After a bump in the road last weekend against CF Montreal, the Lions returned to getting away results Saturday in a 1-0 win against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Major League Soccer is notorious for being a difficult league on road teams, but this year’s Orlando City squad seems well suited for the task of playing away from home (so far).
Despite bringing back all three points, it was far from the best performance of the season and needed a stoppage-time set piece goal to turn one point into three. Let’s take a look at the individual performances.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — The Peruvian international made two saves in the match on Toronto’s two shots on target, which is all you can ask in the shot-stopping department. He completed 87.5% of his passes, including two of his five long-ball attempts. He earned one tackle in the match, as well. It was a fairly quiet day for Gallese, who had 22 touches in the game and kept a clean sheet on a day when the opponent registered 0.55 expected goals. Goalkeeper seems to be the one position where volume of work affects the score, but the one thing you can say is that El Pulpo did his job on Saturday.
D, Joao Moutinho, 7.5 — The Portuguese fullback had a strong game. He finished third on the team in touches (68), tied for the team lead in shot attempts (3), and played solid defensively. His 75.7% passing success rate and 0/3 on crosses could have been better, but he recorded a key pass, was 2/5 on long balls, fired one of the team’s six shots on target, and won two aerials. He led the team with six tackles and four interceptions, and he contributed a clearance.
D, Robin Jansson, 7 — The Beefy Swede did Beefy Swede things in Toronto, including picking up a yellow card. I didn’t like this one, as he appeared to make his sliding challenge successfully ahead of the opponent’s arrival, but at least it was better than getting booked for yapping at the ref about a foul against someone else that was/wasn’t called. He contributed one on-target shot and made a terrific foray up the field that would have resulted in a quality scoring chance had Junior Urso not had a heavy touch at the end of the play. In a quiet day for the back line, Jansson had only one tackle and one clearance. He completed 90.5% of his 42 passes and five of his seven long-ball attempts — both led the back line players.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6.5 — Alongside Jansson, Schlegel had a solid day overall, albeit just a little below what his central defense partner provided. His 87.5% passing rate was solid and he managed 20 more touches than Jansson as the center back who stayed back more. He contributed four tackles, two clearances, and a blocked shot. His yellow card was for a tactical foul, which prevented a Toronto counter, so no issues with that. The Argentine did not have any offensive statistical contributions.
D, Ruan, 7 — The Brazilian speedster had an active day, although his crossing continues to be painful to watch. He was 0-for-2 on crosses but 3-of-4 on long balls. His 81.8% passing rate was good, considering some of the positions he gets into. He made one key pass that Urso should have finished to make it an assist, but...alas. He attempted one shot, but it wasn’t on frame, completed one dribble, and drew two free kicks. He made an underrated play late in the game to sneak in and win a corner, helping Orlando waste a bit more time. Defensively, Ruan blocked a shot and recorded three tackles.
MF, Cesar Araujo, 7.5 (MotM) — Once again, the young Uruguayan had a massive game. On a day that Toronto didn’t muster much offensively, he still had two tackles, two interceptions, two clearances, and one blocked shot. Araujo had no offensive stats but he did pass at a 93.3% rate to lead all starters, and he was second in touches (76), just one behind Mauricio Pereyra. Impressively, he completed nine of his 10 long-ball attempts, helping the lines stay connected. Much of what Araujo does on the pitch doesn’t translate to the box score, but he’s been asked to do a lot this season and he’s mostly delivered.
MF, Andres Perea, 6.5 — Perea built on his solid Open Cup outing and rewarded Oscar Pareja for giving him another start. He nearly scored a goal in his second straight game, getting a foot on a Pereyra free kick but sending the shot just wide. It was his only shot attempt of the match. Perea contributed two key passes and connected with his teammates at an 85.2% rate, completing both of his long passes. He contributed two tackles and an interception on the defensive end. Most importantly, he was only dispossessed once and had one bad touch — two areas that have been an issue at times for him so far this season.
MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — The Uruguayan Young Designated Player compiles a lot of stats during a match but some of what he does — good and bad — doesn’t turn up on the sheet after the match. Torres attempted two shots in the match. One was an ambitious, long-range effort that missed the target (we seem to get at least one of those per game from him). The other was on frame but wasn’t terribly dangerous. Torres was active, with the team’s fourth-most touches (67), passing at an 80.4% rate. He struggled in crossing (1/5) and long passes (1/3), but did have one key pass. Defensively, he contributed a tackle and a clearance. But he had three unstable touches and in one instance he laid on the field lobbying for a foul call while Toronto cycled the ball dangerously around Orlando’s penalty area. That can’t happen. If the call isn’t made, some effort to get up and defend must take place.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — The midfield maestro continues to log a lot of miles for Orlando City, with a team-high 77 touches in the match. He tried to be more of an offensive threat in this match, firing three shots and getting a decent free kick effort on target to force a good ave. That was his only shot that hit the target. He contributed a team-high five key passes, although his teammates struggled to do anything with them. Defensively, he added five tackles, two interceptions, and two clearances. His 84.3% passing rate was good. He completed three of seven crosses and two of four long balls. I deducted a little for getting dispossessed three times and for trying some difficult passes that didn’t get through the maze of legs when better options were available to potentially get in behind down the flanks.
MF, Junior Urso, 4.5 — This may seem like a harsh grade, but coming off a monster performance against Philadelphia, some tired legs may have been affecting the Bear. He gave his all, but at times he just didn’t have it. His heavy touches wrecked two glorious scoring chances, including a 3-v-1 transition chance and a great passing sequence that started with Jansson’s run up the field. He missed a sitter that Ruan served up, although some good defensive pressure from behind may have bothered him just enough to divert his focus. None of his three shots were on frame, but he did have two key passes. However, he was also dispossessed a team-high four times and had the two costly unstable touches. His passing rate was OK (81.8%), considering he played much of the match at wing. He was 0-for-2 on crossing accuracy and just 1-for-4 on long balls. Defensively, he added a tackle, an interception, and a clearance. I obviously knocked a lot off his score for lacking composure in a few critical moments of the match in an otherwise solid outing, but with fresher legs and/or a fresher mind, he could have helped the Lions put the game away early.
F, Ercan Kara, 5.5 — It’s not always the forward’s fault when he doesn’t get a lot of touches. The Austrian only had 17 of them, which isn’t good, and some of that is on him, but a lot of it has to do with the poor crossing and wasted opportunities from bad touches that have been described above. He was in the right position a few times, such as when Ruan crossed too close to the goalkeeper and as part of the 3-v-1 break that Urso’s heavy touch squandered. He attempted one shot that didn’t reach the target. He didn’t register a key pass and completed six of his nine pass attempts (66.7%). He managed to win three aerials, leading all Lions. He contributed one clearance on defense.
MF, Jake Mulraney (65’), 6 — The team’s new winger came on for the last 25 minutes and provided some energy. He completed all seven of his passes on his 12 touches and won a corner kick for the second time in as many games. Mulraney didn’t contribute any shots or key passes, and his one cross wasn’t accurate. He was dispossessed once and didn’t contribute anything statistically on defense, but he did give the Lions a new look and energy after his introduction.
F, Alexandre Pato, (76’), 7 — It was a short stint for the Duck, but an important one. His cross on the game’s only goal was inch-perfect at the near post, allowing Kyle Smith to finish. He sent one shot on target, created two scoring chances, and completed six of his eight passes on his 16 touches. He also completed two dribbles. His only cross was accurate but he missed on his one long-ball attempt. He didn’t contribute anything statistically on the defensive end.
D, Kyle Smith (76’), 7.5 — The Accountant’s contributions in the final quarter of an hour plus stoppage time went above and beyond the expected for a defensive substitution. He scored the game’s only goal on his only shot attempt and he won the corner kick that set it up when his cross was knocked behind by the defense. Those were the highlights, certainly. He completed just two of his five pass attempts, and just one of his three long balls. His lone cross wasn’t accurate but, as mentioned, worked out well in the end. He added two tackles, two interceptions, and a clearance on the defensive end. His impact was big in a short amount of time. It was that amount of time compared with Araujo that gave the edge to the midfielder for me, although I wouldn’t argue against those who select Smith as Man of the Match.
MF, Sebas Mendez (87’), N/A — The Ecuadorian came on late for Mauricio Pereyra but didn’t have much time to impact the match. He did his job, though. With six touches, he completed all six pass attempts, including his one long ball.
That’s how I saw the individual performances on Saturday. What did you think? Be sure to let us know in the comments and vote in the poll below for your Orlando City Man of the Match.
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