Well, I spent my Saturday night after a long “Meet the Teacher” Friday watching the Lions draw in Toronto on the road. I mean, obviously better than a loss, but the draw on the road still stings and really isn’t what Orlando City needed. Here’s how I thought the Lions rated individually:
GK, Brian Rowe, 6.5 — Rowe was tested repeatedly in the second half and finished with four saves on Toronto’s five shots on target, plus three clearances and a 68% passing accuracy. He had a couple nice long throws to try to jump-start the offense. Mullins was the only Red to reach the back of the net on a chaotic play in front.
D, Kamal Miller, 6.5 — It was not a bad night for Miller in his hometown. He sent a beautiful long ball up to Dom Dwyer in the 33rd minute that was just too far for Dwyer to connect. The Canadian finished with three tackles, two clearances, and a 90% passing accuracy, and made one of the best plays of his short career so far when he dispossessed Toronto on the counter-attack in the 33rd minute.
D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Perhaps the most consistent on defense, Jansson registered one tackle, one interception, three clearances, two blocked shots, and an 88% passing accuracy. The ESPN+ announcers kept referring to him as a brick wall.
D, Lamine Sané , 6 — Sané’s defending saw two interceptions, five clearances, and a yellow card. I’m a bit surprised we didn’t see a call for his boot to a Toronto player’s face as he unintentionally slid into him on a play.
D, Kyle Smith, 7.5 (MotM) — Kyle Smith has quite the fan base in the ESPN+ announcers for Toronto FC. To hear them call the match, you almost wouldn’t know anyone else was playing, except for maybe Miller. He made a nice play in the 58th minute to head a cross from Richie Laryea away from Jozy Altidore. The defense that is normally a Sané and Jansson showcase didn’t stand a chance with Smith on the field tonight. Smith finished with three tackles, a team-high eight clearances, and a blocked shot. His crosses weren’t always accurate but he did some nifty things on the offensive end too.
MF, Carlos Ascues, 6 — Ascues started the night pretty strong but seemed to fade into the background after that, save for the handball in the offensive penalty area in the 42nd minute. He produced one clearance and a dribble, as well as an 89% passing accuracy on 35 attempts on the night.
MF, Nani, 7 — The captain took a shot in the 22nd minute two work goalkeeper, Quentin Westberg into a diving stop, although the effort was drifting just wide. A rough challenge saw the captain go down for a bit shortly before the second half, but he was able to get up and play on after being looked at by trainers. Shortly after, Nani took a shot that sent the ball wide. Nani’s 50 attempts produced an 84% passing accuracy, while defensively he had one tackle, one interception, and a foul. He’s a Lion on the field taking chances.
MF, Uri Rosell, 6 — Rosell combined with Chris Mueller to beautifully dispossess Laryea in the 13th minute, only for Uri to misplace the ensuing pass. With space and a dying clock, Rosell took a shot in the 93rd minute, but sent it way over. Defensively, Uri had three tackles, two interceptions, and a clearance while his team-high pass attempts (66) produced an 86% passing accuracy.
F, Chris Mueller, 7 — Mueller had a rough time as Laryea seemed to outrun him and outplay him much of the night. He started out OK defensively, getting into passing lanes, but really struggled in the attack at times in the first half. Then he had that beautiful assist on the Benji Michel goal. He seemed to have taken some time to warm up to this game. Defensively, Mueller had three tackles and five interceptions, while his passing accuracy on 66 attempts clocked in at 87%.
F, Dom Dwyer, 6.5 — His time on the field was reminiscent of the Dwyer we all know and love. He was alert, hungry, and seemed ready to do what it takes. He cleared a corner in the first half, smashing the ball out of danger with authority. You won’t convince me that he wouldn’t have scored on the set piece had he not been held down and unable to jump — even the Toronto announcers were saying it was a clear and obvious penalty kick that went uncalled for the Lions. Dom playing the ball into space for Mueller helped set up the goal, although he didn’t get the hockey assist for some reason. Is it possible that Dom’s defensive stats are better than his offensive stats this match? The striker made two clearances and had one shot on target, and a 78% passing accuracy.
F, Robinho, 6 — Not a particularly amazing outing for one of the newest Lions. We finally saw a nice bit of play from Robinho only to see the buildup fizzle out. His time in the game saw one tackle, two interceptions, and a foul. Additionally, his 25 attempts saw just an 80% passing accuracy.
F, Benji Michel (68’), 6.5 — I mean, what do I even have to say? His first contact with the ball after being on the pitch for a minute and the kid scores his second career MLS goal. It quickly took a dark turn when Michel fouled Laryea in the 74th minute and it was originally ruled a penalty kick. After going to video review, it was quite rightfully changed to a free kick just outside the box, only to see Toronto score anyway. Do those two events cancel each other out? Asking for a friend who has to do grades.
F, Tesho Akindele (78’), 5.5 — A nice play from Ruan got the ball in the area to Tesho, who couldn’t quite get the touch he needed on it and he flicked the ball wide. I think it’s a trend, but I’m not actually tracking the data, so someone let me know if I’m way off here, but Tesho’s first touches, for the most part, seem to be his downfall game recently. In the eighteen-ish minutes he played tonight he looked tired and slow.
MF, Ruan (86’), N/A — He was only in for a few minutes — not quite long enough to fairly grade — but Ruan made his presence known. After beating his man down the right, Ruan sent it into the area where Tesho had a chance on goal. He was able to get in a tackle and connected on both of his pass attempts.
That’s how I saw the match unfold player by player. What are your thoughts on the draw away from home? Be sure to tell us that and vote in the poll below for your Man of the Match!
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