Orlando City was a goal post away from putting the eventual Supporters Shield winners away in last night’s 2-2 draw against Los Angeles FC. But that pesky woodwork denied Santi Patino a goal that would have pushed the Lions’ lead to 3-1 and a minute later, Diego Rossi made good on one of his rare opportunities in the game to level things.
Draws are funny things, because how you feel about them is often related to the order in which the goals were scored. If LAFC scored the first two, Orlando fans would be ecstatic with the point. If the Lions had even scored just the last goal in the draw, supporters go home much happier. But when the other team gets the last licks in, it doesn’t feel quite as good, and the later that goal is scored, the worse it feels.
I went into this one expecting no points, Carlos Vela or no Carlos Vela, so a point was a nice surprise for me. Anyway, the Lions gained a point on New England. Let’s see how the individual performances graded out.
GK, Brian Rowe, 5.5 — Rowe got a hand on both LAFC goals but it would be unfair to say he should have stopped them. Adrien Perez’s goal took a deflection just in front of him and Diego Rossi’s 15th of the season was a 1-v-1 and just had too much on it to keep it out from that range. He didn’t have what you’d call a difficult save to make on either of the two that he stopped. His distribution was awful early in the game, as he sent two free kicks straight out of bounds and sending a long ball over everyone to opposing goalkeeper Tyler Miller. Rowe, who finished with just a 29% passing rate, has been better and he’s been worse this season. It was an OK game. He didn’t cost the team any points, nor did he earn the Lions any.
D, Kyle Smith, 7 — Smith just continues to play solid soccer. His offensive shortcomings are obvious — he hasn’t been a good crosser this year and he seems to get cut off when he gets to the corner and encounters traffic. But when he releases the pass early it’s usually pretty good and he’s been a workhorse on the defensive end. Last night, Smith was an 83% passer to lead the back line, led the team in tackles (5), and finished with two interceptions and five clearances.
D, Robin Jansson, 6 — I like what the Swede brings to the team. Last night he was solid if unspectacular. He led the Lions in clearances (6) but failed to record any tackles or interceptions. He got beat by Rossi’s speed on the tying goal. The back line could have stepped up before the pass or they’ve got to track Rossi and they did neither. His 83% passing was just a couple of tenths of a percentage point behind Smith. He attempted one shot but it was blocked.
D, Lamine Sané, 7 — Sané seemed right on the edge all night. He got caught on an early LAFC break but luckily after Perez rounded Rowe, he was too wide and Rowe smothered the pass attempt. Sané led the team in interceptions (6) and pitched in five clearances, two tackles, and two blocked shots. He did tee up the first goal for Perez but that was bad luck. He stretched out to get a toe to a dangerous cross and couldn’t get any power to clear it and it unfortunately fell perfectly for the LAFC forward. His passing was decent at 78%.
D, Ruan, 8 (MotM) — It was good to have the Brazilian speedster back on the pitch. He adds a dimension to the attack that doesn’t exist without him and could have made more plays had his teammates looked for him a bit more. There were opportunities to play him in that went ignored. He still sent a perfect ball to Benji Michel for the second goal to earn his assist. He was a 73% passer and created one chance. Sometimes he makes a great move to split two guys and then inexplicably dribbles right at a third defender, which is a bit maddening, but he’s always entertaining. He finished with three tackles, two clearances, and two interceptions and made some plays tracking back that no one else on Orlando could make just because of his speed. He even showed he was faster than a fresher Mohamed El-Munir late in the game, winning a race to a loose ball.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 8 — I had a tough time deciding between Higuita and Ruan for Man of the Match. The Colombian lost out by the slimmest edge for me. He was involved in both goals and the space LAFC had in Orlando’s end widened considerably after he tired and eventually left the game. I had to triple check his passing accuracy because I couldn’t believe it was only 56%, but he played in the final third a lot more than usual and was asked to facilitate the attack in ways he rarely is. He got a hockey assist on Michel’s goal and was a slight deflection from a primary assist on Nani’s. He sent in the cross that ended in Uri Rosell’s disallowed goal after Michel and Miller collided. He won an aerial, had three tackles, and made two interceptions.
MF, Uri Rosell, 6.5 — It was tough watching Rosell’s goal waved off as the midfielder has worked hard and fought for Orlando City this year and it would have been a nice reward for him. The Spaniard put in a good shift, with an interception and a clearance and he took one for the team when he was booked for a professional foul to prevent a break when Smith slipped on the play. His 84% passing was the highest among non-defensive starters except Michel, although Uri had 36 more attempts. Only Nani and Smith had more than his 51 touches.
MF, Dillon Powers, 6 — It was the kind of quiet night you need from a defensive midfielder. Powers was a 79% passer and had two tackles, two interceptions, and a clearance. He even tied Nani as the team’s best long passer, connecting on four of his five long-ball attempts. As a guy who hadn’t played much in recent weeks, it was no surprise that his energy level dropped late in the game and he wasn’t closing down as quickly as he had earlier in the match.
F, Nani, 7.5 — The captain was active against LAFC, scoring his first non-penalty goal since May 19 with a lovely chip over Miller. He also participated in the buildup on Michel’s goal, giving the ball to Higuita at the start of the sequence. His cross nearly ended up in a goal in the 77th minute but Patino hit the post. Nani hit four of his five long balls like Powers, passed at a 78% rate, made three key passes, and chipped in defensively with an interception and a clearance.
F, Dom Dwyer, 5.5 — It was a quiet night for Dwyer, who didn’t receive great service and didn’t manage a shot attempt. He did chip in with solid hold-up play and he was pesky without crossing the line. He won three aerials, drew three fouls, passed at 80% and had one tackle and tried to block Perez’s 12th-minute shot but didn’t get enough of it.
F, Benji Michel, 6.5 — The rookie made no mistake on his go-ahead goal, scoring on his only shot attempt. His 89% passing rate was good but it came on just nine attempts. He chipped in a clearance and an accurate long ball. The only blemish to his game was that he was dispossessed four times on the night as the young Homegrown Player has to learn how to use his body better in traffic.
F, Santiago Patino (67’), 6 — In 23 minutes plus five more in stoppage time, Patino only managed 11 touches. He was nearly a hero in the 77th but his lone shot attempt of the night bounced back off the right post. He connected on all four of his pass attempts and showed good touch on his hold-up play. He contributed a tackle and two clearances defensively.
MF/F, Chris Mueller (73’), 6 — Despite coming in late, Mueller didn’t seem to have the usual jump in his legs against the players who had been on the pitch for most of the game. He did have a tackle and a clearance on defense and was an 88% passer. He was credited with two shot attempts, but neither was on target. He had just 16 touches and no key passes.
F, Robinho (87’), N/A — There wasn’t really enough time to give Robinho a fair grade. He only touched the ball seven times, though he did complete all three of his pass attempts. That about sums up his few minutes on the pitch.
That’s how I saw the individual performances as the Lions grabbed a vital point. What did you think? Vote for your Man of the Match in the poll below and let us know in the comments section where you think I went wrong.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2-2 draw against LAFC?
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