This is now the second time this year I’m left wholly underwhelmed and disappointed following a game against the New York Red Bulls. Orlando City had chances but didn’t have enough to break through the Red Bulls. They went down early but drew back level, only to squander their advantage with 10 minutes to go. The Red Bulls were the better team in this game, but how did each Lion fare for Orlando?
GK, Brandon Austin, 4.5 — Not the best of starts for Austin in this game. He should’ve done better on the first goal, with a poor first step leaving him helpless to stop Christian Casseres’s long shot. He arguably could’ve saved the second goal as well, but given how close Fabio was and how little pressure he had on him, that one isn’t Austin’s fault.
D, Michael Halliday, 5 — The young Homegrown defender made yet another start, but it wasn’t a memorable one. The elephant in the room is the second goal, where Halliday was bodied off the ball by Fabio, making it an incredibly easy finish for the Brazillian. Granted, Rodrigo Schlegel left him out to dry, but it’s never a good look getting sent to the floor in your own penalty box. The Red Bulls routinely attacked the space around Halliday and it was often dangerous. The 18-year-old made seven ball recoveries but overall wasn’t sharp enough defensively. To his credit, his offensive output was a surprising bonus. He had a pair of shots, including an appetizing shot off a corner, and had a dangerous cross to Daryl Dike that the striker couldn’t quite finish. Halliday also completed 23 of 32 passes (72%).
D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 — Jansson was probably Orlando’s best defensive player in this game. When the Lions turned it over, it was often Jansson making the tackle or a big block or clearance to keep them in it. He finished with three successful tackles, four interceptions, seven clearances, and seven ball recoveries; an absolutely massive defensive stat sheet. The Swede was also among Orlando’s best players with the ball, completing 80% of his 50 passes, including seven successful long balls. After losing top defender in Antonio Carlos, Orlando got another fantastic performance from their other elite center back in Jansson.
D, Antonio Carlos, 6 — Damn. This one really hurts. The big Brazillian has been fantastic this season, but early on in this game received a knock after a challenge with his countryman Fabio. Antonio Carlos tried to soldier on, even scoring a disallowed goal off a set piece, but he had to be subbed off for Rodrigo Schlegel in just the 14th minute. He completed seven passes and made a ball recovery before going off injured. Now we just hope he’s all right.
D, Kyle Smith, 4 — Smith was poor in this game. He completed only 77% of his passes and struggled to beat the Red Bull press, all while providing almost no forward thrust, though he did complete a pair of dribbles. He made a tackle and eight ball recoveries — solid enough numbers — but his defensive positioning wasn’t great as Red Bulls repeatedly found space attacking Smith. After such a strong season, it’s disappointing to see a dud of a game from Smith.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7.5 — Much better performance from Pereyra against the Red Bulls. He did have two glaring mistakes, unfortunately, with a silly challenge resulting in a yellow card and a poorly taken penalty that was easily saved. Those were both serious lowlights, but almost everything else from the Uruguayan playmaker was pretty good. He had the assist on Chris Mueller’s goal, while finishing with two key passes, two shots, a completed dribble, and he completed 28 of 35 passes (80%). He was generally clean on the ball and orchestrated the game well. When Orlando was clicking, especially in the first half, the ball was getting to the feet of Pereyra. Outside of the clumsy yellow, he also got back well defensively with a successful tackle and four ball recoveries.
MF, Andres Perea, 6.5 — It was an up and down, but mostly up, game for Perea. He was occasionally sloppy against the Red Bull press, with an especially poor giveaway in a dangerous area early in the second half. Outside of that, it was good from the young U.S. international. He completed 50 passes at 81%, including four accurate long balls and two key passes. As a box-to-box presence he was immense, progressing the ball through the Red Bulls better than just about anybody for Orlando, getting the ball into dangerous areas, but also working hard defensively, with three successful tackles, an interception, a clearance, and 10 ball recoveries. It wasn’t his best, but Perea continues to turn in good performances for this Orlando City team.
MF, Junior Urso, 6 — It was a sloppy game for Urso, but he had his moments. On the bad end, he was dispossessed twice, was guilty of an early yellow card, and really slowed down towards the end of the game. However, he did lots of good work, winning the ball back and putting it into dangerous areas. He had a key pass and 23 of 24 completed passes overall. Some of Orlando’s best chances in the first half involved Urso, and his defensive work was solid as well, with an interception and five ball recoveries. Urso’s quality on the ball and threat in transition were an asset for Orlando in this game.
MF, Chris Mueller, 8 (MotM) — It was another lively and productive start for Mueller. He was causing problems for the Red Bulls on the counter and looked much more goal dangerous than in weeks prior. Outside of the well-taken goal, he had two more shots, both tantalizingly close, including one just barely saved. While he was more goal dangerous, his creativity remained, with a key pass, two completed crosses, and two completed dribbles. In a game where Nani struggled to make much of an impact, Cash stepped up and provided life for the Lions offensively. He also made four ball recoveries and completed 23 passes at 77%.
F, Daryl Dike, 7 — In his last game before the Gold Cup — and potentially ever if a summer sale materializes — for Orlando City, Dike was a menacing presence. Orlando’s goal was created entirely thanks to Dike, pressing the clearly overmatched Sean Nealis and creating a chance that eventually found the back of the net. He had two chances himself — one very nearly a goal if not for sound goalkeeping from Carlos Coronel. He also completed a dribble, recorded a tackle, and had three ball recoveries. If there are any real demerits, it’s that Dike was a little sloppy and not involved quite as often as you’d like. A solid, if unspectacular, final game for Dike before his first international tournament.
F, Nani, 6.5 — Probably the weakest performance of the season for Nani in this one. Granted it’d be hard to keep up his level of production, especially with his workload as of late, but it was still a disappointing performance for the captain. He was important and successful helping in possession and breaking through the Red Bulls’ press. While nominally a forward, Nani was dropping deeper and more centrally to help the Lions build in possession. He completed 37 of 50 passes (74%) and an impressive five of six long balls. He also completed a pair of dribbles and had a key pass. Several times, especially late, he was close to creating a moment, but just didn’t have the final ball. He finished with two shots, neither particularly threatening, and generally struggled to create chances against Kyle Duncan. Nani did get back and chip in defensively, making seven ball recoveries.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel (14’), 6 — Schlegel’s return to the first team came under the worst possible circumstances, as an emergency substitution for Carlos in the first 20 minutes. He made a lot of good plays defensively, winning four tackles, making three interceptions, and recording six ball recoveries and a clearance. Unfortunately, he was at fault on the second Red Bulls goal, stepping too high to Klimala, who Jansson seemed to have covered, and allowing way too much space for Fabio in behind. He also wasn’t particularly good with the ball, completing only 17 of 30 passes (57%). It wasn’t the best performance, but for an emergency 70+ minute run out in his first game back with the team, it was a good overall performance for Schlegel.
MF, Uri Rosell (70’), 6 — Rosell was mostly fine, if largely invisible in his 20 minutes of action. He completed 10 of his 11 passes (91%), made three ball recoveries, and had a late shot way wide at the very end of the game. Rosell didn’t do a good enough job of securing possession for Orlando to create a chance late, but he wasn’t alone in that. With the Lions chasing the game, they barely got a foot on the ball. As the defensive midfielder, Rosell has to assume a lot of responsibility in that role, and didn’t do a good enough job.
F, Benji Michel (70’), 6 — Benji brought much-needed energy on the wing for Orlando but couldn’t create the moment of magic to walk away with points. He tried to make things happen, but he still didn’t create much, completing three passes, but being dispossessed three times and having no shots. He also made a ball recovery and drew a foul.
F, Tesho Akindele (84’), N/A — The Canadian was a late cameo for Orlando as the Lions tried for the late equalizer, and he was solid. Most impressively, he won three aerial duels in his limited minutes and he nearly created something in the box late, but his cross was easily dealt with. In all, he completed two passes on four attempts.
F, Silvester van der Water (84’), N/A — I respect van der Water for trying things late in this game, but it didn’t really come off at all. In the dying embers of the game, the Dutchman was incredibly sloppy with the ball and didn’t create anything substantial. He did complete a dribble and four passes, but it was not a particularly strong performance, albeit in limited minutes.
That’s how I judged things, but what did you see? Leave your thoughts below and make sure to get your vote in for man of the match.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2-1 home defeat to the New York Red Bulls?
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