I watched this one from the comfort of my couch (well, the comfort of my home. Seriously, who can stay seated watching this club play?!) and feel compelled to tip my cap to the supporters who packed the house and brought the noise. Poor Ramses Sandoval and Paul Caligiuri could barely get their incoherent ramblings over the sounds of various chants. Man, the ladies and gentlemen of The Wall do a fine job of translating this city's passion for the club.
On the pitch, we saw some highlights and some head scratchers from Inchy's boys. How does the Stock Watch see the individual performances?
Tommy Redding - Mane Land reader Gegeness pointed out in the comments of last week's edition that Redding easily could have made this section based on his performance in the opener, and while I certainly won't disagree, he followed that up with what I saw as another impressive performance against the speedsters the Fire has to attack with.
His positioning was solid, and he quickly seemed to pick up on the wide passes that would launch the counter attack forward in the early stages. His game-saving slide to clear a cross beautifully played past an aggressive Joe Bendik was quite a highlight, but what I found most impressive was his brick wall impersonation in the 19th minute, just six minutes after his center back partner's lapse led to the Fire's only goal.
Homegrown and delivering, Redding is an easy Lion to get behind.
Servando Carrasco - Admittedly, I have not been a big fan of Carrasco during his time in Orlando. This season, however, he's showing a flair for long passing that is really opening up the attack. We saw it in the opener in what resulted in Adrian Winter's tally, and he followed it up Friday by completing 10 of 14 long pass attempts, an absurd number when you remember this is Adrian Heath's slow, possession-oriented system.
At full health, this club features nice pace with Brek Shea, Rafael Ramos, Kevin Molino and Carlos Rivas. This emerging skill from Carrasco will only become more influential on the club as its finds its way to the ends of Carrasco's services.
Seb Hines - In both our Player Grades and our own Austin David's most recent column, Seb's failure to seal out David Accam is brushed off as simply losing a footrace to one of the speediest attackers in MLS. That's fair -- no center back is out-sprinting Accam -- but what I saw was a failure to put a body on the attacker before it was too late. Hardly impeding his progress at all, Accam had literally no fight on his way to the ball. Perhaps I'm spoiled by the aggression of an out of favor Aurélien Collin, but for me, that's not good enough.
It's sort of a double-edged sword, however, as just last week we were accosting Hines for a stiff challenge in the box that surrendered a penalty. It's a fine line between reckless and competitively aggressive -- a line I expect to see Hines find sooner rather than later.
Kevin Molino - He had an assist and managed the second-highest grade in our Player Ratings, but Molino is still missing his magic in the final third at a time when Orlando City needs it badly. When we see Kevin Molino, we see the USL Most Valuable Player and the hardware he brought to our city. When the rest of the world sees Kevin Molino, they see a fairly creative attacker who can't seem to find the final pieces to his puzzle.
Whether it's developing the chemistry with teammates to ensure someone is on the end of his one-touch passes, or becoming more aggressive at net with the ball at his feet, one thing is for sure -- the rest of the world needs to see the Kevin Molino that we're accustomed to. The one that scores goals at will. The one that makes #MolinoMania run wild, brother.