Orlando City Midseason Report Cards: Defenders and Goalkeepers



It feels like only yesterday that Orlando City made its MLS debut, packing over 60,000 lunatics into the Citrus Bowl to usher in a new era not just in Major League Soccer, but in professional sports in this city as a whole.

It wasn't yesterday, however; it was a half a season ago. Expectations ranged from the extremes of expecting a basement dweller to expecting the run of trophies to continue. At the midway point of the season, we do our best to grade the players' performances in introducing Orlando to U.S. top flight soccer.

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GK Donovan RickettsD+ – There’s a hard reality to be seen when looking at the results of this season. In the Ricketts era, the club won one game while losing five. On the season as a whole, the Lions have lost just six. No, this isn’t entirely Donovan’s fault, but it’s too jarring a pattern to ignore.

While it was thrilling to see some of the saves Ricketts made, the lasting memory of his stint as the regular starter will be the ones that he did not make.

GK Tally Hall – A- – Averaging three saves a game en route to a 4-1-2 record, Hall has righted the ship since his return from a blown knee. From his command of the defense to his spirited efforts inside the box, there is no question that The Great Wall of Tally has been a marvelous get for Orlando.

GK Earl Edwards, Jr. – NA – Kudos to the rookie for hanging around the senior squad all year. Between the friendly against Ponte Preta and the U.S. Open Cup match in Charleston, Edwards has stopped four penalty kicks. But he hasn’t played in MLS yet, hence the “NA” grade.

D Luke BodenB-Many fans were surprised to find Bodz on the bench for the early stretch of the season. General opinion expected to see The Killer Bees in the starting XI long before that sweet ass nickname came to be, but it wasn’t until May that Boden began to see the startling lineup regularly.

He hasn't missed an MLS game since.

Leading the team in crosses per game is not a surprise for longtime City fans, but even the originals have to be surprised by this statistic: Boden is averaging just 0.1 fewer key passes per game than the one and only Kaká.

D Aurelien CollinA+ – It couldn’t be any other grade for what has been, in this Mane Lander’s humble opinion, the best player in purple throughout the first half of the season. The Pitbull adds a necessary bite to the Orlando defense, giving it an edge with both his aggression on the ball and his outright dominance in the air.

Sitting oh-so-slightly outside the top five in aerial balls won per game, if seeing Collin leave his feet doesn't make you giddy, maybe take it easy on the game day drinking.

The cherry on this sundae? Collin passes the ball with a success rate over 83%, at least five points higher than the likes of Steve Birnbaum and Omar Gonzalez.

D Sean St. LedgerB – St. Ledger has looked like a star in matches against Houston and the June 15 match-up with D.C. United, but has compounded that with looking lost against San Jose and budding rival Columbus Crew. A solid pairing with Collin, his vision from the backfield has helped make him a stellar part of this roster.

D Seb HinesC+ – Sebby has been a solid part of the center back rotation, but lacks that standout performance that makes you think his ceiling is much higher than that. We’ve seen the basement, notably, in the Columbus Crew nightmare of April, but we’ve yet to see a performance that forces Hines into the “best player on the pitch” post-game conversation.

D Rafael Ramos – B – Oh, Ramos, what a curious case you are. The numbers don’t agree with him, setting him in the bottom half of the team in most passing categories and refusing to let him stand out in any defensive categories.

The numbers are lying to you.

Ramos has been an integral part of the team in the wake of Kevin Molino's injury, utilizing top flight speed with an unequaled motor to annoy the defense on the attack and stifle the counter in the defensive third. If there is an "engine" in this Lion machine, look no further than the #VamosRamos phenomenon.

D Tyler TurnerIncomplete – While Turner has shown flashes of athleticism that look to be an asset, the cutoff to receive a grade was set at 300 minutes. Turner has been on the clock for 257 minutes of MLS action thus far. We look forward to learning more about his game as the opportunities continue to come.

D Conor Donovan – NA – The promising young center back has shown flashes in friendly and U.S. Open Cup play but has yet to see MLS minutes.

D Tommy Redding – NA – Yet to sniff the field and has been hampered by a knee injury.


Be sure to check Part 2: Midfielders and Forwards this Friday, only on The Mane Land.


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