Orlando City will come home from Kansas City without any points, extending the team's winless streak to six (0-3-3) after a 2-1 loss to Sporting KC. The Lions are still 6-4-3 against the Western Conference since joining MLS, but that and a couple of dollars still won't get you much at Starbucks.
The Lions -- without Head Coach Adrian Heath, who served his suspension, and minus the suspended Cristian Higuita -- were completely outclassed in Kansas City, yielding a sickening 34 shots, and putting none of their own seven attempts on target. Herein I'll try to grade the individual performances of Orlando City players in the match, although the positives were fewer and farther between than we'd all like.
I'm sure I'll be blasted for rating players too high today. But I have to rate these players individually, when I think the larger issue was team play. Plus, these are lower than my usual ratings, which somewhat follow the scholastic rating system, where a 9 would be the equivalent of an A, and I'm not sure I've given more than one of those...ever. Here we go:
GK, Joe Bendik, 7 (MotM) - Orlando's goalkeeper made 10 saves and deserved much better support from his teammates than he got. He kept the game level at 0-0- by making a pair of massive saves on Dom Dwyer and Graham Zusi at the end of the first half with Darwin Ceren down injured in his own box, keeping everyone onside. He was relentlessly peppered throughout the match and came close to blocking Dwyer's tying goal, despite being left to fend off two attackers by his defense. He wins Man of the Match by default, because it was a bad team performance, but he was the brightest spot for Orlando, and he had to be to keep the Lions from being completely embarrassed on the score sheet.
D, Brek Shea, 4 - Cost Orlando a goal in the seventh minute when he went for goal rather than serve a tap-in to Larin. In the 21st minute he sent an aerial cross for Larin instead of keeping it on the ground and the Canadian couldn't get to it. However, he was the most active attacker for Orlando throughout the first half and only some timely blocks by Tim Melia and his defenders prevented sitters for Lion attackers. Despite his high work rate and ability to get crosses in, he was a liability on the defensive end throughout, getting turned around on one possession by Roger Espinoza and nutmegged by him on another.
D, David Mateos, 5 - A mixed day for the Spaniard, who had some uncharacteristic bad moments, such as an easy pass in the 52nd minute that he mishit and it went out of bounds for a cheap turnover. He set up the own-goal with his header back across goal on the corner. Tied with Redding for the team lead in clearances (8). However, he must share some of the blame on both goals. He got caught ball-watching a bit on the Feilhaber scoop pass that led to the first. And on Jacob Peterson's game-winning goal, he and Tommy Redding both stayed on Dwyer, leaving Ramos to guard two wide players at the back post.
D, Tommy Redding, 5.5 - The youngster returned to the lineup and completed all 20 of his passes and had eight clearances, with four interceptions and a blocked shot. He was slow to react to Dwyer's run on the first Sporting KC goal, allowing the former Lion to get behind him. Redding seems to have a bright future, but as young and inexperienced as he is at this level, you're bound to see a few of these moments per game.
D, Rafael Ramos, 4.5 - Rafa's best contributions were his two vital blocked shots, which kept the score from being worse than it was. Oh, and he didn't get booked. He passed at an 81.8% clip. But on the winning goal, when faced with two players to defend on the weak side, Ramos should have been defending from inside-out. So, he should have been on Peterson and took his chances that the ball wouldn't reach the fullback out wide. Instead, he Peterson have a free run. He was also not alert to Peterson's run on the Dwyer goal.
MF, Servando Carrasco, 4.5 - Led the team with 72 touches and passed at a respectable 85.7% clip, blocked two shots, and had four interceptions, two tackles and two clearances. But his handball just outside the area set up a dangerous free kick and he allowed guys like Zusi, Davis, and Feilhaber too much room to operate and pull strings in front of the Orlando back line.
MF, Darwin Ceren, 4.5 -The Salvadoran had a team-high four tackles but no interceptions, completing about 85% of his passes. Kind of a similar game to what Carrasco had, and his grade therefore reflects that. Went down with an injury just before the half and kept the entire population of Kansas City onside by going down where he did. Unfortunately, he had to be stretchered off late in the game with an apparent injury to his left leg.
MF, Antonio Nocerino , 4 - Defended well on the left flank throughout the first half and completed 12 of 17 first-half passes with one key pass. But being pinned in the left defensive corner, defending the wide flank attacker -- in this case Saad Abdul-Salaam -- prevents Nocerino from giving any kind of support to the attack. Shea was tucked well inside the penalty area often, leaving the Italian as the only wide defense. His three tackles tied for second on the team. Passing rate was just 69%, the lowest among midfielders.
MF, Kaká, 6 - Completed 20 of his 21 first-half passes and had one of Orlando's two shots in the first 45 minutes, although it was well off target. In the second half, it was a different story, as the Brazilian completed just of eight of 14 after the break and two of his corner kicks went over the end line before coming back in, wasting two valuable set pieces. His one good corner from the left side resulted in Orlando's only goal, though.
MF, Kevin Molino, 5.5 - Kevin completed 81.4% of his passes and was one of the few Lions contributing to the attack, but I can't overlook that he was also dispossessed a team-high five times. The Trinidadian contributed one shot, one key pass, three tackles and an interception, but he wasn't the dangerous presence he had been over the last month.
F, Cyle Larin, 4.5 - It's hard to even grade the Canadian International. He had only five first-half touches and only six in the second half before being subbed off for Julio Baptista in the 71st minute. Some of that can be attributed to poor service, but you have to blame some of it on movement and being offside a four times. He lost the ball in his feet on a 1-v-1 with Matt Besler in the 30th minute and failed to get a shot off. In fact, he failed to even attempt a shot.
D, Luke Boden (65'), 6 - On what may have been the first of his 12 touches, he sent a cross into the box that earned a corner instead of the penalty that should have been awarded for a clear handball on Zusi. The Lions did capitalize on the corner by scoring on a Jimmy Medranda own-goal. His passing accuracy (75%) was a tad worse than Shea's (79.5%) but he brought a calmer approach to defending the left flank.
F, Julio Baptista (71'), 4 - It's hard to even grade the Brazilian. He got eight touches in his 19 minutes (plus five minutes of stoppage) but wasn't able to do much with them, as his passing accuracy was only 60 percent. Like Larin, he didn't attempt a shot.
MF, Carlos Rivas (86'), N/A - Didn't have a lot of time to make an impact, and had only five touches, but he still came within a couple of feet of being a hero. With his first touch, the Colombian sent a curling shot off the volley that sailed just wide of goal in the 87th minute.
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That's the way I saw the individual performances at Children's Mercy Park. Be sure to vote for your Man of the Match below and let's hope the winless streak stops at six.