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MLS: 3 Orlando City Players Get USMNT Call-Up; Key Contract Extensions Announced

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Orlando City SC forward Daryl Dike. Photo: Orlando Sentinel.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The 2020 season continues to bring blessings for the Orlando City Soccer Club and its players. This week, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team announced that a third player from Orlando City, Andrés Perea, is joining Daryl Dike and Chris Mueller for the USMNT December training camp.

 

Preparing for El Salvador

Players already called up to the team reported to squad duties in South Florida on Tuesday. Chicago Fire’s Frankie Amaya tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival to camp, which resulted in the subsequent call-up of Perea into the lineup.

The United States prepares for a fiery El Salvador side on home soil at the Inter Miami FC Stadium on December 9. Officials have reported a limited crowd size of 2,500 will be eligible to attend gameday.

Andrés Perea, alongside OC teammates Mueller and Dike, were part of a strong youth contingent at Orlando this season that provided depth for them down the stretch. Perea routinely had to fill in for different holding or defensive midfield roles where he showed his proficiency as a ball-winner in right spaces.

In his first full season with the club — on loan from Colombian side Atlético Nacional — Perea has amassed 11 starts and played a key role in Orlando’s wins over Columbus Crew and NYCFC.

Perea enjoys a unique situation nationalistically. Born in Tampa and raised in Colombia, Perea is a dual-national who competed with Colombia’s 2019 FIFA U-20 team where he started in each of those five games.

This mini-camp will serve as an excellent sampler for what the USMNT U-23 players can do. This MLS-centric batch of players will offer Head Coach Gregg Berhalter an excellent glimpse into what domestic talent there is available to share the field with the likes of Gio Reyna, Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and more in time for the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Signing on the Dotted Line

Orlando City wasted no time signing back the premier talent that made their 2019-20 season so successful. Within days of completing their season, Orlando City announced the resigning of Mauricio Pereyra and Antonio Carlos, who were both pivotal figures in the playoff push for Orlando this season.

Antonio Carlos made the loan move from Palmeiras permanent this offseason as he inked a three-year deal with the MLS side. After kissing the crest in his playoff penalty against NYCFC, it seemed Antonio Carlos may have found a new home in Orlando.

Although the many fine Brazilian restaurants in the city are enough to keep any person attracted to Orlando, the bigger picture around this move came down to football.

Mauricio Pereyra re-signing until 2021 is a further sign of ambition at the club as they are committing to their central attacking midfielder for another year.

Don Dwyer entering free agency also hints that Orlando City may be thinking in an attacking direction for off-season acquisitions.

The emergence of Dike and Mueller have been revelations for Orlando City thus far, but OC Head Coach Oscar Pareja may be looking abroad at another mentor figure to surround this young batch of players to further facilitate their growth.

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Nicolas Vera is a contributing writer for Florida National News. | sports@floridanationationalnews.com

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Kickoff Time Announced for Orlando City Friendly Against Arsenal FC

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FC Dallas's Paul Arriola attempts a shot while keeping Orlando City SC's Ruan Texeira at arm's length during their matchup at Exploria Stadium Saturday, May 28, 2022. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The FC (Florida Cup) Series has announced kickoff times for its upcoming slate of friendlies, including Orlando City’s match against Arsenal FC on July 20. The two sides will meet in a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff hosted at the home of the Lions, Exploria Stadium.

Tickets to the match, the first meeting between the two sides all-time, are available at the link here with group options by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Arsenal has a storied history in England, having won a record 14 FA Cups, two League Cups, 16 FA Community Shields, one European Cup Winners’ Cup and 13 EFL and Premier League titles, including an undefeated season in the 2003-04 season.

The London-based club, founded in 1886, will visit the United States this summer as part of the “FC Series”. Arsenal and Chelsea, two of the world’s most popular and successful professional soccer clubs, will then meet at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, on July 23 for the Florida Cup. The stateside derby will be the finale of the weeklong “FC Series” expansion featuring international matches across the United States.

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MLS: Orlando City Surrender Initial Lead and Fall to FC Dallas 3-1

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FC Dallas's Paul Arriola attempts a shot while keeping Orlando City SC's Ruan Texeira at arm's length during their matchup at Exploria Stadium Saturday, May 28, 2022. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Orlando City SC returned home this weekend to host FC Dallas at Exploria Stadium Saturday.

Orlando City’s downfall can be summed in two words: Paul Arriola. He scored two of FC Dallas’s three goals on the night.

Ercan Kara scored Orlando City’s only goal for the night.

 

First Half

The fouling started early and Orlando City got in trouble in the 12th minute, with Sebas Mendez getting the first yellow card of the game.

Mauricio Pereyra earned a free kick in the 23rd minute, but Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes made the catch before the ball could reach the net.

Dallas got a near-goal in the 26th minute, with Arriola making a left cross from the far right end of the field, but Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was able to knock it away.

Another close call came in the 28th minute in which Dallas repeated the exact same shot as before from the exact same side of the field as before, but Orlando’s Kyle Smith was able to get his foot on the ball first and made a right cross straight out of bounds.

Dallas kept up the press. In the 30th minute, Dallas’s Paxton Pomykal made a header from close range in center field, but Gallese came all the way out to kick it away.

Orlando Had a near goal in the 43rd minute with Ercan Kara’s attempt, but shot it high over the crossbar.

In the first minute of stoppage time, Pereyra made a shot on target, but Paes volleyed the ball up and over the crossbar.

Kara was able to make up for his earlier miss, though. During the final minute of stoppage, Pereyra made a free kick from the left side of the field and Kara headed it in over Paes’s head, finaling getting a point on the board, making the halftime score 1-0 Orlando City.

 

Second Half

Orlando City showed a bit more aggression at the beginning of the second half with a near-goal in the 48th minute. Ruan made a left cross to , who attempted a shot, but the ball hit the outside of the right side of the net.

Kyle Smith came in clutch again in the 55th minute after Dallas’s goal attempt from left field with a swift kick to cut the ball toward the stands.

Arriola turned the tide in 66th minute, putting FC Dallas on the board and tying the game 1-1.

Dallas’s Franco Jarra hammered the nail in deeper for Orlando City with a second goal in the 70th minute. Jarra fired right-footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner with the assist from Jesús Ferreira’s through ball.

Paul Arriola devastated Orlando again in the 84th minute, this time with a sharp left cross from the right of the box, missing Gallese and finding the back of the net and making the score 3-1.

After the international game break, Orlando City’s next MLS match will kick off on June 15 against New England Revolution and return home on June 18 to host the Houston Dynamo. Both games take place at 7:30pm.

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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Orlando City Back in the Win Column with 1-0 Shutout Over Chicago Fire

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Photo: Rafael Crisostomo/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) — Orlando City commanded a triumphant shutout over Chicago Fire at home this weekend.

The 1-0 victory was Orlando’s second encounter this season, where Chicago Fire hosted the Lions to a 0-0 draw at Soldier Field. Both teams had depleted starting XI’s with Shaqiri out of the main lineup for Chicago, as Orlando missed Antonio Carlos due to a high hamstring injury. Orlando dominated the game on both ends of the ball and put in a mature home performance after their 4-2 loss to LAFC.

 

Engine, Engine Number Nine

After a few games of shambolic results influenced by small mistakes, Orlando City went back to basics for their win against Chicago. In the past few games, the Lions had seemingly been frustrated by aggressive opponents who in turn forced Orlando to make under-pressure mistakes. Ruan was once again under fire on social media outlets as his attacking presence wound up giving way to defensive mishaps on the other end of the field.

Photo: Rafael Crisostomo / Florida National News.

Photo: Rafael Crisostomo / Florida National News.

This game followed a much different formula. For starters, Chicago Fire’s Brian Rodriguez’s early double yellow tilted the game in Orlando’s favor as they were just starting to build their stride offensively. Shortly after, it seemed like every possession Orlando had was a shot on goal or at the very least an attempt. After winning the ball in the attacking half, Facundo Torres lobbed a ball to the far post that found Alexandre Pato. Pato then bounced the ball off his head to connect with Ercan Kara in the penalty box.

That goal not only gave Orlando City the victory, but it opened Kara’s accounts for goals this season. The Austrian striker has adjusted to MLS well in just a few short months he’s spent in Orlando. However, the finished product across the board for Orlando City is still lacking. Orlando City took 21 shots this game, which easily could’ve converted the scoreline into 3-0 or 4-0. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before the cogs begin to turn for Orlando City and hopefully they can turn good football moments into chants of goal, especially in crucial home games.

 

Defense Wins Championships

There was another spotlight on Rodrigo Schlegel as well. The Argentine defender had his number called after Antonio Carlos’ injury and lived up to the pressure. Schlegel’s first start of the 2022 season went off without a hitch as he dominated all one-on-one exchanges. The purple wall of defense seemed impenetrable with Schlegel and Jansson in top form. With that said, the hidden gem of Orlando’s 2022 season thus far has to be Joao Moutinho.

Photo: Rafael Crisostomo / Florida National News.

Photo: Rafael Crisostomo / Florida National News.

After starting every game this season post-ankle injury, the young Portuguese left-back has found his stride. Moutinho continues to be rock solid in defense, often using his ball-winning abilities to create offense on the other side of the field with quick passes to Araujo or Facundo Torres.

Little by little, the blueprint for success is being established for Orlando City as Oscar Pareja continues to implement his system. Within a few short weeks, Orlando City should start establishing itself as a front-runner in the Eastern Conference with more commanding displays as we saw on Saturday.

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Nicolas Vera is a sports reporter for Florida National News. | sports@floridanationalnews.com

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