Orlando City headed to Houston to take on the Dynamo in a must-win match. Despite scoring first, the Lions weren’t able to hold on and lost, 2-1. While not mathematically out of the playoffs, not winning a must-win match leaves Orlando with scant hope to see the postseason. Let’s see how the players graded out.
GK, Brian Rowe, 6 — Rowe had some big saves in this match to keep the Lions in the lead for much of it. He never had a chance on the two goals that Houston scored. In addition to his saves in the 32nd, 37th, and 72nd minutes, he had a well-played punch in the 66th minute. While his distribution wasn’t perfect, he did have a few nice throws that started counter attacks.
D, Kamal Miller, 5 — When Houston wasn’t able to move the ball through the middle of the field, they pushed out wide, and found success against Miller. Kamal had six clearances in the match, but often found himself on the wrong side of an attacker.
D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson may not have had his best game, but he was solid as usual. He had one block, one interception, seven clearances, and an 87% passing rate. He helped to clog up the middle to stifle Houston’s attack, and ranged up field effectively.
D, Lamine Sané, 6 — Along with Jansson, Sané was effective for most of the match, though he did commit the foul in the 37th minute that led to a free kick for Houston. He was also beaten in the 66th minute, but the shot wasn’t on target. Houston was forced to move the ball to the outside to beat Orlando City. He finished with one block, two interceptions, two clearances, and an 89% passing rate.
D, Ruan, 5 — Ruan tried to use his considerable speed up the right side, but the Lions weren’t able to convert any of his crosses. Unfortunately, once Houston started concentrating on the wings, he wasn’t as effective, though better than Miller on the other side. Ruan had one clearance, and an 80% passing rate. He got turned inside out on the second Houston goal. It wasn’t his best match, but he wasn’t alone in that.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 6.5 — Higuita was the defensive midfield linchpin for the Lions. He was directing traffic, helping Orlando to play out of the back, and generally keeping things organized. He earned the foul that led to Orlando’s goal, and also earned a yellow card for himself. Higuita finished with one tackle, one interception, three clearances, and a 97% passing rate on 37 passes. The biggest indication of how important Higuita was in this match is what happened after he was subbed off.
MF, Sebas Méndez, 5.5 — Sebas had a 96% passing rate on more than 60 passes, but many of those were just giving the ball back to whichever player passed the ball to him. Despite touching the ball a ton, he didn’t do much to help with the Lions’ attack, especially once the team was playing from behind.
MF, Will Johnson, 6 — Mr. Hustle put in his usual shift, working both the defensive and offensive sides of the match. Johnson had one shot in the 31st minute, but it sailed off to the left. Johnson had one interception, one clearance, and a 94% passing rate on 32 passes.
F, Nani, 6 — Nani wasn’t able to take over the match this week, and the Lions paid for it. While not as good as last week, he did earn the corner in 58th minute. He also took a free kick in the 77th minute, as Orlando struggled to get back into the match, but neither set piece was converted. Nani had no shots or assists this week, and had an 88% passing rate. He did still draw defenders when in the attack, but didn’t have the same sharpness as last match.
F, Dom Dwyer, 7 (MotM) — For the second match in a row, Dwyer scored a goal. This header came from Mauricio Pereyra’s free kick, and put Orlando City up early. He had another good chance in the 20th minute, but it was saved. With five of Orlando’s seven shots, and all three of the shots on target, Dwyer had a good night. He also made a kick save of his own in 56th minute, and had an 83% passing rate. Dom did his usual work in the area to try to create chances, but he wasn’t able to find another goal to help out the Lions. Despite this, he gets my Man of the Match.
F, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — Pereyra continues to show his quality, and Orlando City wishes he was 90 minutes fit. It was his fantastic delivery on the free kick to Dom for the Lions’ goal in the sixth minute. Pererya had one interception, one clearance, and an 82% passing rate. He came off in the 63rd minute, and Orlando City missed his creativity.
F, Tesho Akindele (63’), 5.5 — Akindele was subbed on for Pereyra, and couldn’t replicate the creativity of Mauricio. Neither was he able to find the back of the goal. No shots taken, and an 82% passing rate might not sound great, but Orlando City was chasing the match soon after he came on.
MF, Carlos Ascues (64’), 4.5 — Ascues subbed in for slightly injured Higuita, and was not able to truly replace him. It wasn’t until Higuita was gone that Houston was finally able to break through. Ascues finished with an 86% passing rate on 14 passes. Frankly, he looked lost, and the center didn’t hold, though he did force a diving save late in the match on a decent shot.
F, Chris Mueller (85’), N/A — Despite coming on late, Mueller tried to be the super sub, but might have tried a bit too hard. He tried to dribble through most of the Houston defense, and it just didn’t happen. Mueller had seven touches and an 86% passing rate.
That’s how I saw things. What were your thoughts on the 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo? Who was your Man of the Match? Be sure to vote in the poll below!
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2-1 loss in Houston?
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