Well, I’d say that was a pretty frustrating game all around. Orlando City didn’t let D.C. United create a ton of chances, as the visitors only took four shots all game. However, they converted half of those, while the Lions were only able to put away one of their 16 attempts and in the end that disparity in finishing is what really made the difference on the night.
Here’s how I graded the Lions in a frustrating 2-1 loss.
GK, Brian Rowe, 6.5 — It was a little tough to pin down a grade for Rowe for this game. He was completely helpless on Birnbaum’s goal and was semi-blocked off and possibly fouled by Frederic Brillant on Rooney’s free kick goal. Throughout the rest of the match though he was mostly solid with his distribution, came off his line well several times, and did very well to tip a swerving Luciano Acosta shot over the bar in the 49th minute. In all he wasn’t tested all that much, as United only had three shots on goal. The one shot he actually had a chance at saving, he did.
D, Robin Jansson, 6 — It wasn’t a bad performance from Jansson but he certainly didn’t have the game he did last week. His passing accuracy was only at 68% and although he did very well to stop a cross from getting to Arriola he probably should have put away the chance that he got late in the game. It wasn’t the easiest of chances but he needed to at least make Hamid work to save it and since he didn’t his grade suffers a little.
D, Lamine Sané, 6.5 — It was a fairly good game for Sané. He won several aerial duels, passed the ball well at 86%, and was mostly solid throughout. He did pick up a needless yellow card for diving into a challenge but for the most part he did well defensively and was useful when the team pushed forward chasing the game in the second half.
D, Shane O’Neill, 6.5 — Like the other center backs O’Neill also had a pretty solid game. He had a great tackle on Rooney when he was the last man back and did very well for the most part when he pushed forward, which was surprisingly often. At 64% his passing could have been better but overall it was a steady outing from him.
WB, João Moutinho, 7.5 — Moutinho was quite easy to grade because he was excellent. He won a couple smart fouls in the defensive half and was a massive threat going forward, constantly overlapping with Nani on the left side of the field and playing cross after dangerous cross in from out wide that the forwards just weren’t quite able to convert. He almost certainly would have been the Man of the Match if not for another performer later down this list.
MF, Oriol Rosell, 7 — For me, Uri had one of his better games in an Orlando shirt tonight. His passing accuracy was excellent at 90% and he made a whopping seven tackles, leading both teams. A play in particular that stood out to me was him sprinting down a D.C. player whose name escapes me in the 52nd minute to win the ball back and keep it in the attacking third. While he was hooked on 59 minutes for Sebas Mendez with Orlando chasing the game, that play was indicative of his performance tonight.
MF, Carlos Ascues 5.5 — It was not the best game for Ascues tonight. He had multiple loose touches and bad passes that led to giveaways and a particularly egregious occasion saw him lose possession in the first half after being caught from behind. He improved in the second half and while he did make five tackles he simply didn’t look like his usual assured self. A night to largely forget for him.
MF, Sacha Kljestan, 6 — It wasn’t a bad game for Sacha but it wasn’t his best either. He passed at a good rate, good for 85% accuracy and had several clever touches but the game required a little more speed in passing and movement that he wasn’t always able to provide. He was sacrificed for Chris Mueller in the second half when James O’Connor changed tactics.
WB, Ruan, 6 — Ruan was another grade that I struggled with. He completely lost Birnbaum on D.C.’s opening goal — his marking was quite frankly atrocious. There is the fair question of whether he should be the one defending one of United’s best aerial threats on a set piece, however. He honestly did pretty well the rest of the game though. As usual he was a constant threat when coming forward, completing a couple successful dribbles. But, there were also times when his final product was lacking, like when he greatly overhit a cross in the dying minutes of the game after doing so well to get forward. His good work coming forward pulls his grade up for me, otherwise it would be lower.
F, Nani, 7 — For the most part Nani had a pretty good game. On several occasions he showed off his superior touch and control with a couple mesmerizing dribbles and clever passes. The ball he played to Mueller for Dom Dwyer’s goal was perfectly weighted. He would be rated higher but his inability to put his header on target from Dom’s first-half cross sees his grade slip. The ball was coming fast, but he should have at least made Bill Hamid work.
F, Dom Dwyer, 7.5 — Tonight was pretty much a vintage Dom performance. He did a very good job of holding the ball up, passed it very well and took shots when the game opened up for him to do so, tallying six in total. It was beginning to look like it just wouldn’t be his night but he did very well to get on the end of Chris Mueller’s 63rd-minute cross and direct it back across Hamid, making it impossible for him to save.
MF, Sebas Mendez (59’), 7 — The introduction of Sebas instantly made Orlando look like a different team. His pace in the middle of the field and speed of his passing opened up the game offensively and he was able to cover ground quickly in the middle of the park and press D.C. when they got the ball. While he wasn’t the flashiest during his time on the field he did his job exceptionally well and I would expect to see him in the starting lineup next game.
F, Chris Mueller ( 59’), 8 (MotM) — Surely you all knew this was coming right? Simply put, Cash was a revelation upon his introduction. His pace alone was instrumental and electric down the left hand side but it wasn’t just about speed for him. His touch and decision making was solid as well, with his four completed dribbles evidence of that. He tortured whatever man he was up against time and again and was the difference maker that Orlando needed in the game. He did exceptionally well to beat his man down the right flank and play a ball in for Dwyer to head home and was unlucky to hit the woodwork with his header. All in all a wonderful performance from him.
F, Benji Michel (78’), 6 — Benji made his regular season debut off the bench for Nani who seemed to be suffering from calf tightness. He immediately did well to hold the ball up and win a free kick in the attacking half but his influence waned from there. He didn’t do anything spectacular but didn’t make any bad mistakes either and it was a solid enough debut for him.
All in all this was a tough edition of grades for me to do. I didn’t think anyone played particularly badly and I thought most of the boys had solid outings. A loss is a loss though and giving up two goals at home is never going to fly. However I think there were a lot of positives to take from the game and if this doesn’t serve as a case for Cash to start then I honestly don’t think anything will.
How do you think I did? Feel free to have your say in the comments and vote for your Man of the Match in the poll below.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2-1 loss to D.C. United?
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