Orlando City won 5-0 in a dominant performance at home against the San Jose Earthquakes Tuesday night. Nani got the scoring started from a penalty and then Benji Michel and Daryl Dike both had braces as the Lions have now scored the most goals of any team in the Eastern Conference, with 16.
The Lions are riding high after the win, but how did each player perform? Here are your player grades from the match, as well as who earned the title of Man of the Match.
GK, Brandon Austin, 6.5 — In his second start as a Lion, Austin didn’t have to make a save until first-half stoppage time. Javier Lopez fired a rocket from outside the box, but Austin managed to jump and make a great save to deny him. That was Austin’s only save of the match as San Jose didn’t manage to put any of its other 11 shots on target. With the result, Austin gets his first clean sheet as a Lion. He completed 81.3% of his passes and three of his six long balls and, importantly, didn’t spill the wet ball when handling San Jose’s crosses.
D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — Moutinho only played the first half and had 24 touches as Orlando’s wingers handled most of the work on the sides of the pitch. He made 17 passes at a 76% success rate and had a tackle and an interception. On short rest after playing 90 minutes Saturday, it made sense for Oscar Pareja to take Moutinho off and we may see more of him this Friday in Miami.
D, Robin Jansson, 7 — There was a bit of a scary moment in the 29th minute when Moutinho’s clearance smacked Jansson right in the head at close range. The medical staff came on to check him out and he went the distance without any issues. Jansson led the team with a whopping five clearances, putting an end to many of San Jose’s attempts to get back in the match. The Beefy Swede also had a tackle and an interception while tying Andres Perea for the most touches on the team with 59. He did well building out of the back with 50 total passes at a 92% success rate.
D, Antonio Carlos, 7 — It was Carlos’ ninth start this season and the fifth time he’s guided Orlando’s defense to a shutout in 2021. Carlos made three defensive blocks, including one early on that could’ve given Austin trouble and potentially change the momentum of the game. The Brazilian center back also had two tackles, two clearances, and an interception to help stop the Earthquakes right in their tracks. Carlos made a key pass in the 88th minute, sending Benji Michel down the field in transition. It was another solid night for Carlos and he finished third on the team with 55 touches and was successful on 89% of his 46 passes.
D, Kyle Smith, 6.5 — The fullback started on the right and then shifted to the left side for the second half as he continues to impress this season with his versatility. It was a quieter game than usual for Smith as he had just 36 touches, one tackle, and one cross that ended up unsuccessful. But a quiet night for a defender in a shutout win is hardly a bad thing and he completed 93% of his 28 passes. His ability to play on either side allowed Pareja to sub off Moutinho and he’s played every minute this season to help cover Orlando’s lack of depth at fullback.
MF, Junior Urso, 6 — It may have just been due to the rainy conditions at Exploria Stadium, but Urso was sloppy at times in the first half and had some miscues when passing. But in the 44th minute after the weather delay, he made a key pass in on goal that Dike shot just wide. Two of Urso’s three shots were deflected and the third was sent wide after he didn’t make clean contact. He was subbed off for Mauricio Pereyra in the 56th minute and ended the night with 35 touches, 29 passes at an 83% success rate, a tackle, and one successful dribble.
MF, Andres Perea, 6.5 — It was another full shift for Perea while filling in for Sebas Mendez in the midfield. The 20-year-old had two shots, sending one wide and the other right at goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. He tied Jansson for a team-high in both touches (59) and passes (50), completing the latter at an 84% rate as he connected Orlando’s offense and defense. Defensively, Perea pitched in with two tackles, including a good one late in the match that ended a San Jose opportunity.
MF, Chris Mueller 7 — Although he is still on the hunt for his first goal of the season, Mueller had his fourth assist of the season. He played the ball into a dangerous area in the box for Michel to pounce on. He had just 32 touches and 26 passes at a 77% success rate over the course of 77 minutes of action, but he was still effective on offense and led the team with four key passes. His only attempted cross wasn’t successful and he had a good opportunity after a set piece from the training ground that sent the ball to him in front of goal, but nothing came of it. While he didn’t have a shot in this one as concerns grow over his scoring drought, Mueller is quietly tied with Tesho Akindele for most assists on the team this season, with four, and tied with Mauricio Pereyra for most key passes with 13.
MF, Benji Michel 9 (MotM) — It didn’t take long for Michel to make an impact in the match, using his speed and some silky footwork to breeze past Judson and draw a late tackle from Florian Jungwirth for a penalty in the sixth minute. Nani converted the penalty for an early lead and Michel scored one for himself in the 16th minute. Mueller played a ball in on goal and Michel surged past Paul Marie’s attempt to shield him and poked the ball past Marcinkowski before the goalkeeper could collect it.
In the 90th minute, with victory already assured, Michel was still hungry to score and got his brace after powering the ball into the bottom right corner from close range. Michel led the team with five shots, putting three on target, and was successful on three of his four attempted dribbles. While he was only dispossessed once, Michel did hold the ball too long at times as defenders clogged passing lanes and left him without options. The Homegrown Player also had a key pass, a clearance, 33 touches, and was successful on all but one of his 16 passes (94.4%). While most of the offense thrived in this one, Michel is our Man of the Match for setting the tone early on and directly contributing to three of Orlando’s five goals.
F, Nani, 8.5 — The captain was as cool as can be when scoring from the spot, cleanly tucking the ball into the bottom left corner. While it won’t be in a highlight reel like some of his other goals this season, it was great to see him convert after two post-season penalty misses in the recent past. Nani reveled in the open spaces the Earthquakes allowed, although their defense did well preventing him from cutting back in front of goal and blocked his only attempted cross in open play. Nani’s best moment of the match came on the team’s third goal when he sent a sublime ball through a tight window between defenders for Dike to put it away. In the second half, he got his second assist of the night from a free kick service for Dike’s second goal.
He played 71 minutes and ended the night with three key passes, a shot on target, and three successful dribbles. Nani finished fourth on the team in touches, with 43, and had 33 passes at a 73% success rate in another strong performance since his suspension.
F, Daryl Dike, 9 — Dike spoke with Pareja and Nani on the sideline while Jansson was receiving treatment and then the two players connected for a goal just a few minutes later. In the 31st minute, Dike made a strong run to reach a perfect pass from Nani and, after a great first touch that got him around Marcinkowski, he scored with his left foot from a tough angle for his first goal of the season. His second goal came in the 49th minute when he got his head on Nani’s cross off of a set piece and powered it home.
Dike honestly could have scored even more goals in this one as he looked lethal no matter how difficult the angle. He was subbed off in the 71st minute and finished with four shots, with only one off target. Dike was successful on eight of his 12 passes and had 24 touches as well in his first start of the season.
D, Michael Halliday (45’), 7 — The Homegrown Player came out of the gate in the second half like a man possessed. He sprinted down the field to earn a corner for the Lions and then won a foul that led to Orlando’s set piece goal. It was definitely his best game as a Lion so far and he led the team in tackles, with three, while adding two clearances as well. On offense, he attempted three crosses but none found their target and he’ll need to work on getting those past the first defender. He ended the game with 23 touches and completed seven of his nine passes. Cade Cowell beat him a few times, but it was a great outing for Halliday as he received important minutes.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra (55’), 7 — Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Pereyra nearly scored in stoppage time with a good look in front of goal, but his shot hit the woodwork. He had two key passes as well, but neither Perea nor Tesho Akindele could put their shots on frame. He managed a secondary assist on Michel’s second goal. Still, Pereyra did well to keep the Lions’ offense roaring until the final whistle. The Uruguayan finished with 31 touches and completed 22 of his 27 passes.
MF, Alexander Alvarado (71’), 6 — Alvarado had a nice cross that found Pereyra and then Akindele, but Alvarado otherwise didn’t make much of an impact in the match. He did deflect a shot from outside the box, but was also dispossessed twice. It was his longest appearance yet as a Lion and he had 17 touches and completed nine of his 10 passes.
F, Tesho Akindele (71’), 7 — Coming on to replace Dike, Akindele did well creating chances up top for the Lions. He got his fourth assist of the year by laying the ball off to Michel for the team’s final goal and nearly had another assist but Pereyra hit the post. Akindele’s only shot of the match was sent just over the bar and he finished with 11 touches and a 78% passing rate on nine total passes.
MF, Uri Rosell (77’), 6.5 — Rosell completed 12 of his 13 passes in his season debut, including a pair of long balls to help spark Orlando’s offense. He also had an interception and 15 touches as Pareja eases him back into action. It was nice seeing him back out there on the field to anchor Orlando’s central midfield.
That’s how I saw everyone’s performance, but what did you see in Orlando’s biggest win so far this season? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to vote for your Man of the Match as well.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 5-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes?
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