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Rumor Mill: Uruguayan Wonderkid Facundo Torres Set to be Orlando City’s First Offseason Signing

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) — With the MLS playoffs currently underway and Orlando City out of the picture, offseason signings have started to pick up traction. One name that continues to circulate around the MLS ranks is Facundo Torres.

 

Player Spotlight: Facundo Torres

Torres, the 21-year-old Uruguayan playmaker, has garnered a lot of reported interest since his breakout campaign in 2020. Although he suffered a few limited injuries in the 2021 campaign, he managed to score more goals and assists with fewer games played. These stats have made him an impact player at his native club C.A. Peñarol.

His efforts in their last campaign massively helped them achieve a domestic title in the closing tournament of the season. The Uruguayan starlet also enjoyed his first international caps for Uruguay this summer. He debuted in June 2021 (after COVID delays) where he subbed onto the pitch against Paraguay.

 

But what do these qualities mean for Orlando City? With the departure of Chris Mueller to the Scottish Premiership, Orlando is in desperate need of a crafty winger who can create opportunities on the ball, something Orlando City fundamentally lacked this past season. Despite having solid stops at the back, the inability to develop play forward and generate consistent offense cost Orlando City precious points during this campaign.

 

With the addition of Facundo Torres, some of these problems can be mitigated. Torres is a speedy left-footed winger who is just as capable of slicing in a dangerous cross as he is bringing the ball into midfield himself and disrupting defensive lines. His selfishness on the ball makes him a threat for assists as much as he is a threat for goal. With improved finishing and confidence in the coming years, Torres has the capability to take the MLS by storm, in a similar fashion to Diego Rossi or Nicolas Lodeiro–two massive MLS success stories who also come from Facundo Torres’ native country of Uruguay.

 

Despite the rumored interest, the Facundo Torres move is not a done deal. As of this morning, The Mane Land reported that Torres’ agent is currently in Europe right now scouting for offers that match or exceed Orlando’s valuation. Torres has garnered interest from clubs across Brazil, Italy, and Spain. Even Inter Milan made an inquiry into his services back in June, but the Uruguayan opted to stay and finish out the year with his boyhood club. Signing Torres would enable Orlando City to use him as a U22 slot player, which allows for more international players on the team outside of those already on payroll (Nani, Pereyra, Antonio Carlos).

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