact just after he released the shot but no foul was given and Flamengo was awarded a goal kick.

The last good look of the half fell to Kocevski, who found himself on the ball at the top of the box in space. The rookie tried to pick out the top left corner but missed just wide of the target. After five minutes of stoppage time, the teams went into the locker room knotted up at 1-1.

The second half wasn’t nearly as fluid as the first as both teams subbed liberally throughout, although Orlando City started the second half with the same lineup that started.

Flamengo got the first look of the second half as Gallese fought off a shot from Giorgian de Arrascaeta less than a minute after the restart.

The Lions then got on the front foot for a bit as Angulo sent a shot from outside the box that Rossi saved in the 51st minute, and Lodeiro went for goal on a free kick two minutes later but it was comfortably saved.

Jansson made a sparkling defensive play to track back and cut out a cross that would have presented problems in transition. Flamengo had a chance to go 2-v-1 after Schlegel was caught flat-footed on a sudden switch and Jansson’s effort saved the Lions some blushes.

Moments later, Pareja made his first subs of the match, sending Mason Stajduhar, Kyle Smith, Ramiro Enrique, and Felipe into the fray. That was just the first salvo, as Jack Lynn, Shak Mohammed, and Michael Halliday were introduced. By the end of the second half, Orlando’s lineup looked much closer to an OCB squad than an MLS side.

The next look in the match for either side came in the 67th minute, when Felipe attempted a range from extreme distance but the Brazilian midfielder’s attempt was off target. The Lions looked likely to take the lead two minutes later when Lynn sent a fantastic through ball that sprung Enrique in behind, but defender Fabricio Bruno made a great play to dispossess the Argentine in the penalty area before he could shoot.

Halliday, who was playing on the left side after replacing Santos, made a critical error in the 71st minute, turning the ball over, but the Lions were spared a dangerous counter when the flag came up for offside on Flamengo.

Thorhallsson tried his luck from a tight angle in the 74th minute but Rossi covered his near post and made the save.

OCB defender Zakaria Taifi made his first-team debut and picked up a yellow card with an unnecessary foul eight minutes later.

Luis Olieira got the last opportunity for either side early in stoppage time when he sent a shot over Stajduhar’s crossbar, and that was essentially it for the match.

“Impressed by how fit the boys were,” Pareja said when asked what he liked about his team today. “I was looking for 45 minutes today, just 45 minutes. And we discussed with the group if we see them fit then we will continue. I saw them fresh when we came back from the break. Just left us good sensations about how we are as a team. That part I like a lot. We’re still starting and they have a good understanding of what we want.”

“We showed a good intensity,” Felipe said. “We have only nine days of training but I believe we were a good match against Flamengo and it was a fair result.”

Next up for Orlando City is an out-of-town camp. It was originally supposed to be in Port St. Lucie, but now the team is going to Cancun, Mexico. The preseason match against Florida International University will no longer take place. The next scrimmage on the schedule is against Rhode Island FC.


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