A hot start to the season for Orlando City SC, with two wins against NYCFC and Philadelphia Union, book ending a postponed match at New England Revolution, has seen the Lions take a share of the Eastern Conference lead, sitting tied with Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls, but with a game in hand.
The two victories were very different wins, however. In the 1-0 grinding, shutout win against NYCFC the opening weekend of the season, the Lions relied on their defense to see them to the result after taking the lead early on, thanks to a goal from Cyle Larin. In the match, goalkeeper Joe Bendik made a stunning six saves, staving off any and every NYCFC attack.
In the win over Philadelphia, Bendik stopped just one of two shots faced, giving up the loan goal in the second half. Two wins and only one goal allowed in two games has earned Bendik an MLS Team of the Week spot, and he is the only goalkeeper in the league to feature in the Audi Player Index — regardless how you feel about the API’s veracity.
Bendik sits at 15th in the league according to the Index with a stunning 537 index rating, and a defensive rating that takes into account saves, types of saves, goals conceded, errors etc. (it’s unbelievably detailed go have a look for yourself here).
Bendik is the lowest of the three City players to crack the top 20 of the list, with Jonathan Spector and Cyle Larin both in the top five of the league. There’s no denying that having a striker, defender, and goalkeeper (every facet of the game) will lead to a successful team, and OCSC is reaping the benefits to start the season.
Spector, ranked fourth, has the highest defensive index of any player in the league, with a 721.0. To earn points towards the defensive index, a defender must win a tackle (52 points), have a clearance (48 points), or an interception (48 points).
Losing points is much simpler with an unsuccessful pass in the defensive half counting -25 points and a failed challenge counting at -45 points. So, it’s safe to say Spector has been nearly flawless in his defensive half. The 31-year-old has put in two fantastic performances, averaging 11.5 clearances in the first two games , half a tackle a game, and 2.5 interceptions.
Spector has been a pest for opposing attacks not giving any breathing ground whatsoever.
Finally, and probably the most impressive on this list, is striker Cyle Larin. Larin ranks second in the Index, only behind Aníbal Godoy of San Jose. Larin has been the star for the Lions this season, scoring all three of the team’s goals, all in impressive fashion.
The 21-year-old Canadian has accumulated a 794 on the Index, with an offensive score of 653 points. Larin has been literally perfect, as he hasn’t missed on a shot he’s put on goal thus far this season, with three shots on target equaling three goals.
This impressive offensive score, coupled with an impressive defensive output, has Larin sitting pretty at No. 2.
Look for Bendik, Spector, and Larin to keep up their good form next week as Orlando City travels to Columbus to face Crew SC.