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Orlando City Opens the 2024 Season with a Scoreless Draw.

Orlando remains unbeaten in their tenth straight home opener before 24,249 at INTER & Co stadium.

 

On a chamber of commerce night at the newly named INTER & Co stadium, Orlando City and Montreal could not finish their chances on the opening night of the 2024 season. Here are a few short takes from last night's match.


  • Orlando City manager Oscar Pareja put out a strong lineup with two newcomers to the side in midfielder Nico Lodeiro and defender David Brekalo. Lodeiro, the Uruguayan who previously spent eight seasons with the Seattle Sounders, comes into the team as a hopeful like-for-like for Mauricio Pereyra. Pereyra is the lone player in Orlando City history to tally double-digit assists in three-consecutive campaigns after posting 11 in 2021 and 12 in both 2022 and 2023. Lodeiro, at 34-years-old, obviously has big shoes to fill. Brekalo comes to The Lions after three years at Norwegian club Viking FK, where he made sixty appearances. The Slovenian international brings experience and presence to Orlando's backline after the departure of Antonio Carlos.

  • 'Taking your chances' is systemic with all clubs. While creating chances has never been a problem for OCSC, that last ball and finishing must and will get better with time. With that said, kudos to Montreal's backline and goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois. They came up big against a constant barrage of Orlando attacks, with Sirois controlling his box very well.

  • I liked the second half substitutions, allowing Lodeiro to slide back into the number 8 slot, allowing more time for him to collect that first ball out of the back and restart the attack. Lodeiro is not Mauricio Pereyra, but he does bring solid experience to the center of midfield. The obvious question is how Lodeiro's physical condition will hold up as the season progresses, especially with the summer heat of Orlando and other locations around the U.S. Second half substitute Martin Ojeda worked hard and made a positive impact - it will be interesting to see how Oscar Pareja balances his player pool, trying to get Ojeda, a designated player, more playing time.

  • Ivan Angulo and newcomer David Brekalo stood out in last night's game. Angulo's relentless work rate and pace wreaked havoc with Montreal, and Brekalo, based on last night's performance, seems to be the go-to center back partner alongside Robin Jansson. For now, the backline and midfield may be solved, but what does Oscar Pareja do when new signing Luis Muriel is fully incorporated into the side? The striker, signed from Serie A side Atalanta, has signed a three-year contract to fill the void of Duncan McGuire's departure to Blackburn. With Blackburn dropping the ball on McGuire's transfer and the Creighton University product fully engaged with OCSC, how will both of these strikers be used? With Pareja's preferred system and shape, does McGuire go to the bench?


Last night was regular season match one of 34. A very long season and I expect we will see Orlando City do much better with finishing their chances. Muriel is sure to add a good bit of firepower to a strike force that is already very good. Orlando faces another quick turnaround, hosting Calvary FC in Tuesday night's CONCACAF Championship second leg, and then traveling to Ft. Lauderdale in a Saturday afternoon match with Leo Messi and Inter Miami.


Gary Levitt @gary1123 www.justmytake.net


Photo Credit: Orlando City Soccer Club

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