The Cardiac Cats were back as Tesho Akindele’s late strike lifted Orlando City to a huge 2-1 win over Charlotte FC. It’s the Lions’ second consecutive win away from home after they gave up the lead in their three previous road games. The win moves them up to fifth in a crowded Eastern Conference.
Let’s take a look at how the Orlando City players did individually in this game.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — Gallese didn’t have a lot to do as Charlotte only got three shots on target. The goal wasn’t his fault as McKinze Gaines got between Kyle Smith and Rodrigo Schlegel redirecting the cross on goal from within feet of Gallese. The goalkeeper nearly got beat a second time in the dying seconds when Brandt Bronico shot just over the crossbar. But it was a solid performance overall for the Lions shot stopper and another win under his belt.
D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — It wasn’t a bad performance by Smith but he was involved in one key negative play. Starting for the suspended Joao Moutinho, Smith won five tackles, had three clearances, and completed 85.1% of his 47 passes. However, he was beaten by the Gaines run in the 66th minute that resulted in the equalizing goal for Charlotte.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 — Schlegel wasn’t supposed to start this game after going 90 minutes for OCB on Wednesday night, but an injury to Robin Jansson pushed the center back into the starting lineup. It was a good performance by the defender, who recorded one interception and a team-high five clearances, including a couple of huge clearances when it appeared that Charlotte had a chance at goal. He completed 96.5% of his 57 passes and 10 of his 12 long balls. The only negative on Schlegel’s game was his involvement in the Charlotte goal as Gaines got between him and Smith.
D, Antonio Carlos, 6.5 — The Brazilian center back put in a strong performance, which has become quite common. Carlos recorded one tackle, four clearances, and one blocked shot on the defensive end. He completed 80.6% of his 67 passes, including one key pass, and took two off-target shots. He did concede a dangerous free kick that was inches outside the box, however.
D, Ruan, 5.5 — The right back didn’t have nearly the impact he did the first time these two teams met, when he had a goal and an assist, but it was a good game defensively for Ruan. The Brazilian ended up with one tackle won, two interceptions, and one clearance. The Lions looked to send him down the right early but the balls were too far for him to reach. He completed 71.4% of his 21 passes and had one key pass. That was it for Ruan, who was less visible than you would expect.
MF, Cesar Araujo, 7 — Araujo has proven to be a key addition for Orlando City and he had another excellent performance tonight. The defensive midfielder won five tackles, one interception, and one clearance. Going forward, Araujo completed all 40 of his passes, including two long balls. He also didn’t pick up a yellow card, which is always a risk with the hard-tackling midfielder.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 — With Alexandre Pato out injured, Pereyra was expected to be the key playmaker for the Lions in this game. On the defensive end, the midfielder had one tackle and two interceptions. He completed 83.3% of his 42 passes and three of his four crosses. Both shots he took were on target and he had two key passes in the attack. In the 70th minute, his free kick forced Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina into a diving save. However, he picked up a yellow card in the 82nd minute which will see him suspended for next Sunday’s game against New York City FC. It’s a big loss for the Lions who will be looking to extend a two-game winning streak.
MF, Jake Mulraney, 5 — It was a difficult game for the Irish midfielder, who will likely be challenged for a starting spot by Niko Gioacchini and Ivan Angulo. The attacker only completed 58.3% of his 12 passes, though he did have a key pass. He also only completed one of his six crosses and didn’t take any shots on goal.
MF, Junior Urso, 7 (MotM) — It was a terrific performance by Urso, who had one tackle, two interceptions, and blocked one shot. He completed 83.8% of his 37 passes and had a pair of key passes. One of those key passes resulted in a secondary assist on Ercan Kara’s goal in the 62nd minute. The other would’ve been a primary assist had Akindele put his first shot past Kahlina. Having a key part in both goals results in him being my Man of the Match.
MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — After scoring the game-winning goal in New York last weekend, it was another good showing for Torres in Charlotte. He completed 74.4% of his 39 passes and had two key passes. He had three dribbles and put his only shot on target. Torres’ biggest impact was his assist on the Kara goal. After receiving a nice pass from Urso, Torres quickly played a great ball through for Kara, putting him behind the Charlotte defense when he could slide it past Kahlina.
F, Ercan Kara, 6.5 — Kara was on a roll earlier this season after scoring five goals in six games between May 22 and July 4. However, he hadn’t scored in his last three appearances and had been sidelined by a couple of minor knocks, keeping him out of the lineup since July 31. So it was a welcome sight to see the striker net the opening goal in the 62nd minute. He didn’t do much other than his goal, only recording eight touches, but that’s fine when a target striker scores.
F, Benji Michel (71’), 5.5 — Michel came on for Mulraney in the 71st minute as the Lions looked to see out a draw. He didn’t have a big impact on the game, only recording 10 touches and completing 83.3% of his six passes.
F, Tesho Akindele (79’), 6.5 — Similar to Kara, who he replaced, Akindele wasn’t very active but had a huge impact. He only had 11 touches and completed 71.4% of his seven passes, but he scored the winning goal and had a key clearance on a set piece. His first shot on the counter attack was right at Kahlina, but the rebound went right back to him and he put the second chance in.
MF, Wilder Cartagena (86’), 5.5 — Cartagena was brought on for Pereyra in the final minutes prior to Akindele’s goal. The midfielder didn’t have any defensive stats, but completed both of his passes.
MF, Niko Gioacchini (86’), 5 — Gioacchini came on with four minutes remaining in regular time for Torres. He only had eight touches and didn’t complete any of his four passes, but he did win four aerial duels, which were key as the team was looking to hold onto a 2-1 lead late.
That’s how I saw the individual performances in this game. Let us know how you saw it and vote on the Man of the Match below.
Who was your Man of the Match in Orlando City’s 2-1 win against Charlotte FC?
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