Will it ever be less frustrating watching teams battle it out on a little league soccer field? New York City FC had every opportunity to take the three points at home — they were in good form and have the advantage of knowing the mini-field well. Last season, OCSC struggled but especially on the road, so a point at Yankee Stadium? I’ll take it. The lineup wasn’t drastically different than last week, only seeing Tesho Akindele start over Dom Dwyer, who we later heard had picked up a knock during training. Here’s how they performed in my eyes:
GK, Brian Rowe, 7 — I mean, has he done it yet? Has he proven that he’s the keeper we’ve been needing? A fingertip knock away, coming off the line to snatch the ball mid-air, and a beautiful shot block that unfortunately saw no purple defenders and led to the NYCFC goal. The keeper certainly got a workout as hosts looked hard to come back from the 1-0 deficit and even harder to take the lead once they scored.
D, João Moutinho, 6 — I love this kid, but he’s seemed off the last couple of matches. Nevertheless he came back to see two tackles, three clearances, and a blocked shot. His 60 touches saw only 57% passing accuracy. After being so impressed by him early on, this was a more disappointing match performance from him.
D, Robin Jansson, 7 — I just love watching Robin Jansson defend in purple. A tackle, an interception, a blocked shot, a yellow card, and six clearances summarize his performance. Wait? A yellow? Jansson picked up a yellow card late in the match for putting himself between the attacker and Rowe to let Rowe play the ball, but after a scrappy game with so few fouls actually called, players were shocked to see him get this yellow as we saw referee Drew Fischer lose control of the match.
D, Lamine Sané, 7 — I know, he had two very scary moments in the match that could have resulted in an own goal. He seemed to gather himself after that to come back and work to defend the back line for Orlando. With his 27 touches we saw 94% passing accuracy from the defender in addition to a tackle, an interception, and five clearances.
D, Ruan, 7 — Ruan’s speed will never stop amazing me, but there is a sure-fire way to slow him down: foul him repeatedly and get little to no calls against for doing it. His key pass in 18th minute led to Nani scoring. With 56 touches we saw his pass accuracy at 79% and we continued to see him perform despite looking a bit banged up. He finished the match with two tackles, three interceptions, two clearances, and what should have been an assist on the missed opportunity from Dwyer.
MF, Will Johnson, 6.5 — A bit of a quiet match for Will Johnson, and at times I forgot he was on the field. Just kidding, Johnson led the team with six tackles and tied Uri for the highest number of clearances, with seven. With 50 touches we saw Johnson produce 77% passing accuracy. Not a bad match for Johnson, who tends to get a lot of hate from fans.
MF, Uri Rosell, 7.5 (MOTM) — Everything seemed to come through Uri this match. He was focused and ready for NYCFC. He was the root of the goal in the 18th minute, having chipped a pass up to spring Ruan, who got his cross blocked by defenders, but Nani was there to clean it up. We saw another great series from Rosell to Mueller to Akendele resulting in a second goal that would later be called back because VAR + OCSC = disallowed goals (OK, Nani was a smidge offside coming back for the ball). With a passing average of 70% and leading the team in touches at 70, he kept the middle in check for most of the match, picking up a yellow for, I’m still not sure considering everything that went uncalled for NYCFC. You may not agree with my pick of Rosell for Man of the Match, but he has been something to watch as a starter, much like he was in the friendlies during preseason.
MF, Sebas Méndez, 6.5 — Méndez was pretty quiet this match but seemed to work well off Rosell with two tackles, an interception, and a 73% passing accuracy. I love how he commands the field and tends to be all over the place. I hope we have the opportunity to see the Uri and Sebas combination grow.
F, Nani, 7 — The man can score! I can’t help but think that if he hadn’t pulled back on the wide-open net perhaps he could have beat the defender to the line to tap it in. The captain scored his fifth goal as a Lion in the 18th minute of the match and broke out the backflip celebration we used to get to see often from Dwyer. Unlike previous matches, not a whole lot of the action ran through Nani and he saw 41 touches and only a 65% passing accuracy. His two shots on target are leading the team by example, to take the shot.
F, Tesho Akindele, 6.5 — It was not Akindele’s best performance but not his worst. We’d see a series that left us confused, then we’d see a beautiful setup for Mueller only to be wasted, or the goal that got called back. He appeared to lack control multiple times in the match and had a passer rating of only 61%, which left Orlando vulnerable at times.
F, Chris Mueller, 5 — There is no doubt that this kid is beyond talented, but he was a disappointing starter today. I think he added another notch in the “super sub or starter” argument in favor of super sub. He appeared to tire easily and touched the ball way too much. He had chances handed to him to shoot it, but ended up dribbling them away. I didn’t feel the same level of energy from him as I do when he comes off the bench late in the second half.
F, Dom Dwyer (62’), 5 — Dom makes mistakes regularly, sure, but as a typical starter we see him have the time to try to make up for said mistakes. There’s an ongoing argument that a striker’s job is to score, and it obviously is. No one can be perfect all the time, but that wide header on a mostly open goal was truly heartbreaking after a perfectly timed cross from Ruan found Dom unmarked. As The Mane Land’s very own Michael Citro pointed out, however, the bigger disappointment might just be a missed chance at seeing both Nani and Dom do backflips on the foosball table in the same game. He did little to add to the match, connecting only three of his six passes and getting a foul called against him after only being on the pitch for seconds.
MF, Sacha Kljestan (73’), 6 — He was not quite the super sub he has been in the past. Kljestan saw 15 touches and a 63% passer rate. After getting tangled with NYCFC’s Alexander Callens and seemingly trying to genuinely apologize, there was a bit of a commotion as Fischer again lost control of the match.
There it is, Mane Landers — the match as I saw it. Not that winning feeling I love so much, but that, “Hey, points on the road” feeling isn’t so bad.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium?
This poll is closed
Other (name your MotM in the comments!)