Orlando City started out hot in its last match of the 2019 MLS season as Tesho Akindele scored early. But the team fell apart in the second half and lost to the Chicago Fire 5-2 at Exploria Stadium. The Fire scored three goals in seven minutes in the second half to ultimately seal the win. Here’s how everyone individually performed in the tough loss at home.
GK, Brian Rowe, 4 — He probably should have done better with the first goal. Rowe led with his feet to try and clear the initial cross but missed, and it led to Kyle Smith’s own goal. Rowe made a good save in the 30th minute. Brandt Bronico sent a good shot on frame and Rowe made the diving, fingertip save to keep the score tied at one. I’m not sure what he was doing on the fifth Fire goal, which popped up off his hands then he stood and watched Przemyslaw Frankowski walk by and head it in. He finished with five saves, but the big number here is the five goals allowed. Not all of them were his fault, but he did not have a good match.
D, Kamal Miller, 4 — Miller attempted to defend Aleksandar Katai in the 17th minute. Katai was no match though, and literally spun Miller around, before sending a great ball to C.J. Sapong that resulted in the tying goal. Katai toyed with Miller on the third Chicago goal, working his way into position and freeing himself up for the shot. The rookie had just one tackle in the match and struggled defensively.
D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Just after the half hour mark, he went up to clear a ball. Sapong pushed Jansson while he was in the air and the defender collapsed onto Kyle Smith’s knee. The medical team immediately came onto the field, and Jansson had to be stretchered off the field. He finished with 14 touches, one tackle, and two clearances. The good news is our Michael Citro talked to him after the game and Jansson said he was OK.
D, Kyle Smith, 3.5 — Smith scored the second goal of the match, but in the wrong net. He attempted to defend Sapong but was on the wrong side of the forward. Smith got back into the correct position but wasn’t able to clear the ball and scored an own goal. On Chicago’s third goal, Smith defended awfully as Katai toyed with him before scoring. Minutes later he dove in but missed the ball completely as Przemyslaw Frankowski back heeled the Fire’s fourth goal. Still, he was tied for the most tackles on the team (three) and clearances (four).
D, Ruan, 6 — Ruan did what he did best in the 11th minute. He intercepted a pass in the defensive end and then burst onto the other side of the field. He glided by Nicolás Gaitán, but then Francisco Calvo came in with a hard tackle and Ruan stayed down on the field. After the trainers looked at him, Ruan was able to get back up and stay in the game. He had a typical night making runs and finished with three tackles and a clearance. Offensively though, he did not add too much.
MF, Uri Rosell, 6 — Rosell had a very quiet first half, although he did finish with the most touches out of both teams (46). He also had the most passes (45). He continued that production in the second half, finishing with 83 passes and an impressive 89% passing accuracy. He had three shots, one on target, and one key pass. Defensively, Rosell had one tackle, one interception, and two clearances. He was quiet on the night, but solid in the middle of the field.
MF, Will Johnson, 6 — Johnson did an excellent job defending in the 27th minute. Jansson pushed up but lost the ball, and Johnson expertly dropped into the back line. Frankowski got the ball over the top and Johnson fought for a goal kick. He finished with two shots, one on target. He was one of the best defenders for the Lions with four clearances and a tackle before being subbed out for Sacha Kljestan. He had a 91% passing accuracy — second highest in the game behind Chicago’s Johan Kappelhof.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — On the opening goal, Pereyra showed his vision and passing ability as he found Michel over the top, and was awarded an assist. In the 22nd minute, he gave a one touch pass from Nani that freed Akindele in the box. Akindele should have scored as it was a perfect pass from Pereyra. He had a fantastic dummy in the 42nd minute to feed the ball into Michel, a great play as there were three defenders around him. He had a brainless, lazy foul in the 69th minute but nothing came of the free kick. He ended the match with three key passes. His greatest ability is his vision and he was a key part of the match.
F, Nani, 4 — Orlando City started the match with plenty of energy and this was evident just seconds into the game when Nani committed a foul. He got a yellow card in stoppage time of the first half for yelling at the referee. He sent a perfect ball into Tesho in the 54th minute and the forward hit the post on the header, but was offside anyway. In the 93rd minute, he should’ve scored when one-on-one with Kenneth Kronholm but hit the right post. He had no key passes, just one shot on target, and was not a big factor in the match.
F, Tesho Akindele, 5 — He opened the scoring in the fifth minute. His shot hit the post, then Kenneth Kronholm’s heel, and trickled in the back of the net to get to 10 goals on the year — a career high. He should have had his brace in the 22nd minute. After a perfect pass from Pereyra, Akindele was one-on-one with Kronholm, but shot it right at the goalkeeper. That was about all he did in the match and was quiet the rest of the game. If not for his goal, his grade would be much lower. He finished with two shots, both on target, and two key passes.
F, Benji Michel, 7 (MotM) — The rookie made a good run in the second minute that ended with a tactical foul from Johan Kappelhof. He then immediately got into the box and just missed on the rebound. Minutes later, his tenacity played a part in the first goal. Later on, when he got his chance he put it in the back of the net. Kljestan played a great through ball and Michel beat Kronholm one-on-one to score. In the 85th minute, he should’ve score again but took one touch too many. Even when the match was well and decided, Michel still kept fighting, kept getting in good positions, and kept trying to find the back of the net. The rookie finished with five shots, four on target, three key passes, and was the most threatening player on the field.
D, Shane O’Neill (36’), 3 — The defender came on for Jansson and O’Neill didn’t have much work to do in the first half, his only defensive stats were two clearances. He did have 10 passes in those 10 minutes, all completed. His first true defensive action was in the 52nd minute. Frankowski had the ball inside the 18, and O’Neill did well to eliminate any real options and Frankowski could only shoot right at him. He should have done better on Sapong’s goal and he watched Frankowski score the fifth goal instead of challenging him on the goal line. The defender ended the match with four clearances and no tackles.
MF, Sacha Kljestan (55’), 5 — He missed a wide open goal just after coming on, albeit from a tight angle and just a couple of seconds after he’d threaded a perfect ball through the defense to Akindele. The ball came from his right and he took a left foot shot but hit the outside of the post. In 35 minutes he tied Pereyra and Michel for the team’s most chances created. He had a nice pass in the 74th minute and showed some clinical vision with a perfect assist to Michel. In addition to Kljestan’s three key passes, 19 total passes on 24 touches, and a 79% passing accuracy.
F, Chris Mueller (80’), N/A — A few minutes after coming on, he sent a cross from Kljestan back across the box to Michel with his head. Michel couldn’t finish but it was an excellent headed pass from Mueller. Still, Mueller was in alone and decided to pass instead of shoot. An odd decision from the second-year player. He had no shots and four passes on five touches.
That’s how I saw things. What did you think? Be sure to vote for your Man of the Match in the poll below.