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Orlando City vs. CF Montreal: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did the Lions do individually in their 2-0 season-opening win over CF Montreal?

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City got its 2022 MLS campaign off to a great start, defeating CF Montreal 2-0. Goals by Alexandre Pato and Benji Michel led the way as the Lions won their first season opener since 2017.

Let’s take a look at how each player performed for the Lions.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 7 — The Lions’ starting goalkeeper didn’t have a whole lot to do in this game, only facing two shots on target. However, he did well throughout the game coming off his line to collect balls before the attacker could reach it. Additionally, Gallese’s distribution was solid, successfully completing seven of his nine long balls. He only had a pair of saves, but must be given credit for recording his first clean sheet of the season.

D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — Moutinho’s performance didn’t stand out in this game, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While Ruan often pushed forward on the right, Moutinho stayed back more than he did much of last year, putting himself in a better position to defend any counter attacks. He ended the game with one clearance, one blocked shot, and three fouls defensively. He completed 81.5% of his 54 passes and had one key pass in the attack. However, most importantly, Montreal wasn’t able to do much on that side because of the left back’s strong play.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was unquestionably the man of the first half in this game. The Swede was fantastic defending early when the Lions weren’t able to get anything going offensively. He ended the game with two tackles and four clearances. Additionally, he completed 91.5% of his 47 passes, including four accurate long balls.

Had Jansson finished the game on the field, his grade would’ve been higher. However, he made an unnecessary tactical foul in the 81st minute, resulting in a red card. Despite the fact that his first caution was questionable, Jansson knew he was on a yellow and there were defenders behind him. The Lions were up a man at the time and the sending off put undue pressure on the team to hold on for the win.

D, Antonio Carlos, 7.5 — Carlos was absent for much of preseason as he had trouble getting his visa to re-enter the country, but showed how important he is to this team. The Brazilian was fantastic alongside Jansson. Carlos had two tackles, one interception, and a team-leading nine clearances. He also won two aerial balls, tied for the team lead. Going forward, he completed 93% of his 43 passes, including completing four of his five long balls.

D, Ruan, 6.5 — Ruan spent much of the game pushing forward into the attack, something that’s become common since he joined the team. He completed 81.1% of his 37 passes and was accurate in one of his three crosses. His biggest contribution was delivering the low cross into the box that led to Pato’s opening goal, although some bad defending by Montreal helped.

Defensively, Ruan didn’t record any tackles or interceptions, but had two clearances. The lack of defensive stats was because Ruan wasn’t able to get back much. Instead, he went down frequently in the attack, forcing Cesar Araujo to cover for him. Still, it was a solid game by the Lions first-choice right back.

MF, Andres Perea, 5.5 — It wasn’t a bad game by Perea but he wasn’t as involved as Head Coach Oscar Pareja probably would’ve liked. The 21-year-old only completed 83.3% of his 24 passes, allowing Montreal to break on multiple counter attacks during the first half. Defensively, Perea only recorded one tackle. The young midfielder was substituted for Junior Urso at halftime.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6 — Araujo was very active in his first MLS game, recording 61 touches, tied for most on the team alongside Moutinho. He completed 88.5% of his 52 passes and got a shot off that went off-target. Defensively, Araujo didn’t have any tackles, but did have two interceptions and picked up a yellow card in 90 minutes of action.

MF, Benji Michel, 6.5 — The Orlando City Homegrown Player did well in his first start of the season. He only had 23 touches on the left, but completed 92.3% of his 13 passes. More importantly, Michel put away his only shot of the match in the 59th minute, giving the Lions a commanding 2-0 lead.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — Pereyra didn’t have the most impactful 75 minutes, only recording 42 touches despite being the number 10 on a team that won 2-0. He completed 83.3% of his 36 passes, including the pass to find Ruan in a dangerous area on the team’s first goal and assisting on the second. His one shot was off-target. He also completed all four of his long passes, something of importance considering how deep he tends to play.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — The 21-year-old Uruguayan played well in this game but didn’t have the impact many had hoped. He was on the ball slightly more than Pereyra, recording 49 touches, and only completed 82.4% of his 34 passes. Playing on the right, he did have seven crosses, but only one reached its target. Additionally, he got two shots off, but both were off target. He was involved in the buildup on the opening goal.

F, Alexandre Pato, 7.5 (MotM) — Pato missed most of last year after he was injured in the 2021 season opener against Atlanta. However, the Lions saw what Pato can give the team in this game. Playing alone up top, Pato was excellent. He only completed 73.3% of his 15 passes, but was involved and recorded 25 touches.

Pato was terrific in the attack, putting two of his three shots on target and scoring his first goal in MLS. A surprising part of Pato’s game was his hold-up play. The forward is usually best when the ball is at his feet, but the 5-foot-9 striker was excellent with his back to goal. He was able to win clearances and shield defenders until other attackers could catch up to the play.

Substitutes

MF, Junior Urso (46’), 6 — Junior Urso came on at halftime for Perea in the central defensive midfield. He had five fewer touches (25) than Perea and only completed 77.8% of his 18 passes. However, Urso was more active defensively, recording one tackle and two interceptions. Additionally, he recorded a secondary assist in the build-up to Michel’s goal, starting the play by intercepting a goal kick.

F, Ercan Kara (69’), 5 — Kara came off the bench for the final 21 minutes after recovering from a preseason injury. The new Designated Player didn’t have the biggest impact, only recording seven touches and completing one of his three passes. He also didn’t get any shots off.

Kara’s game could’ve been better when he was sent through late, but he was taken down before he could reach the ball. It’s arguable that it should’ve been Montreal’s second red card as he was taken down by the last defender, but the referee only issued a caution.

F, Silvester van der Water (76’), 5 — Similar to Kara, van der Water didn’t do much in his 14 minutes. Coming on late for energy, the Dutch attacker only touched the ball seven times and completed two of his three passes. He did well to pull the ball back and maintain possession when it was needed, but his one incomplete pass was an attempted switch that gave the ball right back to Montreal.

MF, Sebas Mendez (76’), 6 — Mendez was brought on for defensive purposes and to maintain possession. He did much more with his nine touches than other substitutes, successfully completing all seven passes. He also recorded a clearance, which was part of his role as the Lions looked to hold onto their late 2-0 lead.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (83’), 6 — Schlegel may not have expected to enter the game down the stretch, but Jansson’s second yellow card forced the Argentine to come on at center back. He wasn’t forced to make any defensive plays in his late appearance, but did complete all three of his passes, getting the ball out of the back.


That’s how I saw the performances in Orlando City’s 2-0 win over Montreal. Let us know how you saw the game and don’t forget to vote on your Man of the Match below.

Poll

Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 2-0 win over CF Montreal?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Alexandre Pato
    (51 votes)
  • 5%
    Robin Jansson
    (6 votes)
  • 27%
    Antonio Carlos
    (31 votes)
  • 2%
    Benji Michel
    (3 votes)
  • 9%
    Mauricio Pereyra
    (11 votes)
  • 9%
    Other (Comment Below)
    (11 votes)
113 votes total Vote Now