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Orlando City vs. Real Salt Lake: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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How did each Lion rate in Orlando’s 2020 season opener?

SOCCER: FEB 29 MLS - Orlando City SC v Real Salt Lake

Orlando City played to a goalless draw in its 2020 season opener. There seemed to be a different energy around the team than in the previous season, with lots of attacking. However, it was the same old story as chances went to waste and the Lions struggled in the final third.

The team looked sound defensively, and the midfield controlled the game for the most part. Real Salt Lake never threatened nor looked like it was going to score. Here is how everyone performed:

Starters:

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — It is impossible for a goalkeeper to have a poor game when they are not involved. Gallese only had to make one save, and that was a slow roller that he could have made with his eyes closed. He had a total of 11 touches, seven passes, and a passing accuracy of 57%.

D, João Moutinho, 8 (MotM) — Moutinho had one of his best games as a Lion. He was rock solid defensively and finished with two tackles, five interceptions, and five clearances. The latter two were both team highs. On the attacking side, he had the second-most touches (97) and passes (59) and was accurate 76% of the time. He attempted three crosses, but only one found the target. He beat players on the dribble a few times as well and looked like the best player on the field all night long.

D, Robin Jansson, 7 — The entire defense did well and limited Real Salt Lake to practically no chances. Jansson did his part, and, while he did nothing spectacular, the 28-year-old did what needed to be done. He missed one header off a corner late in the match, mistiming his jump. Jansson was tied with Moutinho with five clearances, and also had a block and two interceptions to go with an 89% passing rate.

D, Antonio Carlos, 6.5 – Similar to Jansson, Carlos did nothing spectacular but did everything asked of him. He showed in his first outing that he will fit in nicely with Orlando, and he already has impressive chemistry with Jansson. Carlos had a little less to do defensively than his center back partner though, finishing with four clearances and one block but he did tie Moutinho for the team lead in aerials won, with four. He had 47 passes and was successful on 72% of them. That is a number he will want to increase to reach at least 80% as a center back.

D, Ruan, 6.5 — It was not the best game for the Brazilian, but he certainly did not play poorly. His speed was not used as much as it was at times last season, but he was still able to get into the final third several times. He sent in four crosses, but only one was successful. He also had a key pass, four tackles, and two clearances in the game.

MF, Junior Urso, 7 — In his first game in Orlando, Urso was very good in his role. He did not provide fireworks, but did well distributing the ball and keeping RSL’s attack at bay. He had 42 passes and was accurate on 74% of them. He also finished with two tackles, an interception, and a clearance, firing two of Orlando’s nine shots.

MF, Sebas Méndez, 8 — There could be arguments made that Méndez was the best player, and it would be hard to deny them. He had a few dangerous turnovers late in the game, but he was involved in almost every Orlando City attack. He led all players with 72 passes, three shots, and one shot on target. He was also dispossessed four times — a game-high, tied with Chris Mueller. He had a team-high six tackles, an interception, a clearance, and a block.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — Pereyra was the worst of the three midfielders, but still had a solid game. His 71% passing accuracy was the lowest of all Orlando City field players, although he had a lot more attempts in the final third, where space is scarce. He had five crosses, but none found their intended target. While those numbers are not encouraging, he didn’t get much help from his teammates up front. He easily could have had two assists on the night. In the last 20 minutes, Pereyra played two balls perfectly over the top of the defense, but Mueller and Robinho botched both attempts.

F, Chris Mueller, 5 — Mueller might have been the most frustrating player to watch during the game. He seemed to have an abundance of chances, but was unable to do anything with them. The 23-year-old had a few opportunities to get on the board but lacked that final touch. His best chance came in the 83rd minute, and it was a golden opportunity to score the game-winner. After Robinho lost the ball just inside the box, Mueller tried a first-time shot at the top of the 18. He should have done better with the left-footed effort, but the ball sailed into the stands.

F, Tesho Akindele, 4.5 — Akindele played striker for 83 minutes and finished with no attacking stats. He had just 26 touches and 18 passes. Of those passes, only three were in the box, and two of those three were intercepted. He was also offside twice. His best chance was in the first five minutes of the match. Nedum Onuoha went to take him down in the box, but there was no call and no review.

F, Benji Michel, 4 — Michel had a poor night and was not involved very often. Playing out wide, he found himself one-on-one with RSL’s full back quite often, but he struggled to use that to his advantage. He officially had four unsuccessful dribbles and only one successful one. The only time he had success was on the right side after switching with Mueller after half time. Michel had no shots and just 11 passes.

Substitutes

F, Robinho (64’), 6 — Robinho might have done enough to earn himself a start next week, although he was not great. He didn’t have any shots and should have done much better with that perfect ball from Pereyra late in the match. His first touch was poor, and that forced him to take any touch to control it. By that time, two defenders closed him down, and the Brazilian couldn’t get a shot off.

F, Santiago Patino (83’), N/A — Patino played the last seven minutes, plus stoppage time, but had little effect on the match. He had three touches and one pass, which was completed.

D, Andrés Perea (93’), N/A — Perea was in the match for maybe 90 seconds. It seemed like a waste of time for him to even go into the game, but at least the 19-year-old got his debut, surprisingly taking over at right back for Ruan rather than playing in the midfield.


Poll

Who is your pick for Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2020 season opener?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    João Moutinho
    (34 votes)
  • 11%
    Robin Jansson
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    Antonio Carlos
    (1 vote)
  • 56%
    Sebas Méndez
    (71 votes)
  • 4%
    Other (leave a comment)
    (6 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now