On a rainy evening in Orlando, the Lions came away with a very wet 2-0 win over D.C. United to break the team's losing streak and get their first win in May.
After a weather delay pushed the kickoff back an hour, Orlando managed to fight through sloppy play and find its form in the second half and push through the final 25 minutes to win the first match in a three-game home stand.
Without further ado, let’s get into the grades.
GK, Joe Bendik, 7.5 — An incredible performance by the Lions keeper tonight. Started off the match quickly getting involved. Parried away a dangerous cross in the 13th minute that no one was around to clear. Had a quick save in the 25th minute from Jared Jeffery that bounced right in front of him. Had great timing on a low ball into the box that he snapped up in the 27th minute right away from Lamar Neagle. Almost got caught out as he tried to punch away a free kick in the 42nd minute and was forced into a diving stop to save a Julian Buescher effort. He was shown a yellow in the 65th for arguing with the ref after a no call. Produced an unbelievable save in the 74th minute, along with Spector, to deny the game-tying goal from D.C.
D, Donny Toia, 6.5 — A solid night for the fullback in his return to the starting lineup. Defensively, he was decent, leading the team in interceptions. Had a good recovery run in the 20th minute to stop a Buescher counter attack. Tried a header from outside the box in the 29th minute that almost gave Bill Hamid a problem as he was barely able to get to it. Received a yellow card for taking down Sam on a run in the midfield in the 35th minute. Took a volley from outside the box in the 64th minute, but it curled away from goal.
D, Jonathan Spector, 7.5 — A return to form for the center back, who had his best game all month. Led the team in clearances and blocked shots, including an incredible last ditch effort to stop a Neagle shot after he rounded Bendik following a Jose Aja turnover. Stabbed away a ball in the 57th minute to break up a D.C. attack. Stopped a dangerous Alhaji Kamara cross in the 85th minute.
D, Jose Aja, 6 — Honestly, it was a mixed bag for Aja. Defensively, he was solid. Stepped in to shut down a lot of early balls through the midfield, as well as some dangerous counter attacks. Made a number of poor turnovers throughout the game, the most notable came in the 74th minute that led to a surefire goal for D.C., but Spector and Bendik managed to somehow stop the shots. Somehow, despite the turnovers, led the team in passing accuracy with a 90% clip. Also led the team in clearances, with six.
D, Scott Sutter, 7 — A decent night for the Swiss fullback, but fairly quiet. Got forward into the attack a number of times and put in some dangerous crosses into the box. Defensively, he stayed at home and shut down a lot of attacks down the right side. Was second in the team in passing accuracy and third in key passes.
MF, Luis Gil, 6.5 — Not a great performance from the midfielder, but not a terrible one. Had a good number of defensive stops, but also turnovers. Was second on the team in tackles and tied for third in key passes. Had a poor turnover in his own half of the field that almost led to a counter, but Aja stopped play with a foul. Had a chance to run onto a ball in the box, but slipped on the wet surface in the 18th minute. Tried a shot from outside the 18 in the 39th minute, but it sailed wide off his foot. Came out in the 59th minute for Giles Barnes.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 6.5 — Much like the rest of the midfield, it was a lot of good and bad for the Colombian. Was second on the team in key passes, led the team in tackles, and was fourth in passing accuracy. On the other side of things, there were a number of turnovers, especially in the very wet first half, that could have been avoided. Did a great job patrolling the midfield early on and being aggressive, winning the ball in dangerous areas.
MF, Will Johnson, 6 — Through the first half of the match, it was a very poor showing from the veteran midfielder. Lots of turnovers in his own half of the field and poor passes, but he turned it around in the second half. Finished the game fifth in passing, and led the team in key passes. Had a few good setups, including on a Rivas shot in the fifth minute. Got caught waiting in his own box in the eighth minute and almost committed a costly turnover, but managed to clear it away. Turnover in his own half in the 29th minute that sent the team scrambling back on defense. His service provided the first goal and earned him an assist but his set piece crosses were inconsistent to say the least.
MF, Matias Perez Garcia, 7 — A bounce-back performance for MPG. Despite not scoring, his speed and dribbling ability was the creativity Orlando needed to create chances in the first half of the game. Finished second on the team with four shots on goal, second on the team in tackles, and led the team in fouls drawn. Had a glancing effort from outside the box in the seventh minute that went just wide. Had a number of good sends upfield for Rivas, but he was unable to do anything with them. Had a few chances between the 30th and 40th minute that provided some flair. Great hold-up play and pass to Toia in the 50th minute to create a chance in the final third. Had a chance to finish off a rebound in the 71st minute, but scuffed the shot wide. Came out in the 73rd minute for Tony Rocha.
F, Carlos Rivas, 7 — Carlos was his usual ball of energy throughout the match. A much improved performance from the Colombian. Took a curling effort in the 21st minute that just missed wide. Tried to send in Larin with a quick one-touch pass, but the ball was too strong. Set up a good scoring chance in the 67th after he ran for a loose ball down the sideline. Took a bit of a heavy touch in the 71st minute when Barnes played him in and scuffed the shot. Came out in the 83rd for Antonio Nocerino.
F, Cyle Larin, 6.5 — An all right night for the striker tonight. Through the first half, he struggled to make an impact, but found his game in the second half. Used his strength in the box in the 66th minute to score his first goal since Sporting Kansas City early in the month. Played solid defense. Had a breakaway in the 45th minute, but his shot was straight at Hamid.
MF, Giles Barnes (59’) (MOTM), 8 — Talk about instant impact. Barnes came into the match with 30 minutes to go and gave the team a much-needed spark. Made some good overlapping runs in the beginning, but then really started to make his presence known. He was pulled down in the 66th minute after splitting two defenders and earned a free kick, which turned into Larin’s opening goal. Had a beauty of a ball in to Rivas in the 71st minute, but neither he nor MPG were able to finish it off. Drove forward in the 88th minute through the midfield and tried a long effort on goal, and somehow the ball was too hot to handle for Bill Hamid, giving the Jamaican his first goal as a Lion.
MF, Tony Rocha (73’), 5.5 — Came in for MPG for a more defensive shape. Looked a bit apprehensive in the attack, though he did help start a counter and fed in Larin in the 78th minute. Outside of that, had a few poor turnovers and some good recoveries.
MF, Antonio Nocerino (83’), N/A — Subbed in for Rivas to help preserve the win. Didn’t really have time to impact the match much, outside of a few clearances
That is what the individual performances looked like to me. What did you think? Be sure to vote below for your OCSC Man of the Match.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match from the Lions’ 2-0 Win Over D.C. United ?
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