Yet another 1-1 draw with an Eastern Conference bottom feeder for Orlando City, as the Lions fought their way to a point on the road against FC Cincinnati. Orlando was out-shot by the hosts and outplayed in stretches, but had a majority of the ball and won the expected goals (xG) battle. In the end, a draw was probably the fair result and both teams walk away with a point. It’s disappointing having yet another low-scoring draw against inferior opposition, but it could’ve been worse.
Enough preamble, let’s see how each player fared in last night’s action in Cincinnati.
GK, Mason Stajduhar, 7 — Stajduhar didn’t do anything wrong and he made a big play to secure a result in this game, so pretty much a perfect game for a backup goalkeeper. He only finished with one save, but he wasn’t asked to do much and didn’t make a mistake. His distribution was mediocre, completing 16 of 22 passes — five of 11 on long balls — but for a backup that’s fine.
D, Emmanuel Mas, 7.5 — In the first half, Mas was the most goal-dangerous player for Orlando City. He had a pair of speculative long-range efforts that both asked real questions of Kenneth Vermeer in goal. Outside of that, he was consistently getting into good areas on the left flank, looking to whip in a cross or link up with other attackers. This is the most dangerous any left back has looked for this team in a while and it was a welcome sign. Defensively, Mas did get caught out at times but it didn’t cost Orlando. He made six interceptions as well.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7.5 — Both center backs put in strong shifts yet again. Schlegel continues to be a stat-sheet stuffer on the defensive end, with four tackles, four clearances, and nine ball recoveries. He has a tendency to get a little aggressive and leave space, but Schlegel makes a ton of plays on the back end. He was also fine with the ball, completing 34 of 39 passes, and never making any serious blunders in possession. Yet another strong shift for the Argentine.
D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 — Jansson is an incredibly consistent performer for the Lions and he did a solid job again. He was a consistent defensive presence, sniffing out opposition attacks and did a good job defending space. The Swede finished with a tackle, two clearances, and eight ball recoveries. Much like Schlegel, his passing was fine, a solid 36 of 43, though he wasn’t really able to break lines with his deep passing.
D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — Very Kyle Smith performance in this game. He was good in possession, completing over 90% of his 35 passes, and he was good defensively, with a successful tackle, four interceptions, and six ball recoveries. For all of those things he does right, his complete lack of offensive prowess was on full display. Smith’s crossing was poor and he rarely even attempted whipping in a ball, and he squandered some quality chances when he got into the box. Still a solid overall performance from Smith, just frustrating in the final third.
MF, Uri Rosell, 5 — It was a tough night for the Spaniard, sustaining another injury near the end of the first half. Although it’s admirable to try to stay on and save the team a substitution window, it ended up being costly. On the Cincinnati goal, Rosell was obviously struggling to move and got caught behind the play, giving the hosts an overload on his side. He wasn’t able to get into the passing lane and his teammates compounded the problem by leaving Brenner alone in the area. To his credit, he completed 30 of 34 passes, including all four long balls, plus he made four ball recoveries, a tackle, and an interception before subbing out for Andres Perea.
MF, Junior Urso, 7 — Urso is a great box to box player who did a lot for the Lions in this game, especially progressing the ball forward. The Bear is fantastic with the ball at his feet and routinely broke pressure with his dribbling ability, completing two dribbles and drawing two fouls. His passing was also great, completing 48 of 51 including a pair of key passes. Good shift from Urso, though he did get caught marking the same player as Schlegel on Brenner’s goal.
MF, Chris Mueller, 6.5 — Slightly disappointing showing for Mueller, but not a bad one. He completed a ton of passes — 52 of 56 — but never looked super dangerous with the ball and had no key passes or successful crosses. He did have three shot attempts, but two of them were off target, while one presented Vermeer with little trouble. Mueller completed a dribble, but was also dispossessed three times. The one saving grace for his game recently has been his defensive work, and that continued once again with two tackles and eight ball recoveries. Not terrible stuff, but I certainly would’ve liked to see more dynamism from a player like Mueller in this game.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 8 — Strong game in the center of the park for Pereyra, pulling the strings and controlling the tempo of the game. He was the most important and used player for Orlando City, completing 66 of 78 passes. Pereyra was everywhere in possession for the Lions, picking the ball up deep to play out of pressure, finding the final ball in the attack, and linking play in the middle of the field. The Uruguayan had a team-high three key passes. Pereyra also got back defensively, making five ball recoveries and two interceptions. If there are negatives from this performance, he was dispossessed thrice and had no shot attempts. However, it was a fantastic all-around performance from the Maestro.
MF, Benji Michel, 4 — Poor performance from Benji in Cincinnati. In 55 minutes of action, he only had 17 touches, with no shots, crosses, or key passes. He did complete two dribbles, but did nothing for Orlando going forward. Michel was dispossessed four times and completed five of seven passes. That level of offensive production isn’t good enough for this level.
F, Tesho Akindele, 5 — Incredibly frustrating game for Tesho. This was an incredibly on-brand game for the Canadian in the worst possible way. He was good in the little things, but his touch and ability to be goal-dangerous really let him down. Tesho only had two shots all game — neither super threatening — and should’ve had more chances. On multiple occasions, he received the ball in a dangerous area, but his touch completely took him out of the play or even turned it over. It wasn’t all bad though, as he completed 16 of 17 passes, including a key pass, completed a dribble, and even made a clearance. For all the good work Tesho does, it doesn’t really matter if he can’t provide much of an offensive threat, and he couldn’t do that in this game.
MF, Andres Perea (43’), 5.5 — Perea was thrust into a difficult situation after Rosell’s injury, and while he was better than Uri, he was far from his best. Especially when he pushed forward, Perea either made the wrong decision, or just didn’t hit the ball well. He was still solid in possession, completing 34 of 39 passes. Perea’s defensive performance was hit or miss. He made two tackles, but only at a 40% success rate, plus he chipped in two interceptions and three ball recoveries. On paper, it doesn’t look like a bad game, but in practice, it was a sloppy evening for the U.S. international.
MF, Nani (55’), 8 (MotM) — In what was supposed to be a rest game, Nani had to play hero once again for this squad. He had his chance soon after coming on, capitalizing on an FC Cincinnati mistake and having the quality to tuck it away. Outside of that, he was clearly the most dangerous player for Orlando, even if he wasn’t his sharpest. His touch got the best of him a few times, and his crosses were often overcooked, but he still finished with a key pass and put the opposition back line under serious pressure. Nani completed two dribbles and 11 of 15 passes, and even chipped in a little defensively with a tackle.
D, Joao Moutinho (55’), 6 — Frankly, I didn’t really notice Mouthinho much of the time he was on the field. For what he does in the system, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and he didn’t have a bad game. He wasn’t super clean with the ball, completing only 84% of his passes, but Moutinho generally got the job done in possession, even completing a dribble. He was mostly good defensively, making six ball recoveries and an interception. Not a bad game, just little impact for the Portuguese left back.
D, Ruan (55’), 6.5 — Even when his delivery isn’t great or he’s sloppy on the ball, Ruan completely changes the complexion of Orlando City’s attack. His speed and willingness to get forward makes the Lions much more dangerous. Even with that, it’s still frustrating that none of his three crosses were accurate. Ruan also completed 15 of 18 passes, had a successful dribble, and made three ball recoveries.
MF, Joey DeZart (83’), N/A — Not much to report in DeZart’s latest cameo performance. He was a steadying presence in the middle to help Orlando see out the result and he did just that. He was good with the ball, completing all eight of his passes, including a nice forward pass to Ruan in space. DeZart also picked up a yellow card.
That’s how I rated last night’s performances, but what did you see? Comment your thoughts below and vote for your Man of The Match.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 1-1 draw at FC Cincinnati?
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