Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! What a way to start the season and end the month of February. I’d say things couldn’t have gone better, but Orlando City will be without Robin Jansson in the next match. That being said, I’ll take a win every week without exception. Let’s get to the links.
Orlando City Wins Home Opener
For only the second time in Orlando City’s MLS history, the club has won its home opener after beating CF Montreal 2-0 at Exploria Stadium. The last time was the 2017 match against New York City FC, which the Lions defeated 1-0. The first half was more of a back-and-forth affair, but Óscar Pareja brought on Júnior Urso to start the second half and Orlando started to create better opportunities. Second-half goals from Alexandre Pato and Benji Michel gave the Lions a solid lead. When Romell Quioto was sent off for punching Jansson in the chest, the defender also received a yellow card during the altercation. That came back to bite the center back when he picked up a second yellow in the 81st minute. Fortunately, Orlando City was able to see out the rest of the match.
Michael Citro has your match recap.
Check back later today for Sean Rollins’ player grades and Man of the Match, as well as Michael’s five takeaways from Orlando City’s win.
MLS Opening Weekend Wraps Up
Orlando City wasn’t the only club in action as Major League Soccer’s opening weekend continued yesterday. Defending champs NYCFC traveled to California to take on the LA Galaxy. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored the game-winning goal in the 90th minute to give the home team a 1-0 victory. Nashville went on the road to take on the Seattle Sounders and walked away with all three points in a 1-0 win. The Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake played to a 0-0 draw, with both clubs getting chances on goal but neither converting.
Lastly, Atlanta United beat Sporting KC 3-1 at home with former Lion Dom Dwyer getting his first goal with his new club. I’m okay with Dom scoring for Atlanta, as long as he doesn’t score any against the Lions.
Carabao Cup Craziness
Liverpool won the Carabao Cup, but it took a lot longer than it may have hoped. Liverpool and Chelsea traded chance after chance through 90 minutes and all of extra time without either club being able to score a goal. The cup came down to penalty kicks, and both teams went 10 for the first 10, resulting in both goalkeepers having to take kicks. Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher made it 11 for the Reds, but Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga sent his attempt sky high over the bar and Liverpool celebrated winning another trophy. It might not be the English Premier League or Champions League title, but hardware is hardware.
FIFA Decides Russia Must Play at Neutral Venue
Following the decisions from Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic to not play Russia in World Cup qualifying, FIFA has announced that Russia will not be allowed to host any games and will have to play home games at neutral sites without fans. The Russian team cannot fly a flag or perform its national anthem as well. FIFA warns that if the invasion of Ukraine continues, it may completely ban Russia from competition.
- Orlando City’s academy teams kept the winning going over the weekend.
+6 for both of our Academy teams this weekend with wins over Montréal CF and Toronto FC. We already have our sights on our upcoming games, and are focused on what we need to do. ⚪️ @MLSNEXT @AllOrlandoCity @RuckusOrlando pic.twitter.com/SYPa3jxwPa— OrlandoCitySC Academy Unofficial (@OrlandoCitySCA) February 28, 2022
- The Houston Dynamo signed 18-year-old goalkeeper Xavier Valdez to a Homegrown contract. The club had to pay both the New York Red Bulls and NYCFC for the exclusive rights to Valdez.
- Leeds United fired Marcelo Bielsa and it is rumored that former United States midfielder Jesse Marsch is a top candidate for the position.
- We end our links today with Pato making sure his Man of the Match award gets home safely.
That will do it for today. Check back for coverage of Orlando City’s upcoming match against the Chicago Fire this Saturday. Vamos Orlando!