MLS is back! And Orlando City is back to its winning ways! It was a sloppy game, as was expected in the first game back, but the Lions walked out of Disney with a 2-1 win. Nani provided an assist and goal, and Chris Mueller also found the back of the net.
Inter Miami struck first, immediately after halftime. Orlando was the better team in the first half but came out flat to start the second period. The Lions kept fighting until the very last second — into the 101st minute — and kicked off the MLS is Back Tournament with a win.
Here is how each Lion did individually:
GK, Pedro Gallese, 5.5 — Gallese never really looked comfortable in net. He looked rusty. Still, he was not at fault for Miami’s goal, which was the only shot on target of the eight he faced. He made 27 passes and was involved in Orlando’s build-up some.
D, Joao Moutinho, 6.5 — Things were a little sloppy in the first game back. This was clearly evident in the 15th minute when he let a simple pass go right under his foot. He took a couple of big touches on occasion, and he wasn’t himself on the attacking end. He was fully deserving of his yellow card in the 38th minute. He completely missed the ball in a sliding challenge on Matías Pellegrini and took out Pellegrini’s legs. He could have done better on Miami’s goal, as he was beaten on the dribble, allowing his attacker to cut inside to start the final sequence. He was heavily involved in the attack and finished with 69 passes — the second most for Orlando — with a 76.8% success rate but was inaccurate with all three of his crosses. He had a game high 98 touches and tied Antonio Carlos for the team’s most aerials won (5) and most clearances (5). He finished with one tackle and a team-high four dribbles. Given the circumstances, an overall solid game from the fullback.
D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — The Swede made a fantastic tackle on Pellegrini in the 12th minute. Pellegrini was in on goal if Jansson did not make the tackle, and he timed it perfectly. Juan Agudelo stripped the ball from him in the 20th minute. Luckily, Agudelo tried to chip Gallese from midfield and sliced it terribly. If he had made good contact, it could have been the opening goal of the match. Jansson made another vital tackle in stoppage time of the first half. He finished with two tackles and four clearances and was Orlando’s best center back. However, he should have done better on Miami’s goal and put up more effort to stop the assist.
D, Antonio Carlos, 5.5 — His first tackle came in the 45th minute. It was not a great tackle, timed poorly, and not necessary. It allowed Miami to win a free kick just outside the box. At the start of the second half, he lost Agudelo in the box, and the forward buried it to open the scoring. Carlos should have done much better here, and while not entirely responsible, could have easily prevented the goal. He did not have any tackles, but he did finish with a team-high three interceptions and tied with Moutinho with a game high five clearances and five aerials won. He had one shot attempt and a 74.5% passing accuracy.
D, Ruan, 6 — The first time that Ruan got forward was in the 10th minute. He made a run down the wing and into the box and won a corner. That energy continued for most of the match, and Ruan was a constant threat down the side. He had an impressive 88.6% passing accuracy on 35 passes, including one key pass. Defensively, he finished with one tackle and two clearances.
MF, Uri Rosell, 7 — Rosell was very active defensively. He was constantly putting pressure on any Miami player that entered the center of the field. He did a lot of work off the ball to take away passing options and switched the field well, going 7/10 on long balls. He finished the match with three tackles, one clearance, and one interception. In attack, his 70 passes — with an 87.5% success rate — were more than anyone else’s, and almost doubled that of Miami’s top passer (Ben Sweat, 45). He put up a good argument for Man of the Match.
MF, Junior Urso, 5 —Rosell sat in the center of the field. This allowed Urso to venture forward when Orlando had the ball. Unfortunately, he did not do too much, and he was partly responsible for Miami’s opening goal, getting caught on the wrong side of Pellegrini. It was overall a quiet night from the midfielder. He had just 26 touches and 24 passes (87.5% accuracy) in 62 minutes, one tackle, and no interceptions, clearances, or blocks.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 — Pereyra was the best player for Orlando in the first half, but he was not on the ball often enough. He made a key pass to Mueller in the 22nd minute that should have led to a goal and was the Lions’ most creative player. He was a little quieter in the second period but was still Orlando’s most creative option. After he was subbed out, the Lions struggled to get the ball forward at all. He had three key passes, one shot, and was 90% accurate on 38 passes. Defensively, he chipped in three tackles, tying Rosell for the team high.
F, Nani, 7 (MOTM) — The captain was pretty quiet in the first half. He stayed on the left wing and dropped a bit deeper when Orlando got the ball. He attempted to take players on a few times, but he did not have a significant impact. He was poor in the 36th minute when he sent in a cross for Dwyer that was way too long. Nani probably should have shot, but the cross was poor as well. The second half started the same way for Nani, but then he stepped up out of nowhere. He made a good run down the left side and put in a perfect low cross for Mueller to tie it in the 70th minute. Nani’s second big impact came seven minutes into stoppage time. The ball was sent into the box by Moutinho and bounced off a Miami defender. The Designated Player pounced on it and scored the game-winner. He was quiet all game and didn’t have as big of a consistent impact as one would expect of him. However, a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win will get you the Man of the Match. He made one clearance and had three key passes on a 76.7% passing night. His three shots tied Mueller for the team lead, with one on target.
F, Dom Dwyer, 3 — He should have scored the opening goal in the 22nd minute after Mueller’s attempt was saved. The rebound went right into the middle of the field, but Dwyer’s feet got caught under him, and he fell. He didn’t get many touches, in part due to a breakdown of play in the attacking third on a sloppy night, leaving the game in the 63rd minute with just 18 touches and just a 54.6% passing rate. He added a tackle and a clearance defensively. Dwyer finished the game with one shot, not on target, and was unable to have a real impact in the match.
F, Chris Mueller, 7 — Cash was one-on-one with Robles in the 22nd minute. Mueller made a good effort on the net, but Robles made a better save. Mueller had another chance in stoppage time in the first half, but he took too much time. Mueller ended up taking a shot that was blocked and won a corner. He kept the energy going and finally got on the end of a ball in the 70th minute. He slid and tapped in the game-tying goal. Mueller led the team in shots (4), shots on target (2), and passing accuracy (96.8%), adding one tackle and an aerial won.
MF, Sebas Mendez (63’), 5.5 — The midfielder was another player who had a quiet night for Orlando. He did not provide much of an energy burst off the bench and had minimal impact in Orlando’s attack. He was just 79% accurate on his 33 passes. He did help out defensively and made two tackles with one aerial won. He picked up a yellow card on his only foul of the match, setting up a Miami free kick opportunity.
F, Tesho Akindele (63’), 4.5 — His first real action came in the 76th minute. It was a great cross from Mueller, but Akindele couldn’t get good contact on his header. It was a good cross and he should have put it on target. After coming on in the 62nd minute, Akindele had only one shot (off target) and no key passes; however, he did play a big part on the winning goal. After receiving a pass from Nani at the top of the area, he sent it back out wide to Moutinho on the left, then turned and made a run to the front of goal, dragging two Miami defenders with him. That left space for Nani, who was unable to get onto the cross, but had plenty of time to gather up the deflection and score.
MF, Andres Perea (83’), 3 — He was on the field for almost 20 minutes, and he had no stats. Zero passes, shots, dribbles, tackles, interceptions, and clearances. Typically, stats like that would lead to a rating of “N/A.” Seeing as he was on the field for 17 minutes, he should have done more.
F, Benji Michel (83’), 6 — Michel provided a burst of energy on the right when since he came on the field. He put a good cross in to Nani, whose header back across the grain just missed. While he did not have any shots, he created a threat to Miami. He was the most threatening Orlando player since Mueller and Pereyra went off. He won two aerials and had one clearance.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel (97’), N/A — Schlegel came on for Nani deep into stoppage time, just after the goal, and did not have enough time to impact the match.
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Who was your Man of the Match in Orlando City’s 2-1 win over Miami?
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