Defending champ domination.
In the return of Kaká to the starting lineup, Orlando put on a performance to remember, dominating the reigning MLS champs, 4-1. Brek Shea and Kevin Molino scored their first goals in MLS for Orlando City and Hines got another set piece goal (first of the regular season). Definitely lots to like from this game going forward.
Let's get right into the grades from this fun match.
GK, Joe Bendik, 8 -- For the second week in a row, Bendik came up big. Huge penalty stop in the 43rd minute against Adi and a great save in the 66th against Valeri. He also stopped Valeri's free kick in the 68th. I was going to give him a higher grade, but I knocked off half a point for being caught out on Portland's goal.
D, Rafael Ramos, 6.5 -- In one of the better games for the team, Ramos had his most disappointing performance on the year. Had a bad giveaway in the 25th minute that gave Portland a good chance on goal, but, just in general, Ramos had times where he was okay, but just hasn't been himself lately.
D, Tommy Redding, 7 -- Had to battle with Fanendo Adi for the first 45 minutes and did a good job of it, but ended up coming out for Collin after sustaining a head injury and feeling dizzy. Although Adrian Heath made sure to mention his performance in the press conference and said that he wouldn't have subbed him off if he didn't have to.
D, Seb Hines, 8 -- Seb and his magical forehead struck again. With Kaká back in the lineup and on set pieces, it was only a matter of time before he knocked in a header. Besides scoring the first goal, Hines was impressive on the defensive end. He came up with multiple attack-stopping tackles and held Adi, Asprilla and Melano quiet up top. Would have been my MOTM, but came in a close second.
D, Brek Shea -- 7.5: Arguably the best game from Shea so far this season. Had a goal to remember in the first half, his first with Orlando in MLS play, and seemed to completely control the left side of the field. Shea was not only able to get forward often, but his ability to track back and shut down counter attacks was crucial in containing the Timbers attack. Adrian Heath also commented on his play and mentioned his "mind blowing" athleticism and how he hoped USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann was watching the fullback's performance.
M, Cristian Higuita, 7.5 -- Another great performance from the young Colombian. He and Darwin Ceren controlled the midfield as usual and Higuita made some key tackles. He also helped out in the attack getting forward a few times, including helping to start the counter attack that led to Kaká's goal.
M, Darwin Cerén, 7 -- Much like Higuita, Cerén had a successful run about in the midfield. Didn't stamp his presence on the game with challenges or memorable moments, but did what needed to be done and kept Portland in check. Importantly, he and Higuita both kept their heads and didn't pick up a yellow.
M, Adrian Winter, 7.5 -- Winter was an absolute workhorse on both sides of the pitch and helped Kaká create chances in the final third. Had a hand in setting up Kaká's goal in the 48th minute, holding off Portland defender Nat Borchers, and brought some creativity and pace to the game.
M, Kevin Molino, 7 -- Yes, Molino drew and scored a penalty, but he was mostly quiet on the offensive end. The reason his grade is what it is is due to his defensive plays that he made throughout the game. He tirelessly tracked back from his forward position and made some key interceptions on the right side of the pitch. Even if he hadn't scored a goal, his effort around the pitch definitely didn't go unnoticed. He still needs to pull the trigger more often though.
M, Kaká, 8.5 (MOTM) -- In his first game back from injury, the captain didn't disappoint. He was fully involved in Orlando's attack, grabbing two assists -- on Hines' set piece and Shea's bullet of a goal -- while also scoring one of his own. What put him over the top for MOTM was the fourth goal of the night. After Molino drew the penalty, the captain selflessly gave the ball to him and told him to trust in himself. That goal could go a long way for Molino's confidence, so props to Ricky for the gesture.
F, Cyle Larin, 5 -- Used his body and pace as he usually did, before he pulled his hamstring and had to be subbed off in the 24th minute.
M, Servando Carrasco (24'), 6.5 -- Came in for Larin and shifted back into a defensive role, which he played up to standard. Played a role in Adi's penalty when his header hit Shea's arm through no fault of his own. Had a bad giveaway that led to a couple Portland scoring chances. Connected on 80.6% of his passes. Got involved quickly, finishing with more touches than Ceren, despite not starting.
F, Aurélien Collin (45'), 6.5 -- In the 50th minute, he overplayed a challenge that turned into an opportunity for Nagbe, but Hines was able to bail him out. Also gave the ball away which led to Portland's only goal. Still, he had a few good tackles. His 57.9% passing accuracy is simply not good enough.
M, Carlos Rivas -- (80'), N/A -- Rivas came in and did exactly what you would need him to do in that situation. Brought speed into the Orlando attack and stretched the defense a bit, but he's still looking for that first goal in MLS play. I won't give him a grade since he only managed four touches and one pass.
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Well, those are my grades for the match. What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below and don't forget to vote for your Orlando City Man of the Match.