It would be easy to look at Saturday night’s 2-1 Orlando City loss at Colorado and think, ‘same old Lions.’ After all, the team gave up a late goal to toss away points the way we’ve seen in the past.
And maybe that will prove to be the case by the end of 2020, but it’s too soon to tell if that’ll be where this year’s team ends up. But the team came out with a plan dedicated to stopping Kei Kamara. The Lions did that, but a lack of concentration late — always a danger when playing at altitude — undid a solid road performance.
So let’s have a look at how the Lions performed individually.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 5.5 — It would be harsh to lay blame at El Pulpo’s feet for the two goals Saturday night. On the first, Younes Namli exploded out of his midfield right down the middle and picked out a spot just inside the post. On the second, a low, whipped-in, outswinging cross came in at the top of the six, which is the dividing line on when to come out to try to punch or claim it. Gallese made three saves in the game, including a 29th-minute cannon shot by Keegan Rosenberry and a wicked blast from Andre Shinyashiki in the 35th. He completed six of his 12 long balls and completed 75% of his passes.
LWB, Joao Moutinho, 6.5 — It wasn’t quite as good of a performance for Moutinho on Saturday as he had in the season opener. As a wingback, he was asked to be part of the attack and he was. He attempted three of Orlando’s 14 shots. None were on target, but he sent one just over the bar in the 10th minute with his weaker foot. He also came within inches of picking out the far corner in the 36th minute. He recorded one tackle, one interception, one clearance, and passed at just a 61.3% rate. However, he did tie for the team lead with three chances created.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6.5 — The Argentine played a solid match in his MLS debut until his calf started cramping late in the game. With no subs left, Schlegel was moved up the pitch because he could hardly move, and thus he wasn’t in his normal spot when Sebas Mendez conceded the late corner that led to Colorado’s winner. He completed 86.5% of his passes, including six of his eight long balls. He led the team with seven tackles and added three clearances. He was booked for his only foul of the match as he took a tactical foul to break up an attack. It was a solid debut, and he led the team in touches (67).
D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — The beefy Swede was as solid as usual, with a team-high seven clearances to go with his back line-leading 89.7% passing rate. His one shot attempt was on target. He tried to close down Namli but there was no way to get there before the Colorado DP got his shot away. He was otherwise a calming influence on the back line and a leader on the field.
D, Antonio Carlos, 6 — Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? Until Carlos was late in identifying Drew Moor as his man and giving the Rapids the crack they needed to break through, he was having a Man of the Match type performance. I knocked him a full point off for the final play of normal time. Carlos was largely tasked with shutting down Kei Kamara and did a good job of it. There wasn’t much he could do on the first goal, with Namli splitting straight down the middle of the midfield, about the same distance from Carlos as from Jansson. Since Jansson stepped, Carlos had to be wary of someone slipping in behind for a pass. He made a huge play in the 71st minute to deny a pass in to Kamara right in front. He denied Kellyn Acosta at the last second early in the match and later kept a cross from Acosta from reaching its target in the box. Carlos finished with a tackle, an interception, six clearances, and a 79.6% passing rate.
RWB, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — Smith had the first good look at goal for Orlando in the 19th minute and hit his shot well but too close to Clint Irwin. It was his only shot but it was on target. His passing accuracy was 77.8% but he was only one for five on crosses and two for six on long balls. He had a few too many giveaways in his own half for my liking, and Shinyashiki was able to have success in lulling him to sleep, then blazing past him. Defensively, he had one tackle, one clearance, one interception, and one block.
MF, Andres Perea, 7 (MotM) — The 19-year-old had an outstanding first MLS start despite getting beat in the midfield by Namli on the first Rapids goal. He was Orlando’s co-leader in chance creation, with three, got his first MLS assist on Chris Mueller’s goal, and tied Moutinho for the most shots on the team (three), getting one on frame. His 70.3% passing accuracy (0-for-3 on long balls) leaves a bit to be desired, but he also filled the defensive stat sheet, finishing with three tackles, three clearances, and two interceptions. He also led the Lions in aerials won (3).
MF, Sebas Mendez, 6.5 — It looked like Mendez would open the scoring in the 26th minute, as he freed himself up for a blast that sliced a foot wide of the right post. As usual, Mendez had a good passing rate (86.8%) but he produced no key passes and got neither of his two shots on target. He also perhaps could have done more on Namli’s goal but he looked to be jogging — perhaps starting to feel the effects of the altitude at the 64-minute mark. He managed four tackles and an interception.
MF, Junior Urso, 6 — Like Mendez, it appeared that Urso could have done more to help corral Namli before the first goal. The Bear was solid if unspectacular, with a tackle, an interception, and a clearance. He got his one shot attempt on target and passed at an 84.1% rate, picking up a hockey assist on Mueller’s goal. It was basically the kind of quiet night you’d hope to get from out of one of your defensive midfielders.
F, Benji Michel, 5 — It’s not ideal when your two forwards combine for one shot and don’t get that one on frame. Michel had no shot attempts. But he did manage two key passes to stay involved in the attack. However, he was loose with the ball, with three unsteady touches, and was dispossessed twice — both team highs. His passing accuracy was decent (78.6%) but on only 14 attempts — the fewest of all Orlando’s starters — and he had only 25 touches in 78 minutes. He registered no defensive statistics.
F, Tesho Akindele, 5 — Akindele wasn’t as involved in the attack as you’d like. He fired one shot but it wasn’t on frame. He did manage 42 touches and passed well (84.4%), winning one aerial. He didn’t register a key pass but he did contribute a tackle and an interception. It wasn’t a bad night for Tesho — just a quiet one.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra (72’), 5 — Despite coming on with under 20 minutes remaining, Pereyra managed almost as many touches as Michel. Starting on the bench due to a bit of a quad injury, he came in cold off the bench and still managed a good passing rate (81.8%). His one cross was accurate but he didn’t register a key pass, a shot, or any defensive stats.
RWB, Ruan (73’), 5 — After dealing with an illness during the week, the Brazilian speedster couldn’t go the full 90 but tried to make a difference coming in off the bench. He wasn’t able to put his unique stamp on the game, but he passed well (80%) and registered a tackle. He had no shots, key passes or accurate crosses.
F, Chris Mueller (79’), 7 — With only 10 minutes to leave his mark on the game, Cash did so. His terrific run off the defender’s shoulder led to Orlando’s tying goal in the 82nd, as he slipped the ball past Irwin, appearing at the time to rescue a point for City. He attempted two shots, getting the one on frame, and completed all three of his passes, one of which created a scoring chance. Mueller managed 11 touches in his brief appearance. He made one interception and won an aerial, providing the optimal spark off the bench.
That’s how I saw the individual performances on Saturday night. What did you think? Vote for your Man of the Match below.
Who is your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2-1 loss at Colorado?
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