Orlando City snapped its four-game losing streak (and five-game winless skid) in emphatic fashion, thoroughly dominating Columbus Crew SC at the Citrus Bowl in front of 26,586 on a rainy night in Orlando. The Lions finish the regular season series 1-1-1 against Columbus and 2-1-1 against the Crew in all competitions.
As you'd expect, there were a lot of strong performances in the 5-2 win. Cyle Larin scored twice to tie the MLS single-season rookie goal scoring record, Corey Ashe tallied two assists. Aurelien Collin scored off a corner and Cristian Higuita opened his Orlando City account.
Here are our player grades and Man of the Match from tonight's game:
G, Tally Hall, 8 -- Didn't have much to do in the second half, but was rock solid in denying Kei Kamara's header in the 22nd minute and made three saves in the first half when the game was very much in doubt to keep his team in it. Did a nice job collecting crosses as well and challenging Columbus in the air.
D, Corey Ashe, 8.5 -- Set up Cyle Larin with a gorgeous cross to the top of the six-yard box in the 18th minute and got forward again to assist on Larin's second goal in the 53rd. Was dangerous all night and acted as a thorn in the side of Kei Kamara and others.
D, Seb Hines, 5.5 -- Aurelien Collin praised his fellow center back after the match but I thought Hines struggled at times in the first half. He certainly picked up his game after the break, which might have a lot to do with Ethan Finlay being subbed out, and made some nice possession plays at the back in the final third of the match as Orlando protected its lead.
D, Aurelien Collin, 6.5 -- Scored a beautiful header off Luke Boden's whipped-in corner kick in the 77th minute and did a fairly solid job most of the night trying to hold Kamara, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram and Finlay at bay. Scored the first own-goal in Orlando City's MLS history in stoppage time trying to deny a long ball aimed at Higuain, which takes a little off his score.
D, Tyler Turner, 7 -- Against one of the harder teams to defend, Turner more than held his own defensively and offered width in the attack. Played under control and didn't get caught forward very often. A solid effort for the young Homegrown Player.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 8.5 -- On many nights, this would have been a Man-of-the-Match performance from the young Colombian. He started the match far too tentatively, but he and his fellow defensive midfielders did a great job of breaking up the Columbus attack throughout the second half. Turned defense into offense a number of times and was rewarded with his first MLS goal in the 85th minute off a Kaká pass.
MF, Darwin Ceren, 8 -- Scored his second goal of the season in the 38th minute by blasting home a rebound of his initial shot (cross? should have been a shot, either way) which a Crew defender knocked back to him. Had trouble keeping a couple of other pretty good chances on frame. Was a rock on defense and helped shut down Higuain after halftime.
MF, Servando Carrasco, 6.5 -- Bears some of the blame on Higuain's goal in the fifth minute, but redeemed himself by sending Corey Ashe into the corner to start the first Orlando City goal. Took awhile to really come into the game, but he acquitted himself well in the second half. Starting to show signs of growing some chemistry with his new team. Had the team's second-highest passing accuracy at 90.2%.
MF, Luke Boden, 8.5 -- In his first turn in an attacking midfield position, Boden worked wonderfully with Kaká and Corey Ashe on the left side and his crosses and corners had their usual quality. Could not have delivered a better ball on the corner that Collin headed home. Led the team in passing accuracy (96.8%).
MF, Kaká, 7.5 -- In the end, the captain had a pretty good game, but some of his passing tonight seemed a bit off. Provided a great ball to Ceren but Clark's save on the initial shot cost Kaká an assist. He did end up getting one on Higuita's goal with a well-placed cross. He also was robbed of a goal of his own by Clark in the 42nd minute. The only thing knocking down the Brazilian's score a bit is his lower than usual passing percentage.
F, Cyle Larin, 8.5 (Man of the Match) -- Failed to score on two glorious early chances (and credit should be given to Steve Clark for that) but did get the Lions on the board by roofing an Ashe cross in the 18th minute. The bottom line is that he put himself in outstanding positions all night and could have scored his second straight hat trick. Notched a game-high eight shots and put four of those on target.
F, Bryan Rochez (78'), N/A -- Only managed eight touches as the game was out of reach when he entered. Completed 80% of his passes but really failed to express himself with so few chances on the ball.
Vote in our poll below and let us know who your Man of the Match was. This might be the most competitive poll we've had for MotM all season.