It was bound to be a storyline for the ages. Player is traded to Orlando City, things go south after a time, player is traded back to original team, he returns to Orlando to thunderous boos, and then something happens. Well, per a couches decision, that didn’t happen, but what did happen was Orlando snapped a winless streak at about the last, and best possible time.
All things considered, how did the Lions rate in tonight’s 2-1 defeat of Columbus Crew at home in the last of the home matches at Orlando City Stadium?
GK, Adam Grinwis, 6.5 — The young keep played well, and by played well I mean kept Orlando City in this match. He leapt off his line when it was needed. His distribution was solid, his decisions to come off the line were good. For my vantage point in the stadium, there was not much he could have done on the free kick as it was struck about perfectly. His three saves were absolutely solid, and he he worked well with the back line to limit everything the road team threw at them.
D, Scott Sutter, 7 — Again, another solid outing for Mr. Consistent. He had an 86% passing accuracy and three solid shots (though none officially on goal), including one that rattled off the frame in the 90th minute. Sutter has been one of the bastions of light all season when he’s been healthy. His play was not perfect, but he certainly left nothing on the pitch.
D, Shane O’Neill, 6.5 — Another of the silent warriors, Shane held his own, and helped the back line limit the visitors to only eight shots. If you were not watching, Shane was that back-line figure who snuck up deep into the offensive half during the second half, including some cheeky footwork to get forward. His 89% passer rating from the defensive third was a bonus as well. He had a vital blocked shot in the 27th minute after a giveaway by Mohamed El-Munir, plus a tackle and two interceptions. However, he also conceded the foul that led to the Crew’s free kick goal.
D, Lamine Sané, 7 — The club started in a bit of a 3-5-1, that morphed throughout the game, with Sané at the center of that back line. All things considered, the defensive effort was solid, with Sané anchoring a line that was hell bent on giving the home crowd an effort to be proud of. He had an 88% passer rating and a team high five clearances, and it certainly looked as though he was the target of numerous corners, but at the end of the match, what matters most is the fact that he helped to anchor a back line that held the visiting team to half the number of the shots that City had.
D, Mohamed El-Munir, 7 — I was really glad to see El-Mo in the starting XI with certain other starters tonight. I make no secret of the fact that he is who I want on the left side, either as the left back or left winger, as he is the strongest player to hold that position to date (fight me). He isn’t perfect, but a 90% passer rating, and the hustle on defense means everything, and that everything is something that El-Mo has given since joining the Lions. He did pass up some offensive opportunities, particularly in the 50th minute, and had that previously mentioned giveaway in the 27th, but he also tracked back well and had one tackle, three interceptions, and two clearances. He took four shots (one on frame) and created one chance.
MF, Carlos Ascues, 7 — Definitely making his case for acquisition of the year, Ascues was a terror in the defensive end. He was all over the pitch, sometimes getting forward, and played somewhere between his starting DM roll and what morphed into being a back/center back, and he certainly owned it. A 92% passer rating as a defender who pushed as far forward as he did throughout the match doesn’t hurt. He created one scoring chance, finishing with two tackles, an interception, two clearances, and a blocked shot.
MF, Oriol Rosell, 6 — Uri started in a midfield full of defensive mids and had a solid match overall. He mustered an 88% passer rating, and solid numbers on both the defensive and offensive side of the match (one aerial won, one tackle won, one key dispossession, and two shots — though neither on goal). There were a couple scary moments, and he did fail to jump as part of the wall when he could have been the man to block Federico Higuain’s shot attempt on the free kick. But, all-in-all, it was a solid performance from the man asked to anchor the central defensive area of the pitch.
MF, Will Johnson, 7 — He got called out, sort of, by a fellow writer this weekend, but Will could possibly be one of the most consistent players for City all season. Sure, keep bringing up that D.C. United match all you want, but let’s see how you handle that situation after 90 plus minutes running — a man down during some of it. His 77% passer rating may not be the best, but his three aerials won, as not one of the tallest Lions, certainly helps to make up for it. Both of his shots were on target and forced good saves from Zack Steffen and he created a scoring chance. Defensively, he had a tackle, an interception, and a clearance. Also, it was another match where he left everything on the pitch.
MF, Sacha Kljestan. 6 — Thank you, Sacha, for burying that penalty kick in the back of the net, because without that I might be roasting you right now. One thing I certainly do not want to see out of any player in the number 10 spot is a 79% passer rating, nor do I want to tell you how many times I found myself screaming from the seats to get Sacha to run, but it was numerous, and far too numerous for a player in the position he was slated to play. He finished with two tackles and a clearance on the defensive end, created three scoring chances, had a potential goal blocked by a defender and scored the game-winner.
MF, Yoshimar Yotun, 8 (MotM) — Yoshi is what Yoshi does. I do not know any other way of expressing what this man has brought to the starting XI. Starting on the left side of the attacking midfield and generally playing wherever he wanted, Yotún was the Lions’ Juggernaut on the pitch. He led the team in touches (93), had a 92% passer rating and filled the stat sheet on both the offensive and defensive end. He created six scoring chances for Orlando City, fired two shots (both on goal), switched the field with pinpoint accuracy (13/17 on long balls), and had one tackle and one clearance. It was a breath of fresh air to have the Peruvian back from international play and suspension. It seemed as though almost everything he touched was golden, and the players around him sensed the Midas touch and adapted to it.
Also, that penalty kick was nasty. N. A. S. T. Y. Nasty, to the point I received messages from friends around the U.S. and internationally, asking if what they saw on the replay was real, because that chip was just filthy.
F, Dom Dwyer, 6 — Although the grade may be harsh, I have to look at things honestly, and of all the starters tonight, Dom may be the one I have the most criticism of. The criticism may not be simply because he played to a lower level than his teammates, but because he is still on an island, playing a role he should not be playing, and because of this may be trying too hard. Center backs in MLS know how to mark Dom, and the PRO refs are also watching. Although much of his game went 50/50, it almost seems as though people are watching, and expecting certain behaviors. He took a few hard fouls early and allowed it to get the best of him by taking a silly yellow by throwing a shoulder at Jonathan Mensah. Dwyer failed to get a shot attempt away, created no scoring chances, and passed at only a 70% rate.
D, Amro Tarek (58’), 7 — Substituting in for Ascues (quad tightness) left some mighty big shoes to fill, but Amro did exactly what was needed, and filled those shoes well. He held a 91% passer rating with two crucial tackles, and two clearances. On the heels of international duty, Amro certainly seemed to want to make a statement to the home crowd, and did in my opinion.
MF, Chris Mueller (72’), 6 — Maybe not the best overall night for Cash, but certainly an evening where the hard work paid off. He was dispossessed four times, only held an 82% passer rating, and tried like hell to make a difference every second he was on the pitch. Kids, when your little league coach gives you the hustle speech, this game is why. Mueller may not have had his best night, but he hustled every second he was on the pitch, and it eventually paid off in the dying seconds when he was double teamed and taken down in the box by Wil Trapp. Absolute hustle got City that PK, make no mistake.
That is how I saw the final home match from my soon to be vacant seats. Myself and some friends will be moving a bit closer to the pitch next season, to try to get a better vantage point for grades and predictions. I am curious to know how you, the reader, graded everyone and who you picked as Man of the Match. Vote in the poll below and let me know in the comments where you agree, or disagree, with everything above.
Who was you Orlando City Man of the Match in the 2-1 win against Columbus in the final 2018 MLS home match this season
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