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Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did Orlando City’s players perform individually in the 1-0 victory over the Red Bulls?

Sacramento Republic FC v Orlando City SC Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Orlando City started the 2023 MLS Regular Season with a 1-0 victory over the visiting New York Red Bulls. New York doubled Orlando City’s shot total, but Facundo Torres made a penalty kick when it mattered to give the Lions the win.

Let’s take a look at how each Lion performed individually in the opening day victory.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 7 — El Pulpo made four saves and three clearances to earn his first clean sheet of the season and help give Orlando City the win. Gallese didn’t have that much to do as New York didn’t get many shots on target, but he stopped the ones they did get on frame. He was fouled twice in the same way by two different Red Bulls players blocking his kick by stepping in front of him. The biggest save came in the 86th minute when he made a stop with his shoulder at point blank range. His final save came on the last free kick in the 98th minute and was the last play of the match. His distribution was good when he wasn’t being fouled. He connected on eight long balls, on 28 passes, two long balls, and a 60.5% passing rate.

D, Luca Petrasso, 5.5 — Petrasso was mostly solid on the left for Orlando City. Like most on the defense, he occasionally got beat but usually recovered. Petrasso also contributed on the offensive side of the ball. He made a good cross in the 15th minute, but it was cleared by the defense. He won a free kick in the 17th minute for Orlando City, but it didn’t amount to anything. Defensively, he made two tackles, and one clearance. Petrasso had 43 touches with 24 passes and a 75% passing rate.

D, Robin Jansson, 5.5 — Jansson was the leader on the back line for the Lions. That’s not to say he was perfect. He got beat on the ball in the 16th minute, but Gallese got to the ball to bail him out. He also gave the ball away and then committed the foul in the 22nd minute that gave the Red Bulls a dangerous free kick. He finished with one tackle, two clearances, one blocked shot, and one aerial won. He had 58 touches with 51 passes and a 70.6% passing rate. He grew into the game and eventually settled into the defender we expect.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 5.5 — Schlegel was mostly solid on the night and amazingly didn’t commit any fouls when the team committed 16. He had one tackle, one interception, one clearance, and two blocked shots. He had 48 touches with 38 passes for a 73.7% passing rate. He also won three aerials. Despite getting beat on a few plays, he did his share to keep the clean sheet.

D, Michael Halliday, 5 — The young defender occasionally got caught too far up the field, but he was having to battle John Tolkin most of the night. When he was in the attack he provided four crosses, with two of them well-placed. In his battle with Tolkin, he didn’t give up when he lost the ball in the 45th minute, but went and got it back, earning a throw-in. He fouled Tolkin in the 95th minute of stoppage just outside the box to give the red Bulls a free kick, but they were unable to convert. Statistically, he made two tackles, one interception, and two clearances, He had 48 touches with 28 passes for a 71.4% passing rate.

MF, César Araújo, 5.5 — It wasn’t a perfect night for the typically rock-solid defensive midfielder, but it wasn’t too bad either. He literally turned a defender around 360 degrees to earn a foul at one point. He had a bad giveaway in the 47th minute, but made up for it with a body block on the resulting shot. Statistically, he had two tackles, one interception, two clearances, and suffered six fouls in addition to the blocked shot. He had a total of 66 touches with 44 passes and a 77.4% passing rate. He also contributed a headed shot that produced the handball on New York.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 7 (MotM) — Angulo was everywhere up and down the left side of the field — and occasionally in the center and on the right. He had two dribbles and drew two fouls. He passed at a 71.4% rate on 21 passes, with a total of 36 touches. Defensively, he made three tackles, one interception, and received a yellow card for time wasting the 76th minute. He committed the foul in the 98th minute for a Red Bulls free kick, which was the opposition’s last chance at goal. Fortunately, it didn’t matter. The entire match he seemed to be in the right place to stifle a Red Bulls attack, or to move the ball forward for Orlando.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 — Everyone, including Pereyra, was shaking off the cobwebs while dealing with New York’s high press. His deeper role meant he had to play more defense, and occasionally he got beat. Defensively, he managed one tackle, one interception, and committed one foul. He also earned a yellow in the 76th for time wasting. However, his passing was excellent at a team-high 81.4% on 43 passes.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — Torres took three shots, with only one on target. The good thing is that one was the penalty kick that gave Orlando City the lead, the win, and the team’s first win of the season. It was his corner kick to Araujo’s head that resulted in the handball for penalty. He passed at a 78.1% rate on 32 passes. He had one key pass, and one dribble. Like many on the team, the timing isn’t quite there so early in the season.

MF, Martín Ojeda, 5.5 — Ojeda was willing to get physical early and often tried to break the Red Bull press. He had some good ideas, but you can see his timing still a little off with his teammates. He managed one shot, though it wasn’t on target. His corner in the 74th minute was touched by the keeper, but it wasn’t called and resulted in a goal kick. He passed at a 62.5% rate on 24 passes with 34 total touches. He subbed off in the 78th minute for Dagur Dan Thorhallsson.

F, Ercan Kara, 4.5 — With Orlando City unable to break through the press most of the night, Kara’s touches and opportunities were understandably limited. He worked back into the midfield when needed to try to win balls and combine with teammates, but there just weren’t many of those opportunities with New York winning the bulk of the first balls. Kara only managed 13 touches, passed at a 66.7% rate on nine passes, and committed three fouls. He came off in the 63rd minute for Ramiro Enrique.


F, Ramiro Enrique (63’), 6 — Enrique came on for Kara and made a definite impact on the match. He provided some pace against the opposition’s tired legs. He made a nifty move in the 80th minute past Tolkin, took the ball across the top of the box, and took a shot, but it deflected wide for a corner. He had 14 touches, with three passes and a 66.7% passing rate. Defensively, he had one tackle and one clearance.

MF, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson (78’), N/A — Dagur Dan made his MLS debut, coming on for Ojeda. With only three touches, and three passes, Thorhallsson didn’t do enough to earn a grade.

MF, Wilder Cartagena (90’), N/A — Cartagena came on for Pereyra. With only four touches, one pass, and one aerial won, Cartagena didn’t do enough to earn a grade.

D, Kyle Smith (90’), N/A — Smith came on for Torres to transition the defense into a five-man back line. With only one touch, and one pass, Smith didn’t do enough to earn a grade.

That’s how I saw the individual performances in a season opening victory for the Lions. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and be sure to vote for your Man of the Match below.


Who was your Orlando City Man of the Match in the Lions’ 0-0 draw against FC Cincinnati?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Rodrigo Schlegel
    (11 votes)
  • 10%
    Robin Jansson
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    Dagur Dan Thorhallsson
    (1 vote)
  • 81%
    Pedro Gallese
    (139 votes)
  • 0%
    Cesar Araujo
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Someone Else (tell us in the comments)
    (1 vote)
170 votes total Vote Now