Heartbreaking. This took forever to write because it took me a while to cool off after what should’ve been an iconic Orlando City victory. But the result is what it is, and the Lions earned a 1-1 draw against a very good Nashville SC side in a match where Orlando played well and could’ve won long before the dramatic final moments.
How did each player fare in the penultimate match of Orlando City’s regular season?
GK, Pedro Gallese, 7.5 — El Pulpo had a strong night between the sticks, making seven saves, including a few great saves at close range. His handling wasn’t always great, giving up a few long rebounds, but it didn’t really cost anything. He was fine in passing as well, completing 17 of 21.
D, Emmanuel Mas, 7 — I liked Mas’ performance in this game. He was good defensively, including six interceptions, and was always popping up along the left flank trying to create. He finished with two key passes, two completed dribbles, and had a shot blocked. His crossing wasn’t great, but he was always active. He also completed 58 of 67 passes (86.6%).
D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — To me, Jansson had one of the weaker performances for Orlando. He got caught in bad positions multiple times and was arguably at fault on Nashville’s goal. His willingness to get forward and aggressively contest balls into midfield is admirable, but sometimes can get him into trouble. He did well in possession, completing 58 of 62 passes (93.6%). Defensively, he finished with five clearances, eight ball recoveries and an interception.
D, Antonio Carlos, 7.5 — It was a strong defensive performance for the Brazilian. He put up big defensive numbers with a tackle, two interceptions, eight ball recoveries, and he won a massive 10 of 12 aerial duels. AC was a massive presence in the back, helping put out fires when Nashville got into the final third. With the ball, he completed 61 passes (88.4%), including a key pass.
D, Ruan, 7 — It was another decent game from Ruan. A lot like Mas, he got into a lot of promising areas out wide, completing two crosses and finding a key pass. He wasn’t super involved with the ball, with only 25 completed passes (86.2%). Defensively, he wasn’t perfect and didn’t make much impact statistically with two ball recoveries and no tackles or interceptions.
MF, Sebas Mendez, 7 — Mendez played a good game. At his best, his game can be subtle or even hard to notice, and this was another one of those performances. He completed 60 of his 62 passes (96.8%), including a key pass, and cleaned up defensively with eight ball recoveries and an interception. Mendez did also pick up a yellow card.
MF, Junior Urso, 7.5 — The Bear delivered another great all-around game against Nashville. Urso completed 56 of 61 passes (91.8%), including a key pass, and was constantly driving the ball upfield, including a successful dribble. He was active around the box as well, with two shots, including one that hit the post and a great opportunity late in the match that he should’ve put on frame. Defensively, he was active with a tackle, two interceptions and seven ball recoveries.
MF, Nani, 8 (MotM) — Admittedly I’m probably being generous in giving Nani Man of the Match, but he looked like the best player on the pitch and did a lot of really good things. He was combining well and did a good job of distributing into the final third, as well as looking to play the final ball. He finished with two key passes and completed 44 of 52 passes (84.6%), as well as a team high four completed dribbles. Nani even chipped in defensively with two tackles, an interception, and four ball recoveries.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7 — Pereyra was active in this game, but it didn’t yield a lot of end product. He finished with only one key pass, but he was active in possession with 39 accurate passes (only 78% completion percentage though). He did also finish with two shots (one on target) and a successful dribble. Pereyra also chipped in a little defensively with a tackle and three ball recoveries. While it wasn’t his best outing, he still made an impact.
MF, Chris Mueller, 7 — A lot like Pereyra, Mueller was very active in this game with little to show for it. He got on the ball and tried to make things happen, but it didn’t really sync up. He had two shots and a key pass, and he did get the assist on Daryl Dike’s goal. Outside of that one moment though, there were no clearcut opportunities for Mueller. He finished with 21 of 25 passes completed (84%), one interception and a ball recovery in over 70 minutes of action.
F, Daryl Dike, 7.5 — Dike’s performance is clouded by the end of the game (not through any fault of his own), but it was another quality overall performance from the young striker. He got yet another goal, and his overall play, especially in the first half, was good. He was an outlet with the ball and a solid holdup option up top. He wasn’t the cleanest with the ball — one of two on dribbles and he was dispossessed four times — but he gave Walker Zimmerman and company fits. Dike finished with three shots (one on frame) and even a key pass, one of his six completed passes (75%), for the match. The end of the game foul is a killer, but in no universe was that a foul, especially on replay, so I’m not going to give Dike any grief for that.
F, Benji Michel (74’), 5.5 — This feels harsh, but frankly Michel didn’t do much of anything in just under 20 minutes of action. He had only five touches, completing three passes, and was dispossessed and gave up a foul. Michel was unable to bring the heroics against Nashville this time around.
F, Alexandre Pato (86’), 7.5 — Pato didn’t actually play enough minutes to typically qualify for a full grade, but he almost pulled out one of the most incredible moments in Orlando City history, so he gets a high grade anyway. If that free kick is an inch lower or that foul isn’t called and Perea’s rebound counts, Pato is an instant cult hero. But alas. He also finished with two completed passes.
MF, Andres Perea (90’+1), 7.5 — Same situation as above. Perea was robbed of an incredible, heroic moment by appalling officiating. He made the good effort play to follow up on the loose ball in the box and slotted it home. In a better universe, he’s man of the match and Orlando clinches a playoff spot. But here we are. Perea also completed all three of his passes.
MF, Silvester van der Water (90’+1), N/A — It was just a cameo appearance for the Dutchman. He completed one pass and it was his only touch of the match.
D, Kyle Smith (90’+1), N/A — Another cameo appearance. I did notice Smith trying to push forward when the Lions were pushing for the winner, but he didn’t really impact the match much in his limited action. He completed two of three passes as well.
Those were my thoughts. Make sure to leave your grades below and vote for your Orlando City Man of the Match.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 1-1 draw with Nashville SC?
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