Orlando Derby Welcomes Special Guest Sabrina from The News Junkie

This week we were honored to be joined by star of The News Junkie on REALRadio 104.1 Sabrina! She is the In-Game Host for Orlando City and Orlando Pride, and spent an hour with us discussing the latest fan-suspension news, the City loss to Toronto and the surging Orlando Pride.

If you are going to be attending the Orlando Pride match on Wednesday against the league-leading North Carolina Courage, be one of the first 150 people to use this link to purchase your ticket and Ali Krieger will buy you a beer! That is how a Penn State Nittany Lion connects with fans!

Also, a big “thank you” to Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando for their hospitality hosting our Toronto FC viewing party. The venue is fantastic, the food is amazing and there is free on-site parking! We look forward to our next event there.

Listen to the full show here:

Simon’s “Ten Thinks” from the Toronto FC Loss

Here we go with my thoughts on last night’s poor performance:

1) A really disappointing 2-1 defeat for @OrlandoCitySC at TOR last night. Dropping all 3pts to a pretty poor TOR team (missing 4 regulars, inc their TWO main strikers) was on a par with losing at home to MINUTD. Not a good visual.

2) Yes, the Lions were without Dom and Yoshi (as well as Specs and Sutter). But they still had plenty on the field to be able to beat this Reds lineup that had just 2 wins in 9 games. Too many players were anonymous last night.

3) Although TOR were missing key players in their attacking third, they still came up with the most telling passes on the night. The Lions’ lack of a cutting edge w/out Dwyer & Yotun was alarming, esp, as Yotun will be gone to #WC2018 duty soon.

4) Rosell was steady in place of Yotun but seems to lack the passing range of the Peruvian, and he was almost non-existent going forward. That left our attacking threat extremely fragmented and disconnected.

5) Pinho simply can’t carry the weight of being the lone striker at this level. He didn’t make a telling contribution all night and it was a mercy when he was finally taken off & the offensive reshuffle gave us the semblance of an offense.

6) But, in Pinho’s defense, neither Meram nor Kljestan stepped up to make his life any easier. Meram buzzed away on the left at times but Kljestan was largely marked out of the game by TOR’s defensive mids. Neither ever got close to providing Pinho with any ammunition.

7) Mueller was more effective on the right & showed the right appetite for the game but he still looks raw at times. He might be better up front than Pinho, tho & he just has more energy than the Brazilian. Colman again looked really positive when he came on. When does he start?

8) Johnson has been a decent stop-gap at RB but he had a nightmare last night. TOR attackers went past him with ease all game & he looked a liability, right up until the moment he lost Telfer for the winner. Mind you, FOUR players were unmarked in the box. RJ Allen must start.

9) Higuita was an absolute stud, proving that his poor game last week against ATL was an aberration. Not only did he get in good position for his goal, he was a tackling & disruptive MACHINE in the ORL half. More of that will be needed this summer.

10) Next Sat’s home game w. CHI is big. The Lions can’t afford to drop points to teams below the red line, & the Fire are below the line for a reason. Bottom line: City are conceding too many goals right now & that’s not how a contender performs. This should’ve been 0-0 or 0-1.

Cheers,

Simon

Orlando City Drop Tough One to Atlanta, Pride Put Up 4 Points (and an Elephant in the Room)

We know that for the rest of the world the main storyline out of the Orlando City loss to Atlanta United is the fans who threw trash on the field after suffering through a brutally-officiated match. For us, it is but a footnote so you need to wait awhile before we address it on the show.

Doc, Lord Commander of the UCF Knights’ Watch Charles and our “Soccer Sherpa” Simon spend their time instead debating the level of effect the ref had on the result, discussing the overall status of the team after a third of the season and giving some love to the Orlando Pride for picking up four points (and arguably the prettiest goal of the year in American soccer) against the Royals and Thorns.

Also, be sure to join us to watch the Toronto match this Friday at the Ace Cafe on Livingston in Downtown Orlando. We will have a book signing with Simon and his wife Susan, authors of Defying Expectations: Phil Rawlins and the Orlando City Soccer Story, and hoist a few pints while enjoying the Lions’ broadcast. We will be there starting at 6:00pm!

Listen to the full show here:

Simon the Soccer Sherpa’s “Ten Thinks” from the Atlanta Match

1) After 6 significant steps forward in the last six games, this was a step back, in an important game, with a highly charged atmosphere.

2) Not many players will look back on the first half with any pride (although Tarek and El-Munir were both largely blameless in a bit of a collective funk).

3) As I’ve been saying in recent weeks, OCSC won’t be able to spot a good team with a goal or two’s advantage and come back. This was definitely a bridge too far against ATL.

4) Much of the blame for an inert, imprecise and slow opening stanza lies with Yotun and Higuita, who had been excellent in recent weeks. They were both well off the pace in general and badly at fault for ATL’s 2nd goal.

5) It looked like a penalty. Yes, it was soft, but Higuita definitely made contact with Garza and he didn’t need to. It looked panicky and imprecise, and that will always draw the ref’s attention.

6) Ah, the ref. Keep your cool Lion Nation, Alan Kelly is a decent ref but, for some reason, he likes giving Orlando players yellow cards. FIVE in one game, with no bad fouls (apart from the one on El-Munir) to be seen? That’s poor.

7) After the fairly feeble efforts of the first half, OCSC were MUCH better after the break, They fully deserved their goal and certainly had ATL grateful to hear the final whistle.

8) Rosell and Colman gave the team much better balance in the 2nd half. Rosell was steady and Colman was a positive sparkplug. We need to see more of him.

9) There were a few players who should be able to keep their cool better when the pressure is on. Getting booked for dissent and squabbling with your team-mate (Kljestan and El-Munir) is not the way to advance your cause.

10) Bottom line: OCSC didn’t play well enough but only just lost to the best team in the league. When they play better, they are not far off the pinnacle, so they have to look ahead to a massive game at TOR on Friday.

Cheers,
Simon

Orlando City Gets Sixth In a Row, Pride Are Back on Track and the Lions’ Sister Club Is Being Relegated

The early-season slump of Orlando City is in the rearview mirror and all but forgotten after a club-record sixth straight win over Real Salt Lake over the weekend. In this week’s episode, Doc, Simon the “Soccer Sherpa” and Lord Commander of the UCF Knight’s Watch, Charles, break down another come-from-behind victory for the Cardiac Cats. They also celebrate the Orlando Pride earning another clean sheet to put their season on the right track.

We also kick off “Atlanta United Hate Week” (special thanks to listener Cody for christening the next few days with such an appropriate name). East-leading Atlanta comes into Orlando City Stadium this Sunday at 6:00pm for what is arguably the biggest match of the season so far. Bring your mom and celebrate Mother’s Day by cheering on the Lions!

Listen to the full show here:

Simon the “Soccer Sherpa” Presents His “Ten Thinks” from the Real Salt Lake Match

Obviously all eyes now turn to The Big One against ATL next Sunday, but, for now, here are my “Ten Thinks” about today’s game:

1) At 0-1 after 60 mins, OCSC had RSL exactly where they wanted them.

2) But seriously, OCSC were huffing and puffing like an engine with a cylinder or two out of action for the first hour. They started slowly and had barely showed up for the 2nd half when Justin, Sacha & Dom fashioned an equalizer out of nowhere. 

3) All 3 areas – DF, MF and up front – were out of sync for much of the first 60 minutes. Despite City having the majority of pressure, RSL keeper Rimando didn’t have a serious shot to save while Bendik was facing one-v-ones again and again. 

4) Having to go with a new CB pairing of Sane and Schuler definitely didn’t help, and Sane in particular lost his position too many times for comfort. But that will happen when the 2 defensive kingpins are thrown together at short notice. 

5) Fortunately, OCSC has Mighty Joe B. The Lions shot-stopper had to make a whopping EIGHT saves, and also saw RSL hit the post twice. The legend of Mighty Joe certainly grew in the 62nd minute when he stoned a clean-through Corey Baird for the save of the month, and…

6)…the Lions broke straight down the other end and Sane made up for his earlier indiscretions (including losing Baird for RSL’s 12th-minute opener) with a towering header from Yotun’s corner. 

7) And, once ahead, OCSC took charge completely and were never threatened again. It could easily have finished 4-1, although that would have been a complete injustice to the visitors, who had fully 16 attempts on goal. 

8) Orlando finished with 19 goal attempts, 8 of which came in the last half-hour. They remain potent going forward but they weren’t threatening enough in the first half & were too easily opened up at the back. Either Amrek or Spector (or possibly both) need to be fit again, soon.

9) But the bottom line is that, after a club record 6th successive win, this team has a knack for scoring goals, even when not in sync. Dom genuinely does score when he likes, & Kljestan, Meram & Yotun provide plenty of ammunition. Higuita also had another very impressive 90mins. Last year, this would have finished 1-1 at best.

10) Somehow OCSC had 3 players booked (which says more about the ref – Higuita can especially feel hard done-by) but they can’t afford that many each week. The big tests are still to come & they need everyone available. For now, soak it up, City fans; this is a streak to savor.

Orlando City Letting It All Hang Out as They Go Streaking

The Orlando City Soccer Club has shaken off the rust of the early season and now has the fourth-best point total in MLS thanks to their current five-match win streak. It may not be time to start making plans for attending playoff games, but so far the team seems to be moving in the right direction.

Doc, Simon “The Soccer Sherpa” and Lord Commander of the UCF Knight’s Watch, Charles, discuss the huge road win in Colorado yesterday (the first Rapids loss there since August 19) and look ahead to Real Salt Lake at home on Sunday before delving into the Champions League semifinals and the waning matches of the Premier League. We also

Listen to the full show here:

Simon’s “Ten Thinks” for Week Eight of the Orlando City Season

1) Any road win in MLS is cause for celebration. Any win in the rarefied air of Colorado doubly so. That’s a tough place to play, as the Rapids last home loss was Aug 19.

2) Five straight is the best win streak in MLS this season and Orlando City have looked a little better in each game in that run. For the 3rd time in those 5, they had to come from behind & that says a LOT about the team’s character. No-one panics when they concede.

3) Justin Meram started and fully merited his place in the lineup, playing a key role in the PK that @yoshiyotun won & scored. Meram’s passing ability will be crucial to the team’s success in future.

4) Orlando City enjoyed almost 56% of the possession, on the road, at altitude, on a pretty warm day. That says a lot for their conditioning & the way the team was set up. This team is maturing nicely.

5) There’s always a ‘But’ and this is it. For all their possession, and long periods of dominance, OCSC lacked a cutting edge for much of the time. Dom Dwyer was hardly given a sniff of goal & they’ll need to do a lot better against the better teams.

6) While there was a strong hint off offside about the COL goal (and no VAR review; what’s up, MLS?), the Rapids did have several other good looks at goal & Bendik and El-Munir had to make some key stops in the 2nd half. This defense isn’t the real deal yet.

7) Talking of defense, Sane had a couple of moments he’ll want to forget about. Whether he and Tarek are the best CB combo, or if it’s Tarek and Jonathan Spector, has yet to be decided.

8) The best news for @OrlandoCity is that Yoshi Yotun and Cristian Higuita are looking The Real Deal in that DMF combo. Both had a big influence on the game & Higuita has now played 3 straight w/out a yellow. #Progress

9) The bad news? The team is really going to miss Yoshi when he joins up with the Peru World Cup squad next month. Orlando City does have MF cover, but no-one quite like Yoshi.

10) With increased productivity comes increased expectations. The Lions must now be expected to make it 6 in a row next Sunday at home to RSL. The fact they won w/out much from Dwyer & Mueller is actually promising. Expect them to step up again on Sunday.

Mueller Is Money, Dom Nets #100 and The Pride Are Off the Schnide

This week’s episode of Orlando Derby is a love fest for the a Lions’ rookie and a Lions’ legend. Chris Mueller and Dom Dwyer led the way for Orlando City to a huge victory in Orlando City Stadium on Saturday over the San Jose Earthquakes, 3-2. They made it a little closer than it had to be, but with Dom scoring his 100th goal and Mueller adding a goal and an assist, no one in purple that night cared about the score.

 

Doc, Simon the “Soccer Sherpa” and Lord Commander of the UCF Knight’s Watch Charles discuss City’s fourth win in a row, the Pride getting their first victory of the season and touch on what is happening across the pond with the Champions’ League semi-finals and the retirement of Arsène Wenger after 22 seasons managing Arsenal.

Listen to the full show here:

Orlando City Continues Righting the Ship While The Pride Show Cause for Concern

This week’s episode is yet another serenade to Dom Dwyer and his greatness, as we break down Orlando City’s big win on the road in Philly to extend their winning streak to three matches. We then look ahead to Saturday’s match against San Jose.

We also look back on the Orlando Pride’s loss to the Thorns and discuss how concerned fans should be that they are off to an 0-1-2 start to the season. Will they turn things around like City did after compiling the same record?

When our Soccer Sherpa Simon joins us, he not only gives us his unique take on the Lions, but also gives us some food for thought on the Champions League Quarterfinal results and a preview of the semis.

Listen to the full show here: