The Cardiac Cats struck again with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Portland Timbers, scoring all three goals in the final 10 minutes. After a strong first half, the team looked dead during the first 35 minutes of the second half before stunning everyone with three goals at the end. Let’s take a look at the individual performances in the game.
GK, Joe Bendik, 6 — Neither of Portland’s goals were the fault of Joe Bendik, but he was saved by the crossbar in the game and once by Jonathan Spector sweeping in behind him to clean up a shot that got through. He only had one bad giveaway when attempting to clear the ball, following a pass back from Lamine Sané, but it was far enough away to avoid any danger. When called upon late, Bendik was strong, coming off his line to collect balls before the attacker could connect. Overall, it was a strong performance from the goalkeeper.
D, Scott Sutter, 5.5 — Scott Sutter defended pretty well throughout the 57 minutes he played. When going forward, he had some nice crosses, something that Orlando City fans have come to expect from the starting right back. His departure shortly into the second half was a bit of a surprise because he was playing decent and was far from the worst Orlando City player on the field.
D, Jonathan Spector, 6 — In his first game back since suffering a concussion in New York two weeks ago, the captain was strong in the back. His shielding of the ball, particularly late in the second half, prevented Portland from extending its lead beyond reach. He also had that goal-line clearance early in the game. Given that it was his first game back, Spector played very well.
D, Lamine Sané, 6 — Like Spector, it was a strong performance by Lamine Sané. In just his second start for the club, and his first alongside Spector, he did well to hold off attackers and was quick to get back when pushing forward. A notable play followed a poor ball by Yoshimar Yotún, but Sané quickly played a strong pass to Bendik who was able to clear. He did concede a free kick on which Portland scored its second goal, however.
D, Mohamed El-Munir, 4 — It was another forgettable game for Mohamed El-Munir, who was at fault for the Timbers’ first goal. In the 20th minute, a very poor challenge saw him take down Sebastián Blanco in the box. Despite the referee initially calling a dive, it was a clear penalty and was confirmed as such by video review. El-Munir has been strong at times going forward, but he even struggled with that in this game.
M, Will Johnson, 5 — It was a rough day for Will Johnson. In addition to struggling to add much to the attack, his insistence on holding onto the ball far too long allowed the Timbers to break down multiple opportunities. He finished the game completing an impressive 97 percent of his 44 passes, but wasn’t very good overall.
M, Yoshimar Yotún, 6 — As much as anyone, Yoshi Yotún was a pivotal part of the Lions’ attack in the first half. His play in the midfield helped to create many opportunities during the first 45 minutes. His corner kick in the 80th minute resulted in Orlando City’s first goal by Chris Mueller.
M, Josué Colman, 5 — Despite his pace and skill, Josué Colmán struggled in one-on-one situations. He did play well with Scott Sutter, RJ Allen, and Sacha Kljestan in creating opportunities, especially in the first half, but failed to create many on his own. He’s young, but more will be expected out of the midfielder.
M, Sacha Kljestan, 6 — Sacha Kljestan had a strong game in the midfield for Orlando City. He did well connecting with Dom Dwyer to create opportunities in the first half, though he had a poor free kick from just outside the box and held onto the ball too long on another opportunity. His most important contribution to the game was converting on the penalty in the 83rd minute, tying the game at 2-2.
M, Justin Meram, 5.5 — It wasn’t Justin Meram’s best game, but it also wasn’t his worst. He had a few opportunities to score in the first half, missing just wide on two of them. He appeared to tie up the game just before the break, but Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson made an excellent save. His departure in the 76th minute for Stéfano Pinho came just before the comeback began.
F, Dom Dwyer, 6.5 (MotM) — My man of the match for this one has to be Dom Dwyer. He played his usual hard-nosed style today and, while failing to convert on chances in the first half, ended up making the biggest impact. He drew the penalty that resulted in the equalizing goal in the 83rd minute and scored the winner, featuring an unmatched amount of determination.
D, RJ Allen (75’), 6 — Coming on for Scott Sutter in the 57th minute, RJ Allen played his best game since joining Orlando City this past off-season. He was strong in the back and was dangerous going forward, working well with Chris Mueller to create crosses into the box late. His late run into the box and vision to find Dom Dwyer for the winning goal was exquisite, and deserves recognition.
F, Chris Mueller (67’), 6 — Nobody turned their game around in this one more than rookie forward Chris Mueller. In the 78th minute, RJ Allen made a beautiful run up the right side and laid the ball off for a waiting Mueller who should’ve scored. Instead, he put the ball off the outside netting, nearly killing any hope of a comeback. Just two minutes later, it was Mueller’s header that gave the Lions life cutting the deficit in half. More than that, Mueller was the energy in the team in the last 10 minutes. His emotion was contagious by the crowd and his teammates, and definitely had an impact on the comeback.
F, Stéfano Pinho (76’), 5 - The last substitute of the game was the entrance of Stefano Pinho for Meram. While Pinho didn’t have the same impact as Mueller, his provided a similar energy. In the 84th minute, he played a beautiful ball across the six-yard box that nearly found Dwyer for the winner. Overall, it was a solid appearance from the striker.
This game was a tale of two halves. The Lions were the more dangerous team in the first half and should’ve had the lead going into halftime. The first 35 minutes of the second half were dreadful for the home side, who gave the ball away far too easily and never looked as though they would equalize. They finally showed life in the final 10 minutes, pulling out the win, but the struggles of the team should not be ignored. However, a win is a win and the Lions take home a vital three points.
Who was your Man of the Match for Orlando City’s 3-2 win over the Portland Timbers?
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