It took 11 matches, but Orlando City SC fans finally got to see each of the team’s new roster additions for the 2018 Major League Soccer season make their first starts for the club. The last one to accomplish that was midfielder Oriol Rosell, who played 89 minutes against Toronto FC Friday at BMO Field.
The Spanish midfielder, who was brought from Portugal to anchor Orlando’s midfield, had played in four matches and 83 minutes before, but it was against the Reds when he actually started a match for the Lions.
Replacing the suspended Yoshimar Yotún, Rosell was paired with Cristian Higuita in the defensive midfield and, despite the team’s 2-1 loss, his performance was praised by Head Coach Jason Kreis.
“I thought Uri and Higuita both had strong nights,” Kreis told the media after the match. “They really controlled things quite well. It’s very easy to get really discouraged by losing another game and having it be your second in a row, but I think we have to draw the positives and from my point of view this match was much better controlled than last week.”
The stats show that Rosell indeed helped the Lions control possession while he was on the field. According to WhoScored.com, the Spanish midfielder led the team in passing accuracy (95.5%) and was third in passes attempted (67).
The 25-year-old also showed impressive prowess on long balls, connecting all of his six attempts during the match. Rosell’s passing map shows that the Spaniard was especially important when starting plays from the back, as the majority of his actions happened close to the center of the field.
Defensively, Rosell was efficient, but not very active. He recorded two tackles, two interceptions, and two clearances. He didn’t contribute offensively with shots or key passes, however.
Overall, Rosell’s first start with Orlando City was promising, if not spectacular. The Spanish midfielder was brought in as a fit to the team’s new possession style and he did so against Toronto, even if his actions didn’t result in much offensively.
With Yotún out for at least a couple of months as Peru plays in the FIFA World Cup, Rosell will have the opportunity to step up and earn a prominent role with the Lions. He’s getting better and his form is improving and Orlando can definitely use his help.