Another home game, another win for Orlando. Cyle Larin scored a brace en route to a 2-1 victory in front of another sold out crowd. The Lions battled on both sides of the field and let up their first goal of the season, but the team battled back from giving up a goal in the 52nd minute and managed to hold on to the win, even after some nervy moments at the end.
Let's get to the grades:
GK, Joe Bendik, 7 – Didn’t have much to do tonight, but came up big when he did. Besides the goal allowed, had a massive stop in stoppage time to help protect the victory as he punched away a Alejandro Bedoya header. Distribution tonight was much better than it was against New York City FC, as well.
D, Will Johnson, 7.5 – Another step-up game for the temporary right back. Had a big tackle in the 15th minute to clear the ball away from going out for a corner. On the ensuing play, however, he was out challenged for a header that almost found the net. Blocked a volley from Sapong in the 35th minute out for a corner. Had a goal-saving tackle in the 38th minute when he stopped Chris Pontius from getting a shot off. Led the team in tackles and was third on the team in clearances.
D, Jonathan Spector, 8.5 – A master class defensive performance from the American. Second on the team in clearances, led the team in interceptions and time and time again, came up with big plays. Won the ball in a crucial spot and came all the way up in attack in the 11th minute, delivering a pass to Rivas, which was just a bit too far for him to reach. Sent in a beautiful ball to Rivas in the 39th minute, who centered it for Larin for the first goal of the game. Received a yellow card for dissent in the 82nd minute.
D, Jose Aja, 7.5 – Along with Spector, Aja had a fantastic defensive performance. Most of the game, his job was to battle with Union forward C.J. Sapong and kept him contained until the goal in the 52nd minute, where he was caught away from the forward. Led the team in clearances and was second on the team in tackles.
D, Donny Toia, 7 – Toia was fairly decent on the defensive end, but was the weak link on a number of chances for Philadelphia. Was a bit too aggressive on a number of plays and was beaten for pace trying to recover. Did recover after getting beaten and blocked a cross in the 66th minute out of play.
MF, Servando Carrasco, 6.5 – A workman-like performance from Carrasco. Nothing too flashy, but did his job well. Third on the team in passing accuracy and fifth on the team in tackles. Started to fade as the game went along and came off in the 70th minute for Higuita.
MF, Antonio Nocerino, 7.5 – A solid performance from the Italian. Was aggressive in winning the ball in the midfield and had some excellent vision forward on some long balls. Was second on the team in interceptions, fifth on the team in passing accuracy and third on the team in total passes. Had a chance in the 22nd minute to score, but Andre Blake came out to deny his shot. Sent a long ball in for Rivas almost resulting in another Larin goal in the 76th minute.
MF, Giles Barnes, 7 – In Kaká’s stead, the Jamaican national had a very solid performance. Was strong on the ball in the attack and also helped out a lot in defense, winning the ball back on the wings very often, but at times, he tried to do a bit too much with the ball. He missed some great runs from Rivas and Larin that he could have laid the ball off to them, but instead took it himself. Had a spectacular run in the 26th minute that led to a free kick that he eventually took himself, but the shot was easily saved by Blake. Had another great run in the 28th minute leading to another free kick.
MF, Matias Perez Garcia, 7.5 – MPG was all over the place tonight, both on the offensive and defensive end of the pitch. His skill on the ball really helped Orlando maintain possession through the first half. Sent a great ball in for Nocerino in the 22nd minute, but Blake came out to stop the play. Had a spectacular threaded through ball to Larin for his second goal. Subbed out in the 81st minute.
F, Carlos Rivas, 8 – In his 50th appearance for the club, the DP did not disappoint. His speed was a complete game changer for the Lions. After the game, Head Coach Jason Kreis praised the work rate of Rivas, saying that he deserved a goal. Had a great pass in the ninth minute to free Larin on goal, but his first touch let him down and the ball was cleared away. Spectacular control from a Spector long ball found him in space and was able to put in a low cross for Larin for the goal. Great awareness in the 75th minute to keep the counter attack alive by switching field to MPG, almost resulting in another Larin goal. Received a yellow card for blocking a free kick in the 23rd minute. Came out in the 89th minute.
F, Cyle Larin, 8.5 (MotM) – It’s hard to not give the guy with two goals the man of the match. Larin and Rivas both worked well together and Larin benefited from the partnership. Great chance in the ninth minute to go one on one with Blake, but his first touch let him down. Scored on the back post cross from Rivas after making an intelligent run into the box. Timed his run on his second goal well also, staying even with the defense as MPG threaded the ball through to him.
MF, Cristian Higuita (70’), 6.5 – Came into the game for Carrasco and gave some new life to the team. Had some good stops on defense and preserved the lead.
F, Hadji Barry (81’), 6.5– Played some solid defense after coming on for MPG and helped Orlando preserve the lead.
M, Pierre Da Silva (89’), N/A– Made his first appearance for the MLS side and made some history in the process, becoming the first academy and OCB player to make an MLS appearance. Other than that, he didn’t get much of a chance to do too much.
That’s how I saw tonight’s performances. Let us know what you thought below and be sure to vote for your Orlando City Man of the Match.