Well, that was a lot of fun and we should do it again really soon, huh?
Orlando City had no trouble slicing apart the LA Galaxy defense in building a 4-0 lead to give Tally Hall -- making his City debut -- his first shutout in a purple kit. In fact, the back line and defensive midfield played so well that Hall faced only one shot on target and 10 in total, with most of those coming from far away.
This was a much needed three points for Orlando City, which was starting to get lost in the Eastern Conference standings. In the New England-DC-LA trio of games, the Lions took four of a possible nine points, which isn't bad against three of the leagues blue bloods.
We'll have much more to come from tonight's win, so let's get to the performances by tonight's lineup:
G, Tally Hall, 7.5 -- It's hard to judge a keeper who wasn't tested much, but Hall did what he was supposed to do in his first game with Orlando. He made no errors, stopped LA's single shot on goal and kept crosses from reaching their targets. One game, one clean sheet.
D, Luke Boden, 7 -- Other than a few issues controlling the skilled Stefan Ishizaki, Boden played well again at left back. His crosses are nearly always dangerous and his awareness and team play make him an asset to both the defense and the attack.
D, Sean St. Ledger, 7.5 -- He and his central defense partner made the plays they needed to make when called on. They played within themselves. Adrian Heath called them "excellent" in his postgame presser.
D, Seb Hines, 7.5 -- See St. Ledger, Sean. In his return from a quad injury, Hines didn't show any signs of rust. He made perhaps the two biggest plays by the back line with an early tackle and a blocked shot in the first half. Hines had a few games where he was victimized one-on-one but his positioning tonight was sound.
D, Rafael Ramos, 8 -- Each game, Rafa seems to have one or two inexplicable defensive lapses, but he generally makes up for them. His cross and movement on the first goal was outstanding and he kept Baggio Husidic occupied and harassed Leonardo.
MF, Darwin Ceren, 9 -- Man of the Match for me, and Heath said the same in his presser. Ceren worked hard for 90 minutes and made things difficult for LA's midfield and attack force throughout the night. He also got forward in attack more than he has in previous games and had a rocket shot tapped over by Jaime Penedo. Nevertheless, he got his first MLS goal later on a hard, low shot that took a deflection.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 8.5 -- If Ceren wasn't MotM, then Higuita may have been. The young Colombian was all over the pitch, making the Galaxy miserable with interceptions and hard-won takeaways. Like Ceren, he got more involved in the attack tonight to go along with his tireless work on defense.
MF, Brek Shea, 8 -- It wasn't a perfect game for Brek, but he looked much sharper overall. With the exception of a few passes that were a bit off, Shea was dangerous. He showed outstanding vision to head across for his roommate, Eric Avila, on the first goal. He also made great crosses and helped Boden defensively down the left side. His best game to date at midfield for City and earned a deserved first assist in a purple shirt.
MF, Kaká, 8.5 -- After a few rough games, the maestro is back, with a key assist and his fourth goal (second on a PK). This was possibly Kaká's best game in an Orlando shirt. He looked determined and involved and linked up well with everyone on the pitch. He made Tommy Meyer miserable on the Larin goal and sent the through ball to Ramos that ended in Avila's goal. He tortured LA players by shielding the ball and keeping possession. On any other night he might have been my MotM, but for the way the defensive midfielders played.
MF, Eric Avila, 7.5 -- Avila looked comfortable on the right side for the first time and opened his account with a timely run into the box. He doesn't get a ton of credit for his work rate and doing the little things well in the midfield that he probably deserves, but he was very good tonight and scored his first MLS goal since 2013.
F, Cyle Larin, 8 -- The Canadian international continues to get into dangerous spots and to score goals. Took a lesson from Kaká after over-hitting a long chip attempt and looked up for his teammates more after that, leading to the give-and-go with the Brazilian that resulted in Larin's fourth goal in as many games (in all competitions). His control and runs are improving and he was strong all game.
D, Amobi Okugo, 5.5 -- Came on at 75' and was steady. He made no major errors but did nothing particularly noteworthy either. A fairly typical display for 15 minutes in defensive midfield against a team that had largely stopped pushing forward due to the lopsided scoreline.
MF, Carlos Rivas, N/A -- Entered at 78' and didn't make much impact. With a big lead, Rivas was never going to be asked to do much other than keep the ball when possible and make lonely runs so his teammates could look for a potential long ball.
F, Martin Paterson, N/A -- Making his debut in the 83rd minute, Paterson showed his veteran presence by trying to set up teammates rather than take bad-angle shots. But it's hard to judge a guy who played seven minutes in a 4-0 game, so we'll skip a grade this time out.
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If Orlando City can duplicate tonight's performance going forward, there are a lot of good results in the team's future. For now, the club must find a way to put back-to-back wins together. Be sure to vote for your Man of the Match in the poll below.
The Lions get a week to rest but have a cross-country trip coming up for Sunday's 7 p.m. game at the San Jose Earthquakes.