Orlando City went on the road to take on FC Cincinnati and left empty-handed after a 1-0 defeat. Pedro Gallese provided stellar goalkeeping, but the Lions just couldn’t create enough chances on offense. Mauricio Pereyra, Joao Moutinho, and Robin Jansson were all absent from the starting lineup for various reasons, which definitely impacted how Orlando attacked in this match. Let’s dive into how each individual Lion performed in this road loss.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 8 (MotM) — If not for Gallese, the Lions would have been heading into halftime with a massive deficit to overcome. El Pulpo came up with spectacular saves time and time again, denying Nick Haggland from close range twice in the first half and Alvaro Barreal from the top of the area. Another save stopped Luciano Acosta’s deflected attempt, but Gallese couldn’t intercept the ensuing cross after the rebound and his clean sheet was spoiled. His eight saves were the most he’s had in a match this season and the loss doesn’t fall anywhere on his shoulders. His distribution was also solid, connecting on five of his eight long balls and completing 85% of his 20 passes.
D, Thomas Williams, 6 — The 17-year-old started as the team’s left back in place of Joao Moutinho. He had his work cut out for him at times against Brandon Vazquez and Brenner, but held his own with some defensive support from teammates. The Homegrown Player had three clearances and a tackle in 45 minutes of action. It was just his second start of the season and it showed on occasion as he completed just 83.3% of his 24 passes. Williams didn’t have any crosses and was accurate on one of his three long balls. He was subbed off at halftime for Antonio Carlos, ending his appearance on the road.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6.5 — The Argentine center back returned from suspension and led his team with six clearances. He also blocked a shot from Luciano Acosta at the top of the box and had three interceptions and a tackle as well. Schlegel could’ve reacted a bit faster on Cincy’s goal, unable to locate Brenner in time after the initial shot. He had a whopping 16 long balls, connecting on six of them. Only 79.7% of his passes were successful, but he attempted a team-high 69 of them as he tried building out of the back and rotating the ball around the field. Schlegel also won three of his four aerial duels to give the Lions some supremacy in the sky. Schlegel’s performance showed that he can hold things down while Carlos continues to ease back into things.
D, Kyle Smith, 6.5 — Smith started at center back in the first half and then shifted to left back for the second half, showcasing some of the versatility that makes him so valuable for Orlando. Leading the team with five tackles, Smith had another strong game and also contributed five clearances and an interception. Regarding Cincy’s goal, Smith did a good job putting himself in a position to make one of his trademark goal-line saves, but ultimately wasn’t able to get a piece of Brenner’s shot. He also led the Lions with 85 touches and three key passes, including a nice through ball to Ercan Kara. His only cross didn’t find its man, but it did earn the Lions a corner kick late in the match. Smith was accurate on two his five long balls and 82.5% of 57 passes were successful.
D, Ruan, 5.5 — The right back needed to react quicker on Cincinnati’s goal. Acosta shot from outside the box, then raced past Ruan to get his own rebound and assist on the goal. In terms of defensive statistics, Ruan only had one clearance and needed to offer a bit more bite on that side of the ball considering the depleted back line. Although he completed 87.8% of his 41 passes and was accurate on two of his four attempted long balls, neither of his two crosses were successful as he continues to struggle in that area of his game. Ruan also had three unstable touches in a performance he will have to shrug off and move forward from.
MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — Araujo had an efficient night, completing 91.2% of his 57 passes to help build possession for Orlando. He did struggle a bit when defending against Acosta, who used some fancy footwork to get two shots off while Araujo was on him. The second of those shots led to Cincy’s goal as Araujo chased down Acosta only for the Argentine midfielder to cut back and find room to shoot. It’s hard to fault Araujo for much of that though and he had two interceptions, two clearances, and a tackle. Offensively, his single shot was blocked but he did a decent job putting the ball into dangerous areas. Four of his six attempted long balls were accurate and one of his two crosses found their mark. This was also his fifth consecutive match without a yellow card, meaning one of his accumulated yellow cards this season is removed due to good behavior.
MF, Junior Urso, 5 — Like most of Orlando’s midfielders, Urso had a rough night. His poor touch trying to wrangle in a pass from Araujo caused the turnover that led to Cincy’s goal. The Bear didn’t have any shots during a match in which Orlando certainly could’ve used them. His only cross of the game was a key pass that gave Jake Mulraney a chance in the box, although far enough from goal that the resulting header needed better power and placement to go in. Urso had two crosses and defensively he contributed an interception and a clearance in 69 minutes on the field. He completed 23 of his 28 passes for an 82.1% completion rate and didn’t attempt any long balls. Urso was dispossessed four times in this one and may be feeling the fatigue of three starts within 10 days.
MF, Andres Perea, 5 — Perea had a tough time trying to fill Mauricio Pereyra’s role on offense. The 21-year-old completed 50 of his 62 passes for an 80.7% success rate that could’ve been a better as he turned the ball over and ended Orlando’s momentum. He had just one key pass and his only cross didn’t connect, although his lone long ball did. Perea was hesitant at times with the ball at his feet, particularly when Cincy closed down on him or when he needed to quickly find an open Lion. He had a good opportunity in the 33rd minute on a counter, but a bad touch while sprinting down the field allowed Cincy defender John Nelson to stop him. It wasn’t all bad though. Perea was defensively sound with two tackles, two clearances, and two interceptions, while also winning six of his seven aerial duels. It’s important to remember just how young Perea is and he had big shoes to fill. But, this match showed that he lacks the skillset to truly pull the strings of Orlando’s offense at this time.
MF, Jake Mulraney, 5 — The Irishman’s only shot came late in the first half from a good opportunity at the top of the box, but his headed attempt was easily handled by Celentano. Mulraney had a rough night in terms of distribution. His lone cross was blocked and he completed just 76.5% of his 17 passes and struggled to beat Ray Gaddis on the left. He did do a solid job dropping back to support Williams on defense though, recording three tackles, an interception, and a clearance. Mulraney was subbed off at halftime for Benji Michel, continuing their competition at the position.
MF, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — With Pereyra out, the stage was set for Torres to take the reins of the offense and drive it forward. While he led the Lions with five crosses, connecting on two of them, Torres wasn’t able to get much going on offense. His only shot was a low effort from distance that went wide of goal and neither of his long balls found their target. The Uruguayan had 55 passes at a solid 87.3% success rate, but just one key pass. His two tackles undersell a decent defensive performance, as he hustled all over the pitch to pressure Cincy from start to finish. Although he had 72 touches, Torres was often quickly swarmed by Cincy’s players when he had possession and was fouled a team-high four times. Torres showed plenty of fight in this match, but wasn’t able to make much of an impact on offense as the Lions were shut out.
F, Ercan Kara, 5.5 — The Austrian forward only had one shot in 62 minutes of action and that was a poor attempt that harmlessly trickled to Celentano for him to collect it. Kara only had 14 touches and eight passes at a 37.5% success rate, which is a testament to the lack of service and support he received throughout the match. He wasn’t able to really take advantage of set pieces either as Orlando didn’t have a corner kick until he was off the field. Three unstable touch didn’t help things for Kara, as his holdup play wasn’t what we’re used to seeing, although he won three of his four aerial duels. Kara spent his time on the field stranded on an island until he was subbed off for Alexandre Pato right before Cincy took the lead.
D, Antonio Carlos (45’), 7 — The Brazilian center back made his return after his injury in April. While he didn’t have any defensive stats, Carlos helped stabilize things for Orlando and completed all but one of his 31 passes for a strong 96.8% success rate. He also connected on all five of his long balls to pick out players downfield. His only shot was a headed effort sent just wide of goal after a cross from Alexandre Pato in the box. It’s nice to see Carlos back out there, even if his return wasn’t enough to galvanize Orlando towards a result.
MF, Benji Michel (45’), 4 — Michel came on for Mulraney, but made less of an impact with just 14 touches and 10 passes at an 80% success rate despite playing an entire half. Michel had no shots, crosses, or key passes, although he did contribute a tackle on defense. His speed is an asset, but he just wasn’t a factor in this match.
F, Alexandre Pato (62’), 4 — The 32-year-old was sloppy to say the least. Only one of his five crosses was accurate and some of his misses were bad enough that there was no chance of recycling them. None of his three long balls were successful either and he finished with eight passes at a 375% success rate. His only shot went over the bar and a bad touch squandered a golden opportunity in the box on a counter attack. Hopefully this performance was just an anomaly and his quality service returns in future games.
F, Tesho Akindele (69’), 5 — The Canadian forward is still on the hunt for his first goal contribution of the season. Akindele only had three touches and three passes in this match, which isn’t great from a forward you’re hoping adds a spark off the bench. The Lions had a slew of set pieces late in the match while trailing, but poor service prevented Akindele from really capitalizing on them.
That’s how I saw things in Orlando’s defeat at the hands of FC Cincinnati. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments, and don’t forget to vote for the Man of the Match as well.
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