Orlando City SC failed to record back-to-back victories as the team was taken down, 3-2 by Columbus Crew SC in a very controversial match in Ohio. The Lions had the lead for the most of the game, but conceded two goals in the last five minutes to embitter the team’s 12th setback of the 2018 season.
It was a good team performance overall, which unfortunately wasn’t rewarded with three road points — or any points. Here is how the players fared:
GK, Earl Edwards Jr., 6 – The goalkeeper stayed on the field for just 31 minutes before he had to be replaced due to an injury. He didn’t have to make any saves before that, but had a scary pass directed to the sidelines early in the game. His positioning was good on several crosses and set pieces and he helped Chris Mueller thwart a good chance by Pedro Santos in the 23rd minute.
D, Tony Rocha, 5 – The left back had little support to contain Harrison Afful in the first half and struggled with that as the Ghanaian had several runs behind his back. In the second half, it was Niko Hansen that gave him trouble early, on Crew SC’s first goal. His life was made easier when Mohamed El-Munir came in and helped him to defend the left side.
D, Chris Schuler, 6.5 – The center back was a solid presence inside the penalty box with eight clearances and three interceptions. His only flaw in game was to give Gyasi Zardes too much space inside the box on Columbus’ first goal, but he wasn’t alone on that mistake.
D, Shane O’Neill, 6.5 – His performances have been a positive surprise so far and it was no different against Columbus as the Irish took control of the box with seven clearances. His lack of chemistry with Schuler resulted in neither of them closing down Zardes when he scored his first goal.
D, RJ Allen, 6 – The fullback had a conservative match, staying in the back for most of the game, and did a good job on his end, getting four clearances and two tackles. In one of his few runs forward he managed to find Kljestan with a good cross, leading to Orlando’s first goal. He was whistled for the penalty but come on...was that actually a foul?
MF, Uri Rosell, 6.5 – The Spaniard had great presence in front of Orlando’s back line as he helped the team with six clearances and two tackles. In the second half he connected a great long pass that found Pinho in a great spot, but the striker couldn’t control it.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 6 – The Colombian patrolled the center of the field and had a solid performance, recording two clearances and one tackle, with just one foul. He took good care of the ball and picked simple passes, connecting impressive 92.9% of them.
M, Yoshimar Yotún, 7 – The Peruvian had a very good chance early in the match when he disposed of a Crew SC player and fired off the post. His good positioning got him on the ball a lot and he excelled in controlling the game and slowing it down when necessary, especially when some of his teammates had tired legs. He had a great setup play on the team’s second goal by creating space and feeding Sacha Kljestan at just the right time.
MF, Sacha Kljestan, 7.5 (MotM) – The captain was very involved in the team’s offense while his legs endured it, connecting good passes and coordinating his teammates. He displayed good positioning inside the box to score his fifth goal of the season, and great vision to assist Pinho for the team’s second goal.
MF, Chris Mueller, 7 – The rookie gave the Lions an important option, especially on counter attacks, on the right side. His movement was important to keep the team’s intensity after a busy week. He also led the teams in shots, with four.
F, Stefano Pinho, 6.5 – The Brazilian constantly tried to get behind Columbus’ back line, but couldn’t get the ball in dangerous spots in the first half. His insistence paid off in the second half as he scored the team’s second goal, but he could have netted one more if he had managed to control a good long pass from Rosell. He could have been better on a couple of shot right at Zack Steffen as well.
GK, Joe Bendik, 7 – The former starter entered the game in the 31st minute and had little work in the first half with an easy save on a shot from Zardes. He stepped up in the second half by stopping a header from Patrick Mullins and sliding to deny Edward Opoku a good finishing chance inside the box. He really wasn’t to blame on any of the three goals the team conceded.
MF, Mohamed El-Munir, 6 – The Libyan was deployed as a left midfielder and helped Rocha take care of Crew SC’s offense, but he wasted a good opportunity to seal Orlando’s win as he tried to chip Steffen when he could have tried a simpler shot.
MF, Will Johnson, 5.5 – The veteran was subbed in near the end of the match and wasn’t much involved in the game. He failed to connect with a ball on a cross in overtime that could have put the team in the lead in a very important moment just after the penalty.
Those are the grades the way I saw them. What did you think? Be sure to vote for your Orlando City Man of the Match in the poll below.
Who was Orlando City’s Man of the Match in the Lions’ 3-2 loss at Columbus?
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