Orlando City’s first trip to D.C. United’s new home at Audi Field saw two squads fighting to catch up with the rest of the Eastern Conference. It also saw a fairly eyebrow-raising starting XI from the Lions, considering suspensions and injuries. So how did the individual players fare tonight in the 3-2 loss against United?
GK, Joe Bendik, 5 — Long ball distribution just does not work when your target forward is a good foot or more shorter than the average center back. Not sure his position was correct on the first or third, and he may have been shielded until fairly late on the second goal. He may have been able to come off his line and grab the cross on the final goal. Never seemed comfortable, always leaving his line late, so late in fact he was in no man’s land on the game-winning goal.
D, Mohamed El-Munir, 5 — Excellent run up the left in the 12th minute, went to cross to a streaking Dom but was pushed off the ball, and the ref turned a blind eye. The physicality of play the ref was allowing may have gotten under his skin, because for the remainder of the first half saw him flustered a bit. He got a bit too fancy near the sideline late in the first half to allow D.C. a throw and United ended up scoring the first goal at the death of stoppage time as a result. This continued in the second half, with mixed moments of brilliance and then moments of poor judgement. I am sure it did not help that the club played with 10 men for some time.
D, Amro Tarek, 5.5 — Amro was solid, fluid, and didn’t make too many mistakes, even after a taking a ball in what appeared to be the jumbly bits. He was a bit slow at times, as when he was beaten on the first goal, but his reactions were generally good. He did pick up a yellow, for a very “professional” foul, which was the absolute right thing to do. All in all, a fair night for Amro.
D, Shane O’Neill, 6 — Found himself defending Wayne Rooney multiple times, and did a great job standing him up, letting the rest of the defense get back and find shape. Another decent performance, as much as you can say for a back line working for a decent portion of the game on their heels down a man.
D, Scott Sutter, 5.5 — worked the right side well, and played the connection game with both Johnson and Rosell very well. Fired a shot just wide of goal in the second half off a short corner.
MF, Oriol Rosell, 7 (MOTM) — Probably his best performance to date as a Lion. Great job standing up Rooney in the 22nd minute. Had numerous switch balls across the field from the right side to spring El-Mo on the left, as well as give-and-go plays across the midfield. He had the biggest impact both defensively and offensively tonight, notching an assist and one could argue that the goal should have been his, and not an own goal.
MF, Will Johnson, 6 — Despite what I am sure will be a week of blaming Will for what happened in the last 30 seconds of that match, Johnson played a really good game. He was all over the pitch as usual, running box to box, including having the third highest number of successful tackles, four, for the match. What happened in the waning seconds was unfortunate, but certainly not on him, considering the effort he put into the match for the previous 95 minutes, and 40 of it while a man down.
MF, Tony Rocha, 5.5 — Had a decent effort in the ninth minute on a free kick just outside the box, but sent the ball high. After starting the match as a player whose number seemed to be called often, he somewhat disappeared from the limelight until being subbed out early in the second due to the Higuita red card.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 5.5 — He came flying out of the gate, testing goal in the first minute, with a squirrely ball that David Ousted couldn’t just handle. Although he was listed in the formation as the central attacking midfielder, he found himself on the right half of the pitch a lot, and certainly played box to box as needed. Everything was fine until the VAR notified the referee to take a look at something and in the 55th minute, Higuita was shown red for what appeared to be contact to the face of Yamil Asad.
MF, Chris Mueller, 6.5 — As typical, Mueller started the match like he was on fire. Had a powerful shot in the 27th that forced a great reactionary save by Ousted at the near post. He did well working back to make the back line a five-man front when D.C. had possession, and got out quickly when possession changed hands.
F, Dom Dwyer, 6.5 — Wearing the captain’s armband for the first time for Orlando City in MLS play, Dom had a somewhat quiet first half. He did get a decent look in the 36th minute, but his time really shined in the second half. Bendik kept trying long balls to Dom, and he got a few, but the center backs of United were pretty successful muscling Dom out of position or off the ball. He got the Lions even in the 71st minute, on a lovely assist from Rosell.
MF, Dillon Powers (57’), 5 — Came on for Tony Rocha after the Higuita red card. Had one tackle, and helped to contain the United attack, only getting 13 touches in his 33 minutes on the pitch.
D, Victor “PC” Giro (67’), 5.5 — Came on for El-Mo, and worked hard for the 23 plus minutes he was on the pitch. had two tackles, had a shot deflect just wide of goal, and did a good job maintaining the coverage of the left side of the pitch.
F, Stefano Pinho (88’), N/A— Came on for Dom in the final moments and got one touch and had one successful tackle.
That is how I saw it, through tears of joy and sadness alike. That was easily one of the most difficult matches to watch, at least from recent memory. Regardless of the outcome, who was your man of the match? Let me know in the poll below, and then give me reasons why you agree or disagree with the grades in the comment section below. There were positives to take from this match, if you can put aside everything else, which is difficult in times like these.
Who was Orlando City’s Man of the Match in the 3-2 loss to D.C. United?
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