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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Austin FC: Final Score 2-0 as Lynn and Lodeiro Lead Lions to Victory

Lions get their first win of the season in comfortable fashion despite missing several regular players.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City scored a goal in each half and limited Austin FC to just three shot attempts as the Lions won 2-0 in front of a crowd of 20,985 at Inter&Co Stadium. Jack Lynn and Nico Lodeiro scored the goals to lead the Lions to their first win of the season. Mason Stajduhar only had to make one easy save on a weak effort from distance to keep the clean sheet for Orlando (1-3-1, 4 points) in a comfortable victory over Austin (0-2-3, 3 points).

The win by Orlando was the first for either side in the series, with the Lions now 1-0-1 in two meetings with the Texas-based side. It was a much-needed victory for City, which was rarely threatened in the match by Austin’s attack.

“Today was much complete. We had a good performance,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “We had players getting much closer to their best performance, but we had the result. We scored goals, we had volume, we had the initiative to play the way we are, and we controlled a team that has a lot of speed, especially on the flanks and we’re happy. Congratulations to the footballers and happy to see them enjoy the result.”

Pareja’s 4-4-2 starting lineup reflected the international window the team finds itself in, with Mason Stajduhar starting in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. The midfield was made up of Ivan Angulo, Lodeiro, Kyle Smith, and Martin Ojeda, with Luis Muriel and Lynn — his first start with the senior team in any competition.

The game’s first 15 minutes went by without either side getting a look at goal. Both teams kept spells of possession but a heavy touch or a misplaced pass broke down the attack. Then each team suddenly got a good look at goal.

The first was a volley effort from the crescent above the box for Diego Rubio in the 17th minute. The Austin striker took a ball first time and sent it just wide of the left post.

Orlando then got forward for its first look at the net. Muriel sent Thorhallsson down the right channel and he laid off a pass for Ojeda. The Argentine sent a ball in that was intercepted, but Thorhallsson got to the ball first, then spun and fired a shot. The effort was well over the bar from the right side of the box.

The next half chance came in the 24th minute, when Muriel overcooked either a cross for Lynn or a back-post shot attempt. Thorhallsson won a corner a few minutes later when he nutmegged a defender and was taken down trying to get to the ball. Ojeda played the ball to the Icelandic fullback on the set piece, and he was wide open at the top of the area. But Thorhallsson made an absolute mess of his shot, which sailed high into The Wall behind Brad Stuver’s goal in the 31st minute.

Muriel was taken down 30 yards straight out from goal on Orlando’s next attack, giving the Lions a free kick. Ojeda took a shot from there with a hard drive toward the inside of the right post in the 34th minute. Stuver got over to make the save, but he fumbled the ball. He was saved embarrassment when the ball trickled wide of the post for a corner kick.

Austin’s best opportunity came in the 38th minute, as Orlando got caught in transition on a long diagonal ball. Schlegel got to a centering pass ahead of his opponent, but couldn’t clear it convincingly. Jader Obrian got to the loose ball with tons of room to shoot, but the Austin winger fired off target to the left of goal and high.

A minute later, Lynn should have opened the scoring. A ball placed out front found Lynn at the left post and all he had to do was direct it on frame, but the 2022 SuperDraft pick stabbed his shot wide to the left from point-blank range.

No matter, however, as Lynn made up for the miss in the 42nd minute. Thorhallsson and Lodeiro exchanged passes on the right wing and the Icelandic fired in a perfect ball to the back post. Lynn simply had to guide it on target. He hit his header at Stuver, but from that close in, the Austin keeper could do nothing to keep it out and the Lions broke the deadlock. It was Lynn’s first MLS goal.

“It was amazing,” Lynn said about scoring his first MLS goal. “I’ve been looking forward to that one for a long time, so it felt really good, especially right in front of our crowd. I don’t honestly remember the buildup too much. I just remember the ball kind of recirculating back to Dagur and trying to find an empty pocket of space in the box, and he put it right on my head, so it’s hard to miss that one.”

“(Jack) is a player who patiently has been waiting (for) his opportunity,” Pareja said. “I could say that maybe he should have more games at this point with the way he has performed in the second group and what he has achieved as an individual. He’s very lethal and he has goals. Today, he opened the game. Jack’s discipline and constant effort has paid off and we’re happy.”

Ojeda tried to double the lead two minutes after Lynn’s goal, firing a laser from 30 yards out. But the Argentine’s shot went straight into Stuver’s midsection. Neither side mustered any opportunities in the one minute of stoppage time and the Lions took their slim lead into the locker room.

The visitors held the halftime edge in possession (51.6%-48.4%) and passing accuracy (88%-86.7%), while Orlando had more shots (6-2), shots on target (3-0), and corners (2-0).

The Lions came out of the break the much stronger team, pushing the attack toward Stuver’s goal. Thorhallsson sent another outstanding cross through the box in the first minute of the second period, but multiple teammates made the same run and no one held up near the penalty spot. As a result, Austin was able to clear, but only as far as Santos, who took a big windup before firing a shot that the defense blocked. The ball then found its way to Muriel, who sent a shot just wide of the post. Lodeiro missed the right post by inches in the 47th minute.

Ojeda just missed a shot toward the right post in the 54th minute as the Lions kept pushing. IN the 56th minute, the ball ended up on Lodeiro’s foot at the top of the box but his shot hit Ojeda. The latter picked up the ball on the recycled attack and fired a shot that deflected just wide off of Austin defender Brendan Hines-Ike for a corner kick. The Lions were whistled for a foul on the set piece cross.

Two minutes later, the Lions turned Austin over in the visitors’ own end and Angulo smashed a shot on target. Stuver made a good diving save to his right to knock it out for a corner in the 58th minute. Lynn got his head to the ensuing set piece cross, but he couldn’t get any power on it and it was a comfortable save on one hop for Stuver.

Orlando continued to pour forward and Muriel sent a dangerous ball to the back post in the 60th minute, but none of his teammates made that back-post run, where they’d have had a similar situation to what Lynn had on the earlier goal.

Two minutes later, Lodeiro lined up a shot outside the box. Austin blocked the effort but it came off a hand, giving Orlando City a free kick from just outside the area. Lodeiro made the set piece pay off, delivering a lethal shot inside the top left corner of the goal. Stuver just managed to get a hand to the ball, but there was no keeping out a shot of that quality and the Lions led 2-0 in the 64th minute.

“When the goal is that size, Martin or myself, it’s our time,” Lodeiro said.

“I’m happy to see him scoring,” Pareja said. “It’s not just all the work that he does for the team internally in the game, but scoring is great for us.”

Austin sent on some reinforcements in Emiliano Rigoni and Owen Wolff after the goal, trying to chase the match, but aside from the visitors trying to attack down Orlando’s right flank more, not much changed.

Santos blasted a long-range shot in the 70th minute that forced Stuver to fight it off. There was a big rebound on the shot but the Austin keeper was able to dive on the loose ball.

Austin sent on Gyasi Zardes and Hector Jimenez, changing shape to try to pull a goal back, but not much was working for the visitors as the Lions stayed compact in the defensive end.

Orlando only went forward when numbers were advantageous for the rest of the match, keeping organized and behind the ball. This allowed Austin to keep possession but the visitors could only swing the ball from side to side, hardly able to free up enough room for a cross attempt.

A good cross through the box in the 84th minute was palmed away by Stuver but the rebound ended up splitting two attacking Orlando players. It was knocked out to Santos outside the box and the left back drove a shot over the bar. A minute later, Lodeiro got down the left side of the box but his shot was blocked by the defense. The ensuing corner was played short and ended up falling to Schlegel in the box, but the defender’s shot was also blocked.

Austin could manage nothing offensively in the four minutes of stoppage time, but did manage a weak dribbler of a shot on target that Stajduhar picked up. The full-time whistle blew seconds later and the Lions had their first victory of the 2024 regular season.

Austin finished with more possession (57.4%-42.6%) and slightly better passing accuracy (85.5%-85.4%), while the Lions held the final edge in shots (22-3), shots on target (8-1), and corners (6-0).

“It has been a challenge for us to train and have a complete roster, and this week was not an exception,” Pareja said. “We had many players outside for the FIFA date, but we had time to work. With the group that stayed, we had a couple of days when we could do the repetitions and just get back to the principles that make us feel more like us, knowing that we have to glue together these new players and have best chemistries. It helped a lot to have (time to) work this week.”

Orlando City will be back in action at home again next Saturday when the New York Red Bulls visit, fresh off their 4-0 win over Inter Miami earlier today.

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?



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.



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.



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 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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