After a lengthy weather delay, Orlando City battled with Inter Miami and won 1-0 thanks to an own goal from Damion Lowe. The shutout was a nice response from Orlando’s defense after conceding five goals to D.C. United earlier this week. All three of Orlando’s Designated Players started, but the offense had a hard time against Miami. Let’s dive into how each individual Lion performed in this win at Exploria Stadium.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — His first and only save of the match was a huge one, making himself big and blocking a shot from Indiana Vassilev with his face in the seventh minute. It was a crucial stop to ensure Orlando didn’t fall into an early hole like it did Monday night. The rest of the night was fairly quiet for Gallese beyond coming out to collect dangerous balls from Miami into the box. His distribution was stellar, completing all but one of his 17 passes for a 94.1% success rate and connecting on four of his five long balls. This clean sheet was Gallese’s seventh of the year and first since May 14.
D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Playing at left back, Smith struggled at times to contain both DeAndre Yedlin and Vassilev. He wasn’t able to recover quickly enough after a turnover, leading to Vassilev’s shot on Gallese at point-blank range early in the match. He settled in a bit and received some help from Benji Michel to help keep Yedlin in check. Smith played every minute of the match and finished with two interceptions, a tackle, and a clearance. He also won three of his four aerial duels. Only one of his three attempted crosses connected, but it was a key pass that found Tesho Akindele late in the match. None of his four long balls were successful and he completed 83.9% of his 56 passes. The versatile defender has played everywhere along the back line this year, so let’s not forget he’s naturally a right back and is often playing out of position to fill gaps. After a rough game on Monday, this was a nice, albeit unspectacular, response from Smith.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7 — The Argentine defender’s 88 touches were tied with Robin Jansson for the most on the team. The pair of center backs did well rotating the ball around so that Orlando could find new ways to attack. While he was only successful on one of his five long ball attempts, he did complete 90.5% of his 74 passes. He was solid on defense, contributing four clearances, three tackles, three interceptions, and two blocked shots. His tenacity helped him chase down attackers who got past him and step up and challenge players before they could make a play.
D, Robin Jansson, 7 — With Miami putting pressure on the team’s playmakers, Jansson completed 11 of his 16 long balls to help spark things on offense. The center back led the Lions with 75 passes, completing 88% of them, and contributed a key pass to break Miami’s lines and find Pereyra. His six clearances and three interceptions helped stop Miami in its tracks and he blocked a shot as well. It was a strong performance from the defender and he did it all without committing a foul or being booked for dissent.
D, Ruan, 6.5 — The right back was sprinting up and down his side of the field all night long and looked like the key to unlocking Miami’s defense in the second half. Ruan led the Lions with three key passes, using his speed to beat Christopher McVey and set up most of Orlando’s best chances. He should have had an assist after fizzing a ball in front of goal, but Michel couldn’t get his shot in the back of the net. Ruan made a nice run after a long series of possession from Orlando and got his head to the ball in the box, but Callender caught his attempt to center it. Both of his long balls were accurate and he was successful on 82.9% of his 41 passes as well. His quickness made him an asset in transition, but he could’ve done better during those opportunities with some better awareness to find an open teammate. His four unstable touches didn’t help matters on offense. Still, he was Orlando’s best weapon on offense. Ruan also showed plenty of hustle and had two tackles, even if his one-on-one defending could use some work.
MF, Cesar Araujo, 7.5 (MotM) — Araujo did a great job lending support on defense and frustrating opponents, leading Orlando with eight tackles and winning nine fouls. His role in the midfield was critical as he snuffed out plenty of Miami’s chances on the counter and hustled from start to finish. If Miami had the ball on Orlando’s side of the field, Araujo was usually there winning the ball back for his team. His passing could have been a bit better at times, but completing 83.7% of 49 passes isn’t terrible by any means and he had a key pass by finding Junior Urso in a dangerous spot at the top of the box. The 21-year-old is our Man of the Match for stopping Miami’s offense in transition and giving the midfield a needed edge.
MF, Junior Urso, 6.5 — The Bear had two shots and they were decent efforts. The first came in the first half and was blocked before going out for an Orlando corner. The second came after some great footwork to set up the shot, but Urso slipped on the wet field before shooting and couldn’t get it on frame. Urso saw plenty of the ball, playing every minute of the game and finishing with 75 touches and 63 passes at a strong 90.5% success rate. While he didn’t have a key pass or a cross, five of his six long balls found their target. He hasn’t scored in league play since March, but he did a good job setting up opportunities for himself to change that in this match.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 5.5 — Miami’s game plan was to smother Pereyra with constant pressure whenever the ball was in his vicinity and foul when needed. Lowe often came out to challenge him no matter how deep in the midfield Pereyra received the ball. He had a few miscues early on and made some uncharacteristic mistakes, including a bad giveaway that sent Vassilev in on goal. Pereyra’s only shot of the match was sent into orbit. He settled in a bit in the second half and finished with 41 passes at an 80.5% success rate. Pereyra had two key passes, a successful long ball, and one of his two crosses was accurate. He also contributed two tackles and a clearance to help out defensively.
MF, Benji Michel, 5 — In his 100th appearance as a Lion, Michel played on the left wing and contended with Deandre Yedlin throughout the match. Yedlin was aggressive on that side of the field and Michel often dropped back to help the back line deal with him. Michel had a golden opportunity to score in the 58th minute as he crashed the box and got on the end of a cross from Ruan, only to send the shot directly at Drake Callender. It was Michel’s only shot of the match and Orlando’s only shot on target. His only cross was unsuccessful, although he did a solid job beating his defender and whipping the ball into the box with his weak foot. He only had 20 touches and 11 passes at an 81.8% success rate in 69 minutes of action before being subbed off for Jake Mulraney. Time and time again, Orlando’s possession ended because of Michel losing possession and he finished with five unstable touches.
MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — The statistics won’t reflect just how active Torres was in this match. On offense, Torres worked hard to make sure he was an outlet for passes, constantly made runs to try unlocking the defense, and had his head on a swivel with the ball at his feet to find the open man. His two shots were tied for a team high, although neither ended up on target. The 22-year-old completed all but four of his 36 passes for a strong 88.9% completion rate. His only cross missed its mark and he didn’t have any key passes, but his one long ball was accurate. Torres supplied plenty of defensive pressure from start to finish and had two tackles. He wasn’t able to bend the game to his will and have the kind of performance needed to break the game wide open, but it was still a solid outing from the Designated Player.
F, Ercan Kara, 5.5 — It was a quiet night for the Austrian forward as he wasn’t able to make much of an impact. Kara didn’t receive much service due to Miami’s defensive pressure on Orlando’s playmakers and a lack of crossing from the wings while he was on the field. He also didn’t have any aerial duels at all in the match, although he did have a clearance during one of Miami’s corner kicks. Regardless of the service, Kara needed to find ways to get involved while the team hunted for a goal. It was the first time this season that Kara started a match and didn’t record a shot. He only had 14 touches and completed eight of his 11 passes for a 72.7% success rate before coming off in the 68th minute.
F, Tesho Akindele (68’), 6 — The Canadian forward made some nice runs in the lead up to his first shot of the match. Akindele made a well-timed dash out wide to receive the ball in space and then held up play for Torres and Ruan to catch up and set up a shot for him that he sent wide. His second shot was a headed effort from a good cross by Smith that Akindele couldn’t make clean contact on. He had seven touches, completed one of his two passes, contributed a tackle, and won both of his aerial duels. The 30-year-old is still on the hunt for his first goal this year, but he did well coming off the bench to use fresh legs and his size to win the ball up the field.
MF, Jake Mulraney (69’), 6.5 — Mulraney’s only cross of the match was technically unsuccessful, but it resulted in the lone goal of the match. The Irishman’s cross in stoppage shouldn’t have caused any problems for Miami, but Lowe’s desperate attempt to clear it resulted in an own goal. It’s hard to give Mulraney much credit, but plays like that can’t happen unless the ball is put into the box. Mulraney had nine touches and completed all seven of his passes. It was his first time coming off the bench since May, with Michel getting the start on the wing opposite Torres.
F, Alexandre Pato (78’), N/A — Pato came on for Pereyra late in the match and had five touches, all in the opposing half. He completed two of his three passes, including a nice headed pass to lay the ball off to Urso that eventually led to Mulraney’s cross and the own goal. There weren’t any flashes of brilliance after coming off the bench from Pato in this one as he had no shots or key passes.
D, Michael Halliday (86’), N/A — The 19-year-old came on late and had nine touches while completing all five of his passes. His only cross could’ve been better, but it came after he won the ball in the air and dribbled down the wing himself. After the own goal, Halliday did his part to kill off the game. Halliday looked good when on the ball in this one and a congested schedule this month could mean more minutes for him in the near future.
That’s how I saw each player’s performance in Orlando’s home win over Inter Miami. Make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below and vote for your Man of the Match.
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