Orlando City hosted Inter Miami CF for the first time in Exploria Stadium to finish Phase 1 of the MLS restart. The Lions finally got more than a few days to rest in between matches, while Miami had a Wednesday match against Atlanta United FC. In the end, the rest paid off as the Lions earned all three points, defeating their Ft. Lauderdale rivals, 2-1. Óscar Pareja gave iron man Uri Rosell a rest after an exhausting five-game stretch. Robin Jansson and João Moutinho were also absent from the 18, as the former picked up a knock in training, and the latter is out for a few weeks with a groin injury. Otherwise, Pareja went with his typical first-choice lineup.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5— El Pulpo made two saves and three clearances against Miami, and the header that former Lion Brek Shea scored just went past Gallese’s outstretched body. He was fouled twice and the goal post almost took him out, but he did enough to give the Lions the win. He attempted 22 passes, had a 72.7% passing rate, and completed four long balls.
D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Smith actually had one of his better matches as a Lion. I’m not sure what was worked on in training, but he pushed forward like Moutinho usually does and was generally able to track back on defense. He made a great clearance in the 57th minute that kept Miami off the scoreboard. Defensively he made three tackles and two clearances. Smith attempted 45 passes, had a 75.6% passing rate, and completed one long ball.
D, Antônio Carlos, 7 — I’m not sure if Carlos has been watching Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, or Bruce Leroy in The Last Dragon but he had two kung fu kicks to stop a pair of dangerous long balls put forward by Miami. Carlos continued to show his quality despite missing his usual center back partner, Jansson, although he did get beat in the air by Shea for the goal. He made one tackle, four interceptions, five clearances, one block, and committed one foul. Carlos attempted 50 passes, with a 76% passing rate, and completed two long balls.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Schlegel got the start since Jansson picked up a knock in training on Friday. The entire drama late in the second half surrounding Schlegel might be the oddest thing I’ve seen all week. A non-call turned into a foul that resulted in a second yellow for Schlegel, before it was overturned as the player he fouled was ruled offside before the tackle was made. It was an interesting few minutes for the young defender. The entire sequence is sure to be a brick in the building of this new rivalry. Aside from that, Schlegel played well. He made seven clearances, one block, committed three fouls, and earned only one yellow card. Schlegel attempted 47 passes at a 93.6% passing rate, and completed four long balls.
D, Ruan, 5.5 — While Ruan did his usual speed things on the right side, he also gave up the ball in the 67th and 83rd minutes in Orlando’s half, creating opportunities for Miami. It certainly isn’t what we usually see from the young defender, and as such he didn’t earn as high a grade as he usually does. On defense he had seven tackles, four clearances, and one foul. Ruan attempted 25 passes and had an 84% passing rate.
MF, Sebas Méndez, 5.5 — Sebas was effective in the midfield with Junior Urso, and for the first half the pair did well in controlling Miami’s attack. While it broke down a bit after Miami made some changes, he still played pretty well if not spectacular. He made four tackles, committed four fouls, and suffered two fouls. He attempted 54 passes and had a 90.7% passing rate. Mendez attempted one shot but it was off target.
MF, Junior Urso, 6.5 — Urso put in a very good shift. He did well connecting the defense to the offense, helping to create chances, and harassed Miami throughout the midfield. He attempted 47 passes with a 91.5% passing rate. He made one key pass, and completed five long balls. Urso attempted two shots, though one was from distance and skipped low along the grass for Robles to make the easy save. On defense he made two tackles, and committed one foul.
MF, Chris Mueller, 7— Mueller’s assist was nearly perfect, as he split two defenders and put it past another to set up Pereyra’s goal. The Money Badger showed his usual energy in Orlando City’s offense, making several good passes and helping to create opportunities for his teammates. Mueller had one assist, and took one shot that was on goal. Defensively, he suffered two fouls, made one tackle and one interception. Mueller only attempted 22 passes with a 90.9% passing rate and one key pass.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7.5 (MOTM) — Pereyra continues to show why he is one of the best in MLS with the ball at his feet. He consistently eludes multiple defenders, recovers the ball, and puts his teammates in positions to succeed. He took the free kick that resulted in Andrés Reyes’ own goal that gave Orlando City the lead in the 34th minute. He then completed his run to put away a goal for himself off of Mueller’s assist in the 69th minute. His goal came on one shot. Defensively, he ended with one tackle, two interceptions, one clearance, and committed two fouls. His second foul resulted in a yellow card, though it looked a bit light to me. He attempted 30 passes with a 63.3% passing rate, and completed two long balls.
MF, Nani, 6.5 — The captain continued his free kick woes, as he once again hit one off the crossbar, and the other was kept out by an outstanding save from Luis Robles. While he was supposedly only fouled once, Inter Miami made sure to put as much pressure on Nani as possible, and frankly there could have been more calls go his way. It is good to remember that when teams feel the need to focus on Nani, it can open up chances elsewhere. Statistically he took two shots, made one tackle, and committed no fouls. Nani attempted 44 passes with an 81.8% passing rate, with two key passes and four successful long balls.
F, Daryl Dike, 6 — Dike played well with his back to goal, and was able to turn well when he received the ball. It is telling how clubs are trying to deal with Dike by putting multiple players on him. Dike had a nice advancing header on a long ball to Mueller during a counter attack. His one shot, was unfortunately when he was falling down and he couldn’t get his power behind it. Despite being fouled four times, he probably deserved more, but they weren’t called. He also committed one foul and made one tackle. He attempted six passes with a 66.7% passing rate.
MF, Andrés Perea (79’), 6 — Perea came on for Dike, but his greatest impact was on defense. His block in the 80th minute kept Shea from getting a brace, and helped preserve Orlando City’s lead. Statistically, he made two clearances, and attempted eight passes with an 87.5% passing rate, in addition to the block.
F, Benji Michel (79’), N/A — Benji completed two passes, had one tackle, had one foul, and was caught offside once. There wasn’t enough time or involvement to give a grade.
MF, Alex De John (84’), N/A— Despite being on the pitch for over 10 minutes De John only touched the ball twice.
F, Tesho Akindele, (90’+2), N/A — Tesho connected on his only pass, though he wasn’t really in the match long enough to have an impact.
MF, Joey DeZart, (90’+2), N/A — DeZart managed one touch in his MLS debut after coming on late in the match.
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’ 2-1 win vs. Inter Miami?
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