It was a tale of two halves in Orlando on a windy, misty night. The first half saw The Lions fall 3-1 before the half. Were I a gambling woman, my money would have been on another home loss after the first-half performance.
I’m not sure what went down in the locker room, but the Lions came back out in the second half hungry to come back. A draw really wasn’t the result the Lions were hoping for, or needed, but after the first 45, I’ll take the point over a massacre. Let’s get to the grades.
GK, Brian Rowe, 6 — I think you could hear the sound of hearts breaking across the stadium as Rowe was wandering about out of his goal, despite Ruan making things tricky for Cristian Penilla, who chipped one in right over the keeper to regain the lead for New England. He was beaten again in the 41st when Gustavo Bou made it 3-1 in the first half. He had a huge save in the 84th when Penilla cleared the defense and got a shot off.
D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — When the defender was caught out of position in the 21st minute he had no choice but to take Brandon Bye down for a yellow. The defender has been working his way up the player rankings for me, but last night was not his night. He was getting smoked on the left all night. Smith finished with one interception, one clearance, a blocked shot, two tackles, and an 89% pass completion rate on 37 attempts.
D, Robin Jansson, 5.5 — Would it be a match if we didn’t see the Swede booked? He received a yellow in the 60th minute for a foul on the counter attack. In a surprisingly quiet night for Jansson, he finished with one clearance, one blocked shot, and a 76% pass completion rate on 38 attempts.
D, Lamine Sané, 6.5 — There was a scary moment when Sané went down hard but walked it off and rejoined game play following the restart. Perhaps his best moment of the match was in the 74th minute when a crucial touch kept the Revs from going up a fourth. Sané ended the night with three tackles, an interception, an 89% pass completion rate on 26 attempts, and a team-high five clearances.
D, Ruan, 6 — Ruan had a lot of heavy touches last night, seeming not quite himself out there. After a nice bit of play to outrun the Revs defenders, Ruan sent a cross into the area in the 75th minute that Dwyer tried to send in before going down. He ended the night with one clearance, one interception, a blocked shot, two dribbles, and a 79% passing rate on 34 attempts.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 6.5 — I have to start by saying how much I’ve missed Higuita in the midfield. Last week and this week he proved to us all just how valuable he is. He’s an aggressive threat who isn’t afraid to snatch the ball and take chances. I probably would have died if his shot in the 45th minute off a short free kick had gone in, but in City fashion it was fired way over the bar. Higuita tried to smash one in again in the 78th but it was right to Matt Turner, who saved it with ease. He ended the night with three tackles, two interceptions, a clearance, three shots (one on target), and an 83% pass rate on 64 attempts. A lot of the midfield play ran through him with 86 touches through the match, a team high for the night.
MF, Carlos Ascues, 5.5 — Back from international duty with Peru, Ascues seemed to work well with the other midfielders. The Peruvian ended the night with three tackles, a blocked shot, and a 91% pass accuracy on 22 attempts, but he struggled to get on the ball, with only 28 touches in his 56 minutes.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — His corner service right to Nani was a thing of beauty, and it was nice to see his level of play back on the field. Pereyra made things harder for New England but came off at the half. Here’s hoping we can see him fit for the full 90 soon. He ended the night with his first MLS assist, a 79% pass rate on 28 attempts, two tackles, and three key passes.
MF, Nani, 9 (MotM) — The stadium came alive seven minutes after the own goal — first, when Nani’s cross was just out of the reach of Dom’s head, and again when Pereyra’s corner kick connected with Nani for a header right into corner of the net to tie up the game. Things were exciting just before the halftime whistle but Nani’s shot sailed over the bar. His perfectly timed cross in the 47th minute connected with Dom’s head to make it 3-2 and bring the Lions back into the match. There’s no question that the match rested heavily on the shoulders of the captain, who completed his brace to tie the game and nearly set up a Santiago Patino winner. While his 67% passing rate leaves a bit to be desired, you can’t be mad at the man for two goals and an assist to help the Lions earn a point at home. He finished with team highs in shots (7) and chances created (5) too.
MF, Tesho Akindele, 5.5 — It was easy to be excited to see Tesho on the pitch when in the second minute he had a shot that ended up being blocked. That was short lived of course when in the 15th he sent an own goal in off the post. He had a chance for redemption in the 27th minute but sent a shot just wide of the goal. Tesho had another chance in the 62nd when Nani sent it in to him but he mishit and sent it to the only part of the goal that was covered by Turner. Akindele ended the night with an 88% pass rate on 33 attempts, two interceptions, one shot on target and an own goal.
F, Dom Dwyer, 7 — Dwyer sent a header in off a Nani cross and suddenly being down by only one seemed to light a fire under the entire team. Dom had another chance when he hit the rebound of Tesho’s misfire, but it too was saved. The forward earned a free kick in a decent area but sent it sky high over the bar. He was involved in a collision as he and Turner both lunged for the ball as Dom tried to knock it home off a Ruan cross in the 75th. The collision had Dom down and subbed off for Patino. He walked onto the pitch with ice taped to his leg following the final whistle. Here’s hoping he’s not out any more minutes due to injury. He ended the night with three shots (two on target), an 83% pass rate on 12 attempts, and one goal.
F, Benji Michel (46’), 6 — Michel came on at the start of halftime for Pereyra who wasn’t fit for the full 90. The forward ended the night with an interception and a blocked shot, and a 57% pass rate on seven attempts.
MF, Sebas Méndez (57’), 6 — The Ecuadorian, back from international duty, came on for Ascues. The 62nd minute was the moment of chances from Tesho’s misfire. After the save on Dom’s opportunity, Méndez had a chance in the same wild sequence of play but fired wide. He ended the night with a 78% pass rate on 23 attempts, an interception, two key passes, and a blocked shot.
F, Santiago Patino (76’), 6 — Santi got his head under the ball in the 78th and (can you guess?) sent it over. He had a chance again quickly in the 80th only to see it brushed by Turner’s foot and knocked off the outside of the post for a corner. His short time on the pitch saw him complete all three of his passes, and attempt two shots with one on target. The burst of energy and fresh legs were what the Lions were looking for, but not quite enough to take the lead. Patino’s now hit the post with potential game winners in each of his last two games, so he’s due for a little luck.
That’s how I saw things. What were your thoughts on the 3-3 draw against the New England Revs? Who was your Man of the Match? Be sure to vote in the poll below!
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