Orlando City finished up their three match road trip heading into Music City to take on Nashville SC. The Lions did a good job maintaining possession to try to keep Nashville off the scoreboard, but a penalty and a counterattack made things difficult for Orlando City on the road. Possession was obviously the name of the game for Óscar Pareja, as Nashville is a team that can score in bunches. But that also plays right into Nashville’s game plan of sitting back and waiting for mistakes, too. Despite the challenges, Orlando City was able to secure a 2-2 draw, and earn a point on the road.
Just a note for those who read our player’s grades: Each staff member has their own scale on how they grade players. My grading involves not just stats and key moments, but also how the player performs against my expectations. If you disagree with how I, or any of our staff, approach our grades, I sincerely encourage you to join The Mane Land staff so you can use your own criteria. Now, let’s see how the Lions did in the come back draw against their Eastern Conference foes.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — Gallese made the initial save on the penalty, but he couldn’t contain it, and Nashville scored on the rebound. That’s just a tough position for a keeper, and one you hope he doesn’t have to deal with ever. I’m not sure what happened on Nashville’s second goal. It might be he moved late, or was second guessing. Regardless, it was a tough shot to save. Randall Leal was in the middle and had either side to choose from as the defense left him plenty of space. El Pulpo’s distribution was fine, though his teammates don’t always seem to be able to give him a quicker outlet. He did, however, make four saves, and one interception. He attempted 23 passes at an 87% passing rate and connected on seven of 10 long balls.
D, João Moutinho, 6 — Moutinho was able to contribute to the offense, as Pareja wants his fullbacks to do. He played well going forward, and was okay when Orlando City was on defense, though he did get turned around a time or two. On defense he had five tackles, three interceptions, and committed one foul. He attempted 85 passes and had a 87.1% passing rate with two key passes, while completing two of three long balls and earning one foul. He came off in the 92nd minute for Kyle Smith.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6.5 — Schlegel will miss the next match thanks to yellow card accumulation. Our own Michael Citro predicted this on The Mane Land PawedCast this week. To be fair, Schlegel spent most of the night marking Walker Zimmerman on every free kick and corner Nashville took (which was too many). He actually did a pretty good job keeping Zimmerman from impacting the match, only getting picked once by Jack Maher on several attempts to do so. His yellow hurt his overall performance, and he nearly earned a second yellow and a sending off moments later, but was spared thanks to unexpected leniency by referee Drew Fischer. Defensively, Schlegel made one tackle, two clearances, and committed three fouls. Offensively, Schlegel had two shots, with one on target. He also attempted 73 passes and had an 84.9% passing rate, while attempting three long balls.
D, Antônio Carlos, 5.5 — Having a match off didn’t do Carlos any good as he gave away the ball in Orlando City’s half at least twice. He attempted 71 passes and had an 84.5% passing rate, with one key pass, and completed six of nine long balls. He made three clearances, and committed three fouls. Remember that I base my grades on how well a player does against my expectations, which are based on his normal play. This was not the best Antônio Carlos, particularly when he allowed Hany Mukhtar to get on the wrong side of him which could have led to a second Nashville goal had the forward crossed in front rather than shooting into side netting.
D, Ruan, 6 — Ruan was able to range up and down the pitch as usual, but didn’t necessarily create chaos for Nashville in the offensive end. He did make two key passes, and completed one of four crosses. Defensively, he made one clearance. Ruan attempted 25 passes and had a 92% passing rate. He came off in the 92nd minute for Emmanuel Mas.
MF, Júnior Urso, 7 — How nice is it having a healthy Urso/Sebas Mendez combo in the midfield? Like the rest of the midfield, Urso put in the work to keep the ball away from Nashville. He also did well transitioning the ball from the defense to the offense. The Bear took one shot that was on target in the 44th minute but it had nothing on it. Otherwise, Urso had one key pass, and drew five fouls. Defensively, he had one clearance. He attempted 51 passes, had a 90.2% passing rate, and made one key pass.
MF, Sebas Mendez, 6 — Other than committing the penalty that led to the first goal for Nashville, Mendez had a pretty good match [Insert Mrs. Lincoln joke here]. Of course, that penalty was important and as such his grade is not as high as it could be. He was good in possession and made two successful dribbles. Defensively, he had one clearance, two blocked shots and committed one foul. He attempted 65 passes at a 92.3% clip. He came off in the 83rd minute for Tesho Akindele as Orlando tried to press the attack.
MF, Alexander Alvarado, 6 — Alvarado was a surprise start for the Lions as Pareja seemingly wanted to give Nani more rest. The rarely seen Alvarado probably played the best he has all season, but also the most he has all season. He wasn’t exactly a force to be reckoned with, but he didn’t hurt Orlando. Alvarado had two successful dribbles, was fouled twice, and committed one foul. He attempted 22 passes with a 95.5% passing rate. Alvarado came off for Nani in the 66th minute. He didn’t create much danger but did help maintain possession in tight quarters throughout his time on the pitch.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7 — Pereyra wore the Captain’s armband to start the match with Nani on the bench, and he showed why he had the honor. Magic Mo pulled the strings of Orlando’s offense throughout the match. As the Lions played themselves into the match, he was able to create a more effective role for himself. He had two shots, with one on target that forced a diving save. His free kick effort deflected off a defender and went just wide in the 39th minute, so just a little more sharpness to beat the wall might have produced a stunner. Pereyra made four key passes, and suffered two fouls. Defensively, he committed one foul. He attempted 89 passes with an 83.2% passing rate and made one successful cross. He also completed two of four long balls. His biggest blemish was that he was unable to thread some of the passes he attempted and played into Nashville’s strategy of sitting back and looking to counter. This led to Leal’s goal when his pass attempt hit Moutinho in the back and jump-started the counter.
MF, Silvester van der Water, 6 — Like much of the Orlando City offense, van der Water took a bit to get going, and he had some heavy touches, but he eventually settled down and was able to contribute to Orlando City’s possession based game plan. Offensively, van der Water had one shot that wasn’t on target, was fouled once and dispossessed once. Defensively, he made three tackles, and had one clearance. He attempted 24 passes with a 79.2% passing rate, with three successful long balls out of four attempts. He came off in the 66th minute for Benji Michel.
F, Daryl Dike, 8 (MotM) — Calling Man of the Match was easy for me this time. Dike put in a shift. He earned fouls, did well in his holdup play, and once he got involved in the match, made sure that Nashville knew it. Add to that he was having to go up against Zimmerman all night and you can see how he’s coming back into form. Most importantly, he earned the penalty and then promptly put it in the back of the net. Decisively. It was that goal that gave the Lions hope, and allowed the comeback. Dike attempted two shots, with both on target. He also suffered three fouls, had one successful dribble, and was dispossessed twice. Defensively, Dike made one clearance, blocked one shot, and committed one foul. He attempted 12 passes with an 83.3% passing rate, attempted one long ball, and had one cross.
MF, Nani (66’), 6.5 — Nani wasted no time trying to impact the game with three shots taken and one of those on target and the other two coming close from outside the box. He had one successful dribble and suffered one foul. The captain attempted 15 passes with an 86.7% passing rate, and was successful on his one long ball. I know that people online will say his biggest contribution is that he didn’t take the penalty kick, but Dike grabbed that ball the second that the penalty was given. There was no way he wasn’t taking it. Given that Nani was on the bench to start this second consecutive important road match might mean he has a lingering knock, or it might mean nothing. Orlando City’s injury report means next to nothing, but I still feel it’s telling. That being said, the Lions did score both goals once Nani hit the pitch and his excellent corner delivery would have been an assist if Benji Michel had gotten onto it instead of the Nashville defender.
F, Benji Michel (66’), 7 — Offensively, Benji had one shot that was not on goal. Defensively he committed one foul. He attempted 4 passes with a 100% passing rate. Normally, that would mean an N/A for a grade, but he was the guy that forced the own goal on Brian Anunga to even the score and earn the point. Plus he did it without shoving Anunga or putting his forearm into the man’s neck. For that alone, he earns a good grade.
F, Tesho Akindele (83’), N/A — Tesho was brought on to help with the attack as Orlando City tried to equalize late in the match. To be fair, he did help. He maintained possession in Nashville’s half and offered himself up as another attacker that Nashville had to defend instead of just focusing on Dike. He earned the corner kick that created the tying goal and another in the 96th that might have produced a winner had Fischer not spotted some foul while the cross was in the air. He attempted six passes with a 66.7% passing rate but wasn’t on the pitch quite long enough to earn a grade.
D, Emmanuel Mas (90+2’), N/A — Mas was one of two late fullback subs that Pareja put on to spell Ruan and Moutinho as Orlando tried to ensure the club earned a point on the road. He attempted one pass and completed it.
D, Kyle Smith (90+2’), N/A — Smith was the other sub mentioned above. He did not get a touch on the ball.
That is how I saw the game. How do you feel about the individual performances? Tell us by commenting and voting on the Man of the Match below.
Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2-2 comeback draw at Nashville SC?
This poll is closed
Other: Put answer in the comments