I don't know how they did it, but the Lions held on in a nail biter for a 1-0 victory on the road against New York City FC. Cyle Larin scored his 20th career goal in MLS, and it just enough for Orlando City to escape the Concrete Jungle with a very valuable three points.
It was an ugly match, but hey, a win's a win.
Now, let's get down to the real reason you're all here: player grades.
GK, Joe Bendik, 8 -- Bendik make not one, not two, but three huge saves on Mix Diskerud throughout the match to deny the USMNT midfielder game-tying goals. People like to bash Bendik -- and for really no reason besides not being Tally Hall -- and I think tonight will have a lot of people keeping quiet for at least the next few weeks. Great performance to go into Yankee Stadium and hold a shutout on a deep attacking team.
D, Rafael Ramos, 6 -- I wouldn't say this was a great game for the young defender. He had some poor crosses on the attack and was pretty iffy on defense. Not one of his best games, but not his worst, at least. Assisted on the lone goal in the seventh minute with a nice cross.
D, Tommy Redding, 8.5 (MOTM) -- An outstanding outing for the Homegrown center back. He came into the match with a very tough assignment of having to contain David Villa, and more than held his own against the World Cup champion striker. We've seen this kid play very well at times for the Lions in MLS, but this was easily his best game yet. And the best is still yet to come, I believe.
D, Seb Hines, 6 -- Seb was OK but he wasn't great. He had a questionable foul late in the match that set up a dangerous free kick for Andrea Pirlo just outside of the box. Luckily, it didn't cost Orlando City.
D, Brek Shea -- 4: There have been very few times where I've been impressed with Shea's performance for this club, and tonight was not one of them. Bad game, looked sloppy getting forward, mistakes all around.
M, Antonio Nocerino, 5 -- While I'm able to confirm he was actually on the field for this one, I can't quite tell you what he actually did. He left in the second half with an injury, and that was by far his most notable moment of the match. Somehow it might have even been his most positive.
M, Cristian Higuita, 8 -- An outstanding performance after last Friday's sub-par effort. He and Darwin Ceren were beasts in the defensive midfielder, making tackles all over the place, especially in the first half. He picked up a yellow card late in the game, but eh, when doesn't he?
M, Darwin Ceren, 8 -- What you can say about Higuita can pretty much be said about Ceren, too. Without him and Higuita on the field, this could have been an entirely different ballgame for Orlando City. One of his stronger performances in an Orlando City uniform.
M, Adrian Winter, 6 -- I've never truly been sold on Winter starting for this team. He brings a lot of energy to the pitch, but it fades quickly and he can't keep it going for a full 90 minutes. Anyway, not a good game, but not a bad one either. Average performance. Sent in a nice through ball to set up Ramos for the cross to Larin on the goal, but also badly mishit a chance at a clinching goal in the second half, sending it wide.
M, Kevin Molino, 5.5 -- In any normal scenario I would have given Molino a 6 for a pretty average game, but he had a wide open chance in front of the net to put Orlando City up 2-0 and he took way more touches than he should have and eventually his shot was blocked by a defender. That alone lost him at least half a point. Very disappointing moment for the Trinidad and Tobago midfielder. Even Kaká was not impressed.
Kevinnnnnnnnnnn !!!! I'll kill you tomorrow bro #NYCvORL— Kaka (@KAKA) March 19, 2016
(BTW: I give Kakà a perfect 10 for his in-game tweets)
F, Cyle Larin, 6.5 -- He gets points for scoring his third goal of the year, but outside of that he really wasn't much of a factor for the Lions prior to being subbed out in the second half. Adrian Heath said after the match that Larin was feeling sick, which would explain him not looking sharp and being sluggish on the run. Still, he was the most dangerous player in the attack for Orlando City. Again.
M, Servando Carrasco (54'), 6.5 -- Made a couple of good plays near the end of the match, particularly taking precious seconds off the clock with possession play. Had more of an impact than the guy he came in for -- Nocerino -- so at least there's that.
F, Pedro Ribeiro (55'), 6 -- Orlando City hardly held any possession while Ribeiro was on the field, meaning he hardly had any chances to impact the game as a forward.Fashioned a few chances but was slow getting the ball off his feet. Nearly scored an insurance goal but it was deflected just wide for a corner. Could have played Carlos Rivas in cleanly late but for some reason decided to turn into traffic and lost the ball. He still isn't his best playing with his back to goal.
M, Carlos Rivas -- (70'), 7 -- Orlando City fans finally got their first look at Carlos Rivas in 2016. Rivas provided a clear spark off the bench, and created most of Orlando City's dangerous second-half attacks during his brief time on the field. Affected the game positively way more than anybody else during the second half from an offensive standpoint.
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Well, those are my grades for the match. What do you think? Are there any grades you would have handled differently? Let me know in the comment section below and don't forget to vote for your Orlando City Man of the Match.