Orlando City went on the road and lost 3-2 against the Columbus Crew in an important match for both sides. The Crew avoided elimination from playoff contention while the Lions will have much more pressure on them in their final two matches. Columbus scored off of two set pieces in the first half and then Lucas Zelarayan scored a golazo that ultimately sank Orlando.
Let’s dive into how each player performed in the loss.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 5 — El Pulpo was able to get a hand to Miguel Berry’s strong header but not enough to keep the ball out of the back of the net as the Crew took the lead in the 20th minute. On the Crew’s second goal, Gallese misjudged a corner kick lofted towards the back post and couldn’t make a play on the ball as it landed at Derrick Etienne’s foot and he put it into the net. There wasn’t much he could do about Zelarayan’s strike from distance as the swerving ball was perfectly placed and dipped under the crossbar. Gallese finished the match with two saves, including a great effort to keep Zelarayan from scoring off of a free kick. The Peruvian goalkeeper didn’t attempt any long balls but was successful on all 12 of his passes.
D, Kyle Smith, 4 — In his first start since Sept. 19, Smith struggled at left back with Joao Moutinho unavailable and Emmanuel Mas on the bench. After conceding a corner, his poor clearance served the ball on a silver platter back to Zelarayan, the one player on the Crew you don’t want to give time and space to pick out a cross. Zelarayan whipped a good second ball in and Berry scored for the Crew’s first goal. Smith completed 84% of his 37 passes and didn’t make much of an impact on offense as his lone cross was unsuccessful. He had 48 touches, two tackles, an interception, and three clearances in 73 minutes of action. He also received a yellow card after getting turned inside out by Etienne and fouling him right outside the box, giving Zelarayan a dangerous opportunity that forced a save from Gallese. It was far from Smith’s best game in purple to say the least.
D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 (MotM) — Jansson scored his third goal of the year by hustling down the field and making a great run to get on the end of a cross by Tesho Akindele and tuck the ball into the far corner. He also had a key pass in the match, delivering a cross that Dike headed wide. Only Mauricio Pereyra had more than Jansson’s 74 touches and he completed 91% of his 65 passes — the most on the team. While he didn’t have any tackles as the Crew built their attack through the wings, Jansson had an interception and two clearances to take care of most issues that came his way. He perhaps could have done more against Berry on the first goal after switching men with Antonio Carlos, but it was an outswinging ball for the 6-foot-3 Berry. Jansson’s overall game and ability to keep the Lions in it thanks to his goal and some sound defending earns him the title of Man of the Match.
D, Antonio Carlos, 6 — Like Jansson, Carlos didn’t have any tackles over the course of the match, but he did lead Orlando with three interceptions and also had three clearances and a pair of blocks. Carlos had 58 passes at an 81% success rate and his 72 touches were third most on the team. He and Jansson continue to play well together as the backbone of Orlando’s defense and he couldn’t do much about the Crew’s goals.
D, Ruan, 5 — The right back gave up an unnecessary corner kick that led to the second Crew goal when he seemed to have plenty of room to have instead headed it upfield or out for a throw, and then he compounded his own problem. Ruan simply had to do better when defending the back post on the Crew’s second goal as Etienne had little trouble tapping the ball into the net after it sailed over Gallese. He had inside position on his man and failed to track his movement or the flight of the ball on the play. Doing either one could have kept it a one-goal game. Columbus did a good job limiting Ruan’s offensive capability by keeping him pinned back in defense. The right back led the team with five clearances as he sprinted around to put out fires and he also had a tackle and an interception. He didn’t have any key passes and was successful on one of his three crosses. Ruan had 62 touches and completed 83% of his 36 passes as the Crew kept the wings crowded.
MF, Andres Perea, 4 — The 20-year-old was kept busy defensively by the Crew throughout the game. Perea had three tackles, four clearances, and an interception, but he was part of a midfield that was completely overrun in the match. He switched from Zelarayan to take Steven Moreira and that left the DP open to score the eventual game winner, though Perea should have had some help — likely from Benji Michel, who didn’t track back to defend — on that play, because he was forced to cover two men. Hey, when in doubt, cover the bigger threat who is more centrally located.
Perea played every minute of the match and only had 58 touches while completing just 35 of his 45 passes for a mediocre 78% success rate. Like Mauricio Pereyra, Perea tried to force passes into congested areas, wasting attacking buildup. He had no crosses or key passes and his only shot went over the crossbar from long range when he had more dangerous options he could have picked out. It was a rough outing for the young midfielder.
MF, Sebas Mendez, 5 — With Orlando trailing at halftime, Mendez was subbed off in favor of Tesho Akindele for the Lions to hunt goals in the second half. The yellow card Mendez picked up in the 13th minute also likely contributed to Oscar Pareja’s decision to take him off at the half. Mendez had one shot in the match, sending the ball high into the stands in an attempt from outside the box. He finished with 33 touches and 27 passes at an 89% success rate and helped out defensively with two tackles.
MF, Chris Mueller, 5 — All three of Mueller’s shots were headed efforts at goal. His best chance to score came in the 63rd minute as he received a cross in front of goal at close range but he headed the ball right into the hands of Eloy Room. It was his only shot on target and his header in the 26th minute robbed Carlos from getting to it from a better position (although he couldn’t have known that at the time). Mueller also had a key pass in the match, setting Mendez up for a shot after a corner. His only attempted cross was deflected out for a corner. Mueller had 32 touches before being subbed off in the 73rd minute and completed 86% of his 21 passes.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 5.5 — The Designated Player led the Lions with three key passes, including two nice crosses from free kicks that easily could’ve ended up as assists for the Uruguayan if they’d been finished better. While Pereyra did well creating chances from free kicks, he had a tougher time from the corner flag as he was successful on just one of the team’s four. He led the team with 78 touches but was only successful on 45 of 59 passes for a 76% success rate. While many of those 14 inaccurate passes were long attempts while dealing with a crowded midfield, Pereyra was brought to Orlando to find those tighter spaces that spring players into dangerous areas and he struggled repeatedly to do so in this match. Defensively, he had two interceptions and a block. It was Pereyra’s sixth straight appearance without a goal or an assist and the DP will need to end that drought soon as the Lions hunt for a playoff berth.
MF, Nani, 5 — Orlando’s other Designated Player wasn’t able to get much going and was subbed off at halftime. Nani didn’t have any shots and just one key pass — a low cross that Dike couldn’t get on target from a tough angle. It was his only cross in the match and he drifted into the midfield once Orlando was trailing to try to make more of an impact. Nani finished with 30 touches and 23 passes at an 83% success rate while chipping in on defense with three tackles. The captain is capable of bending a match to his will, but was fairly ineffective on the road in Ohio and may have been replaced down two goals to save his legs for Sunday more than for his performance.
F, Daryl Dike, 5.5 — The forward’s only shot on target was the penalty he converted early in the first half. Dike’s first attempt was saved by Room, but the goalkeeper came off his line early and the kick had to be retaken. Despite the pressure of retaking a kick that was initially saved, Dike was cool as can be and fired his shot in practically the same spot to power it past Room for Orlando’s first goal. His other two shots came from crosses into the box but he wasn’t able to get either on frame. Dike dueled with Jonathan Mensah throughout the match and had an understandably hard time breaking through. Regardless, he had just 28 touches and 10 passes at an 80% success rate in a match where the Lions spent most of their time trailing. Some of his holdup play was marred by heavy touches, and, while it’s great that Dike’s proven himself as a more than capable penalty taker, three of his past five goals have come from the spot and Orlando needs to find a way to get him more involved in open play moving forward.
MF, Benji Michel (45’), 4.5 — Michel may have only had one shot, but it was a notable one as his attempt just a few minutes into the second half was blocked by a hand ball from Mensah. Apart from that, Michel didn’t have much of an influence on the match despite playing an entire half. The Homegrown Player had no key passes, one unsuccessful cross, 18 touches, and just nine passes at an 89% success rate. He also had no defensive stats and didn’t track back in time to stop Zelarayan from setting up his goal from range. Brought on to give the Lions some energy and firepower while trailing 2-0 at halftime, Michel wasn’t able to use his speed to really test the Crew’s defense. Michel hasn’t had a goal or an assist since scoring on Aug. 21
F, Tesho Akindele (45’), 5.5 — Although he didn’t have a shot, Akindele came up with a nice assist late in the match. After finding some space with the ball, the Canadian spotted Jansson’s run into the box and whipped a nice ball over the defense for him to score. He had 21 touches and 18 passes at a 78% success rate after coming on for the second half. It was the longest Akindele’s been on the field since his start on Sept. 19 and the assist was his sixth of the year.
MF, Alexandre Pato (73’), 4.5 — Coming on for Mueller, Pato played a central attacking role in the midfield in an effort to help the Lions claw their way back into the match. His only shot was on the volley and came deep into stoppage time with Orlando trailing by just a goal, but the shot was blocked. He finished the game with 11 touches and completed five of his eight passes for a 63% success rate. It was Pato’s third appearance this season after missing most of the year due to the injury and these were some valuable minutes for him, even if he wasn’t able to influence the match much.
D, Emmanuel Mas (73’), 5.5 — The left back replaced Smith as the Lions searched for goals. Mas had a key pass by setting up the transition opportunity that ended in Perea’s shot and he also fed Akindele the ball before the latter’s assist. Mas had 20 touches, a tackle, no crosses, and completed eight of his 13 passes for a 62% completion rate. An argument can certainly made that he should’ve been brought on sooner or that he should’ve started in the first place.
That’s how I saw things play out in Orlando’s 3-2 loss to the Crew. Make sure to weigh in on how you feel about the grades in the comments below and to vote for who you think deserves the title of Man of the Match.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 3-2 loss to the Columbus Crew?
This poll is closed
Other (put in the comments below)