Orlando City remains perfect at home and has now won four in a row overall. This win streak is the club’s second longest ever, with the longest coming back toward the end of the 2015 season (five games).
Without further ado, let’s get to the player ratings from Orlando City’s latest win.
GK, Joe Bendik 6.5 — It’s very difficult to grade a goalkeeper with so little to do. I’ll go with this number kind of by default. Bendik stopped the one shot on target he faced in the game, and importantly caught a dangerous cross. He did spill one cross but I’m giving him a pass because he had a ton of space and knew it. His distribution was OK. He didn’t have much opportunity to make outstanding plays but he was quick off his line to beat Rapids attackers on a couple occasions and generally did all that you could expect on an extra light day of work.
D, Donny Toia, 7 — Toia and fellow fullback Scott Sutter were asked to do a lot on this day with Colorado sitting behind the ball and gumming up the middle. That stubborn defense held down Orlando City passing averages but Toia did OK at 63.6%, with one shot over the bar in the 30th minute. He had the second-most passes on the team and defensively he won three aerials, with an interception and two crosses. He continues to block crosses from entering the penalty area. A solid day for Donny.
D, Jonathan Spector, 8 — It was another commanding performance by Spector, who is constantly figuring out where danger is lurking before it becomes a problem, as evidenced by his team-high seven clearances. If you watch him play, he’s constantly looking at his line mates and reading what the opposition will do before he does it.He also tied for the most tackles (4) and was second in interceptions (3), committing just two fouls. His passing rate of 83.3% was among team leaders and he had the fourth-most attempts (42).
D, Tommy Redding, 6.5 — Redding played mostly solidly but did fall into the trap Colorado laid for him a couple of times by dribbling into a congested area near the right sideline. To his credit, he at least didn’t conceded a dangerous counter out of either instance. His passing rate was high (89.7%) but some of that is a result of playing sideways and back a lot. That’s fine. I’m OK with conservative play from a 20-year-old center back. He made two interceptions but recorded no tackles or clearances and let attackers get position on him a couple of times, including once where he was forced to take a tactical yellow card and concede a set piece in the 74th minute.
D, Scott Sutter, 8 — What a find Sutter has been for Orlando. The more games he gets, the better he plays. Two key passes, two dribbles, two fouls drawn, 80.6% passing, and four crosses into the box were nice, but his ball control in the second half allowed Orlando to milk clock and retain possession. Defensively, he chipped in a team-high four interceptions, with three tackles and five clearances. Sutter keeps his head in tight areas and has hardly put a foot wrong since stepping into the starting lineup. Jason Kreis called his performance “excellent” and who am I to argue?
MF, Antonio Nocerino, 7 — The Italian is probably the club’s most unsung player and his play today was quite good. He nearly opened his account in the second minute, forcing a diving save from Zac MacMath off a Giles Barnes pass. Noce had the only shot on target in the first half with that effort. Also produced a second-half shot but that sailed high. Tied Spector with a team-high four tackles and added two interceptions, committing only one foul at the bottom of the diamond. Passed at an 87.8% rate and four of his five long balls were accurate. He did have one bad turnover in the 11th minute that Spector cleaned up for him but was otherwise as sturdy as you like.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 7 — This could have been a man-of-the-match performance from Higuita had he not failed to produce the final pass a few times. But he did register an assist on Carlos Rivas’ goal, produce two key passes, took a shot (albeit off target), and pass at an 85.7% clip (on a team-high 49 attempts). He had only one tackle to show defensively but on a day Orlando dominated possession that’s probably to be expected. Another solid outing for the young Colombian.
MF, Will Johnson 7 — Just another reliable performance from Johnson in his 200th career MLS start. Will passed accurately (88.4%) and produced two scoring chances. He led the team with six crosses, although not all of his deliveries were as accurate as we’re used to, even though he was 7/7 on accurate long ball attempts. However, his cross in the 68th was perfect for Larin, who hit it at the keeper. Defensively, he contributed a clearance and an interception. Neither of his two shot attempts were on target but that doesn’t spoil an otherwise fine performance.
MF, Matias Perez Garcia, 6.5 — MPG looked a bit rusty at times, which is to be expected after what was essentially two weeks off. That rust showed in an 18th-minute cross for Barnes that was too low and easily cut out by the defender and a few times losing the ball in traffic — he was dispossessed a team-high five times — as well as a clumsy challenge from behind that got him booked in the 36th minute. But he chipped in a high work rate defensively (two tackles and a clearance), passed at a good rate (80%), and produced two scoring chances, including a lovely flick in first-half stoppage time for a Higuita shot attempt that was blocked by the defense. Not MPG’s best performance, but not bad.
F, Giles Barnes 6 — In his first start up top next to Cyle Larin, Barnes started the game strong but slowed as the Rapids gummed up the game and took the air out of the ball. He set up both Nocerino and Larin in the game’s first four minutes, getting out wide to the left and working into the box. He struggled to get involved after that, touching the ball only 18 times in the game. His passing rate was just 55.6% but he did win two aerials and put in a solid work rate.
F, Cyle Larin, 6.5 — We are starting to see a pattern in how teams are dealing with the Canadian striker — hold him, tug his shirt, kick his feet out from under him, and generally do anything you can to keep him off the ball. You could see Larin getting frustrated throughout the match with a lack of calls, although he did draw a team-high three fouls. He had a bad turnover in the 49th minute, was dispossessed four times, and passed at only a 63.6% rate with no key passes. However, it was impressive that he kept working throughout the game. Two of his four shots were on target and he did all the work on Kaká’s insurance goal in stoppage time by using his strength to win the ball in traffic and getting a shot on goal that MacMath got a piece of and knocked it off the post. His header in the 68th was labeled for goal but he hit it right at the keeper.
F, Carlos Rivas (59’), 8.5 (MotM) — It’s not hyperbole to say that the Colombian DP turned the game on its head after his introduction. Just two minutes after entering he blazed up the left to get onto a Kaká through ball and crossed into the box but no teammates were making runs. Three minutes later he made an insanely quick turn to blow past the defense and whipped in a cross that handcuffed MacMath and went out for a corner. In the 70th, he scored the game-winner and his first goal of the year with what was an absolute scorcher from distance that left the keeper with no chance. Both his shots were on target. He passed at a 73.3% rate, which isn’t bad for a forward coming off the bench late. He summed up his will to win with a tremendous defensive play in his own end in stoppage time to dispossess a Rapids player and dribble the ball out of danger.
MF, Kaká (60’), 8 — The captain came on to a thunderous standing ovation and he got another one in the 91st minute, when he tapped in the rebound off Larin’s late effort that was saved and deflected off the post. In addition to his goal, the Brazilian narrowly missed another in the 66th minute, ripping a curler just wide of the far post. He completed 90% of his passes, created one chance, made one cross, was accurate on 3/3 long balls as he smartly switched play, and did a fine job of holding the ball and working intricate passes with teammates to retain possession and waste valuable time down the stretch while it was still a one-goal game.
MF, Luis Gil (84’), N/A — Gil didn’t have much time to impact the game but he did a generally good job of maintaining possession, defending solidly, and bringing energy onto the pitch for the final few minutes.
Those are my ratings from the Lions’ fifth home win in as many attempts this season. How did you see the individual performances? Vote for your MotM in the poll below.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match from the Lions’ 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids?
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