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Talking Orlando City with The Mane Land

We reached out to Ben Miller and our friends at The Mane Land ahead of the Union’s USOC match against Orlando City SC tonight



Orlando City has played one U. S. Open Cup match before the Union with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies. How did they look, and how did Orlando’s lineup reflect the ideals of the team in this tournament?
Orlando played a very strong lineup and for that reason, the 2-1 result was a little underwhelming. Granted, the Rowdies were the second-best team in the USL Championship last year, but I think most people were hoping for a slightly better performance. Still, they got the job done and the strong lineup continues the theme of Orlando coaches taking the U.S. Open Cup seriously, this is a competition the team wants to win.

Orlando is coming off a tough loss in Montreal. What went wrong?
Oof, where to begin? Taking two shots to your opponent’s 20 isn’t usually a recipe for success, and if you’re a horror fan then the discrepancy in possession heatmaps for the two teams makes for some truly terrifying viewing. The Lions were rarely able to get the ball into the attacking third, and on the rare occasions they did, they didn’t do anything with it. Combine that with all four of Montreal’s goals arguably being self-inflicted errors by Orlando, and the game was a horror show from start to finish. I’m not sure if that game or the 3-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls at home was worse, but those two performances are the worst I’ve seen the team play in a long time. In the last three games it’s played, Orlando City has taken 12 shots. That is just…unbelievably horrible. 

What do you think the benefit of Orlando’s home-field advantage will be (note: the Union played a very late matchup against LAFC Saturday). What’s the forecast for Tuesday?
That depends in part on how attendance goes. There were a modest 8,057 in the stands for the match against the Rowdies, and Exploria Stadium does a good job of keeping the noise in so the atmosphere was pretty good. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of turnout there is after two awful performances in the last three games. Weather and heat shouldn’t play a factor as it’s supposed to be in the mid-60’s with only a 5% chance of rain. 

What are your lineup predictions, score predictions, and any other notes?
Mason Stadjuhar; Ruan, Rodrigo Schlegel, Thomas Williams, Kyle Smith; Sebas Mendez, Andres Perea; Junior Urso, Alexandre Pato, Benji Michel; Ercan Kara

Antonio Carlos is out long-term with a hamstring injury, and Tesho Akindele and Silvester van der Water are listed as questionable with thigh and lower leg injuries respectfully. 

I have a bad vibe about this one. Orlando has looked dreadful more often than good lately and I’m not sure how exactly that gets turned around. 3-1 in favor of Philadelphia.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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