Orlando City

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



Orlando City took an early lead on the road and then held on for a 1-1 draw against Atlanta United. It was a bit of a disjointed performance from the Lions as they were defensively solid but struggled to get much going on offense. Mauricio Pereyra scored his first goal in over a year and Pedro Gallese came up with big saves yet again to help Orlando get another result on the road.

Let’s dive into how each Lion individually performed against Atlanta.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 8 (MotM) — El Pulpo had three saves in this match and they were all stellar. The best of the bunch came in the 82nd minute, as he leapt to stop former Lion Dom Dwyer’s shot that seemed destined for the back of the net. He came up with a nice reaction save to tip a headed effort over the bar in the 38th minute and made a crucial save to deny Luiz Araujo during a dangerous 2-on-1 situation in the 82nd. The shot in stoppage time from Josef Martinez that hit the post may be looked at as a lucky break, but Gallese did well, making himself big to force Martinez to shoot from a tough angle. There wasn’t much he could do about Atlanta’s goal, as Juan Jose Purata had a free header right in front of the net. Gallese’s distribution could’ve been a bit better, completing 70% of his 20 passes while connecting on seven of his 13 long balls. Still, Gallese is our Man of the Match for his impressive saves on the road against a rival side that threw the kitchen sink at him

D, Kyle Smith, 5.5 — The versatile defender started at left back in place of Joao Moutinho and Atlanta found success attacking his side of the field. In the 42rd minute, Marcelino Moreno beat Smith near the end line and surged into the box. Smith did well to recover and apply pressure though, with Moreno going to ground in hopes of drawing a penalty that was ultimately not given. Regardless, it was a nervy moment in the match. On offense, Smith didn’t have any crosses but was successful on both of his long balls. Smith did fairly well when passing, completing 85.2% of his 27 passes, but he had an errant pass in the second half that ended a nice run of possession from Orlando in the attacking third. He played for 67 minutes before being substituted off, finishing the game with four clearances.

D, Robin Jansson, 6.5 — It was a decent performance from Jansson, who played every minute of the match and recorded a tackle, an interception, and a clearance. His best moment of the match came in the 79th minute when he made a fantastic sliding effort to block a cross from Moreno right in front of goal. Atlanta mostly attacked in ways he couldn’t make much of an impact, either by going through the wings or setting up shots from distance, and he didn’t participate in any aerial duels. Offensively, he completed six of his 11 long balls and was successful on both of his dribbles. Of his 33 passes, 75.8% were accurate and he conceded a corner by making a bad back pass that went right out of play. For what it’s worth, it was also Jansson’s fourth league match in a row without committing a foul or being booked.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6.5 — Schlegel returned to the starting lineup and put in a solid defensive shift on the road. He led the Lions with seven clearances and two blocked shots to help stop Atlanta’s onslaught throughout the match. Of Schlegel’s 33 passes, 78.8% of them were successful and three of his six long balls found their mark as well. The Argentine defender chatted with Atlanta’s players all game long and did a good job backing it up with some nice plays on defense.

D, Ruan, 6 — Atlanta’s offense went after Ruan early and often in this match. As a result, he led the Lions with five tackles and did a great job to put out a dangerous fire in the box in the 17th minute before Moreno could get a shot off. That being said, there were times when his defending was frantic and desperate as he constantly conceded corners to the opposition. Along with his five tackles, he had two clearances, an interception, and blocked a shot. Ruan also led the Lions with 56 touches and completed 74.1% of his 27 passes. His speed was once again an asset on offense, especially late in the match when it looked as if Orlando would find a winner. However, he only completed one of his four crosses and had four unstable touches. Two of his four long balls were accurate and he was successful on one of his two attempted dribbles.

MF, Jake Mulraney, 5.5  — Mulraney started on the left wing and looked good early on when taking on defenders. While both of his two crosses were unsuccessful, they were decent balls served into the box towards the far post. The Irishman quickly cooled off though, not making much of an impact beyond drawing three fouls. Mulraney had three unstable touches and just seven passes at an 85.7% success rate. He did contribute defensively with three tackles and a clearance before being subbed off in the 55th minute for Benji Michel. More consistency from Mulraney would have been great as he didn’t have a cross after the fifth minute.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 7.5 — It was yet another strong game from Araujo. He saw plenty of the ball, with 53 touches and a team-high 41 passes at an excellent 95.1% success rate. The 21-year-old was great when defending throughout the match, but his best moment came in the 64th minute as he chased down Atlanta on a fast break to make a critical tackle. It was one of four tackles for Araujo in the match as he helped support the back line. Both of Araujo’s long balls were successful and his lone shot was blocked. Araujo played every minute of the match and it was the first time since May that he wasn’t fouled.

MF, Junior Urso, 6.5 — The Bear was all over the pitch in this match, applying pressure and chasing down loose balls. The 33-year-old showed some tired defending at times as the match wore on, but he delivered a beautiful pass in stoppage time to set up Ruan right in front of goal. All three of his attempted dribbles were successful and he was never dispossessed in the match as he tried to build Orlando’s possession. His three long balls were all accurate and he completed 85.7% of his 35 passes. Urso committed four fouls in this one and was booked for the second consecutive match. Defensively, he finished with two tackles and two clearances. It was the third straight match in which Urso played every minute, so we will see how his minutes are managed in the future.

MF, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres had a difficult time dealing with Atlanta’s press, making five unstable touches and being dispossessed five times. Neither of his two crosses were accurate and both of his two long balls were unsuccessful as well. He had 25 passes at an 80% success rate and just wasn’t able to provide much of an offensive spark that was desperately needed to keep Atlanta on its toes. Torres’s biggest contribution was winning the foul that led to Pereyra’s goal from the ensuing free kick. He was subbed off in the 67th minute while Orlando still had a lead. All in all, it was far from the Designated Player’s best performance and he’ll have to shake it off as the team continues its hectic July schedule.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6.5 — Pereyra found the back of the net for the first time in 2022, scoring off of a free kick just outside the box. Poor goalkeeping by Rocco Rios Novo left the goal wide open, but that shouldn’t take away from a superb strike from Pereyra that curled into the side netting. He fouled Caleb Wiley while chasing down a loose ball and the following set piece resulted in Atlanta’s goal. Pereyra completed 81.8% of his 22 passes and was accurate on just one of his five crosses. He helped out on the defensive side of things with four tackles and a clearance before being subbed off in the 85th minute.

F, Ercan Kara, 5.5 — The Austrian spent another match without much service, although the game’s flow definitely played a part as Atlanta dominated possession. In 54 minutes of action, Kara had 15 touches, seven passes at a 57.1% success rate, and didn’t take part in any aerial duels. The team certainly needed to find ways to get Kara more involved on offense, and some of that does fall on his shoulders. Kara did find ways to make an impact on defense though, coming up with four clearances and a tackle to limit Atlanta’s chances from set pieces. He didn’t have any shots in this match and that will have to change in the future.


F, Tesho Akindele (54’), 6 — Akindele came on for Kara and made some runs out wide to receive passes. One such run came in stoppage time as he won the ball down the wing, held up play, and then made a key pass to Pato for a shot that hit the post. The Canadian also did his part on defense to preserve Orlando’s point, making three tackles and two clearances. He completed 10 of his 12 passes for an 83.3% success rate, won one of his two aerial duels, and had 20 touches in a decent outing.

MF, Benji Michel (55’), 5 — The Homegrown Player replaced Mulraney, but wasn’t able to make much of an impact on the left wing either. He transitioned into more of a wingback role when Orlando brought on Antonio Carlos. He had just 12 touches and seven passes at an 85.7% success rate, finishing without any shots or crosses as Orlando had to spend most of the second half defending. Michel had one tackle and his speed allowed him to sprint ahead in transition while still being able to get back to defend when needed. He received a yellow card for a clumsy foul that gave Atlanta a free kick in a dangerous area, but Orlando cleared it.

D, Antonio Carlos (67’), 6.5 — Carlos came on to defend Orlando’s lead, but Atlanta scored just a few minutes later. During a free kick, Andres Perea kept Juan Jose Purata onside and Carlos appeared to expect Perea to stay with him. As a result, Carlos didn’t pick him up and he was unable to make a play on the ball. Carlos also had a bad pass that turned the ball over and required some heroic defending from Jansson to stop the threat. The Brazilian center back wasn’t able to wrestle Martinez off the ball in stoppage time, but he did help force the forward to shoot from a tougher angle with the match on the line. Carlos finished the game with four clearances, a tackle, an interception, and a blocked shot. Six of his seven passes found their target for an 85.7% success rate and he won his lone aerial duel.

MF, Andres Perea (67’), 5 — Perea kept Purata onside on his goal and wasn’t able to prevent the defender from having a free header. He had eight passes at a 62.5% success rate and neither of his two long balls connected. The 21-year-old did play a part in Orlando’s late surge for a winner in stoppage time. His three tackles definitely helped Orlando out on defense, but it was a fairly quiet game from Perea during a match where Orlando could have used some stability in the midfield.

MF, Alexandre Pato (85’), N/A — Pato wasn’t on the field very long, but he almost gave Orlando a winner with a nice shot outside the box that beat the goalkeeper but struck the post. He had 11 touches, eight passes at a 62.5% completion rate, and completed one of his two long balls. It wasn’t a fantastic game from him, but it was nice to see Pato look threatening after a rough start to this month.

That’s how I saw Orlando City’s individual performances in the team’s 1-1 draw with Atlanta United on the road. Let us know how you saw the game in the comments and don’t forget to vote for your Man of the Match below.

Polling Closed

Pedro Gallese32
Cesar Araujo5
Rodrigo Schlegel2
Mauricio Pereyra4
Other (Let us know who in the comments)2


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