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Orlando City vs. Charlotte FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions rate individually in a 2-1 home loss against Charlotte FC?

MLS: Charlotte FC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

In Orlando City’s first match since ending its Concacaf Champions League run midweek, the Lions remained at home at Exploria Stadium, but walked away with their first league loss, 2-1 to Charlotte FC. Martín Ojeda opened his scoring account with Orlando City, but the team was already trying to catch back up from the two-goal deficit it spotted the visitors in the first half.

While Orlando had chances at intervals throughout the night, the Lions yet again lacked the potency to finish that is required to win in this league. Charlotte FC finds its first three points of the season at the expense of Orlando. Here’s how each Lion individually performed in the loss.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 5.5 — Gallese has bailed the club out night after night this season, but the like everything in life, all good things come to an end. He made his first massive save of the night in the 25th minute when McKinze Gaines fired a shot from the right side of the box. However, just moments later Enzo Copetti was able to beat Gallese 1-v-1 in the 26th minute and the Peruvian likely should have done better. He came up with two saves and four clearances. He was accurate on four of seven long balls and completed 89.7% of his 29 passes.

D, Rafael Santos, 4 — If you forgot to look at the team sheet, you might not even know Santos was out there. It was a forgettable match for the left back that ultimately saw him excused at the interval. He made efforts to overlap down the line, but his teammates refused to pass him the ball at times. When he did find himself on the ball, he was only able to complete 60% of his 28 passes and did not complete any of his four long ball attempts. Defensively, Santos made only one tackle and intercepted the ball twice. It will be interesting to see how long before Head Coach Oscar Pareja calls upon his services again.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — The center back came up big with his body on the line in the third minute with a block in the six-yard box that could have easily been a tap-in opportunity for Charlotte. However, Jansson later found himself on the wrong side of Copetti on Charlotte’s opening goal when the striker was played over the top. The Beefy Swede once again was the anchor of Orlando City’s back line and led the team with five clearances, four tackles, and an interception. He also led the team in passes with 88 at an 84% rate and had 101 touches. He completed five of his 13 long balls and had a key pass to his name.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 5 — Schlegel found himself in a tough match-up with Copetti. There was a clear talent gap on the night. For Schlegel, perhaps only allowing Copetti one goal would actually be considered a win in his book. But unfortunately for the fans, it does not equate to a win in the standings column. Schlegel made four tackles with as many clearances alongside two interceptions. He was third on the team in passes, with 60, but only completed those at a 76.7% rate and turned it over several times in his own end. He aired out 11 long balls, with six of those finding the target. This likely won’t be a performance that Schlegel looks back fondly upon and only highlights the need for Antonio Carlos to return to action as the Argentine has played a lot of minutes in a short amount of time. It showed on this night.

D, Michael Halliday, 6 — The young right back had another fair performance and looked dangerous going forward with Charlotte playing too narrow at times. He was quick down the sideline to serve up crosses in the first half, but he was slow to understand Kerwin Vargas’ gameplay. Vargas showed that he was a very right-footed player early in the match, but Halliday let him cut inside to his right foot in the 37th minute, which led to Charlotte’s second goal of the night. Halliday had two key passes among his 26 total, which were completed at 80.8%. Defensively, he offered up two tackles, an interception, and a foul. He cleared the ball four times out of danger, but as previously mentioned, not when his team needed him most. Hopefully, Halliday can learn from this mistake and correct it for his next outing.

MF, César Araújo, 5.5 — Usually, Araújo is the nonstop defensive engine in the midfield. However, he seemed to disappear at times throughout the night, although that’s not necessarily bad for a defensive midfielder. He only had one clearance, a tackle, and committed a foul. He also found himself fouled three times. From an offensive standpoint, Araújo was accurate with 88.7% of his passes completed, 53 total. He added another two key passes and completed four of his nine long balls.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 5 — The captain did well to find himself linking lines from the back to the front in the second half; however, the team needed him to do that from the beginning. With 87 touches, Pereyra clearly does well finding the ball — or his teammates do well to find him — but ultimately it amounts to nothing as he lies so back deep in the park. He had two key passes and 74 total passes, completing them at a 75.7% success rate. His biggest offensive area for improvement could be his long balls. Sitting so deep, he really has to make more of his chances when trying to link from distance. Pereyra was only accurate on three of his 11 long balls. Defensively, he offered zero tackles, interceptions, or clearances. The lack of defensive statistics continues to beg the question as to why he is still utilized as more of a box-to-box midfield role than playing his natural No. 10 position.

MF, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 4 — While he might have the best name on the field, the midfielder didn’t have the best performance out there. The Icelandic midfielder completed one dribble but sent his lone shot just over the target. He made only 13 passes and completed 84.6% of them but did not log a single defensive statistic. Thorhallsson will need to put this performance behind him and get back to his previous form as quickly as a possible.

F, Martín Ojeda, 7 (MotM) — The Designated Player might have played what could be considered his best game of the season so far. Just minutes into the match he finished off a cross from Halliday but unfortunately mistimed his run and the goal was called back for offside. Ojeda did end up finding the net for the first time in purple though in the 57th minute, smashing in a square pass from McGuire at the six-yard box. In total, Ojeda led the team with seven shots on the night, with two of them on target. While he only had 40 touches and 22 passes, he made the most of them by completing 77.3% of them. He had one key pass and was one-for-two on long ball attempts. Defensively, Ojeda added three tackles and a clearance, while fouling one Charlotte player along the way. If Orlando can get a few performances in a row from Ojeda like this, the DP might just find the form he needs to really make a name for himself in the league this season.

F, Facundo Torres, 6 — It is quickly becoming apparent that opponents realize the need to neutralize Torres as quickly as possible. He was lively early in the night, putting his only shot on goal in the eighth minute, forcing the keeper to make the save. But after this chance, he never really found separation again or a chance to make a decent run towards goal. He passed up a couple of opportunities to shoot in the second half. Torres only found himself on the ball 48 times in the match which is low for what you would hope your playmaker to contribute. However, he completed 93% of his passes and had four key passes, one accurate cross, and two accurate long balls. His ball in behind for Duncan McGuire led to a scoring chance and, ultimately, Ojeda’s goal. He also had one interception.

F, Duncan McGuire, 6.5 — McGuire had yet another decent run out for the Lions. In the 18th minute, the rookie found himself inside the box and, despite contact, remained upright to fire a shot on goal. Another player might have gone to ground to force the referee to make a decision, but McGuire scrambled to his feet and got off a decent shot. McGuire also found himself on the receiving end of a Halliday cross in the 34th minute, but was once again stopped by the goalkeeper. McGuire’s biggest moment of the night was using his body to get in behind on goal and forcing a save. He quickly sent the rebound sideways to Ojeda for the Lions’ goal. All three of his shots were on target and called the keeper into action. And this is really what the club needs — someone to put the ball on frame consistently. McGuire also had one dribble and two key passes, but found himself offside twice. He won an aerial duel, made a clearance, and added two tackles. It might be early to say in the season, but with Ercan Kara struggling to stay fit and on the field, McGuire might just be the Lions’ most reliable striker for the time being.


D, Kyle Smith (46’), 6 — The veteran played on his off side but helped the team get things going down that side. Smith seemed more apt to not only make quicker runs down the left touch line but also stay goal side of his attackers. He may have only played for the second half, but he finished with 48 touches. His 86.5% success rate on 37 passes was respectable, and he was able to get off two crosses. His sole long ball also hit the mark. He also made two tackles and had an interception.

MF/D, Iván Angulo (46’), 5.5 — The lackluster first half for the Lions really left the door open for a substitute to come change the game. Angulo brought that spark to the attack early in the second half with his pace and energy. He should have done better with his shot from the top of the box in the 54th minute, which could have put Orlando back in the game, but ultimately scuffed it wide. Both shots he took missed the frame. After 27 minutes in the attack, Angulo found himself repositioned to a defensive role once Gaston Gonzalez entered the match to claim the left wing. Even in a more defensive position, Angulo logged no tackles and only one interception. He completed 84.2% of 19 total passes with two key passes. Angulo seemed to be playing better in the attack before he was bumped deeper, which is logical given his normal position.

F, Ramiro Enrique (67’), 5 — Coming on for McGuire in the second half, Enrique found himself flicking a header towards goal with his first touch but put the effort just over the crossbar. Enrique’s best moment of the night came in the 79th minute as he chipped the goalkeeper and found the net, but the assistant referee raised the flag for offside as he was working back to a legal position. He only had 11 touches and did not complete any of his three passes. He offered one tackle for the team, but he was a clear drop from the performance McGuire was putting on.

MF, Gaston Gonzalez (73’), 4.5 — The winger took one shot but missed the target. He only had 14 touches and completed all six of his passes. He completed one of his three crosses and his one long ball, but Gonzalez often finds himself not getting on the end of his teammates’ balls coming his way. He really seems to be struggling to find his form. Given his return from injury, that’s not too concerning just yet, but if this continues he could find himself lower in the rotation.

F, Jack Lynn (82’), N/A — The forward came on for Araújo late in the match to make his 2023 season debut as Oscar Pareja decided to throw the kitchen sink at the match for a result. Lynn found himself in behind the back line in the 85th minute and forced a remarkable save to keep the Lions from leveling the score. He completed his only pass with his other of two total touches.

That’s how I saw the individual performances in Orlando’s first loss of the season. 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’ 2-1 loss against Charlotte FC?

  • 56%
    Robin Jansson
    (50 votes)
  • 20%
    Duncan McGuire
    (18 votes)
  • 23%
    Martín Ojeda
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    Michael Halliday
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Facundo Torres
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (Tell us in the comments below)
    (0 votes)
89 votes total Vote Now