Orlando went to Chicago with a chance to climb above the red line for the second consecutive week and again couldn't quite get it done. D.C. United's win ensures the Lions will stay just below the line although even on oints with sixth place again this week. This match could go down as a bit of a disappointment as Orlando was the better side and created several opportunities to put the game away but never could finish off the Fire.
With constant repetitive chants of "Fire, Fire, Fire" echoing around Toyota Park, Orlando played the ball into dangerous positions yet never put Chicago to the sword and allowed the Fire to play back into the match to earn a draw late.
Let’s get to the grades from tonight’s 2-2 draw.
GK, Joe Bendik, 6 - Joe was by no means flawless in this week's match-up but there were moments just as in most matches this season where he showed his shot-stopping talent. In the 15th minute, as Seb Hines was rounded by the speedy David Accam, Joe came up big. He also had a nice save at the near post but could have definitely done better on the second Chicago goal, where the ball looked to go straight at him and deflected off his arm and into the back of the net. Here is to hoping that Orlando will not allow quick corners like the one Chicago played in to happen again.
D, Luke Boden, 6 - With Shea looking as if the move up field in Kreis’s system is permanent (even if it is not helping Shea’s play), Boden started again at left back where he looked to have a good relationship with Kaká. There were a few moments where he looked a bit indecisive in the attack but overall he played well moving forward and connecting while getting back on defense. Orlando ended up being a bit lucky in the 90th minute where Boden definitely had contact in the box bringing down Alvarez but Geiger was on the Lions' side as the call was not given to Chicago. Overall a decent night from Boden.
D, Tommy Redding, 4.5 - With Mateos out on suspension the young center back found himself back in the starting lineup and he started off a bit slow, with a bad pass almost letting Matt Polster into an early chance. Then he got called for an early foul just outside the box on David Accam, which led to the first goal for Chicago. After that, he then earned a yellow card in the 18th minute on a hard slide tackle on Accam. He wasn't done. Redding then got caught up field, giving the ball away in the 26th minute. The theme is it was not a good game for Redding, who may have shown a few flashes of a future where he can be a good defender, but that day may not be today as he is still too inconsistent.
D, Seb Hines, 5.5 - Like his center back partner, Seb also started off slow, getting rounded by Accam in the 15th minute and being bailed out by Bendik with a good save, Hines definitely has some speed issues. However, after Redding went off in the second half, Hines looked to become more aggressive and assertive in defense. Even with the quick corner being put in by his man, Hines still looked like Orlando’s best central defender. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not.
D, Kevin Alston, 5.5 - A few good connections saw Alston get forward but he does not bring the same type of speed into the attack that Rafael Ramos does. That being said, he also defends better and is not a liability for a red card. In Chicago, Alston had a solid if unspectacular game and has started to solidify his role as the starting right back for Orlando.
MF, Servando Carrasco, 6.5 - Simple and efficient could be the two words for Carrasco tonight. He worked his passes well around the pitch while not trying to do too much. He even got into the attack a few times and played a good cross onto the head of Cyle Larin that led to a Kaká finish. The type of play that we saw today from Carrasco should be what he aspires to do every match, simple and efficient.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 6 - Before the injury that saw Tony Rocha come in for Higuita, he looked to be his usual self, flying around the pitch and playing aggressively on defense. There were some highlights, especially the tackle on John Goossens inside the box in the 38th minute. Going forward, Orlando could be in for some trouble after trading Darwin Ceren if Higuita is injured long term.
MF, Brek Shea, 4 - Not sure what to say here, so let’s start with the positives, Brek Shea did not get injured and made a few good runs. Outside of that, Shea was pretty much horrible all night, mishitting his crosses by sometimes leagues, misplaying passes, and generally just not being sharp. It is hard to pinpoint what is going on with Shea but this could have been one of his worst performances and the only thing that left him on the pitch could have been the injury to Higuita. There was at least one moment in the 75th minute where Shea worked from outside in to get a shot on goal, but other than that, this was a forgettable performance.
MF, Kaká, 8.5 (MOTM) - There could probably be a whole story written on how well Kaká played tonight. He forced Chicago to move players around literally by himself and created chance after chance. The first goal by Larin in the 10th minute was set up by Kaká's chip and following that he put in a rebound in the 32nd minute, roofing the ball into the top of the net. With a goal and an assist the captain got more compliments from the announcers than Michael Phelps this weekend and even with one of his most complete performances Orlando still ended up with a draw, but I shudder to think what the game would have looked like without him. Kaká showed today that he still has a lot of soccer ahead and all he needs to do is stay healthy.
MF, Matias Perez Garcia, 6.5 - Getting his first start, the quick play-maker also had the confidence of the staff and team to take corners, putting in a good first ball off the head of Hines in the eighth minute that the defender could not put on frame. Following that was MPG's pass to Kaká that led to the first goal for Orlando and their chemistry looked good throughout the game. He also started the play for the second goal by drawing in defenders and releasing Carrasco down the right side. One of the only negatives from the day was the fact that his shooting left so much to be desired as there were a few moments where he found himself in space and looked like he was kicking a field goal instead of shooting on goal. But, beyond that, the crafty midfielder looks to be a good fit for Orlando moving forward.
F, Cyle Larin, 7 - Cyle got on the board early by splitting the central defenders from Chicago in the 10th minute as Kaká played him into the box and Cyle finished smoothly past Sean Johnson. Then, in the 32nd minute, Cyle got on the end of a cross from Carrasco and put the ball of the crossbar that fell to Kaká then got deposited for the second goal of the night for Orlando. Outside of a goal and having a hand in the other, Larin looked good throughout the day as his hold-up play has consistently improved and his movement up top keeps getting better -- as seen in the 62nd minute, when he rounded the defense and then got pulled down by Johnson in the box. It should have been a penalty. We may not see him in purple for too much longer.
D, Jose Aja (56’), 5 - Coming in for an underwhelming Tommy Redding, Aja did not do much to stake a claim on the other center back role for Orlando on his debut. In the 76th minute he was beaten badly and luckily the shot went wide. Then again in the 86th minute he stepped up to only give the ball away and dive into a nasty tackle that gave away a free kick at the top of the box. That foul was the lead-up to the second goal for Chicago as the ensuing play gave the corner. Perhaps he needs more time with the team and I am sure there are better days ahead for Aja.
M, Tony Rocha (60’), 5.5 - It took a few minutes for Rocha to get into the game but when he did, he did not look out of place. He played his passes well and tried to get into the attack, even though his shot was at the moon instead of the goal. Rocha looks to be a player who can grow into a role with Orlando. Today he was just okay.
M, Kevin Molino (64’), 6.5 - Molino came on and did what I am sure he was asked to -- attack. In the 79th minute he was only inches away from a goal. In the end, the attack did not lead to any goals for Orlando but he took it upon himself to put a few shots on frame and try to find more goals for Orlando. Having him and Perez Garcia available gives Kreis the chance to move Kaká outside, where he looked very dangerous.
That's how I saw the match. Who would you grade differently? And be sure to vote for your Man of the Match in the poll below.