Orlando City made history as they’ve now gone seven straight games without a loss. That’s the highest number of consecutive games claiming points since joining MLS in 2015. Two goals in three minutes by Tesho Akindele and Benji Michel were enough to lift the Lions to the 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City.
Here’s what I thought of the individual performances from Orlando City.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — It was a painful night for Pedro Gallese as he was down twice injured but Orlando City’s number one came up big again. The Kansas City goal wasn’t his fault and he made two saves that might’ve been going in. The first was a cross that nearly went in. While it’s difficult to tell how close it would’ve been, Gallese tipped it onto the crossbar, ensuring nothing came of it. He made his first official save in the 88th minute when Gerso Fernandes shot from distance. It was on target but Gallese was up to the task.
D, Kyle Smith, 4.5 — It was a rough night for Kyle Smith, who got the start with Joao Moutinho still out. Smith was beaten to the back post by Johnny Russell for Sporting’s goal and was caught too far up field later on, when the hosts were ruled offside. Fortunately for the Lions, his second big mistake didn’t cost the team two points.
D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was strong at center back in this game. Sporting KC had 26 shots but only two of those shots were on target. That’s largely because the center backs were not allowing good positions from which to shoot. Statistically, Jansson had three interceptions and three clearances but it was the lack of good opportunities for the opposition that earned him a solid grade.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Rodrigo Schlegel got a rare start for the Lions, taking the spot of Antonio Carlos. Similar to Jansson, Schlegel didn’t give much to the opposition. He was credited with three clearances and completed 86% of his 43 passes. Overall, it was a satisfactory night for Schlegel who contributed to the Lions’ win.
D, Ruan, 6.5 — Ruan is probably better known for his attacking help than his defensive play and he made an impact in this game, playing a nice ball through for Akindele’s opening goal. A quick one-two caught the speedster flat footed on one occasion, which could have resulted in a goal but the Lions survived. Other than that, he kept the opponents at bay and was better than Smith on the other side, matching Gerso’s speed down the wing.
MF, Benji Michel, 6 — While listed as a midfielder, Benji Michel tends to play higher up the field and scored the deciding goal for the Lions. Michel wasn’t involved that much in play, only touching the ball 23 times on the night. He only completed 73% of his 11 passes and was dispossessed once, despite his limited touches. However, his goal turned out to be the biggest moment in the game.
MF, Sebas Mendez, 5.5 — Sebas was the first man substituted for Orlando City, coming off for Mauricio Pereyra in the 62nd minute. While Mendez played pretty well defensively, his passing wasn’t quite where you’d want it to be to create an attack. He only completed 78% of his 41 passes and only two of his five long balls were accurate. You’d like to see more accuracy from your defensive midfielder leading to an attack.
MF, Junior Urso, 6 — It was another strong night for Junior Urso and could’ve been a spectacular night if not for some misfortune. Urso was strong defensively, didn’t give up any fouls in dangerous areas, and completed 86% of his 36 passes. He nearly scored in the 84th minute from a lovely touch and volley but it hit Chris Mueller on its way to the goal. But overall, it was a solid night for the midfielder.
MF, Andres Perea, 5.5 — Andres Perea had 35 touches in this game and was lucky to not have a bigger impact. After Alan Pulido came on in the 65th minute, Perea committed a couple of fouls that could’ve been bookable offenses. A different referee might’ve created a difficult situation for the Lions but the attacking midfielder was fortunate and wasn’t booked on one of them. On the plus side, he did complete 90.5% of his 21 passes and was only dispossessed once.
MF, Nani, 6 — At times, Nani looked a little confused about where to play the ball but he also had one of the most influential plays of the game. His 38th minute pass through the air to Michel was perfectly timed and placed, resulting in the winning goal. He completed 67.9% of his 28 passes and didn’t give up possession of the ball. With quicker thinking, he might’ve had another assist but it was a solid performance overall.
F, Tesho Akindele, 6.5 (MotM) — As the target striker, the primary role is to score. Tesho had one shot in this game and scored the opening goal. It was a good finish as he drew the goalkeeper and directed it around him to give the Lions the lead. Additionally, Akindele drew two fouls in attacking areas, producing more chances for the Lions to extend their lead. He won two aerials and passed at a 90.9% rate on 11 attempts. Overall, it was a good night for a player that has fallen a bit off the radar for Oscar Pareja.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra (63’), 5.5 — Mauricio Pereyra is typically an attacking threat for the Lions but came in with a different role in this game. Up 2-1, SKC was on the attack, forcing Pereyra into a possessive and defensive role. He did well, completing most of his passes and was dispossessed once. He did have a shot on goal but it wasn’t very strong and didn’t threaten Tim Melia.
MF, Chris Mueller (70’), 5 — Chris Mueller has become well known for coming on and making things happen offensively. That wasn’t the case in this game as he only touched the ball nine times in the final 20 minutes of the game. He completed all five passes but didn’t make the impact that Pareja hoped for when he brought him on.
F, Daryl Dike (70’), 6 — As the game wound down, Daryl Dike did what he was brought on to do. He used his body well to shield defenders and was smart with where he took the ball. He probably should’ve won a couple of fouls in an attacking position but the referee refused to call the multiple shoves to his back.
D, Alex De John (79’), 6 — Alex De John only played the final minutes but did what he was brought on to do. Coming on late for Nani, he played well defensively and made a key interception that ended what could’ve been a dangerous chance for the hosts. He was credited with three clearances in the final minutes, helping the Lions secure the win.
That’s what I thought about the performances of Orlando City against Sporting Kansas City. How did you see the game? Vote in our Man of the Match poll below and let us know what you thought of the performances in the comment section.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City?
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