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Orlando City Held to Scoreless Draw in Chicago After VAR Controversy

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Orlando City SC's Junior Urso (left) feels Torres and Araujo add dynamism to Orlando's locker room. (Matt Stamey/USA TODAY Sports photo)

CHICAGO, Ill. (FNN SPORTS) — Orlando City endured a resilient Chicago Fire as they made it two clean sheets in two games. Orlando’s first away game of the season was no walk in Millennium Park, however. Ezra Hendrickson’s men played a physical 90 minutes that resulted in 35 fouls and a slew of yellow cards. While the VAR controversy was obviously the unintended highlight of the game, there were more than a few storylines to be excited about as Orlando City continue to sharpen their tools during the regular season.

 

Windy City Blues

With gusts of 25 mph during the game and less than ideal conditions on the pitch, Orlando City had their work cut out for them as they faced the Chicago Fire for their first road game of the season. Despite the setbacks, there were more than a few positives to draw looking at the Lions’ Starting XI.

Setting aside the fracas that the disallowed goal caused, Orlando City still managed to dominate the second half of the game. Orlando’s dominance in pace and cardio over 90 minutes has not been a strength of theirs in years past. This attribute undoubtedly comes from the work put in during the offseason. Orlando City has an abundance of skill and class within their ranks when all their players are healthy.

Continuing to switch on and off between Kara and Pato for future games will ensure players can get rest while still providing worth to the first team. Although Head Coach Oscar Pareja was obviously frustrated with the decisions called in that game, he took time to give credit to his developing team as they continue to fine-tune their identity on the pitch.

 

Takeaways from Chicago

César Araújo is showing himself as one of the best bargain transfers of the 2022 offseason. Although the fanfare and attention have mostly been about Facundo Torres, Araújo has been steadily winning fans over with his fearless displays of heart and grit after 180 minutes of play.

For a 20-year-old to go toe-to-toe against veterans like Wanyama and Shaqiri in successive games shows a high level of pedigree from the Uruguayan. Not only that, but he has seemingly won over the locker room too. Junior Urso commented after the game that players like Araújo and Torres give a lot of dynamism to their team.

Urso also deserves plaudits for his efforts the last two games. The Brazilian midfielder made it clear he is trying to become more of a threat in front of goal this year after scoring four during the regular season in 2021. He’s off to a blazing start, as he turned last week’s match against CF Montreal on its head as soon as he subbed on.

The Brazilian continues to be the locomotive for an Orlando side that is still meshing together. His ability to win balls in the open field is his best asset, continually turning quick defense into useful offense.

Orlando City’s next game will be back home as they take on FC Cincinnati. The Ohio-based team has yet to score in their first two regular season games thus far; which bodes well for Pedro Gallese as he looks to make it three clean sheets in three games.

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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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