Orlando City returns from Canada with a point after a tough 1-1 draw with Toronto FC. Despite the week of rest, the Lions struggled to get much going but managed to hang in there and grind out a result to avoid a third straight loss. While it’s disappointing that Orlando hasn’t won a game this July, the team deserves some credit for battling back after falling behind late in the match.
Let’s dive right into how each of your favorite Lions rated in this road match.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — It was nice to have Gallese back between the sticks. The Peruvian goalkeeper looked as calm as ever in his return after the Copa America, making two saves. On Toronto’s goal, Gallese had a good read on where Jozy Altidore was going to place his header but couldn’t react in time to stop the powerful header from point-blank range. He was accurate on 90% of his passes, with two of his three long balls finding their mark.
D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — Maybe the best news from Moutinho’s performance is that he played all 90 minutes. Given his injury history and Oscar Pareja’s efforts to ease Moutinho back into the swing of things, it was a great sign to see him go the distance on the road. He also turned in a great performance, leading the team with 86 touches and 74 passes. Of those, 82% were successful, which is pretty good considering the distance of some of his attempts. He was left out to dry on Toronto’s goal and was unable to best Altidore in an aerial duel in front of goal. Defensively, Moutinho just had an interception. On offense, he had no shots or crosses.
D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was caught in a bad position by a great cross from Justin Morrow that went right over his head for Altidore to head it home, but could have done more to help Moutinho with the big striker on that play. As one of the only Lions on the field capable of beating Altidore in the air, Jansson needed to be a bit more aware of the danger. The Beefy Swede responded perfectly just a minute later though, sending a long ball deep that Toronto defender Auro Jr. couldn’t cleanly deal with. The ball was dangerous enough with Benji Michel hustling after it that Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono committed a penalty trying to snuff it out. Defensively, Jansson made two interceptions and won two of his three defensive aerial duels. He ended the game with 47 touches and completed 86% of his 43 passing attempts.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — With Antonio Carlos still out, Schlegel stepped in as center back and made two clearances and a tackle. Although he only had 44 touches and 38 passes, he was successful on 89% of those passing attempts, including a key pass as Orlando tried to create opportunities with long balls downfield. He didn’t have any shots or make much of an impact on set pieces. While he was defensively sound, he did pick up a yellow card and committed a team-high five fouls, including two in dangerous areas for the opposition.
D, Kyle Smith, 6.5 (MotM) — Playing at right back, Smith did a great job defending Designated Player Yeferson Soteldo, who was the most dangerous player on the pitch. The two dueled throughout the match and Soteldo certainly got the better of him on occasion with some fancy footwork, but Smith put a stop to many plays that could’ve ended up causing trouble. On Toronto’s goal, he made a good effort to stop Morrow’s cross but was a step behind due to Soteldo’s presence. Still, Smith led the team with four tackles and had a clearance as he put out fires on his preferred right side of defense. Offensively, Smith sent one of his two shots into orbit and the other went straight at Bono for an easy save. He was only successful on two of his five crosses, but he did lead the team with two key passes. It was certainly a busy night for Smith as he had 72 touches and was accurate on 75% of 48 passes. After a rough time last week against the Chicago Fire, Smith rebounded with a good performance and stopped Toronto’s best player from running rampant.
MF, Junior Urso, 4.5 — It was a rough night for Urso. Although he completed 83% of his 41 passes, he was dispossessed a team-high three times and was only successful on two of his four attempted dribbles. While he had 55 touches, Urso also had no shots, key passes, or crosses. The midfielder spent a majority of the match chasing down Soteldo and Alejandro Pozuelo and finished the game with a tackle and two clearances. Urso has started every game this season and the schedule is only going to get more congested in the coming weeks.
MF, Sebas Mendez, N/A — The Ecuadorian was forced off in the 14th minute due to an ankle injury. Smith accidentally stepped on Mendez’ ankle when both of them went for the ball. Mendez had to be helped off the field and was unable to put any weight on that right foot. Hopefully the injury doesn’t end up being too serious. In a short shift, Mendez finished with nine touches, a tackle, a clearance, and was accurate on five of his seven passes (71%).
MF, Benji Michel, 6 — The Homegrown Player was bullied off the ball by Toronto’s defense during most of the game, but did find success when using his speed to beat defenders. In the 73rd minute, Michel turned on the jets to chase down a long ball into the box. Before Michel could make a play on the ball, Bono slammed into him and the referee awarded a penalty after checking with the Video Assistant Referee and reviewing the play on the monitor. Michel didn’t have any shots or key passes in the match and only had 25 touches, but he influenced the game nonetheless. He was successful on 79% of his 14 passes and didn’t attempt any crosses.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 — The Uruguayan pulled the strings on offense in a midfield that was crowded by Toronto players all game long. Pereyra had one key pass in the match, sending a nice, low ball to Nani right in front of goal, but the ensuing shot was deflected. In 81 minutes of action, Pereyra had 68 touches, two tackles, a clearance, and completed an impressive 88% of his 60 passes. It wasn’t his best game by any stretch, but he did a decent job hustling on defense and finding open players.
MF, Nani, 6.5 — The captain has now scored in four of his last five starts. His goal against Toronto came from a penalty that wound up in the back of the net despite Bono getting a hand to it. Had it been stopped, it would have been retaken, as Bono was well off his line. Nani led the team with six shots, putting three of them on target. Toronto really didn’t give Nani much room to breathe and he was dispossessed twice, caught offside twice, and only successful on one of his four attempted dribbles. On offense he led the team with six shots, putting three of them on target, and made a key pass. None of his four crosses ended up finding their target and he finished with 34 passes at an 85% passing rate. Defensively, Nani had a tackle, an interception, and a clearance.
F, Tesho Akindele, 4.5 — While Akindele did well winning the ball up field and in hold-up play, he wasn’t much of a threat offensively. The Canadian striker had no shots or key passes and was substituted off at halftime. He had 16 touches and attempted 15 passes at an 80% success rate. With Daryl Dike at the Concacaf Gold Cup and Alexandre Pato still recovering, Akindele needed to be more efficient in this one.
MF, Andres Perea (13’), 6.5 — Brought on in place of Mendez early in the match, Perea did a good job on both sides of the ball. He made a few important defensive plays by intercepting a dangerous pass from Soteldo and later executing a crucial tackle on Soteldo in the box from a tough position without conceding a penalty. Perea nearly stole all three points in the 89th minute but just couldn’t get enough on his header on a tough ball and tougher defending that may have needed some video review. His only other shot in the match was on target, but didn’t give Bono much trouble. Perea was successful on both of his attempted dribbles, was dispossessed twice, and led the team with five interceptions. He made 60 touches and was superb when passing, with 91% of his 43 passes ending up successful.
F, Chris Mueller (45’), 5.5 — Coming on for Akindele at halftime, Mueller brought some needed energy to the team. His hustle nearly resulted in a goal in the 58th minute as he hunted down a loose ball in the midfield. After a series of nice passing with Michel, Mueller had a chance to shoot but Morrow broke up the play and the ball nearly snuck into the goal but hit the post. Mueller cooled off a bit but worked well in the midfield and made a few good runs. Like Akindele, he didn’t take a shot but he did at least make a key pass. Mueller was accurate on 74% of his 23 passes and had 28 touches.
MF, Uri Rosell (80’), N/A — After Orlando’s equalizer, Rosell was brought on to replace Pereyra and helped shift the midfield into a more defensive mindset. He didn’t play enough to earn a grade, but Rosell had two interceptions to help see the game out. The Spaniard had seven touches and completed both of his passes.
MF, Alexander Alvarado (90’), N/A — It was another late cameo for Alvarado, who had no touches, passes, or defensive stats in this one.
MF, Joey DeZart (90’), N/A — Like Alvarado, DeZart came on late to give the team some fresher legs. He committed a foul but it was deep in Toronto’s half after he tried slowing the game down. DeZart was successful on one of his two passes and had three touches.
That’s how I saw things play out in Canada. Make sure to weigh in how you feel about the grades in the comments and to vote for you who you think deserved the title of Man of the Match.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 1-1 draw with Toronto FC?
This poll is closed