Orlando City hosted FC Cincinnati and fell 2-1 after a brace from Brandon Vazquez. Junior Urso was able to score his first goal of the season to equalize after the first Vazquez goal, but the Lions couldn’t find another goal in them in the second half. It was a windy night in Orlando, making crossing even more difficult as Cincy stacked the box with bodies to earn a result on the road. Orlando’s offense looked threatening but couldn’t convert as the Lions lost their first game of 2022.
Here’s how the Lions individually performed in the loss.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — El Pulpo wasn’t able to come up with a save in a one-on-one against Vazquez as Orlando conceded its first goal of the season in the 13th minute. On the second goal, Gallese nearly reacted in time to get a hand to Vazquez’s quick header, but there was enough speed that it may have gone in regardless. His only save of the night was a good one against another header from Vazquez. Gallese passed at a strong 89.5% success rate and was accurate on four of his six long balls.
D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — There wasn’t too much the Portuguese left back could do to stop the first Vazquez goal, as the Cincinnati forward cut inside between defenders and Luciano Acosta’s ball in transition was inch perfect. His 106 touches were the second most on the team behind Mauricio Pereyra as he worked with Facundo Torres on the left flank to create chances. Although there were miscues here and there, the pair formed a strong connection that grew as the game went on. Although he did a good job finding open space to deliver crosses, none of his six attempts found the target due to the visitors packing the box and none of his five long balls were able to find their targets either. One of his crosses led to Orlando’s goal though, as Geoff Cameron couldn’t clear it cleanly and Torres was there to send in another for Urso to score off of. Moutinho led the Lions with four tackles and was successful on five of his attempted dribbles. He also had two clearances and a shot that went high and wide. He was strong in the air with a team-high four aerials won, and he passed at a 79% rate.
D, Robin Jansson, 5.5 — Jansson returned to the starting lineup following his one-game suspension. The Swede was beaten by Acosta’s pass on the first Vazquez goal but that’s more due to placement and timing than a positioning issue. However, he drifted too far from his mark on the second goal, allowing Vazquez an easy free header for the second goal. His 84 touches were the third most on the team, and he was successful on 86% of his 78 passes while accurate on two of his seven attempted long balls. It’s unclear how those are charted, as he connected multiple seeing-eye passes through the Cincinnati formation during the game to switch play. Jansson had a clearance and a pair of blocks, including a crucial one in stoppage time against Vazquez that kept the Lions alive. He received a yellow card for dissent as well in a frustrating night for Orlando. It was the kind of preventable booking that will end up being costly when he gets his fifth.
D, Antonio Carlos, 6 — Carlos led the Lions with three clearances and two interceptions while also adding two tackles in a decent defensive performance. He was successful on 89% of his 65 passes to help Orlando build possession and was also accurate on seven of his 10 long balls. The Brazilian center back drifted forward as the Lions searched for a goal and had two shots, one on target that forced a good save late in the game and the other blocked. Like Jansson, he foolishly received a preventable yellow card for dissent.
D, Ruan, 4.5 — Ruan’s crossing was especially poor in this match as he was only accurate on two of his 10 attempted crosses. Orlando players would often find Ruan in a good position behind enemy lines but the attack swiftly died once he tried to send the ball into the box. He either needs to improve at crossing or figure out a better way to attack, such as racing toward goal and giving a cutback pass. Things weren’t much better for him on defense, as he was shouldered off the ball on a counter attack by Dominique Badji to allow the assist on Cincy’s winner. He was caught jogging back after being upfield and could not recover to hold Badji up enough for Orlando to recover defensively. He had a chance to atone moments later but overhit what should have been an easy short cross to Kara after Pato sent him behind on the right. His only defensive stat was an interception and he was accurate on his lone long ball. He completed 35 of his 40 passes for an 88% success rate, but his crossing was a killer as he hardly worried Cincy’s defense. He had two particularly wasteful ones late, sending one into outside netting and the other was hit long for a goal kick.
MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — Araujo did plenty of the little things in another strong match as he won five fouls and completed 48 of his 52 passes for an impressive, team-best 92.3% success rate. His best moment came in the 51st minute when he inserted himself between Badji and an open net, walling off the attacker to win a foul after a tough save by Gallese ended up with a loose ball in front of goal. His worst moment was a bad pass that nearly ended up with Cincy scoring on the counter. Araujo understandably didn’t get involved much in the attack, although he was accurate on all three of his long balls and had one shot that was off target. Defensively, he finished with a tackle, an interception, and a clearance, and he came off in the 66th minute as the Lions hunted for goals while trailing. The 20-year-old continues to impress after joining this off-season.
MF, Júnior Urso, 7.5 (MotM) — The Bear’s goal counted this time as he made a great run into the box and smashed a header off the ground and past Alec Kann. It was one of Urso’s team-high four shots in the match, and he led Orlando with three shots on target while the fourth was blocked. He also had a key pass in the second half to give Benji Michel a crack at goal. On the defensive side of things, Urso had three tackles and an interception. Urso also did a nice job drawing five fouls, including three in the attacking third to set up dangerous set pieces for Orlando. He had 70 touches in 88 minutes of action and completed 86% of his 51 passes in a strong, all-around performance.
MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — For his first assist in MLS, Torres pounced on a loose ball near the end line and delivered a great cross for Urso to connect with. It was one of many impressive moments from the 21-year-old and Orlando looked most dangerous when he was on the ball. While his height was a mismatch at times against Cincy, his speed gave him plenty of opportunities to make runs and whip balls into the box. Of his seven crosses, four found their mark, and he led the team with five key passes. Both of his two shots were off target. Like Chicago last week, Cincy sent Facu to the ground often as he continues to get a rough welcome to the league and although Chris Penso called a tight game most of the night, he allowed the visitors to take a few liberties with the Uruguayan. As a result, he was dispossessed four times but hustled to chase after them and finished with 81 touches and 54 passes at an 85% success rate, while completing one of his three long balls.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 — Orlando’s captain led the Lions with 108 touches and 81 passes, as he hustled around the field to serve as an outlet for teammates and fuel the attack. But the captain had a mixed night. His poorly placed pass ceded possession and led to the opening Cincinnati goal. He had a chance for an equalizer late in the match but he had to strike with his weak foot and sent the ball high from close range. That strike was one of two shots from him, the other sent wide from an ambitious free kick. There was another shot from long range that was well off target and perhaps so badly so that it wasn’t officially counted as a shot attempt. The Uruguayan had two key passes, completed 82% of his total passes, and was dispossessed three times. He was successful on four of his seven attempted crosses and accurate on four of his six long balls. Pereyra helped out defensively as well with two tackles, an interception, and a clearance. But he struggled at times on through-ball attempts, creating transition attempts for Cincinnati, and missed a couple of his teammates’ runs into space that could have gotten Orlando in behind the tightly packed Cincinnati defense.
MF, Alexandre Pato, 6 — The Brazilian had moments of brilliance throughout the match, including a beautiful ball right in front of goal for Kara despite a lack of vision. It was one of two key passes for Pato in the match as he tried to spark something on offense while trailing. One of his two shots on the night was a header well saved by Kann and the other was from distance but never dipped back down to get on target. He was accurate on one of his two attempted crosses as well. Pato played every minute of the match and had 50 touches while completing 82% of his 34 passes. While the series of passes between him and his teammates looked pretty at times, it wasn’t enough to put the ball in the back of the net as the final product was just never there.
F, Ercan Kara, 6 — In his first start as a Lion, he nearly scored in the 22nd minute with a diving header after Pato found him in the center of the box but Kann made a good save. It was his only official shot of the night — the statistician was a bit stingy in the game, not giving him a shot for his flick attempt off a first-half cross from Ruan, which was blocked by a defender — but he did well working himself into good positions in the center of the box. With the opposition leading much of the match and sitting back defensively, Kara was limited to 24 touches in 88 minutes. He completed 63% of his 16 passes but did create a scoring chance and his off-the-ball movement was good. He nearly had a tap-in in the first half off a good Moutinho cross but he was sandwiched between two defenders and couldn’t make contact with the ball. He tired notably in the second half and wasn’t as involved but the signs are there that Kara can be a dangerous addition to the Orlando attack.
F, Benji Michel (67’), 5.5 — Michel came on for Araujo to give Orlando another offensive weapon while trailing in the match. The Homegrown Player used his speed against Cincy’s tired legs to find himself in good positions to score, but he wasn’t able to get any of his three shots on target as two were blocked and the other — on which he was sent down the right by a good Pato pass — went wide. He had 19 touches and was dispossessed twice and halted a potential attack with a handball, while making one key pass to try to spark something. Michel didn’t have any crosses and completed seven of his nine passes for a 78% success rate. He brought needed energy to the offense and gave Cincy’s defense trouble, but ultimately couldn’t capitalize on it.
MF, Sebas Mendez (88’), N/A — It was a brief appearance for Mendez, but he had 12 touches and was successful on nine of his 11 passes for an 82% rate. The Ecuadorian also had a tackle and helped stop Vazquez from getting a hat trick in stoppage time.
F, Tesho Akindele (88’), N/A — The Canadian striker wasn’t able to replicate the success he’s had against Cincy in the past in his brief appearance. He had just three touches and only completed one of his three passes.
That’s how I saw the performances in Orlando City’s home loss to FC Cincinnati. It was a disappointing result, but the players will have to shake it off before road trips out west the next two weeks to take on the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers. Be sure to vote in the poll below for your Man of the Match.
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