Well, that was quite a game now, wasn’t it? A brace for Dom Dwyer, six goals between the two teams, and some truly awful defending in wide areas. If you’d said before the game we’d get a point on the road at Atlanta I’d have been a very happy man, but it would have been nice to see Dom get his hat trick. Let’s get into how the team did today.
GK, Joe Bendik,7.5 — Joe made some massive saves in the early going, including pushing a shot onto the post to keep the score at 1-0. He perhaps could have done better getting out to the left of the goal to prevent the cross by Julian Gressel that provided the first Atlanta goal. He continued to make good saves afterwards, however, and was largely helpless on the second and third goals.
D, Jonathan Spector, 7 — Spector did very well in the early going, marshaling the back line well and making several key interventions to prevent Atlanta chances. Lost Martinez on his second goal and was caught in no man’s land. Worryingly, he was forced off due to injury in the 63rd minute, cutting off what was an overall good performance.
D, Tommy Redding, 6 — Redding was good in the first half, as he stayed organized and made good clearances. He turned in a pretty good performance for most of the game, but he completely lost Martinez for his third goal, and won’t be at all happy at being smoked like a Virginia ham.
D, Donny Toia, 6.5 — Perhaps could have done better containing his man on the first Atlanta goal. He was given quite a bit of grief down his side by the Atlanta wingers. Provided an excellent cross for Dom’s first goal, as he probably couldn’t have placed the ball any better.
D, Scott Sutter, 6.5 — Sutter was also given a lot of trouble by Atlanta’s wide men, as most of the true opposition danger came down the flanks on the wide pitch at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. He provided an absolute peach of a cross for Dwyer’s second goal, but like Toia, should have done better stopping some of the crosses into the box.
M, Antonio Nocerino, 7 — Again given the captain’s armband for the night, Nocerino was also given a lot to do at the base of the midfield diamond and did it well enough, running all night and popping up all over the field. Seemed to lose his man in the buildup to the first goal and could only appeal for offside. He worked hard in a position that isn’t his natural one however, and made a good tackle late in the game to stop Miguel Almiron on an especially troubling Atlanta break.
M, Yoshimar Yotun, 6.5 — He did fairly well with his set piece delivery on the day, putting in more than one teasing ball. He was quieter than he has been in past games, not doing anything spectacular but also not making any egregious errors. His contribution was perhaps limited by the lack of Orlando possession.
M, Dillon Powers, 7 — Often found himself dropping deep into the middle of the field to help out defensively, and was running all night. Unable to dictate play due to a lack of possession but dug in and worked hard. Overall a good 73 minutes from Powers, who will be hoping that this game will be a stepping stone to more playing time.
M, Giles Barnes, 7.5 — Looked lively on the night, and did well to get involved further up the field. Should have done better when put through on goal in the first half but could only hit a ball that seemed neither a cross nor shot. He was another player who found himself tracking back often to help out the defense.
F, Cyle Larin, 8 — Given few opportunities in the first half but was still able to cleverly release Barnes behind the defense. Struggled with his first touch initially, but settled down and did a good job holding up the ball. He placed his header very well for the Lions’ third goal, and seemed to grow into the game more afterwards.
F, Dom Dwyer, 9 (MOTM) — Dom was an absolute menace whenever the ball came into the box. A powerful and well-aimed header for his first goal and while he might have had some help on his second from Guzan’s questionable keeping, he still did well to beat Anton Walkes and take the chance. A delightful left-footed cross for Larin’s goal rounded off his night nicely. Hopefully the goals will continue to flow. Easy decision for Man of the Match.
D, Leo Pereira (63’), 6.5 — The Brazilian came on to replace the injured Spector, and slotted into the back line well enough. He perhaps could have done more on the third Atlanta goal but Redding was far more at fault than he was. Overall, he did a solid job in a game where it would have been very easy to make a fatal error.
M, Carlos Rivas (73’), 5.5 — Brought on to try to help open up the game in the later stages and perhaps provide a winner, but found it difficult to get meaningfully involved. Like most of the players on the field, he didn’t see an overwhelming amount of the ball in the opposition half, but he failed to do much with it when he did.
That’s my analysis of today’s individual performers. Let me know what you think by voting in the Man of the Match poll below, and feel free to leave any comments with other thoughts.