Orlando City hosted New York City FC at Exploria Stadium after having the previous match against the Columbus Crew postponed. Óscar Pareja was finally able to send out the speedy Ruan, which was important with Pedro Gallese and Sebas Méndez still away on international duty. Unfortunately, João Moutinho, Uri Rosell, Mauricio Pereyra, Tesho Akindele, and Dom Dwyer are all still out with injuries and both Kyle Smith and Benji Michel joined the parade of unavailable players, so we saw a mixed unit of normal starters and newer guys. Let’s see how they did.
GK, Brian Rowe, 7.5 (MOTM) — Rowe had one of his best matches as a Lion on Wednesday night. He made seven saves in the match, including three difficult saves in the 26th, 64th, and 83rd minutes. He initially stopped Keaton Park’s scoring attempt in the 43rd minute, but it squirted past him and Park got to it first to level the score. Rowe attempted 20 passes at a 70% passing rate, and completed six of 12 long balls attempted. His distribution was solid, but it was his shot stopping that helped earn the point for Orlando City.
D, Kamal Miller, 5.5 — Like the rest of Orlando City’s defense, Miller had a strong showing. He made several good defensive tackles, including one that made up for a giveaway in the 71st minute on a bad pass to Nani. After giving that ball away, he tracked back, caught up, and dispossessed NYCFC in Orlando’s area. Defensively, Miller had one tackle, three clearances, five interceptions, and committed two fouls, earning a yellow card. He attempted 47 passes and had an 83% passing rate, and connected on four of eight long balls attempted. He had one shot that went wide left in the 62nd minute.
D, Robin Jansson, 6 — As usual, Jansson seemed to be wherever he was needed in leading the defense. He even came out of nowhere to make an interception in the opposing half. Defensively, Jansson made one tackle, one interception, three clearances, one blocked shot, and committed two fouls, earning a yellow card. Jansson attempted 43 passes at an 86.1% passing rate, and completed three of five long balls attempted. The Lions tried the Nani/Jansson “who’s going to take the free kick” thing again, and though it gave Jansson a shot attempt on the score sheet, it once again didn’t work.
D, Antonio Carlos, 6 — Carlos continued to show why he is a first choice starter on a club with several good defensive players. He made numerous key solo defensive plays to keep NYCFC off the scoreboard. Defensively, he made one tackle, eight interceptions, two clearances, and suffered one foul. Carlos attempted 54 passes with a 77.8% passing rate, and completed four of his 10 attempted long balls. However, it was his turnover that led to NYCFC’s goal.
D, Ruan, 6 — Ruan made his return after several weeks on the injured list. He played all the way into the 92nd minute before being subbed off. Often a player that has not seen the field in a while has trouble getting back up to speed. That isn’t the case with the fleet feet of Ruan. He was seemingly as fast as usual, leaving defenders in his wake. He did his usual job roaming up and down the right side to contribute on both ends. In addition to taking one shot, he provided the very pretty assist on Mueller’s goal, and earned a corner in the 20th minute. Defensively he made two tackles, three clearances, had one blocked shot, and one interception, and committed no fouls. Ruan attempted 26 passes, had an 80.8% passing rate, with two key passes, and completed one long ball. He did pass up a good opportunity to shoot late in the game.
MF, Joey DeZart, 5.5 — With plenty of the usual starters out, DeZart got his second start for the Lions, He took no shots on his 43 touches. He didn’t make many mistakes and looked a little nervy at times in the midfield — not that he’s gotten many minutes. He attempted 37 passes with a 91.9% passing rate, and completed one long ball. Defensively he had one clearance, and suffered one foul.
MF, Junior Urso, 5.5 — Urso put in a decent if a bit quiet shift. He attempted 30 passes with an 83.3% passing rate, and attempted one long ball. On defense he made one tackle, one interception, suffered one foul, and committed one foul. He did give NYCFC something to think about in the middle of the field, and that doesn’t always show up in the box score.
MF, Chris Mueller, 7 — The rest allowed by the postponed match against the Crew might have helped Mueller as much as anyone. In the early part of the game he was the Energizer bunny energy we’ve come to expect, but he didn’t have as much of the sloppiness he’s shown recently. Though he wasn’t able to connect on a diving header on an early Nani cross, he did score in the 18th minute on a header from Ruan’s excellent assist. Mueller was credited with two shots, with one on target for a goal. He committed one foul, and suffered two. Mueller attempted 31 passes with a 74.2% passing rate, and completed one of two long balls attempted.
MF,Andrés Perea, 6 — Perea started the match out very hot, missing just left on his only shot on goal in the second minute. That shot followed after he took the ball off a NYCFC player, made a nice give and go with Nani, and found himself in front of goal. Like the rest of Orlando City, Perea looked very good in the first half. He made three tackles, one clearance, and had one blocked shot. He attempted 33 passes, had a 97% passing rate, made one key pass, and connected on both of his long ball attempts.
MF, Nani, 6.5 — The captain looked like a man determined to put the team on his shoulders and win the thing all by himself at times. I’m not sure if he wasn’t feeling very trusting of some of his teammates, or if he just wanted the ball himself, but he had mixed results. Nani made some ridiculous moves on the NYCFC defense, making them look silly, but he also gave the ball up quite a bit. Still, he earned six fouls and only committed one. He had two shots, with one on target, and four crosses. He attempted 34 passes but with only a 58.8% passing rate, while creating three key passes and completing two of his five long ball attempts. Defensively he chipped in two tackles and an interception. Nani created havoc in his attack on NYCFC, but at times he also created issues for his own team in this game.
F, Daryl Dike, 5.5 — It’s not easy being the only available striker, and as such Dike was also a player that benefitted from the postponed match against the Crew. Dike only had one shot, a missed header in the 14th minute after a great team buildup to put the ball in the six-yard box. Generally, the big man was effective in occupying space, holding up play, and making good turns once he had the ball. However it wasn’t his best match either, as he was caught offside three times. Statistically, he suffered four fouls while committing none and made two tackles. Dike attempted 11 passes with a 63.3% passing rate.
MF, David Loera (76’), 5— Loera was brought on for DeZart to provide some energy and relieve some tired legs. Unfortunately, he was only able to get three touches. He completed his only pass attempt and drew a foul but it was a quiet appearance for the final 14 minutes plus 10 minutes of stoppage time.
MF, Robinho (84’), N/A — Robinho subbed in for Mueller, but only had four touches and one pass, which didn’t connect, and came on a bit too late to earn a grade.
MF, Jordan Bender (93’), N/A — Bender made his MLS debut in stoppage time. It was a bit of a time-wasting move as he relieved Dike. He committed a foul as his first action in MLS. That is all. He didn’t even register a touch of the ball.
D, Alex De John, (93’), N/A — De John came on late for Ruan, and only had three touches, and one (incomplete) pass.
That was how I saw it. Vote for your Man of the Match in the poll, and comment below.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 1-1 draw against NYCFC?
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