A Massive Defensive Effort And Another Duncan McGuire Goal Lead The Lions To A 1-0 Win At Nashville.
It is never easy for a visiting team to play Nashville at GEODIS Park. A great atmosphere, 25,000+ supporters, and a very well-coached Nashville side always pose a difficult scenario for any team. The effort put in by Orlando City, especially the way they defended, was tremendous. Here are a few takes from last night's game.
Orlando City manager Oscar Pareja, with his deep player pool, made a couple of changes to last night's starting eleven, with midfielder Martin Ojeda and veteran fullback Kyle Smith giving Ivan Angulo and Dagur Dan Thórhallsson a rest. Ojeda worked hard, recording his 10th assist of the season, while Smith combined with Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Rafael Santos, and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese for the Lions' 10th clean sheet of the season.
The amount of work rookie striker Duncan McGuire puts in is amazing, and for the most part he wreaks havoc with the opposing team as he leads Orlando City's relentless press. The timing of his runs, considering he is a rookie, gets better every game. Last night, the timing of his runs were again excellent, resulting in his game-winning, forty-fourth minute goal. No one thought that McGuire, with two regular season games to play, would have twelve goals over all competitions in his first year of MLS competition.
Mauricio Pereyra is no doubt the engine that runs Orlando City's team. He put in another sixty-five minutes last night and hopefully will recover quickly as the Lions go again this Saturday night. Pereyra tallied another assist on McGuire's goal, his 10th of the season, giving him double-digit assists in three consecutive seasons. A key to the Lions success in the playoffs will correlate with Pereyra getting some level of rest with the last two regular season games. Veterans Felipe Martins and Junior Urso will need to step in to get Pereyra some rest as the Lions head into the playoffs.
Orlando City sits on fifty-seven points through thirty-two matches, 3 points ahead of third-place Philadelphia. The Lions are home to New England, who sit three points ahead of the LIons, this Saturday at Exploria Stadium. They then visit Toronto on 'decision day', October 2. This will be a fun and interesting close to the 2023 MLS regular season.
Gary Levitt @gl1123 justmytake.net
photo credit: Orlando City Soccer Club