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

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Orlando City vs. LAFC: Player Grades and Man of the Match
© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I don’t think that went the way any of us were hoping it would. Orlando City had an excellent first half but a lapse of concentration and house of horrors error saw the Lions fighting an uphill battle all night long. The question now is, how did the men in purple grade individually in Orlando City’s 4-2 home loss to LAFC?

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Let’s have a look at my player grades and Man of the Match from a night to forget for the good guys.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 5 — It was a pretty quiet game from El Pulpo. Gallese passed at a 100% rate on his 13 attempts, which was good, but he was unable to do anything about any of the four LAFC goals, finishing with zero saves on LAFC’s four shots on target. The first two he was completely helpless on, and he might have gotten a bit stranded at his near post on Brian Rodriguez’s opener for the visitors, but it’s hard to be too picky considering the defensive breakdowns in other areas. He’ll have wished he did better on Ilie Sanchez’s go-ahead goal, since it went in fairly close to him, but he didn’t see it until late as it came through a mass of bodies. Overall, a tough night for Orlando City’s netminder.

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D, Joao Moutinho, 7 — This was probably one of Moutinho’s better games of recent memory. He was menacing going forward and popped up in the attack often, usually to good effect. He completed a dribble, passed at a 77% rate, made two tackles, three interceptions, a clearance, a blocked shot, and won an aerial duel. His 92 touches led the team and he also did very well to move into unoccupied space at the back post and blast his shot low into the far corner for his goal. He loses points for failing to track Rodriguez into the box on the opening goal, but it was a mostly good night for him. He led the team in shots (4) and tied for the team’s most shots on target (2), creating one scoring chance.

D, Antonio Carlos, N/A — It was not good to see Carlos go down after only 15 minutes, and even worse to see him need a stretcher to be taken off the field. Hopefully the injury is nothing more than a nasty hyperextension but only time will tell. The Brazilian was playing pretty well up until he went down, and it might not be an accident that Orlando shipped an unusually high amount of goals in a game played mostly without him. Before going off, Carlos completed all 11 of his pass attempts.

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D, Robin Jansson, 6 — It was a mixed bag from Jansson. He did some really good things like winning two aerial duels and recording one tackle, two interceptions, and a clearance, passing at a 91% clip, and getting forward into the attack a couple times. Nine of his 11 long balls were accurate. Unfortunately, he and Moutinho failed to communicate in time to track Rodriguez on the first goal. It wasn’t a bad game from the Swede, but it wasn’t his best either.

D, Ruan, 5 — The good things Ruan did were recording a tackle, an interception, and a clearance, and completing a dribble. The bad is the hesitation on Carlos Vela’s ball that led to the first goal and the monstrously ill-advised back pass that gifted LAFC its second goal. He seemed to be trying to head it back for Gallese to collect, but he was in traffic and it was horribly misjudged, and the visitors couldn’t have asked for anything easier. That he was subbed out in favor of Kyle Smith while Orlando City was chasing the game was likely half due to tired legs and half due to a performance that he’ll want to put in the rearview mirror.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6 — At 89%, Araujo passed the ball well, creating two scoring chances and completing two of his four long balls, and defensively he also made two tackles. He picked up a completely needless fourth yellow card of the season for getting in Francisco Ginella’s face after he was deemed to have fouled his fellow Uruguayan, and he took umbrage with the decision. The youngster also had a couple of bad giveaways in the midfield on a night where LAFC looked dangerous on the counter to begin with.

MF, Junior Urso, 5.5 — This score maybe feels a little harsh, but the Bear’s influence on proceedings faded badly after halftime. He recorded a tackle and an interception and passed at 89% on the night. He also attempted one shot that didn’t hit the target and drew five opposition fouls, but his second half display contrasted badly with what he was able to do in the first period. Like the rest of Orlando City, he wasn’t able to get involved offensively as much during the second 45 minutes, and he also struggled to slow LAFC in transition moments.

MF, Facundo Torres, 6.5 — Torres looked lively out there, and was unlucky to not get an assist on an absolutely beautiful run of first-half play. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to hold or curl his run long enough to beat the offside trap. Still, he led the Lions with three successful dribbles, had one tackle and one interception, created two scoring chances, completed one of his two long balls, and passed at an 87% rate. He drew three fouls on LAFC with his quick movement, and all three could have been yellow cards. He looks more and more comfortable every week.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7 — Pererya’s pass over the top to Ercan Kara for Orlando’s opening goal was perfection. The vision to see it, the weight and accuracy to put the ball exactly where it needed to be…chef’s kiss. He then did just as well to pick out Moutinho and deliver the ball to him for Orlando’s second goal, and he had a hugely influential first half. Like most everyone else, his second half was less effective but he still finished with four chances created, one dribble, two tackles, and two assists (one primary, one secondary). He was accurate on four of six long balls. The biggest knock on his performance is that he struggled to connect with teammates in the attacking half after halftime.

MF, Alexandre Pato, 7.5 (MotM) — Man, Pato is just different gravy. He looked dangerous from the moment the ball was kicked. He combined well with Torres and Kara on the goal that was chalked out for offside and he continues to see passing lanes and runs that no one else on the field does. His volleyed goal was supremely difficult to pull off, yet he made it look easy. He waited for the ball to drop, kept his knee over it without leaning back, and fired it low into the corner where Maxime Crepeau couldn’t reach it. He was heavily involved aside from his goal with two successful dribbles, two chances created, a tackle, and he even won an aerial duel. He maybe could have done better with a late header that he didn’t place far enough away from Crepeau late, and his passing rate of 53.9% needs to be better, but he was still the Lions’ best performer on the night.

F, Ercan Kara, 7 — It was a good night from Kara. He’s still yet to open his scoring account but his awareness to head the ball back across goal for Pato to volley home — for his second MLS assist — was excellent and the quality of the header itself was also top notch. His dummy for the offside goal was very clever, and he too looks to be meshing better in the attack with every passing game. He was unlucky not to grab a late equalizer for the Lions but he couldn’t generate enough power on a well-placed header and was unable to get it past Crepeau. He had the second-most shots on the team, with three (one on frame), created a scoring chance, and it feels like a matter of time before he gets off the mark. He chipped in a pair of defensive clearances as well.

Substitutes

D, Rodrigo Schlegel (18’), 5.5 — Schlegel had a difficult task on the night, as he came in completely cold for the injured Carlos and was asked to deal with the high octane LAFC attack. For the most part, he did well. The Argentine led the team in tackles with three, won one aerial duel, recorded two interceptions, two clearances, and a block, and passed at a 95% rate. However, he got caught well up the pitch on the first LAFC goal and he could maybe have smacked the ball clear before Sanchez scored, but he didn’t, and then got picked by an LAFC player and was unable to fight through and get his body in the way. All in all, it was a typical hard-working shift from him but one he’ll want to improve upon.

D, Kyle Smith (72’) 6 — Smith had an interception, a tackle, and won an aerial duel in a little over 15 minutes on the field. Overall, he didn’t impact the game much and he wasn’t able to add anything offensively, but the numbers back up that he was his usual solid self defensively.

F, Benji Michel (72’) 6 — Benji provided a bit more verticality to the Orlando attack after coming on, and was given long balls to run onto several times. He had a decent chance to shoot or pass on the left side of the goal shortly after coming on but a heavy touch meant that Orlando had to settle for a corner. He whistled a shot very close to the far post and made an absolutely lung-busting recovery run to make a slide tackle and prevent a chance for LAFC on the counter.

F, Tesho Akindele (83’) N/A — In a brief cameo, Tesho didn’t have a ton of influence on the game with only three touches of the ball. He did win an aerial duel and pressed hard from the front as usual.

F, Silvester van der Water (83’) N/A — Van der Water had 10 touches in his brief time on the field and his deflected cross very nearly resulted in a goal for Alexandre Pato.

That’s how we saw the individual performances in this one. Feel free to share your opinions down in the comments, and make sure to vote for the Man of the Match in the poll below.

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