Orlando City’s winless run continues but if the team can continue playing like it did against the Columbus Crew tonight, it won’t last much longer. Look, I get it. you want wins — not draws, and certainly not losses. You want more than a good effort. I do too. But results in sports don’t always reflect performance and words like ‘deserve’ have nothing to do with the game of soccer.
So, while I understand people’s frustrations with the final score and a dwindling hope of reaching the playoffs (which, if you’ve paid attention since May 1, you shouldn’t be surprised by), but I have to applaud a solid 96-minute effort by the Lions, who out-shot the Crew 20-4 (7-2 on target), out-possessed them 55.5%-44.5%, and out-passed them 85%-77%. You can perform well and not get a result. That’s the sad truth about the game of soccer that a lot of people forget.
Anyway, enough with the preamble, let’s get to the grades.
GK, Joe Bendik, 6.5 — You might think it was a light night for Joe with the Crew only getting four shot attempts and only two on goal, but he did put in some work. His save in the 37th minute was a tremendous effort as Ola Kamara got in behind the defense and left Joe all alone to come way off his line and smother the shot. Columbus tried to play directly over the top with quick long passes often and he was called on to come outside the box to make plays, notably a couple of clearances. Bendik made only one save and the goal against was from point-blank range with a quick change of direction. His distribution was mostly solid with 5/10 on long balls, including a couple really good ones. This grade may be low but there wasn’t a lot for him to do at times.
D, Donny Toia, 6.5 — Donny made two crucial one-on-one challenges in the box to break up potential Crew breakaways. But he also gave up the foul that led to the Columbus goal. It was a bit soft, especially considering the venom in some of the challenges in the game, but Toia did put his hands on the Crew player and that’s an easy way to get noticed by the referee. He finished with two tackles, an interception and two clearances and a very good 84.2% passing percentage, and managed one cross on the offensive end, before being subbed off in the 83rd minute for Richie Laryea.
D, Leo Pereira, 6.5 — The young Brazilian held his own for the most part. He did have a couple of shaky moments and allowed a couple of free runners. But he was active in the game, with 70 touches — most on the back line and second most on the team. His 63 passes were the most on the team and he was a respectable 81% on the night. He did get beat over the top a few times but that was largely how Columbus was playing. He finished with one tackle, two interceptions, two clearances, one aerial won, and an accurate cross. He did, however, concede three free kicks on the night. As with Bendik, his score may have been higher had he needed to do more defending.
D, Tommy Redding, 6.5 — Overall a solid night for Tommy, who, like his central defense partner, didn’t have to fend off too many periods of sustained Columbus pressure. His 96.9% passing rate will raise some eyebrows, but he didn’t have a single tackle in the game, with one interception, one aerial won, and two clearances. As you could say about anyone, he had a little trouble handling Justin Meram, but in the end all Meram did was rattle the woodwork. Allowed Ola Kamara to get behind the line once forcing a huge save by Bendik.
D, Scott Sutter, 7 — As usual, Sutter did his thing and helped the team out on both ends. Defensively, he had two tackles, two interceptions, and a clearance, and was part of the reason that Meram and Kamara had pretty quiet nights. His 73.3% passing is a bit misleading as the majority of his passes were in the offensive half, as opposed to his back line mates. He had two key passes, sent five crosses into the area, and had one shot attempt, but his movement and ability to read the game helped Orlando maintain sustained pressure in the second half.
MF, Antonio Nocerino, 6 — When your defensive midfielder has no defensive statistics it is either a sign that he was terrible or that the other team didn’t attack a whole lot. It was the latter in the Italian’s case on this night. He spent most of the game connecting the left and right sides of the attack and facilitating between the back line and the attacking players. He passed at a pretty good 87.8% clip but had no crosses or shots and drew only one foul. We’ve seen him jump into the attack last week at New York but on this night he was a spectator when the ball went into the final third, and that was possibly part of the game plan.
MF, Yoshimar Yotun, 6.5 — Yoshi is still finding his way with his new team but he is certainly showing his skill set. Just two minutes in, he made a ridiculous move to get by a defender and launched a shot toward the back post from distance that didn’t miss by much. None of his three shots were on target, but considering the range he’s shooting from, he wasn’t off by much. On a team-high 88 touches, he had one key pass, an 85.5% passing accuracy, a team-high three interceptions, and a tackle. He showed his versatility when he finished the game at left back after Toia was subbed out.
MF, Will Johnson, 7 — Will’s night ended after only 32 minutes after a knee-to-knee collision with Waylon Francis and then a second foul by Wil Trapp took him out of the match. But while he was out there, Johnson fired two shots — both on goal — completed all 10 of his passes, and cleared one ball on defense. He brought energy and passion to the field but in the end a nasty challenge wrecked his night.
MF, Giles Barnes, 7.5 (MOTM) — His game-tying goal was a brilliant strike from deep on the right side of goal he fizzed one off the back post, which deflected all the way to the right post and in. It was unsaveable. He took on defenders all night, while connecting on 88.9% of his passes and taking a team-high five shots (two on frame). He also drew three fouls, made two tackles, and had one interception.
F, Carlos Rivas, 7 — The Colombian was active and had a very strong game that was spoiled only by a few really off-target passes that could have played teammates in alone on goal and some poor set-piece service that repeatedly failed to beat the first defender. He still had four key passes to lead all players but there were a few near-misses that really could have made the difference in the game where he just failed to hit the mark. He also whiffed spectacularly from the top of the box when Cyle Larin played him a great cross. Only one of his eight crosses was on target and his passing rate of 73.3% should have been better. He chipped in two tackles and an interception defensively. It wasn’t a bad night at all for Carlos but a little more sharpness in his passes into the penalty area would have made him MotM worthy in my book and possibly helped the Lions get that second goal.
F, Cyle Larin, 5.5 — The Canadian allowed Lalas Abubakar to get inside of him on the first-half Columbus set-piece goal, which was certainly unfortunate. Cyle had only one shot on target and one key pass. His passing rate was good (87.5%) but he won no aerials and managed only 29 touches on the night — the fewest of any starter who went at least half the game except Bendik. Larin worked hard but just seemed to get marked out of the game.
MF, Cristian Higuita (32’), 7.5 — This was a completely different Higuita than we’ve seen throughout 2017. This Higuita got into the box repeatedly, assisted on the game-tying goal, completed 93.3% of his passes — many of which were forward in the attacking half — and took two shots. He was feisty and assertive on the pitch, earning four free kicks, and tallying four tackles. It was a literal toss-up for me to pick MotM between Cristian and Barnes. Giles scored the goal so he gets the nod.
F, Dom Dwyer (63’), 6.5 — Dom made his Orlando City Stadium debut and immediately changed the energy of the match. His first involvement was a collision with goalkeeper Zack Steffen on an aerial ball and there was at least a hint of a foul on Steffen, who looked to initiate the contact. The keeper gets the benefit in those situations though, especially when they are shaken up on the play. Dwyer had three shots, with two on frame, including a blistering effort that forced a very good save in the 94th minute. He completed all four of his passes and his passion and energy gave the team a lift. With only three full training sessions since his arrival due to the All-Star Game and his surgery, the team needs a full 90 from this Dom.
MF, Richie Layrea (83’), N/A — Richie has been getting on the pitch too late to do enough to warrant a fair grade, but the glimpses he’s showing are certainly promising. He completed all six of his passes — including a key pass. Another good showing for the young Canadian in an abbreviated spell of play.
That’s the way I saw the individual performances from Orlando City’s draw with the Crew. Please feel free to share your scores in the comments section and vote for your OCSC Man of the Match below.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match from the Lions’ 1-1 draw vs. the Columbus Crew?
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