Orlando City will return home after coming away with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact in New Jersey. New York City FC’s 5-2 win over the New York Red Bulls at the same time made those three points essential as the Lions look to claim a home game in the 2020 MLS Cup playoffs.
It was a solid performance by the whole team as the Lions secured their fifth clean sheet of the season — fourth in regular-season play — and second against the Impact. Here’s how I saw the performance by the Orlando City players in this game.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 7 — There wasn’t a lot for the Peruvian international to do on this night as the Impact only had five shots on target and most were directly at him. However, a second half injury time shot by Bojan was headed just inside the post before El Pulpo came flying in to make the one-handed save. Considering that it would’ve been the equalizing goal, that save itself is enough to call this an excellent performance by Orlando City’s number one.
D, Kamal Miller, 5.5 — Kamal Miller wasn’t as involved in the attack as Kyle Smith or Ruan but did have a solid game defensively. He ended the game with a pair of tackles, an interception, and a clearance. He only played 56 minutes in this one but had another solid performance, contributing to an excellent defensive night for the Lions.
D, Antonio Carlos, 6 — This was a solid game by all defensive players and Antonio Carlos was no different. The team has been lifted by the Brazilian’s return to the lineup and he proved once again why in this game. He made three interceptions in the back and had eight clearances. Additionally, he blocked three shots. Carlos played the role of cleanup in this game, often being the last man defending to halt a Montreal attack and he was excellent in that role.
D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — Similar to the other defenders, Robin Jansson had a great performance. The defense was tasked with keeping the 1-0 lead provided by Daryl Dike in the 39th minute and they did that well. The biggest moment for Jansson, which puts him a little above the other defenders in my mind, came when Bojan made his way into the box and fired on goal. It appeared as though the ball was headed toward the net before the Swede came flying in to make the block. While Gallese might’ve been there, Jansson made sure that the lead was protected. In the end, Jansson had seven clearances and two key blocked shots in the game.
D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Kyle Smith has had an up and down season in 2020. Some games he’s been solid while he’s looked like a liability in others. Tonight was a good performance for the right back, who moved to left back when Kamal Miller was replaced by Ruan. Early in the game, Smith got into the attack on the right, with a pair of crosses. But he factored most in his contribution to the clean sheet. He ended the game with four tackles, two interceptions, four clearances, and a blocked shot.
MF, Benji Michel, 5.5 — Benji Michel wasn’t as involved in the attack as he has been in other games but did come away with two shots on target. He only touched the ball 43 times, which is less than you would like from an attacking player with his ability. He completed 76% of his passes but wasn’t really involved in many dangerous attacks.
MF, Mauiricio Pereyra, 7 (MotM) — Mauricio Pereyra has been missing the last few games with an injury and it’s been noticeable. The midfielder was fantastic in this game and made the biggest play of the night. In the 39th minute, he played a perfect through ball for Daryl Dike, allowing the big striker to put home the winning goal. In 56 minutes, he completed 80% of his 35 passes, including two key passes in the attack. His passing accuracy and presence in the midfield was influential in the team being able to claim all three points.
MF, Sebas Mendez, 6 — It was another solid performance by Sebas Mendez, who has been a key defensive piece for Orlando City in 2020. He made five tackles on the night and had an interception in this game. He nearly provided an insurance goal when he dispossessed Bojan to launch a counter-attack but Clement Diop made the save on the final ball. When Mendez had the ball, he completed 91.6% of his 71 passes, helping to start an attack on several occasions.
MF, Andres Perea, 6 — Similar to Mendez, Andres Perea had a solid game in a defensive midfield role. He had three interceptions and four clearances, helping the Lions remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. He made a total of 81 passes going forward and completed 86.4% of those passes.
FW, Daryl Dike, 6.5 — The rookie striker has been the big man up top that Orlando City has been missing since Cyle Larin left. He scored his third goal in three games in this one but it’s the play itself that was impressive. After using his body to shield the defender from the ball and going to ground, he quickly got up and made a nice run for Pereyra. His shot was perfectly placed to the back post for the game’s lone goal. He wasn’t that involved in his 84 minutes, only touching the ball 34 times and taking two shots, but his job is to score and he did that once again.
FW, Tesho Akindele, 5 — Tesho Akindele has had some great games this season but this wasn’t one of them. He wasn’t invisible, nor was he a liability, but he didn’t make the impact you want a veteran striker to make. He completed 81.8% of his 33 passes in this game and took two shots, with one on target. While he touched the ball more times than Dike and had the same number of shots, it was the conversion that separated the performance by the two.
MF, Junior Urso (56’), 5 — Despite coming on for 34 minutes, Junior Urso didn’t make that much of an impact on the game. He touched the ball 25 times and completed 75% of his 20 passes. He made two key passes in the second half but his primary goal was to help defend the team’s 1-0 lead. He was successful in that as they got the win but only recorded one clearance defensively.
D, Ruan (56’), 5.5 — When Ruan came into the game, the Lions were still looking to tack on a second goal. They nearly did in the 80th minute when a break gave the Lions their second chance. Unfortunately, the break was too slow. This wasn’t the fault of Ruan, as his teammates didn’t utilize his speed by sending him into space. By the time he reached the ball, Diop was able to come off his line to make the stop. A minute later he found Michel but the midfielder wasn’t able to get much on the shot. It was a solid 34 minutes for Ruan but less impact than he probably would’ve wanted.
MF, Alexander Alvarado (76’), 5.5 — Alexander Alvarado came on for Akindele with 14 minutes remaining, looking to help seal the win. He made five passes in his 14 minutes, completing each one successfully. At the point of his entrance, the team was defending multiple attacks by the Impact and Alvarado helped. He made two interceptions that helped the team clear the ball and maintain the one-goal lead.
MF, Joey DeZart (85’), N/A — With five minutes remaining, Orlando City made a pair of substitutions, one of which was Joey DeZart for Michel. DeZart only touched the ball three times in those five minutes and recorded one clearance.
F, Matheus Aias (85’), N/A — A late change for Dike, Matheus Aias came on for the final five minutes of the game. He only touched the ball four times and passed once in the short time he was on the field.
That’s the way I saw Orlando City’s individual performances. Let us know what you thought about each Lion and don’t forget to vote on the Man of the Match.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact?
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