Our neighbors from the north came to visit again, for the third of three match-ups. It was a prime time battle on ESPN for Rivalry Week. I guess this is now a rivalry since it was scheduled during Rivalry Week, promoted heavily, and had a national televised audience. Now I will be super curious how things unfold if Miami ever actually gets its act together and enters MLS.
It was a good match, one that you would expect from a rivalry, and an unfortunate loss for the Lions, who I thought played really well for the majority of the match. Without further ado, let’s see how the Lions rated individually in the tough 2-1 loss to Atlanta United.
GK, Joe Bendik, 5 — Only four minutes into the match and Joe had to go low quickly to stop a shot from distance, then it somewhat fell apart in the 21st minute when he fumbled the free kick from Ezequiel Barco, with the ball falling to Leandro González Pirez, who forced it in. His distribution was much better this match, with a few questionable moments, but generally an improvement. He came out, got big, but found himself on the ground too early on the historic Josef Martínez goal.
D, Victor “PC” Giro, 6 — Many were shocked to see PC start this match, and hopefully he put some of the vitriol to bed. He was caught out a few times, but this was another match were he and the other back were asked to play end line to end line. In a lovely counter in the 14th minute, Dom Dwyer found Chris Mueller, who attacked the box, and left PC a nice little back heel pass, which he took and fired a shot on goal, forcing a save from Brad Guzan. He had 86% passing accuracy, three tackles, and the one shot on frame.
D, Shane O’Neill, 5.5 — Good performance from one of the newest Lions, once again. It was good to see him side by side with Spector, although there were moments where you could tell the pair needed more time together. There were so many opportunities to take two steps forward and leave Atlanta offside.
D, Jonathan Spector, 5 — Every time Specs heads the ball it gives me chills. Great to see him back, wearing the captain’s armband, but his time off the pitch was apparent. He looked a little rusty, but that could be expected. He did have two tackles, but was only able to complete 79% of his passes. Spector went with Almiron when he should have stayed with Martinez on the second Atlanta goal, but that is easy to say watching it the next morning.
D, Scott Sutter, 7 (MotM) — Quick breakdown of some facts from the match: 84% passing accuracy, two successful dribbles, two aerials won, and two tackles. He was a force on the right, playing well from end line to end line, and well, what about that shot? That might have been one of the purest strikes I have seen from a Lion this season.
MF, Oriol Rosell, 6.5 — Uri had another good match, and was high on the list for MotM for me. He had four successful tackles, two clearances, and two interceptions. He paired extremely well with the newest Lion, who we will discuss in a minute, and helped to lead a pretty solid defensive effort, one that seemed to frustrate Atlanta for a good portion of the match.
MF, Carlos Ascues, 6.5 — Debut match for Carlos, and one that should have endeared him to all the fans. His is a large presence on the pitch, but his touch, his skill, and his vision were an even bigger present. He crisscrossed the pitch, made forward runs when space was available, and had that nice little cross to Mueller to start the run of play that led to the Sutter goal. He played two thirds of the game, finishing with 93% passing accuracy and two tackles, and I certainly hope he will be a permanent new addition to the team. His presence and ability open up a number of opportunities.
MF, Josué Colmán, 5 — A tough night for the club’s Young Designated Player. He was 89% accurate on passes, but had no real success taking on opponents with the ball. He did manage two shots during the match, but neither were on target.
MF, Will Johnson, 6 — Two weeks on from that tackle, which led to that play in D.C., Will got a chance to start in, once again, a different position in the starting XI. One thing about Will is that he leaves it all on the pitch, and he did so again against Atlanta. He finished with 90% passing accuracy, an interception, three chances created, and an assist for his nice little flick to Sutter.
MF, Chris Mueller, 6 — Hearing the stadium PA blast Wu Tang Clan’s C.R.E.A.M. during warm-ups had me convinced that we would see a big performance from Cash Mueller, and he certainly put forth a notable effort. He had the most successful take-ons of any player on the pitch, at four, but his passing accuracy was a bit low at 81%. It was good to see him being a little more “selfish” on the ball and driving the box in the offensive end. He still needs to generate more shots, finishing without one on the night.
F, Dom Dwyer, 6 — Again, Dom was marked and sandwiched by the two Atlanta center backs from the first whistle. His trap, spin, and pass to Mueller who drove the box and eventually left it for PC to shoot was a lovely run of play. Also, big save for Dom in the 60th minute after the free kick led to three Atlanta shots, two saved by Bendik, and the final one saved by Dom, who maintained his near post position. His one shot was on target.
MF, Pierre Da Silva (61’), 5.5 — PDS came on with about 30 minutes left in the match, and showed some flashes of that ability we have seen from him, but it will be a little hard to grade him due to Orlando not really having much possession during his time on the pitch. His passing (55.6% on just nine attempts) must be better, but he did have a tackle and an interception.
MF, Stefano Pinho (67’), 5 — Subbed on for Ascues, which had a number of us wondering what effect it would have on the run of play. He certainly did not have the effect that the player he replaced had on the match.
MF, José Villarreal (87’), N/A — Villareal didn’t see the field long enough to make much of an impact.
That is how I saw it folks, so lets hear your opinions. Let us know in the poll below who you thought was the Man of the Match, and leave me some comments on how you graded the squad.
Who was Orlando City’s Man of the Match in the 2-1 loss to Atlanta United?
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