Orlando City once again fell short in a 2-1 loss — this time to the Chicago Fire at Orlando City Stadium. A late goal in the 82nd minute from Alan Gordon lifted Chicago Fire to victory. The Lions played well in the loss, but how did each player rate in the loss individually?
GK, Joe Bendik, 7 — Despite conceding two goals to Aleksander Katai in the 13th minute and Alan Gordon in the 80th minute, Bendik had a solid outing. Both goals came from shots that even the world’s best goal keepers would struggle with, so you can’t put Bendik at fault for them. Bendik faced four shots on goal and the two saves he had were solid and kept Orlando City in the game. Solid outing by Bendik despite the loss.
D, RJ Allen, 7 — Allen was a solid option at right back, a position that has been played by Will Johnson as of late. Allen had four total tackles, which led all Orlando City defenders and also picked up a blocked shot as well. Allen’s passing was also superb, passing 68 times with a 91.2% success rate, especially on a near goal on a solid cross to Sacha Kljestan in the 25th minute. Allen came up and helped with the attack as well, making key passes leading to scoring chances. Solid outing from Allen.
D, Tony Rocha, 6 — Rocha filled in for Lamine Sané at center back and did not do anything drastically right or wrong. Rocha intercepted three passes and also made some key passes in the final third to get Orlando City scoring chances. He was also physical on the defensive end, something that obviously doesn’t show up on the score sheet. Rocha gave little chance for any Fire player to score which was something that kept the Lions in reach throughout the full 90 minutes. He perhaps could have stepped up to close down Gordon on the last goal.
D, Chris Schuler, 5.5 — Schuler’s defensive play was good but not great as he was beaten on the attack at times but made up for it with successful tackles. He was the only defensive player to take a shot, albeit it was contested in stoppage time and blocked out for a corner. Schuler has been the third or fourth option at center back all season and he did not do much to move up the ladder when Jonathan Spector, Amro Tarek and Lamine Sané are available. Good game from Chris Schuler, and a gutty one, as he played the entire second half with a broken arm.
D, Mohamed El-Munir, 7 — El-Munir played a solid match throughout. His yellow card on Diego Campos led to the Katai goal in the 13th minute, but he made up for it on both ends of the pitch. He had three shots with two on target, forcing Patrick McLain to make tough saves on both, especially on his shot in the 49th minute which made McLain lay out for a tough diving save. El-Munir picked up two tackles, two clearances, three interceptions and a few fouls, one leading to a yellow card. Despite his early mistake leading to a set-piece banger, El-Munir showcased his talents at left back once again.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 8.5 (MotM) — Higuita was amazing in this match. His goal was the lone score for the Lions in the 28th minute, but he contributed in all facets of the game for Orlando City. Along with his stellar offensive performance, Higuita picked up two tackles and two interceptions in the midfield and continuously pressured the Chicago Fire into bad decisions and failed attacking chances. Higuita was subbed off and did not complete the full 90 minutes, but even after he was subbed off it was clear that he was the most complete player on the pitch for Orlando City. His presence in both final thirds was effective, as he seemed to be involved in every play that either club was a part of, making him my Man of the Match by a long shot.
MF, Uri Rosell, 6 — Rosell complemented Higuita well at the left center defensive midfielder position as he also helped the Lions on both sides of the ball, just not as well or as much as Higuita. The Spaniard took three shots with one hitting the target with a beautiful header that was robbed in the 45th minute and did not find the back of the net, and he, like many other players, helped fuel an attack that generated 20 shots. Rosell also picked up a yellow card in the 64th minute on a tactical foul to thwart a counter. Rosell and Higuita work well together in the midfield, bouncing off of each other and creating chances as well as stopping them on both ends. Solid game from Rosell.
MF, Chris Mueller, 6.5 — Mueller was a force on the offensive side of the pitch, assisting on the lone Orlando goal on a wonderful pass to Higuita. He did not take many shots, but the defense from Chicago Fire seemed to focus in on him which gave other Lions a chance to take quality shots. Mueller only had 34 touches throughout his time on the pitch, the lowest amount from any starter besides Joe Bendik. Despite not getting many touches, Mueller let the defense know he was there, especially when he assisted Higuita’s goal. He should have done better on his left-footed effort on an Orlando counter to keep it on goal, but his creation of a goal and allowing teammates to create other chances made Mueller a silent but good player on the pitch.
MF, Sacha Kljestan, 7.5 — Kljestan has arguably the best opportunity to score besides the Higuita goal on a chip shot that just sailed over the crossbar. He also had a solid header that missed just wide on a cross from Allen as well. Per usual, Kljestan was an artist on the pitch, painting his own pictures of what he wanted to happen and allowing his attackers to create chances along with his own. He generated six key passes. Kljestan was a big reason why Orlando City was able to have a 90% pass success rate which helped lead to the large amount of shots. His altercation with Mo Adams cut short an Orlando attack late in the game, but he was again a catalyst in the attacking midfield and had a solid outing.
MF, Justin Meram, 7 — Meram did not take long to get into the game as he took the first shot three minutes in. His finesse curl shot in the 51st minute made McLain make arguably the toughest save of the night as he nearly tucked the shot into the top right corner. He almost found the score sheet again in the 73rd minute and again in the 83rd minute on a missed header in which he flew into McLain to try and score. Meram took five total shots and maybe only the first one was a bad take. He also seemed to be more comfortable throughout the game than he has in recent weeks which seemed to affect the Lions in a positive way. Despite the loss it seemed that Meram was on his game, it was just unlucky that he couldn’t find the score sheet.
F, Josue Colmán, 6.5 — Colmán got his first start at striker and did not disappoint. He nearly picked up an assist on a beautiful pass to Kljestan and nearly scored in the first 10 minutes but flew one high over the bar. Colmán proved that he can be an offensive force in this game as he had a perfect balance of creating his own scoring chances and scoring chances for others as well. He got the “hockey assist” on Higuita’s goal, feeding Mueller, who in turn sent the ball to Cristian. Colmán forced himself into solid scoring situations and shed light on what may be coming from the young Paraguayan.
F, Stéfano Pinho (75’), 5 — Pinho came on for Mueller but did not affect the game much as he was relatively quiet. He only had three touches on the ball in his 15 minutes on the pitch and gave Orlando City nothing even though it wanted a spark.
MF, Victor “PC” Giro (82’), N/A — PC was not on the pitch long enough to truly grade him bad or good, but he did nothing drastic to change the match outcome.
MF, Richie Laryea (83’), N/A — Laryea, much like PC, did not have enough time on the pitch to impact the match.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire?
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