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Orlando City vs. Atlanta United FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions fare in Orlando City’s 2-0 loss in Atlanta?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City continued its poor run of form with a 2-0 loss to Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Lions only have one point in four games and have lost their last three MLS matches. It’s the fewest points an Orlando City team has had after four games in club history, dating back to 2011.

Let’s look at how each individual Lion performed in another loss.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — Neither of Atlanta’s two goals were Gallese’s fault and he had a pretty solid game. His standout moment came just before halftime when he made two one-handed saves off an Atlanta corner kick, keeping the deficit at one goal. Other than his shot stopping, Gallese completed 72.2% of his 18 passes, including five of his 10 long balls.

D, Rafael Santos, 5 — Santos was active in this game with 78 touches, third-most on the team. He nearly accidentally scored in the eighth minute when an inaccurate cross hit the crossbar. However, he was at the heart of both goals. In the ninth minute, he was beaten by Saba Lobjanidze for the first goal. Brooks Lennon beat him down field and caused him to hit the turf with a cutback, while setting up the second. Apart from the two goals, Santos completed 93.8% of his 64 passes, one of his five crosses, and four of his six long balls. Defensively, he had one tackle.

D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 (MotM) — Jansson was the most active Lions defensively in this game, recording three tackles, two clearances, and one blocked shot. He completed 91.7% of his 48 passes, including four of his seven long balls. He wasn’t at fault for either of the two Atlanta goals, though he shied away from the second in the 71st minute.

D, David Brekalo, 5.5 — Similar to Jansson, Brekalo had a strong game. He finished with a team-leading three clearances and one tackle. Going forward, he completed 93.2% of his 59 passes, including a key pass and four of his seven long balls. However, I knocked him down half a point because he failed to close down Giorgos Giakoumakis at the top of the box on the second.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 5.5 — Thorhallsson started on his usual right side of the back line, but also ventured into the central midfield. He completed 87.5% of his 40 passes, one of his three crosses, and neither of his two long balls. His only shot was off target, but he had a team-high four successful dribbles. Defensively, the fullback added two tackles and one clearance on the night. His night ended in the 87th minute when he was replaced by Mikey Halliday.

MF, Martin Ojeda, 5.5 — Ojeda only had 36 touches in the game, by far the lowest number in the four-man midfield. He completed 78.6% of his 28 passes and didn’t complete any of his three crosses, but connected on his one long ball and had a key pass. His only shot came in the 19th minute when he tried to beat Brad Guzan to his near post. However, the veteran goalkeeper blocked it out for a corner kick. He was replaced in the 74th minute by Facundo Torres.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6 — Lodeiro was the most active attacking midfielder, recording a team-high 85 touches. He completed 91.9% of his team-high 74 passes, but failed to connect on any of his six crosses or two long balls. Additionally, he took one off-target shot and had a tackle defensively. He was replaced by Shak Mohammed in the 87th minute.

MF, Kyle Smith, 6 — Smith started in the midfield in this game, usually sitting between the back line and the three attacking midfielders. His 79 touches were second-most on the team and he completed 90% of his 60 passes, also second-most on the team, including three of his five long balls. Defensively, he recorded one tackle, one interception, and one clearance in his new role.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo had 70 touches in this game, fourth-most on the team. He completed 84.6% of his 52 passes, including a team-high two key passes, but only connected on one of his five crosses. His three successful dribbles were second on the team behind Thorhallsson and his only shot was off target.

F, Luis Muriel, 6 — Muriel was the most effective of the two starting forwards, recording 60 touches and putting two of his four shots on target. In the sixth minute, his shot was tipped over the crossbar by Guzan and an excellent individual effort in the 42nd minute forced the Atlanta goalkeeper into a diving stop. He completed 70.3% of his 37 passes with one key pass and one of his two crosses but failed to connect on his only cross. He also had a team-high four tackles. The forward was replaced in the 81st minute by Jeorgio Kocevski.

F, Duncan McGuire, 5.5 — The Lions could have used a quality performance by McGuire, but he was largely absent. He only had 29 touches in 90 minutes and failed to put either of his two shots on target. He completed 89.5% of his 19 passes and had one key pass while failing to complete his only cross. He also had two tackles on the night.

Substitutes

MF, Facundo Torres (74’), 5 — Torres came off the bench as he continues to return from a shoulder injury. He had 15 touches in 16 minutes, completing only 63.6% of his 11 passes. However, he had a key pass and connected on two of his three crosses. Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja was hoping for an offensive spark from the Uruguayan, but he didn’t get off any shots.

MF, Jeorgio Kocevski (81’), 5.5 — The rookie’s 21 touches were the most of any Orlando City substitute in this game as he made his MLS debut. He completed 83.3% of his 18 passes, but failed to complete his only cross or either of his two long balls. He added a dribble and tackle to his final totals.

F, Shak Mohammed (87’), N/A — Mohammed had a team-low seven touches and completed 83.3% of his six passes. He was fouled once and didn’t have any other statistics.

D, Mikey Halliday (87’), N/A — Halliday had eight touches in his minimal minutes while completing three of his six passes. He didn’t complete his one cross and his only shot was off target. Meanwhile, the defender didn’t record any defensive stats.


This is how I saw Orlando City’s tough Sunday night loss in downtown Atlanta. Let us know what you thought of the performances and vote for your Man of the Match.

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to earn all three points at home against the Crew?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City earned seven points during a three-match stretch over eight days. Now the Lions will look to keep things rolling against the Columbus Crew this Saturday night at Inter&Co Stadium. The Crew are currently sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points compared to Orlando City in 10th with 16 points.

What do the Lions need to do to get a victory at home against the Crew?

Switch Focus

Orlando City has lucked out because Columbus striker Cucho Hernández will not play, as he is nursing a back injury. Hernández has often been a thorn in Orlando’s side when the clubs play, so his absence is definitely good news. However, that doesn’t mean that the defense can relax. The Crew still have a potent attack with players like Diego Rossi, Jacen Russell-Rowe, Aidan Morris, and others. Columbus has scored 19 goals so far this season, which is four more than Orlando’s 15. I think it is likely that Oscar Pareja will stick with the 3-5-2 formation, meaning the pressure will be on the back three of David Brekalo, Wilder Cartagena, and Rodrigo Schlegel.

Goals Needed

Orlando City left it late against San Jose before Jack Lynn scored in the 89th minute to give the Lions a victory. That’s not to say there weren’t wasted chances — because there were — but it was enough that night. It likely won’t be enough against Columbus. We don’t know the status of Duncan McGuire’s injury as of this writing, but I would be surprised to see him in the lineup, let alone getting the start. That means we will likely see Jack Lynn alongside Luis Muriel up top. Lynn is no McGuire, but he is able to get into good spaces in the box and has a nose for goal. Another goal from him or Muriel could make a big difference.

Scheduling Factors

I’m not saying that Wilfried Nancy will be looking ahead to the Concacaf Champions Cup final against Pachuca the following week, but a trophy is a trophy, and it could impact who he plays and for how long. He might be keeping Hernández out for precautionary reasons to allow him time to be ready for the final. It’s possible that he risks points against Orlando City in pursuit of hardware. Pareja doesn’t have it any easier with Orlando City playing a midweek match at the Chicago Fire next Wednesday before heading to New Jersey for a match against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, June 1. May has been brutal for the Lions, and though the team has made the most of it so far, it doesn’t get any easier. How much will rotation affect Orlando’s ability to get all three points?


That is what I will be looking for Saturday night. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/23/24

Orlando Pride prepare for the Portland Thorns, Pride Brazilian trio called up, Atalanta wins Europa League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this Thursday finds you well as we all get ready for a busy next few days of Orlando soccer to enjoy. It’s been a fairly busy couple of days for me, and I plan on knocking out a few errands before enjoying the upcoming matches. Until then, let’s enjoy today’s links!

Pride Prepare to Host the Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride have a huge home game against the Portland Thorns tomorrow night. It will be a clash of win streaks, as the Pride have won their past seven games and the Thorns have won their last six. Pride Head Coach Seb Hines is well aware that Portland is a formidable foe with talented players such as Sophia Smith, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Sam Coffey. He spoke on how tomorrow will be a challenge, as well as how playing at home will give the Pride a boost during the game.

Pride Trio Called Up by Brazil

The Pride’s Marta, Rafaelle, and Adriana were all called up for Brazil’s pair of friendlies against Jamaica in Brazil on June 1 and June 4.

These matches will help Brazil prepare for a tough group in the Olympics against Spain, Japan, and Nigeria. Angelina, who featured for Brazil during the SheBelieves Cup, was not called up due to an injury sustained while with the Pride. Although these games will take place during an international break, the Pride do have a road game against the San Diego Wave on June 7, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Hines gives them some rest for that match.

Assessing Emma Hayes’ Time With Chelsea

It felt like forever ago that it was announced Chelsea’s Emma Hayes would leave the club to replace Vlatko Andonovski and coach the USWNT. A great article by ESPN broke down what USWNT fans can learn from her time with Chelsea, including how she’s dealt with the adversity she’s faced both on and off the field. Her impending exit put a spotlight on Chelsea’s season, and she still managed to secure the league title despite the pressure. Chelsea also announced that five members of the coaching staff will leave the club to join Hayes at the USWNT. It’s a new era for the USWNT, and Hayes brings plenty of experience and leadership to the position.

Atalanta Crushes Leverkusen to Win Europa League

Italian club Atalanta lifted the Europa League trophy after a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in Dublin. The day belonged to Nigerian winger Ademola Lookman, who scored a hat trick that included this stunner that doubled Atalanta’s lead in the first half.

It’s Atalanta’s second trophy in club history, and first in 61 years. It’s also the first trophy for manager Gian Piero Gasperini after coaching in Italy for 30 years. This result snapped Leverkusen’s remarkable unbeaten streak at 51 games, and ended the club’s bid at a treble. Bayer Leverkusen will aim to bounce back Saturday when it plays FC Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City President of Business Operations Jarrod Dillon has issued a challenge to Orlando City fans for the upcoming trio of Orlando soccer home games, so it may be worth your while to get tickets for the Lions, Pride, and OCB this weekend.
  • Pride forward Amanda Allen placed 16th in ESPN‘s rankings of the 17 teenagers currently playing in the National Women’s Soccer League (the author deemed it unfair to assess Milly Clegg without seeing her on the field more). Allen mostly just hasn’t had much playing time, but that could change over the summer.
  • Former Pride player Camille Ashton (known as Cami Levin when she played in the Pride midfield in 2016 and 2017) has resigned as the general manager of the Kansas City Current.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/22/24

Lions and Pride reflect on victories, Christian Pulisic’s Serie A recognition, the USWNT roster drops, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. I know that a lot of you are Orlando Pride supporters as well as Orlando City supporters, but for those of you who aren’t, you are really missing out. Superstar players, undefeated, top of the table, and this team hasn’t even played up to its potential yet. Seriously, you need to get out to a match if you can. For now, let’s get to the links.

Talking About Orlando City

You can tell Oscar Pareja loves his players. He is the type of coach that nearly always has only good things to say regardless of the result. Of course, when the club gets a win on the road in the third match in eight days, thanks to the fourth striker on the depth chart. Jack Lynn takes a professional approach to being the backup and prepares to play in every match. It’s also nice when he scores a match-winning goal.

So how did the MLSsoccer.com power rankings treat the Lions for the road victory? Orlando City moved up three spots to 19, thanks to earning seven points in the last three matches. That’s better than the ESPN rankings we shared yesterday. ESPN also had the Lions at 19 but dropped them a spot in doing so.

Seb and Sams Speak

The Orlando Pride have a chance this Friday to set an NWSL win streak record in the match against the Portland Thorns, but first Seb Hines, Rafaelle, and Emily Sams reflected on the win against the Seattle Reign. Hines was rightly happy with the result but said he still feels his team has room to improve. I agree with him, despite the Pride being on top of the table and undefeated.

Rafaelle felt the victory showed the team how much mental fortitude the Pride have to be able to secure the road win. She also thinks that being at home with a chance to break the win streak record will make the team work that much harder. Sams reflected on her first NWSL goal but said she just wants to focus on getting three points each match.

Pulisic and Wright Shine

Christian Pulisic’s year keeps getting better. He had such a a good season for AC Milan that he has been named a finalist for Serie A Midfielder of the Year. The other finalists are Inter Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu and Atalanta’s Teun Koopmeiners. Pulisic has 19 goal contributions in 35 appearances for AC Milan.

The USMNT’s pre-Copa America roster dropped Monday, and it looks like Haji Wright will potentially see some action at winger for Gregg Berhalter. The move provides some needed depth at the position and may give Wright more playing time. Of course, Wright and Pulisic aren’t the only players of interest. You can check out a breakdown of the players called up here.

Hayes’ First USWNT Roster Announced

The Olympics are rapidly approaching and new USWNT Head Coach Emma Hayes has announced the 23-player roster for the final two matches against South Korea before the final Olympic roster is named. There are a mix of veteran and younger players in the group. Notably, there are 19 players who won the SheBelieves Cup back in April. It also sees the return of Rose Lavelle, who missed the SheBelieves Cup due to injury. While not altogether surprising, it is still disappointing on one level for Pride fans that Emily Sams didn’t get a call-up.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to Orlando Pride midfielder Ally Lemos on her call-up to the USWNT U-20s for the matches against the Korea Republic.
  • Philadelphia Union keeper Andre Blake has reportedly signed a new longterm contract with the club.
  • The USMNT U-15 squad defeated Japan to take first place in the Vlatko Markovic Tournament. Congratulations to the young Yanks.
  • Bayer Leverkusen will play in two cup finals in four days, starting with today’s Europa League championship against Atalanta. The second final is for the German Cup this Saturday against Kaiserslautern.
  • Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea have parted ways after only one season. Potchettino’s departure was mutually agreed upon. The coaching carousel continues.
  • Emanuel Reynoso from Minnesota United is reportedly headed to Liga MX side Club Tijuana.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the matches this weekend. Vamos Orlando!

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