Through week two of the MLS regular season, how many players can legitimately say they have single-handedly won AND lost a match for their team? Houston Dynamo keeper Tyler Deric may well be the only one, as his dramatic gaffe handed the Lions a 1-0 victory.
After a man of the match performance against the Columbus Crew in week one, Deric's mistake in the 74th minute tonight gave Orlando City SC its first ever MLS victory. After misplaying the ball with his feet at the top of the box, the Dynamo keeper lost a frantic scuffle with 6-foot-4 substitute Pedro Ribeiro to keep the ball out of the Houston goal.
At the moment, Major League Soccer is crediting Deric with an own goal, but that won't stop Orlando fans from heaping praise on Ribeiro's hustle and determination. The Lions' other Brazilian entered for Carlos Rivas at 54', and he played well up top before helping in the eventual winner.
Kaká was again the best player on the pitch for much of the night, and his swerving 30-yard free kick in the 41st minute was only barely saved. Kevin Molino again played well, and Sean St. Ledger was solid filling in for Aurelien Collin.
In the end, the goal was lucky, but Orlando again had the better of the play for much of the night. Let's see how the team graded out!
G, Donovan Ricketts, 6.5 -- Serious question: will Donovan Ricketts ever be seriously challenged for the Lions? Despite a preseason full of backline questions, the Jamaican keeper was hardly called upon at all, facing zero shots on goal and making zero saves against Houston.
D, Brek Shea, 6.5 -- Another stellar performance for Shea in the backline. Hasn't broken any games open offensively yet, but he wasn't beat defensively either. We'll take that.
D, Seb Hines, 7.0 -- A good night for the Englishman, who continues to look threatening in the air on the offensive end as well. He had one poor (and dangerous) clearance but was otherwise very solid.
D, Sean St. Ledger, 6.0 -- St. Ledger filled in solidly for a suspended Aurelien Collin. He played well, but also had a few very shaky clearances. Not sure he did enough to create a true CB controversy just yet (calm down, City fans), but it's good to know we have depth.
D, Rafael Ramos, 8.0 -- A break-out performance for the Portuguese fullback. He was more aggressive offensively, and contained USMNT veterans Brad Davis and DaMarcus Beasley for most of the night.
M, Amobi Okugo, 7.5 -- Two matches, two quietly great performances. He made the smart passes when called on, and he held things down defensively when Ramos and Molino ventured forward. His yellow card was actually a smart tactical foul to stop Boniek Garcia from creating a scoring chance.
M, Darwin Ceren, 5.5 -- The USL veteran finally got his chance in MLS, and it was a bit of a mixed bag. He was a controlling force in the midfield next to Okugo, but he also had a bad giveaway or two. Could be quite the battle between him and Cristian Higuita, but depth is a good thing!
M, Lewis Neal, 5.5 -- Another fairly invisible performance for the winger. His defensive coverage is important with Brek Shea's forays forward, but at some point he needs to contribute more int he attacking third to keep the starting spot. He missed a gift of a chance at 51' from the top of the box.
M, Kaká, 7.5 -- Again, the captain was incredible. His vision is sublime, and his combinations with Molino were again a constant threat. He could have scored on a free kick just before the half if not for an impressive save from Deric. Houston was physical with him but he never backed down.
M, Kevin Molino, 7.0 -- Ditto for Kevin Molino, who again looked extremely comfortable next to Kaká. It's only a matter of time before he scores his first MLS goal.
F, Carlos Rivas, 5.5 -- Better tonight, but still not quite able to capitalize. We've yet to see anything objectively spectacular from the Colombia, but you can't help but feel watching him that he's capable of more. Fired a laser just high in the first half.
F, Pedro Ribeiro (54'), 8.0 -- Can we all just agree to give him the goal on that one?! His hustle and strength scored the winner for Orlando, and he deserves credit. His height also came in handy on defense as well, as he was able to head away at least one cross to help Orlando close out the match.
M, Eric Avila (82'), 6.0 -- Came in late for Kaká to add fresh legs and some defensive grit. Held the ball well, and helped the Lions close out the match.
Sorry for the unexciting grades tonight folks! It was a match where almost everyone played very well, but no one quite stood out as spectacular. Bad for my column, good for the Lions!
As always, if you thought anyone deserved better or worse, let us know in the comment section,