The Lions’ first visit to new MLS franchise LAFC ended poorly, for the club and new head coach James O’Connor. I would love to wax poetic, but let’s jump right into how did the players perform individually?
GK, Joe Bendik, 5 — Not a whole lot Joe could do this match. He had a couple fantastic saves, and a couple big blunders, one of which was thankfully not a problem due to an offside call. This was certainly not his best performance, but the score line is most certainly not entirely his fault.
D, Donny Toia, 6 — For the majority of the first half, all play was up the left side of the pitch, and Toia certainly was a part of that. Unfortunately, that is about as far as I can go with the praise, with the exception of the fact that he did notch the assist on the Sacha Kljestan’s goal, and did register a shot.
D, Amro Tarek, 3.5 — Quite possibly his worst night. His poor clearance attempt led to the first goal and his awful touch led to him coughing up the ball that led to the fourth goal when Adama Diomande muscled him out of the play. Also seemed to be out of position through most of the match. He pushed forward often, and you could see he wanted to add to the team offense, but his missteps on defense overshadow everything this match.
D, Jonathan Spector, 5.5 — Never want to see an Orlando City center back succumb to an injury, but that is exactly what happened to Specs in the 25th minute. He was playing well up until that point, and his presence was certainly missed for the remainder of the match.
D, RJ Allen, 4.5 — Did not have many touches it seemed in the first half, as most of the Lions possession pushed up the left side, but saw more of the ball in the second. His 69% pass success is something certainly needs to be examined, considering the role he was asked to play this match. Struggled with Latif Blessing’s pace and shifty moves.
MF, Yoshimar Yotún, 5 — It is fantastic to have Yoshi back from Russia, but it almost looked as though he might be dealing with jet lag still. He only completed 76% of his passes, which is wildly off from his norm, and he seemed to be constantly one step behind the rest of the team. Hopefully the World Cup hangover is gone soon.
MF, Oriol Rosell, 5.5 — A good night for Uri, but not the best. For some strange reason, he seemed to be left alone too often during the match. The obvious absence of Yoshi has certainly affected the chemistry of the defensive midfield.
MF, Josué Colmán, 6.5 — Easily appeared to be the biggest attacking threat in the first half. Had a few moments of sheer brilliance, and I am honestly still wondering why this player has not seen more minutes as a starter.
MF, Sacha Kljestan, 7 (MOTM) — That goal meant so much, as did most of his play for the greater majority of the match. There were some obvious lapses in position, but Sacha certainly had the biggest impact on the match, outside of forces that the team could not control. Would have had the “hockey assist” on the Dom Dwyer goal that was waved off and provided Dom the team’s best scoring chance of the first half with a crafty through ball.
MF, Chris Mueller, 6 — I am still holding my ticket for the Cash Money Train, and his hustle was apparent again this match. Unfortunately, the vast majority of play was on the opposite side of the Orlando City formation in the first half. He worked well with the starting front four, but I think his best style of play was hindered by the play behind him.
F, Dom Dwyer, 6 — Dom was Dom again, keeping the back line of LAFC honest, and to be honest, they got the better of him a bit too often. The other problem was Tyler Miller of LAFC had a phenomenal match, and had a few epic saves against Dom. On the bright side of things, Dom’s hold-up play was much better, and I will not fault him for the majority of offside calls as there is only so long you can hold your run. He appeared to score the tying goal, only to see it overturned.
D, Chris Schuler, 6 (25’) — Chris came on early for Spector and did a very good job, although the score line may not agree. Schuler may not be the fastest center back on the squad, but his football IQ got him into good positions during the match to hold play up and certainly helped to minimize the damage.
MF, Justin Meram, 5 (46’) — Honestly, he appeared pretty even, if just slightly off, but I will argue that VAR was wrong on that call to negate the goal. Outside of that, Meram just seemed to be trying too hard. His 84% passing accuracy was a step in the right direction.
MF, Mohamed El-Munir, 6 (65) — El-Mo coming on for Mueller was a shock, but it seemed to work. His work rate was good, he pressured for the ball at all times, and was pushing the players around him on the right side of the pitch for the entire time he was out there.
It really is hard to grade this team at the moment, but I tried to give it my best shot. It is certainly obvious the squad is still in a bit of limbo, and is going to need a bit more time to iron a few things out. With that being said, who did you see as the man of the match, and how well did my grades line up with yours?
Who was Orlando City’s Man of the Match in the 4-1 loss to LAFC?
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