It was a short week for the club, and the starting XI certainly showed as such. It would be easier to list the players and positions that didn’t change from the Atlanta match versus which ones did. The player rotation from Head Coach James O’Connor was so deep that every position, even the goalkeeper spot, saw a different player from the previous lineup. Some players even got to see their first minutes in MLS. So how did the Lions do in the trip out west to Seattle?
GK, Greg Ranjitsingh, 7 (MotM) — In his first start in MLS, Ranjitsingh turned in a good effort. His positioning on the first goal could be critiqued as being a little too deep towards goal, but the fact of the matter is, he was more than likely protecting the near post and leveraging the back line to take care of the rest. He was quick to come out, and made good choices throughout the evening. He certainly looked much more comfortable in the second half, and ended the match with one save and one tackle. He gets my vote for Man of the Match as he helped keep this team in the fight with how quickly, and correctly, he came off his line and stopped chances before they became dangerous.
D, Danilo Acosta, 5 — Acosta started in place of Joao Moutinho, and played well. He saw plenty of touches, and certainly was involved in the offense and the defense. He ended the night with one shot and a 93% passing success rate. One tackle accounted for all of his defensive statistics and he lost track of Handwalla Bwana on the second goal but it was otherwise a fairly solid outing.
D, Shane O’Neill, 6.5 — Although he had a somewhat quiet first half, aside from being late to close down Raul Ruidiaz on the first goal, O’Neill was a force in the second half, anchoring a brand new defensive line against a very potent Seattle attack. Were there some mistakes? Yes, but for the most part, I thought it was a very solid outing. He had three aerials and two tackles won, plus that double stop in the box late to keep the Lions in the match.
D, Lamine Sané, 6 — The short answer would be to just read O’Neill’s review above. The slightly longer answer would be a good outing. Sané led the match with a 95% passing success rate, as well as winning two aerials and two tackles, three interceptions, and two clearances. He communicated well with O’Neill for the most part and even had a shot on the offensive side. In fact, watching him move up and call for the ball as an extra attacker in the waning moments of the match should be a motivational moment for all.
D, Kyle Smith, 6 — There were some hiccups but overall it was a pretty good outing for Smith, considering that Seattle pushed Orlando’s right side more than the left. He ended the night with one aerial won and a passing rate of only 84%, but the three tackles and four clearances were key. He did struggle with Brad Smith and Harry Shipp’s quick 1-2 passing at times though, including on the opening goal.
MF, Uri Rosell, 7 — Rosell was almost on another level today, and was a top contender for some for the MotM honors. He was all over the midfield, running box to box, and showing the textbook example of a “professional foul” that led to a yellow card for him after a Moutinho turnover put the Lions in a bad spot. Without that foul, Seattle was on a counter attack and had numbers forward. He tied with Chris Mueller for most shots (2) and ended the night with a 91% passing rate, two aerials, two tackles, and was 7/7 on long ball passes.
MF, Sacha Kljestan, 6 — It was an up and down night for Kljestan, but it certainly was more up than down. The one really bad spot was the 81% passing percentage. This could be somewhat be explained by the new players around him, the fact that Seattle flooded the midfield, and perhaps some rust. Sacha looked a little slow at times, but don’t let that get in the way of the fact that he completed all of his long ball passes (5/5), won five aerials, and had four tackles, a key pass, and a shot.
MF, Dillon Powers, 6.5 — Every player wants to make a positive impact, especially after making a mistake. Powers showed just how important it is to shake off a mistake that led to the second Seattle goal, and pushed that must harder to make up for it. He did by logging an assist on the Lions’ goal. He also logged one shot, two tackles, an interception, a clearance, and an 86% passing rating, including being 5/7 on long balls.
F, Josué Colmán, 6 — I was really excited to see Colmán start, and I still am. Although the grade is about average, Colmán showed moments of pure brilliance. Unfortunately, there were times where he held onto the ball two touches too many and either lost it or had passes deflected. His 82% passer rating reflects this, although he did have three key passes. He completed just 40% of his dribble attempts, had one shot, and two tackles. With more minutes, I think there is potential there for Colmán to truly break out and help be that creative force in the midfield.
F, Santiago Patino, 5.5 — The first half was a bit quiet for Patino, but the effort was certainly there. The hold-up play was a bit lacking, but it was tough for all of the forwards. He had one shot attempt and two tackles, showing his commitment to drop back and defend when needed.
F, Benji Michel, 5.5 — It was a decent night for Michel, who provided the hustle we knew he would bring. Although the end result wasn’t there, he was a bit of a terror for the Seattle back line at times. He had a solid 90 minutes no matter how you look at it, and showed some sparks at times. Also, he did well when asked to drop back into defense.
F, Dom Dwyer (63’), 5.5 — It looked like the night when Dwyer was finally going to break out, but it never seemed to come. Defenders know how to handle him, and refs do not want to give him calls. He still shows no fear attacking balls in the box, but last night was another night that just wasn’t his. Dom also picked up another yellow card, which puts him dangerously close to a suspension.
F, Chris Mueller (69’), 7 — Cash Rules Everything Around Me. Is there anything that this kid can’t do? After being on the pitch for a massive six minutes, he took a pass from Powers, marched it across the top of the box, and fired a left footed shot that left Stefan Frei completely flat footed. Once again, Mueller hit the pitch as a sub and had a massive impact. It could have been slightly better, however, as he had only been on the field a few moments when he was set up nicely in front of goal but fired over the bar.
D, Joao Moutinho (85’), 6 — Coming in a bit late, Moutinho was still an impact player. As the Lions continued to push for the equalizer, they continued to try to stretch the field and utilize the wings, and Moutinho was key on the left. It was about a 13-minute shift due to eight minutes of stoppage, and he put forth a solid effort with 93% passing, a tackle, and an interception.
That is how i saw it in the late hours of Wednesday evening. How would you rate the Lions in this match, and who would you give the MotM nod to? Let us know in the poll below.