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Orlando City vs. D.C. United: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in Orlando City’s 5-0 home win vs. D.C. United?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

On a night when the merch of the match was a shirt showing a picture of Orlando City legend Kaká in the midst of his iconic post-goal celebration, the current iteration of the Lions celebrated five times themselves after putting goals into the net and trounced the squad from our nation’s capital, 5-0.

Thankfully, the fans in The Wall did not shoot off all of their flares and fireworks on Independence Day, as they needed them all night long in Inter&Co Stadium on Saturday night. Nine different Lions had goal contributions, and the team kept a clean sheet. Games like these are the fun ones to evaluate and grade.

I have my purple pen out, and I am ready to issue those grades, so here we go. Let’s take a look at how Orlando City’s players rated individually in their Eastern Conference matchup.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — It was a mostly quiet night for the Peruvian goalkeeper, especially after a red card was issued to D.C. United’s Lucas Bartlett in first-half stoppage time. Pedro recorded one save on United’s only shot on target and completed eight of his 12 pass attempts, but really was not called upon for very much after some initial action early in the match. Still, a clean sheet is a clean sheet, and he will be happy to have contributed the fifth shutout of the season for the Orlando City defense.

D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Kyle started for the second consecutive match on the left side of the defense and I thought he performed well on the night. He brings a different look to both the offense and the defense than when Rafael Santos is on the field, and on Saturday night I thought he had a good partnership with the defensive back line and also with the offense. He completed 44 passes at an 89.8% clip, and got two shots off as well, though neither were on frame. Defensively, he contributed two tackles, an interception, and three clearances before making way for Alex Freeman in the 82nd minute.

D, Robin Jansson, 9 (MotM) — I toyed with going even higher for Robin, as what more can you do as a central defender than be the captain, contribute to a clean sheet, score a goal, complete 97.3% of your passes, save a ball off the line, and basically smother a former Premier League starting striker in Christian Benteke? Jansson recorded a tackle, an interception, a blocked shot, and three clearances. His header was too powerful for Tyler Miller to stop on Orlando’s second goal, providing the Lions some breathing room early in the match, and he nearly scored a second goal in the 73rd minute off Miller’s fantastic save of Rodrigo Schlegel’s header, but the defender couldn’t make good contact with the ball while it was in the air. He helped break D.C.’s pressure with two successful dribbles, too. The only knock on Jansson was that he did not play the full 90 minutes, but when you sub out when your team is leading 4-0, is that a knock, really? The game was well in hand when he subbed off for the returning David Brekalo, and I believe the Beefy Swede was the top reason why the Lions were dominating the game, so for me he was the Man of the Match.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 8 — While the Argentinean defender’s night was a little quieter than that of his partner in central defense, he still put in an excellent shift and definitely contributed to the clean sheet. Rodrigo went the full 90 minutes, leading the team with four clearances in addition to an interception and a blocked shot. He completed 92.9% of his passes, including four of his six long balls, while nearly tucking away a header that was headed, literally, for the upper corner before a fine save by Miller kept it out. He also played a major role in keeping the aforementioned Benteke off the score sheet, something many teams have not been able to do this season, with a team-high four aerials won. His goal early was well taken, even if it didn’t count because he was well offside.

D, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 7.5 — Dagur Dan got Orlando City going early in the match, intercepting a pass, smoking down the right side, staying on his feet despite a major shoulder bump from Christopher McVey, and then stopping on a dime to cut the ball back and play a perfect pass to Martín Ojeda for the opening goal. That was just one of 46 completed passes for the Icelandic right back on the night at a 97.9% completion rate, with three of those passes leading directly to an Orlando City shot. He also chipped in a clearance and two dribbles. Thorhallsson went the full 90, and he was still making runs up and down the field late in the game, even with the Lions clearly having the game in hand. When Smith subbed out, Thorhallsson switched over to the left side of the field and did not show any issues at all with playing in an unusual position, and he helped close out the final few minutes to earn the Lions their clean sheet.

MF, César Araujo, 6 — The Uruguayan defensive midfielder had a solid game, playing his usual destroyer role in the middle of the field and helped start the offense out of the back. As he always does, César drew a few fouls (2) and completed most (90.9%) of his passes, and I was somewhat surprised it was him who made way for Luis Muriel in the 58th minute, though it was likely to protect him from yellow card accumulation. In another surprise move, it was Araujo who attempted to score off a free kick when the Lions had a golden opportunity to score from just outside the box in first-half stoppage time. His effort, while hit very hard, cannoned off the wall and nothing came of that opportunity. It was one of his two shots on the night — both off target. He added a clearance on the defensive end. It was a strong, but quiet, game for César.

MF, Wilder Cartagena, 8.5 I thought Wilder was excellent on Saturday night, as he led the team in passes completed (77), shots (4), and shots on target (3), and was also second on the team in tackles (3). The Peruvian midfielder also had an assist on two key passes, as he took a pass from Facundo Torres and played a perfect ball right onto Jansson’s head to put the Lions up 2-0. Cartagena also played the ball over the top that led to the red card foul by Bartlett on Iván Angulo, a wonderfully weighted ball in just the right spot that could well have been his second assist had there not been a foul. It was one of nine attempted long balls by the Peruvian and he completed all nine. After Araujo subbed out, Wilder also held down the center of the park for the rest of the game, recording one clearance and putting in an excellent shift on a very hot night in Orlando.

MF, Facundo Torres, 8.5 — I feel like the Facu we loved during his first two years has returned, and Saturday night’s match was emblematic of everything he is capable of doing on the field. The Uruguayan winger had five key passes, two secondary assists, and one goal (with his right foot!), and I think he should have also created two penalty kicks with shots that looked very much like they hit arms that were in places that should have led to a handball call. Neither was called, because…Orlando City. Back to Facu though, he now has four goals in his last five matches and is creating goal-scoring opportunities all over the field for his teammates. In addition, he added three tackles and an interception defensively. He was outstanding on Saturday, and he was definitely in contention for my Man of the Match.

MF, Iván Angulo, 8 — On the other side of the field from Facu was Iván Angulo, and his performance about as impressive. He scored his third goal of the season on a looked-intentional-but-perhaps-was-slightly-unintentional-but-it-worked-out-so-we’ll-call-it-intentional give and go with Martín Ojeda (though officially Ojeda did not get the assist as it came off a defender before Angulo shot it). It was his run that drew the DOGSO (denial of a goal scoring opportunity) foul that reduced D.C. United to 10 men late in the first half and, for all intents and purposes, ensured that Orlando City would win the match. Angulo also played the through ball to Duncan McGuire that led to Facu’s goal, and had that ball come back into the middle, he was in perfect position to tap it in for a goal as well. The Colombian also led the team in tackles, with four, and completed 53 passes, third on the team, at an 84.1% rate, with three of those passes leading directly to a shot. With D.C. United down a man, it was often Angulo who stretched the defense to the limit on the left side of the field; he received 21 passes from 10 yards or more away in the attacking half of the field on Saturday night, tied for third most by any player in a MLS game in 2024. One thing he could have done better was get his crosses past the first defender, as he went 0-for-2 on attempted crosses though he did win a couple of corners out of them.

MF, Martín Ojeda, 8 — Ojeda’s cannon shot opened the scoring as he timed his run perfectly to find a huge swath of space near the top of the 18 and then absolutely smashed the cross from Thorhallsson past three defenders and the goalkeeper to put the Lions on the board. He now has two goals and one assist in the last three games, and it seems like perhaps the South American trio of he, Torres, and Angulo are starting to gel as the attacking midfield group. He would have scored a second goal on a brilliant shot later but had strayed well offside on the play. As he nearly always does, Ojeda led the team in crosses (14) and completed half of them (7), part of an overall passing completion percentage of 93.8%. He was also second on the team with four key passes and added a tackle, before making way for Nico Lodeiro in the 78th minute.

F, Duncan McGuire, 6 — The effort was definitely there for Duncan during this game, and even though he did not score a goal himself, he did contribute a wonderful assist on a play he could have tried to take himself, but instead made a great pass across the box for Torres to run onto to and deposit into the back of the net. On a similar play a few minutes before, he had tried to take it himself and his timing was off and he ended up dribbling it out of bounds, but he got a second chance and he did not waste it, contributing to making the score 4-0 and effectively ending the game. He put one of his three shots on target, a flicked effort at the near post on a corner. I was unable to attend the game in person so I was watching on the AppleTV+ feed, and Duncan also led the team in getting caught on camera yelling “pass me the (inappropriate) ball” after making another run that went unrewarded, which meant he also led the team in comedic output. He only had 23 touches and only completed eight passes at a 66.7% rate, but on the whole I thought he was more positive than negative before he subbed out for Ramiro Enrique in the 77th minute.

Substitutes

MF, Luis Muriel (58′), 5 — It was a subdued performance from Muriel off the bench Saturday, as for the first time this season he did not even get a shot off, and the only real energy I saw from him was when he got into Torres’ selfie celebration. He completed 16 passes at a 94.1% rate, and he had a nutmeg while possessing the ball in the defensive end, adding a key pass and two dribbles. But on the whole, it was a rather pedestrian performance in a game where I thought he could have contributed more going against a hot and tired defense playing down a man.

F, Ramiro Enrique (75′), 6.5 — A late game sub, Ramiro made his presence felt with his first goal of the season on a glancing header in the 85th minute off a headed ball from fellow sub Alex Freeman. He provided his usual energy and hustle off the bench, and completed all five of his passes for a perfect 100% completion rate.

MF, Nico Lodeiro (77′), 6.5 — Nico only played 13 minutes plus stoppage time, but he managed to complete 19 passes (at a 90.5% rate) and have 32 touches of the ball, so he definitely came into the game like a firework. (It’s still close enough to Independence Day for this reference to work, right? Don’t answer that.) The Uruguayan also played the corner kick that Alex Freeman headed across for Enrique’s goal, made two tackles and had one interception, so I felt that even in a short performance he did earn a grade, and a good one, with how he contributed to the final portion of the game.

D, David Brekalo, (77’), N/A The Slovenian subbed in at the same time as Lodeiro, but since he subbed in for Jansson, and D.C. United barely had the ball while he was on, I did not think there was enough there for him to earn a grade. Brekalo completed all 11 of his passes, including two long balls, but aside from that he did not have any other involvement in the game.

D, Alex Freeman (82′), 6.5 — The final Orlando City substitution of the game, Freeman came on for Smith, playing right back, which pushed Thorhallsson to the left side. In his short time on the field, he completed all nine of his passes, including a perfect flicked header across the box for his first career MLS assist. On the play, he made a run from the center of the box to beat a D.C. United defender to Lodeiro’s corner kick, sending across to Enrique, who nodded it home. This was Freeman’s longest appearance of his young MLS career, and I thought he looked very comfortable on the field.


That’s how I saw the individual performances on Saturday night. What did you think? Be sure to let us know in the comments and vote in the poll below for your Orlando City Man of the Match.

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Nashville SC: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from the Lions’ 3-0 victory over Nashville SC?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City traveled to Tennessee to take on Eastern Conference foe Nashville SC. The Lions came into the match riding a three-match winning streak, while Nashville had lost four in a row. Fortunately, the streaks continued as Orlando City defeated Nashville 3-0 in the midweek match. What follows are my five takeaways from a definitive win in Music City.

Back-Post Beauty

It only took Orlando City 19 minutes to take the lead against Nashville. Ramiro Enrique was fouled by Alex Muyl, setting up a free kick opportunity just outside the box. Martin Ojeda delivered a perfect kick to the back post for Cesar Araujo to head into the back of the net. Of course, if Araujo hadn’t gotten it, Facundo Torres was there to back him up, as the two were completely unmarked. It was a major defensive lapse by Nashville that the Lions were able to take advantage of to take the lead.

Muyl Gets Faced

Amazingly, Ojeda was fouled very close to where Muyl fouled Enrique, setting up yet another free kick. Ojeda once again took the kick, sending it into the box where Nashville’s Jack Maher tried to head it out, but only managed to bounce it off Muyl’s face and in for an own goal in the 40th minute. Two free kicks, two goals, too much fun for an Orlando City squad that has scored at least two goals in seven straight matches.

Satisfying Set Pieces

Orlando City may have scored two goals from set pieces, but the team also needed to defend several Nashville set pieces, including six corners. Fortunately, the Lions were able to keep Nashville out of the net with solid defending on corners and free kicks. This used to be a challenge for Orlando City, but has now become a strength, as was demonstrated against Nashville.

Enrique’s Streak Continues

Enrique scored Orlando City’s third goal of the night, and his third goal in three matches in the 81st minute. Ivan Angulo passed the deflection from Luis Muriel’s blocked shot straight to Enrique on the right side of the box. Enrique took one touch and then smashed it past Joe Willis and off the bottom of the crossbar into the goal. This is the type of production the Lions need from Enrique while Duncan McGuire is with the USMNT Olympic squad.

A Confident Team

What we saw on the pitch at Nashville was a comfortable, confident Orlando City. This is a club that has now won five of its last six matches, scoring 19 goals while only giving up eight over that span. Once again, the players were finding spaces, completing passes, creating chances, and defending as a team. Whatever Oscar Pareja is telling these guys is working, because you can see the belief.


The Lions finished the match a player up because Nashville’s Tyler Boyd was stretchered off due to injury. We wish him a speedy recovery. Otherwise, that is what I saw in Orlando City’s 3-0 victory at Nashville SC. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and as always, vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/18/24

Orlando City beats Nashville SC, Ally Watt signs new contract, Mauricio Pochettino linked with USMNT job, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

An Orlando City midweek win makes this Thursday morning feel a bit more like a Friday. It’s been a pretty busy week for me as I get all my ducks in a row before a weekend trip to Maine. But for now, let’s get this morning started off on the right foot with today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Wins Fourth Straight

The Lions went on the road and claimed all three points in a 3-0 victory against Nashville SC. Orlando took care of business against a Nashville team that struggled on both sides of the ball. The offense has also continued to enjoy its renaissance this summer, and Orlando’s goal differential is now a positive number. The Lions have won their past four games, only conceding two goals during that stretch. There’s not much time to celebrate though, as they will host New York City FC on Saturday.

Ally Watt Signs New Orlando Pride Contract

Forward Ally Watt is the latest player to sign a new deal with the Orlando Pride. She’s agreed to a new contract through the 2025 season, with an option for 2026 as well. Watt has been a versatile part of Orlando’s attack this year and has two goals and an assist to her name so far. Her speed is a lethal weapon, no matter if it’s when starting up top alongside Barbra Banda or providing fresher legs as a substitute. The Orlando Pride have been taking care of business during this break in the NWSL season, also signing Bri Martinez, Summer Yates, Cori Dyke, and Viviana Villacorta to new deals.

Mauricio Pochettino Linked With USMNT Coaching Job

Another interesting name has been thrown into the mix for the United States Men’s National Team’s head coaching gig. Mauricio Pochettino, who left Chelsea in May after just one season, is reportedly a candidate for the job. He’s had success at the club level with Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain, but he does not yet have experience coaching at the international level. If he does become the next USMNT coach, I’d be interested to see how well he can elevate the U.S. attack. His past teams have featured plenty of pressing and attacking, but he’s also been fortunate to coach the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, and Neymar.

New Owners Claim Majority Stake in Angel City FC

Willow Bay and Bob Iger have bought a majority stake in Angel City FC at a $250 million valuation, making the NWSL club the most valuable women’s sports team in the world. Iger is the CEO of the Walt Disney Company and Bay is the dean at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Bay will have full control of the club’s board of directors and she’ll represent the club on the league’s board of governors. This valuation is a testament to how much the NWSL and women’s soccer as a whole has grown in recent years.

Free Kicks

  • Cucho Hernandez won MLS Goal of the Matchday for his weekend strike from distance in the Columbus Crew’s 5-1 win over LAFC. Orlando’s Facundo Torres finished last in the voting, despite his nice goal against the New England Revolution.
  • Cavan Sullivan became the youngest player to make his MLS debut after coming on late in the Philadelphia Union’s 5-1 win against the Revolution. The midfielder is 14 years old and broke the the record set by Freddy Adu by 13 days.
  • The LA Galaxy is reportedly close to signing German attacker Marco Reus as a free agent. Reus and LAFC’s Olivier Giroud joining the league during the same summer makes me glad that rivalry is in the Western Conference.
  • American forward Alex Zendejas will miss some time after suffering a calf injury in Club America’s match on Friday.
  • Germany will be without one of its best players for the upcoming Olympics, as midfielder Lena Oberdorf will miss out due to a knee injury. It makes things a bit more difficult for Germany in a group that also includes the U.S., Zambia, and Australia.
  • Mexico is on the hunt for its next head coach after firing Jaime Lozano following a disappointing Copa America campaign.
  • There were reports that English defender Lucy Bronze was eyeing a move to the NWSL, but she will be staying in Europe for a while longer after signing a two-year deal with Chelsea.

That’s all I have for you this time around. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Nashville SC: Final Score 3-0 as Lions’ Offense Continues to Roar

The Lions climbed to .500 on the season with their fourth consecutive victory and picked up their fourth straight shutout win over Nashville.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City scored two first-half goals on set pieces and added an insurance goal late, beating Nashville SC 3-0 at Geodis Park in Nashville, TN. Cesar Araujo and Ramiro Enrique scored for the Lions (9-9-6, 33 points), who also got an own goal off Alex Muyl’s face in the first half, as Orlando won its fourth straight match overall and its fourth consecutive game — all via shutout — against Nashville SC (6-10-8, 26 points).

The Lions improved to 6-4-3 on the road this season, remain unbeaten on the road against Nashville in the regular season (2-0-3), and also kept their second clean sheet in three matches.

“We are really happy indeed with the results, but most importantly with the seriousness of the team, the discipline, the responsibility that the boys have had in bouncing back from those difficult moments,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “I thought we played a very serious game.”

Pareja made just one change from the starting lineup that beat the New England Revolution on Saturday. Pedro Gallese started in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos — replacing Kyle Smith at left back — Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. The central midfield pairing of Araujo and Wilder Cartagena lined up behind an attacking midfield line of Ivan Angulo, Martin Ojeda, and Facundo Torres, with Enrique up top.

The opening moments were sloppy for both teams, but Nashville handled it better, getting a couple of early shots away. Helping the hosts out a bit with that was Santos’ two early turnovers. Araujo blocked Teal Bunbury’s effort in the third minute and Hany Mukhtar sent a blast right at Gallese from outside the box a minute later.

Orlando’s first promising attack came in the 11th minute, with Ojeda finding Torres in the box. The Uruguayan got onto it but got under it and sent it over the bar. Five minutes later, Thorhallsson sent a good ball across the field outside the box for Cartagena to run onto, however, the Peruvian got well under his effort and sent it high into the stands.

The Lions found the opener on a set piece won when Alex Muyl pulled back Enrique on a promising attack and the Nashville winger picked up a yellow card. Ojeda delivered a great ball to the back post, where both Teal Bunbury and Sean Davis expected the other to track Araujo’s run. Neither did, and Araujo headed the ball down and past Joe Willis to score his first goal of the season in the 19th minute.

“It’s always great to be able to score, but when you go into a game, the first thing you want is to help your team win in any way possible,” Araujo said. “With Martin, I knew very clearly the type of touch that he has, especially when he hits the ball like that. So, I just ran to the area that they always ask me to run to, and when I saw the ball coming to me, I just tried to get my head to it, and thankfully it went in.”

Following the goal, Nashville had a spell of attacking pressure, winning a few set pieces. The hosts should perhaps have leveled the game when Jack Maher was left unmarked on a pick play during a corner kick cross. The big defender had a free header but sent it wide to the left of goal in the 25th minute.

Angulo showed off his wheels in the 29th minute, blazing past defender Josh Bauer down the left channel Bauer reached out and grabbed him, picking up a yellow card, but this time Nashville was able to clear Ojeda’s service.

Ojeda made a great move in the corner to discard Shaq Moore in the 31st minute before crossing the ball into the box for Torres. The Uruguayan got his shot on target but couldn’t get much on it and Willis was able to save it.

Orlando doubled the lead in the 40th minute. Ojeda did well to shield the ball and win a free kick on the left. The Argentine then sent in a beautiful cross for Torres. Before it could reach Torres, the ball hit off the head of Maher, bounced off the face of Muyl, and ricocheted past Willis to make it 2-0. Own goal or not, it was Ojeda’s cross that created problems for Nashville.

“What’s happening with Martin now is that he’s performing with consistency,” Pareja said. “And the dedication that he has for his work and for his team is bringing those results. I have to recognize that Martin has helped us a lot in this part of the season that we needed to bounce back, and he has been a protagonist.”

The goal was a historic one for Orlando City, as it gave the club a seventh consecutive match scoring multiple goals — the longest such streak in club history. Orlando City has scored an incredible 21 goals in its last seven matches, averaging three per game since starting the multi-goal-game streak at Charlotte June 19.

Neither side got a clear-cut look for the rest of the opening period, and the Lions took their two-goal advantage to the lockerroom.

The Lions held the advantage at the break in possession (52.6%-47.4%), passing accuracy (87.4%-86.2%), and shots on target (2-1). Nashville won more corners (3-0), and both teams attempted four shots in the half.

The teams played a disjointed first 15 minutes of the second half. Orlando City looked to be intentional in its attack with the lead on the road, waiting for counterattacking opportunities. At the least sign of resistance, the Lions recycled the ball backward and probed for a cleaner opportunity. However, Orlando did well during that spell to limit Nashville’s attack as well. Neither side was able to register a shot.

Shortly after the hour mark, both teams got chances. Bunbury sent a volley attempt over the bar on a Nashville long throw in the 67th minute. Moments later, Angulo won a ball and sent in Torres on the right but Willis was able to smother his shot in the 69th.

Each team got another chance in the 72nd minute. Off a corner kick, the Lions cleared the ball to the top of the box. Amar Sejdic got to it and fired a shot between Schlegel’s legs, but Gallese caught it and ignited the break with a long outlet to Angulo. The Colombian found second-half sub Nico Lodeiro breaking but again Willis got big and couldn’t be beaten.

Enrique sealed the deal in the 81st minute. Angulo did well to get forward and played a ball for Muriel at the top of the area. Muriel’s shot was blocked by the defense, but Angulo picked up the rebound and poked it through traffic to Enrique on the right. The Argentine smoked a shot past Willis, off the bottom of the crossbar, and in from a tight angle to make it 3-0. It was the third straight match with a goal for Enrique.

“Enrique had a very rocky season so far, because first he got hurt. He had some physical problems with injuries. After that he had to go and receive his green card and it took a little bit of a time longer than we wanted,” Pareja said. “But his attitutde in the training ground and, similar to Martin (Ojeda), his dedication to the group is fantastic. So, I’m so happy to finally see the player that we brought here —the player that has instincts to score goals, but the player that is working for his teammates all the time. And that’s the characteristic of our team. That’s the culture that we had seen in this club, and he’s representing it well.”

Bunbury did well to take in a hot cross from Shaq Moore in the 86th minute, held off Jansson, and fired a shot, but it was off line and hit teammate Mukhtar.

It was a quiet night for Mukhtar, who managed only two shot attempts, putting one on frame, but he failed to threaten goal as he has done against Orlando so often prior to the Lions’ current four-game streak in the series.

“We know that Hany Mukhtar is a great player. He’s certainly one of the best players in the league, and we know how dangerous he can be,” Araujo said. “So, whenever we go to play him, we know that between Wilder and myself, one of us always has to be on him when they have the ball. And if it’s me, then I know Wilder is behind me, ready to take him. If Wilder’s there, I’m ready, moving into position to help defend. If he’s able to get by both of us, we know the defense is ready to step in and cut the ball away from him and really take him out of the game as much as possible.”

Defensive substitutions Jeorgio Kocevski and David Brekalo came on to help Orlando City see out the match.

Nashville had more misfortune than the loss, as second-half substitutions Dru Yearwood and Tyler Boyd each had to leave the game with injuries in the second half. Boyd was stretchered off in stoppage time and Nashville was out of subs. The hosts had to finish the match with 10 men.

It appeared that Forster Ajago pulled one back late in stoppage time, but he was clearly offside. The flag came up immediately after the ball went in and it was confirmed on review by the video assistant referee. That was about the last action of the match and the Lions had their fourth consecutive victory and fifth in six games.

Nashville turned around the possession advantage by the end of the game (50.3%-49.7%) as the hosts were chasing the match throughout the second period. The hosts also had more corners (6-1). Orlando City finished with more shots (9-8) and shots on target (5-2). Both teams passed at the same 85.5% success rate.

“We knew we had to come into this game continuing to put the work in and continuing to elevate the level that we have been playing,” Araujo said. “We started off the game really well, and we continue to raise the level of what we had been, and this team has never stopped working hard, even when the results weren’t falling for us. We continue to work hard and really just continue to push as one group.”


The Lions have another short week as they return home to host New York City FC on Saturday.

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