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Orlando City at Sporting Kansas City: Player Grades and Man of the Match

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How did the Lions fare in their 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City?

MLS: Orlando City SC at Sporting Kansas City Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

It was a frustrating night in Kansas as Orlando City had a pair of goals ruled out for offside. However, the Lions’ persistence paid off as Nani equalized in the 79th minute and Orlando City came away with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City. The Lions will take a draw on the road and return home with two points on the season.

Let’s look at how each individual Lion fared in this game and who we see as Man of the Match.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — It was another strong performance by Pedro Gallese. He did concede his first goal of the game to his near post, but the shot took a deflection and he was blocked by a defender so it’s hard to put much of the blame on the Peruvian international. In the end, Gallese saved four of SKC’s five shots, including a very nice save on a surprising long-range shot by Andreu Fontas in the 59th minute.

D, Ruan, 5 — This was a tough game for Ruan defensively, as he was nearly at fault for two goals. Statistically, the Brazilian defender recorded one interception and one clearance. He did get fortunate in the 13th minute when he was slow to reach the block by Gallese off an SKC free kick. Nicolas Isimat-Mirin put the ball in but was offside when the initial ball was played in. A bad giveaway in the 54th minute gave Alan Pulido a chance but the SKC Designated Player put it wide. Ruan had one shot offensively, crossed poorly, and completed 78.1% of his 41 passes.

D, Antonio Carlos, 5 — It was an up-and-down performance by Antonio Carlos in this one. He made some nice defensive plays, but his bad giveaway in his own third helped to create the chance for SKC that resulted in the opening goal just before the half. Statistically, Carlos ended the game with two tackles, three interceptions, and two clearances. He attempted 79 passes and completed 86.1% of them.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Rodrigo Schlegel’s name didn’t come up much in this game, but that’s a good thing. Schlegel was very solid, not making many missteps in his defense of the Orlando City goal. He ended the game with three tackles, one interception, and a team-leading six clearances. He made 61 passes out of the back and successfully completed 93.4% of those passes.

D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Kyle Smith also had a very solid game in Kansas City. Continuing to play in place of Joao Moutinho, Smith had a team-leading six tackles, two interceptions, and two clearances. On the attacking end, the left back took two shots with one on target and completed 75.9% of his 54 passes. It was also his run and pass across that started the sequence that resulted in the equalizing goal in the 79th minute.

MF, Junior Urso, 6 — Junior Urso had a solid 76 minutes in this one. The Brazilian took one shot in this game, which barely went wide of the target. He had 40 passes in this game, including one key pass, and completed 90% of them. Defensively, Junior Urso had two tackles and one interception.

MF, Sebas Mendez, 6 — Sebas Mendez was very involved in this game. Offensively, he took two off-target shots but completed 90.7% of his team-leading 97 passes. Defensively, the defensive midfielder recorded three tackles and two interceptions.

MF, Andres Perea, 6 — It was nearly a memorable night for Andres Perea but luck wasn’t on his side. In the 49th minute, a free kick found Perea at the back post and he put it in for the equalizer. A review via VAR showed that, while Perea was clearly onside on the initial ball, Carlos had touched it just before it reached Perea in an offside position. Had Carlos not touched it, Perea would’ve had his first goal. Outside of that one unfortunate incident, Perea played well, playing three key balls and completing 91.2% of his 34 passes.

F, Benji Michel, 5 — It wasn’t a bad performance by Benji Michel in his 56 minutes but it could’ve been better. He skied an early shot well over the goal. His moment of glory nearly came in the 36th minute when a save by John Pulskamp came right to the forward. Michel made a very nice touch to tap it over Pulskamp and put it in. But the flag was correctly raised as Michel was unable to get back onside before the initial shot entered the SKC box. In the end, Michel ended the game with one off-target shot and completed 80% of his 15 passes.

F, Tesho Akindele, 5 — The striker position has been troublesome for Orlando City and part of the reason has been Tesho Akindele. He had a very quiet game, only taking one shot, one cross, and 13 passes. There’s not much to say about Akindele in this one, which is not what you want to say about a striker.

F, Nani, 6.5 (MotM) — The Man of the Match in this game was Nani. Once again, Nani was the playmaker for Orlando City. He had two shots, both on target, and made three key passes. Often involved in the attack, the Portugese star completed 76.7% of his 43 passes. Of course, the highlight of the night came in the 79th minute when Nani knocked the rebound off a shot from Chris Mueller with his heel behind Pulskamp for the equalizing goal.

Substitutes

F, Chris Mueller (57’), 6 — Chris Mueller was replaced in the lineup for this one but played well when he came on. In his 33 minutes, he took one shot and completed 72.7% of his 11 passes. However, the key moment for Mueller came in the 79th minute when he made a nice run, quickly getting a deflected pass on goal. While the shot was blocked by Pulskamp, it got the SKC goalkeeper on the ground, allowing Nani to put the rebound in for the equalizing goal.

F, Matheus Aias (77’), N/A — Matheus Aias was pretty quiet in his 13 minutes of play in this one. He only had two passes and didn’t take any shots.

MF, Alexander Alvarado (77’), N/A — Similar to Aias, Alexander Alvarado didn’t have a big impact in this game. He didn’t take any shots and completed two of only three pass attempts.

MF, Joey DeZart (89’), N/A — Joey DeZart came on just before injury time to help see out the draw for the Lions. He only made one pass and didn’t take any shots in his short appearance.


That’s how I saw the individual performances of the Lions in their second draw of the 2021 season. Let us know what you thought about the performances and vote to have your say on the Man of the Match.

Poll

Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Nani
    (39 votes)
  • 3%
    Pedro Gallese
    (3 votes)
  • 25%
    Kyle Smith
    (20 votes)
  • 15%
    Sebas Mendez
    (12 votes)
  • 3%
    Other
    (3 votes)
77 votes total Vote Now