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Orlando City vs. Real Salt Lake: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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Orlando City picked up its sixth straight victory with a win over Real Salt Lake, but how did the players rate individually?

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

Orlando City picked up three points over Real Salt Lake for its sixth straight victory, and once again, the win came in comeback fashion. After a scoreless first half, Orlando City scored three goals in a 20-minute span to take a 3-1 lead, which was eventually the final score of the match. The win streak is both the longest streak for the club in its MLS history and the longest winning streak in MLS so far this season.

With that said, lets see how the lads did individually in yet another victory.

Starters

GK, Joe Bendik, 8.5 — Despite giving up the goal to Corey Baird in the 12th minute, Bendik had one of his best games of the season. Bendik faced nine shots on goal throughout, saving eight of them, including a stellar kick save in the 62nd minute to keep the game level at 1-1 at the time. He also had a beautiful diving save in the 51st minute that kept RSL’s lead to just one goal early in the second half. Bendik may have given up a goal, but he was a huge reason why Orlando was able to win this game and extend its win streak to six games.

D, Mohamed El-Munir, 7.5 — El-Munir once again had a solid game at left back as he totaled eight tackles, one interception and numerous clearances on scoring chances from Real Salt Lake. He also came up and helped fuel the attack throughout with crosses, mainly in the second half, when Orlando City scored all three of its goals. El-Munir continued his solid campaign at right back for the Lions.

D, Chris Schuler, 6 — In his first start for Orlando City, and first MLS game since last June, Schuler did look rusty, especially in the first half, but he made no astounding errors and played well alongside Lamine Sané. Schuler had not seen playing time at all this season before this game, so it was expected for him to look shaky at times as he was replacing Jonathan Spector and Amro Tarek, who were both out with injuries. Not the greatest game from Schuler, but not a bad one either.

D, Lamine Sané, 7 Sané was outpaced on the lone goal from Real Salt Lake after Sacha Kljestan’s poor touch in the midfield. But the center back made up for it by netting his first goal in an Orlando City uniform and playing solid defense throughout the second half. Sané was also the only defensive player for the Lions dwith a blocked shot and was all over the pitch. His veteran presence helped the defense regroup after the early goal, which led to better play and a victory.

D, Will Johnson, 6.5 — Will Johnson once again lined up at right back and helped the Lions on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Johnson had a shot on target early on that was saved by Nick Rimando as well as several accurate long balls and crosses that led to near scoring chances. Johnson has had to be a flexible player for Jason Kreis throughout the season, but he is proving himself as a reliable right back week in and week out for Orlando City.

MF, Yoshimar Yotún, 9 (MotM) — Yotún had the most solid game of any player on the pitch against Real Salt Lake. He had 85 touches along with 59 passes, one of those passes being an assist to Lamine Sané off a corner kick for his first goal with the club. Yotún scored a goal of his own off a rebound from Dom Dwyer’s shot to give the Lions a 3-1 lead in the 78th minute to put the game away. Yotún was the Swiss army knife for Orlando City and its midfield, which allowed Orlando to control that part of the pitch throughout the entire game. Yotún had a stellar game as he gets my Man of the Match nod.

MF, Cristian Higuita, 7.5 — Higuita had the most passes (66) and the most touches (86) of any player on the pitch for Orlando City, so he was involved for the entire 90 minutes. Of course, Higuita picked up his usual yellow card, but that was excusable given his notorious physical playing style which always helps Orlando in the midfield. The Colombian had two shots off target but was a force on both sides of the ball. Higuita tallied four successful tackles, two interceptions and two clearances while playing alongside Yotún.

MF, Justin Meram, 5.5 — For some reason, Justin Meram has yet to be able to find the net, something Orlando City expected to be second nature for him when it acquired him from the Columbus Crew. Meram had four total shots, all of them being off target, even though a few were close. He also seemed to have issues with his touches as he was undisciplined on a few, but he was able to throw some passes into the box and create havoc for Real Salt Lake. Jason Kreis needs to continue to find a way to get Meram on the score sheet, because the floodgates will open once that happens.

MF, Sacha Kljestan, 7 — As stated earlier, Kljestan gave away the ball in the midfield that led to the goal from Corey Baird, but he shrugged it off and played a solid game otherwise. He assisted on Orlando’s first goal of the match to Dom Dwyer in the 60th minute, which opened the scoring barrage that ensued for the 20 minutes to follow. Kljestan’s passes consistently led to scoring chances and he also took a few shots on goal as well. Kljestan had a normal game, which is basically what Orlando needed out of him to attain victory.

MF, Chris Mueller, 6 — Mueller had arguably the quietest game of his career as he didn’t record a shot throughout his time on the pitch and only had 38 touches, second to Dom Dwyer, who only had 33. He set up an early opportunity with a tremendous individual effort to put his defender on skates, but the cross was well defended. The rookie really didn’t do anything drastically right or wrong to rightfully grade him up or down, so his game was quiet but not in a bad way to affect the squad as a whole.

F, Dom Dwyer, 8.5 — Dwyer once again scored for Orlando City for the sixth time in as many games and he also was responsible for the rebound goal by Yoshimar Yotún that gave Orlando a two-goal cushion in the 78th minute. Dwyer took three shots on goal, two of which led to goals and the other also being a shot on target. He once again proved he can wreak havoc on opposing defenses and he also made passes that led to other scoring chances, as well as demonstrating standout hold-up play. Dwyer was the fire Orlando City needed in the second half after a scoreless first, and he once again put himself all over the score sheet and helped Orlando City continue scoring goals at will.

Reserves

F, Stéfano Pinho (72’), 6 — Pinho was relatively quiet for being on the pitch for about 18 minutes, as he only recorded a tackle and 11 touches. He came on for Chris Mueller, who was also quiet, so the Brazilian did about as much as Mueller did, which was nothing absurdly right or wrong.

MF, Uri Rosell (80’), 6.5 — Rosell came on for Yotún and made some noise as he took two shots, one being on target that almost gave him his first goal of the season. Uri wasn’t on the pitch long, but he made his presence felt throughout those 10 minutes and gave Orlando City a strong finish to a solid second half.

D, RJ Allen (87’), N/A — It would be unfair to grade RJ Allen as he barely saw the pitch. He made a tackle and an interception but he did not have enough time to truly make an impact on the game itself.


Vote for your Man of the Match or comment your thoughts on these game grades.

Poll

Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Yoshi Yotún
    (114 votes)
  • 42%
    Joe Bendik
    (111 votes)
  • 3%
    Dom Dwyer
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Lamine Sané
    (2 votes)
  • 9%
    Cristian Higuita
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (comment below)
    (0 votes)
261 votes total Vote Now