With a very different lineup and giving a number of players some rest, Orlando City went into San Jose and came away with a 1-1 draw. Orlando looked like the better team throughout the night, but lacked a finishing touch for most of the game. Carlos Rivas scored the only Orlando goal in the game in the 80th minute, but Chris Wondolowski scored three minutes later to level the game. So, without further ado, let’s talk about this one.
Brazilian Boys Bossing the Defense
Two Orlando City defenders got their MLS debuts last night and both of them just happened to be from the same South American country. Leo Pereira and PC both had great outings in their first MLS match — PC especially. Pereira was solid at the back and worked well in tandem with Jose Aja and PC, staying patient and not trying to do too much with the ball. He did concede a free kick early on, but settled into the game nicely as it went on.
PC may give Head Coach Jason Kreis something to think about going forward in the lineup. He was incredibly active on both sides of the ball and made some great overlapping runs forward, one of them turning into a goal for Rivas. He is very much more of a dynamic offensive player than Toia and has the foot speed to keep up with the more pacy wingers, which has been Toia’s weakness as of late. Not to mention the limitless energy PC seemed to have making runs up and down the pitch all game.
Jason Kreis called their performances “spectacular” after the game, adding, “We’ve gained two players. Two players we didn’t know for sure whether they would be able to contribute at this level and I think they’ve both proved tonight that they’re quite capable of it.”
Close, But No Cigar
Orlando had a number of opportunities on goal throughout the game, but for the most part, the final touch was missing. Cyle Larin, who has played almost every single minute for the Lions this year, had a header in the first half that was saved by David Bingham, then an effort from PC hit the crossbar. Out of the 18 total shots Orlando had, only four of them were on target. Luis Gil had a weak shot go right at Bingham, Kaká had a 1v1 blocked away and the header by Larin were the only on-target chances the Lions had, excluding the eventual Rivas goal.
Rivas Keeps Rolling
Speaking of Carlos Rivas, what a year he’s been having. Both goals he has scored this year have come as a substitute, adding to the team high five assists that he has. The pace he brings to a game as a substitute can change the whole attack for Orlando, and that was evident as soon as Carlitos stepped on the pitch. One could argue he has been more effective coming on as a substitute, but either coming off the bench or starting the game on the pitch, Rivas has been a huge asset to Orlando’s attack.
At this point, I would be surprised if Chris Wondolowski hadn’t scored at least one goal against every MLS team in the manner he did last night. The prototypical poacher, Wondo seems to be at the right place at the right time to score those simple knock-in goals (except against Belgium). Wondo has made a career out of poaching goals and his 126th goal in MLS last night was no different.
A Point Is A Point
When you take into consideration the lineup that Orlando City put out, the coast-to-coast travel, and the weekend game against NYCFC ahead of the Lions, a point is still good to get on the road. Yes, Orlando probably deserved all three, but I don’t consider it two points lost. Road points are hard to come by in MLS, regardless of the competition and San Jose still has yet to lose at home. The fact that Orlando’s backup players had good performances and the Lions didn’t ship four goals like they did in Houston is enough to be okay with one point in San Jose.
Those are my thoughts on the match. What did you think? Did I miss out on something? Let me know in the comments below.