I’m just going to be quick with tonight’s player grades because Orlando City’s 4-2 loss at the LA Galaxy deserves as few words as possible to describe it. Aside from the horrific officiating that allowed the Galaxy to pull ahead by not one goal, but two, the Lions played like a team that’s been away from home all week, which it was.
Let’s get on with this.
GK, Joe Bendik 5, - Eh, he was hung out to dry on every goal and didn’t make many memorable plays. I don’t think he did anything necessarily wrong but he also didn’t do anything special. He certainly got no help.
D, Luke Boden, 6 - I actually thought Bodz did OK tonight. Some early crosses came in from his side but the majority of the really dangerous stuff came from the flank patrolled by Kevin Alston, including the first and second LA goals. Boden saw a lot of the ball, with the fourth-most touches and combined well down the left with Kevin Molino. There wasn't enough sharpness in the final third, but you can say that about a lot of players.
D, David Mateos, 4.5 - The center backs didn't distinguish themselves in this match. Aerial play was lacking from both and they were caught up field too often. The Spaniard will miss Saturday's match due to yellow card accumulation after he was forced into a tactical foul in this game. He missed an opportunity to score on a free header, sending one just wide that I don't think Brian Rowe could have gotten to.
D, Jose Aja, 4.5 - Gave up a penalty with a tactical foul, which was outside the box, but hey, why let actual rules decide when a penalty is given? Despite his glaring midfield jog on Robbie Keane's goal, Aja did some fairly heroic defending at times, finishing with team highs in tackles (5) and clearances (5) with three interceptions and a blocked shot.
D, Kevin Alston, 3.5 - I'll admit this might be a tad harsh, but the Galaxy cranked it up after the initial goal, which came down his side and he was nowhere in sight. Servando Carrasco was behind the play and Antonio Nocerino was left to try to run down Emmanuel Boateng on his own and strained his hamstring in the process. In addition to getting caught acres from his defensive third on that goal and indirectly getting a teammate hurt, his passing wasn't great and he added little to the attack.
MF, Servando Carrasco, 5 - Decent passing percentage, five interceptions and two tackles, but Servando was part of a midfield that repeatedly gave the ball away while trying to break out of the defensive third, leading to even more dangerous LA chances. At times he would slow down Orlando City's forward movement by being a bit too deliberate with the ball.
MF, Antonio Nocerino, 5.5 - The Italian continues to try to direct traffic and break up play in the defensive end and he was having another decent night before it prematurely ended just 40 minutes in. Had an early deflection to deny a scoring chance that came a bit too close to his own goal for my liking, but I won't deduct points for almost own-goals. I think that communication on breakouts was a problem for the entire midfield in this game. As a result of this, his passing accuracy was down a bit tonight (70%).
MF, Kevin Molino 7 (MOTM), - The Trinidadian international was dangerous in the attack, scoring Orlando's first goal, completing 78.7% of his passes, leading the team with five shots, and drawing six free kicks. He took a corner kick,sending in a nice cross that nearly gave David Mateos a goal. He worked well with seemingly all of the players around him.
MF, Kaká, 5 - I'm sure I'll get drilled for this one too, but despite a good passing percentage (85%), the Brazilian seemed a bit off tonight to me. He was dispossessed three times, sometimes failed to combine well with his teammates, particularly when breaking out of the defensive end, and attempted no shots. He got no crosses in and finished without a key pass.
MF, Matias Perez Garcia, 5 - MPG finished with decent stats, but he was nearly invisible for the first hour of the match. He put on a much better performance in the second half, but by then the game was out of reach. He managed to lead the team with an 89.1% passing accuracy and four key passes (as I said, his stats were decent) but he was dispossessed a team-high five times, too, and some of his turnovers launched a few of LA's most dangerous counter attacks. It looked to me like MPG had tired legs, although, as I said, he was much sharper in the second half.
F, Cyle Larin, 3.5 - The Canadian had only 23 touches in his 61 minutes and many of his first touches were heavy to the point of losing possession or at least breaking up a promising attack. He led the team with five bad touches. This surprises me, as he was the the only member of the team to start the week in the Pacific Time Zone and was coming off a goal in international play. I thought we'd see better from Kid Fantastic. He did manage to set up Molino's goal by making a great effort to get solid contact on Boden's cross in the 20th minute.
MF, Tony Rocha (40'), 5.5 - I thought Rocha's night was a big bag of adequacy. He took two shots and finished with three tackles, and an interception and took a necessary tactical yellow card for breaking up a counter attack. However, his shots were off target and his link-up play in the attacking third wasn't good enough at times, although he finished with a decent 80% passing accuracy.
F, Carlos Rivas (61'), 3.5 - No shots on target, not much in the way of using his speed, and no sign of the guy who played Wednesday. That's my take on the Colombian's night. He had only 12 touches in the final half hour of the game and messed up a promising attack shortly after being introduced when he could have played in Molino but his pass was off target and easily cut out by the defense.
MF, Brek Shea (73'), 6.5 - Brek provided a bit of a spark for Orlando City in nearly 20 minutes of action. In addition to scoring a consolation goal in stoppage time, he forced an amazing save from Brian Rowe to prevent a goal and also hit the post. His passing accuracy was higher than usual (85.7%) and he looked like the team's most dangerous player for the final 15 minutes of the match. Brek has goals in consecutive games for the first time as a Lion and if he can continue to play like he did tonight, good things will happen.
Those are the grades as I saw them. I know there weren't as many examples or stats as I usually provide by way of explanation but I think we're all ready to move on to the next game after this debacle. Feel free to give your grades in the comment section and vote in the poll below.