Orlando City had nothing much to play for but the Lions fought hard anyway before falling 1-0 on the road to the New York Red Bulls. One individual moment of brilliance by Derrick Etienne was the difference in a game that had to be frustrating for the hosts as they had to work hard against the worst team in the conference to claim the Supporters’ Shield.
Let’s get to the individual grades from the season finale.
GK, Adam Grinwis, 7.5 (MotM) — He only had to make one save in the first half, but Grinwis made it a doozy, denying Derrick Etienne on a penalty kick. After committing to his right, he kicked his legs out to block the shot toward the middle of the net. He did well to come off his line and punch away several first-half crosses and command his penalty area. He made a couple of big saves in the second half (finishing with three saves in the game), including a good one to deny Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 83rd minute and another on Daniel Royer in the 94th minute, and he nearly kept out Etienne’s goal. Grinwis got a piece of it but it had too much power on it for him to keep out. Another good performance from the young goalkeeper. If there was one knock on his game, it would be that his passing wasn’t quite up to the level we’ve seen previously.
D, Amro Tarek, 6.5 — The Egyptian center back played a solid game against a relentless Red Bulls attack, finishing with four clearances, two interceptions, two tackles, and a blocked shot. His 58% passing rate was a product of a third of his attempts being long balls, as the Lions took no chances against New York’s high press.
D, Chris Schuler, 5 — A surprise starter when Lamine Sané sustained a knee injury during warmups, Schuler had an adventurous first half with a number of poor touches that led to Red Bulls’ possessions and a few scoring chances. Despite that, Schuler hustled, played hard, and just fought his way through it. He had a team high five clearances to go with four interceptions, a tackle, and three blocked shots. He looked to be out of position on the Etienne goal because there was nobody in the middle of the area on the shot, but he wasn’t the only one.
D, Shane O’Neill, 6.5 — O’Neill got beaten by Etienne in space for the goal, but it was a team breakdown, rather than an individual one. He simply got beat by a good move. Although he should have been protecting the middle, he was wary of Etienne’s speed to the outside and it ended up costing him. But he won the next match-up in space with Etienne in the 67th minute to win a goal kick. He had one tackle and two interceptions and led the back line in passing rate at 74%. He also got forward to help the attack and smashed a blistering shot that Luis Robles had to fight off.
WB, Mohamed El-Munir, 6.5 — El-Munir is a better wingback than a traditional left back and he had a mostly solid effort in New York. He created two scoring chances, attempted a shot, and had a team-high six dribbles. With nine tackles, four interceptions, and five clearances, he put in the work on the defensive end. However, his passing rate was low (62%) and he was dispossessed four times. He also conceded a penalty, although I think he was thrown off balance after contact with Etienne that wasn’t called. Aside from a few wobbly moments, such as trying to dribble through multiple Red Bulls in his own third before losing the ball, it was a good effort and if he can clean up some of his more risky plays, he could be an important player to bring back in 2019 if James O’Connor keeps him as a wingback.
MF, Oriol Rosell, 6.5 — The Spaniard put in a typically good defensive shift, notching three tackles, four interceptions, and two clearances. He had the best passing rate (78.7%) of any of the starters, although he struggled with long ball accuracy in the second half about a 15-minute spell. He created one scoring chance and didn’t get forward enough to attempt a shot.
MF, Yoshimar Yotún, 5.5 — I thought the Peruvian had an unusually quiet game, and credit the Red Bulls for that, as there was someone — often multiple players — in his face nearly every time he got on the ball. He created only one scoring opportunity, attempted no shots, and had just two dribbles in the match. He switched the field well, going 12/17 on long balls, drew a couple free kicks, and passed at a 76% rate. His set piece delivery wasn’t great. Defensively he notched three tackles and two interceptions.
WB, Scott Sutter, 6 — Sutter passed pretty well (77%) and created a scoring chance for Chris Mueller with a well-placed header into the area off the rebound of O’Neill’s blast. His 1-v-1 defending was mostly solid and he finished with two tackles and an interception. His rapport with Mueller on the right side is good, as the two have a good understanding where the other will be. He did well to cut inside when he could, but he could never free himself up for a shot.
F, Sacha Kljestan, 5 — The captain returned to Red Bull Arena for the first time on the other side, and had a fairly quiet night. He attempted one shot on a free kick but it wasn’t close. He had two key passes, including a slick through ball for Mueller in the second half that led to a great scoring chance. His 75% passing rate was decent and his one cross was accurate. Defensively, he had one clearance.
F, Dom Dwyer, 4.5 — A pest all night, Dwyer was throwing his body all over the place to try to win free kicks and hold up play in the attacking third, but it was a lot to ask to send him up against Aaron Long, Tim Parker, and New York’s pacey fullbacks. He sent two good El-Munir crosses wide of goal on one-time shots and he thought he’d scored in the 64th minute but he was correctly flagged for offside, making his run too early and not re-establishing himself before heading in a cross past Robles. His three shots were a team high but none were on target. He had one tackle defensively and picked up an unnecessary yellow card sparring with Michael Murillo.
F, Chris Mueller, 4 — I always hate giving the rookie a low score because his work rate alone is worth a few points, but he had a tough match. His header onto the roof of the net should have been an opening goal after Sutter found him in front of the net in the first half. He took a beautiful pass from Kljestan in the second half and passed to an offside Dwyer rather than take the shot himself. He attempted two shots, with neither hitting the target, and passed at just a 61% rate without creating a scoring chance. HIs two interceptions speak to his work rate but he always seemed to lose every footrace against a number of Red Bulls, particularly Kemar Lawrence, and was dispossessed twice.
F, Josué Colmán (71’), 5 — The Paraguayan entered for Mueller with 19 minutes of normal time left and tried to get involved, finishing with 16 touches and an 85% passing rate on just 13 attempts. He didn’t have a shot attempt and created no scoring chances in a bit of an invisible performance off the bench.
That is how I saw the performances in Orlando City’s season finale against New York. What grades would you have given? Don’t forget to vote in the poll below for your Man of the Match.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 1-0 season-ending loss to the New York Red Bulls?
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