After displaying a weakened team in Philadelphia over the weekend, Orlando City returned home to face Atlanta United Wednesday night. The team was looking to gain ground on the New York teams with a home result, but fell 1-0 to their Georgia rivals. Despite having more possession and doubling the opposition in shots, the Lions struggled to put shots on target, resulting in a devastating loss as they attempt to clinch a postseason spot, let alone claim a home playoff game.
Let’s look at how the Lions performed individually in the loss.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — Gallese had an excellent game, despite conceding the game’s only goal. His saves in first-half injury time and in the 72nd minute kept the game scoreless. Those were two of his three saves on the night. The goal wasn’t his fault as lackluster defending allowed Thiago Almada to find himself free on goal.
D, Joao Moutinho, 6 — Overall, it was a pretty good night for Moutinho. Defensively, the left back had two interceptions and three clearances. On the attack, the defender completed 80.4% of his 46 passes, including one key pass. His 77 touches were second on the team, only behind Mauricio Pereyra. What hurts Moutinho is that he only completed one of his seven crosses, a problem for the Lions in this game.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6.5 — This was a really good game for Schlegel, who was strong in the defensive and attacking end. Defensively, Schlegel had one tackle, one interception, three clearances, and two blocked shots. He completed 84.9% of his 53 passes and two of his four long balls. He was involved in the Atlanta goal, but it was a nice touch to free Almada and Schlegel was in the correct position to avoid his man getting a shot off.
D, Antonio Carlos, 5.5 — Carlos wasn’t as active in the attack as Schlegel, recording one interception and one clearance. But he completed 90.4% of his 52 passes and an impressive 13 of his 15 long balls. He missed the net badly on his lone headed shot attempt. Unfortunately, Carlos’ biggest contribution was an poorly-timed slide tackle attempt on the Atlanta goal, where he didn’t even touch the ball. The last defender, Carlos slid in, allowing Almada to tap the ball around him and have a free shot on target. That mistake is what knocks his grade down a little.
D, Kyle Smith, 6 — Smith had a solid game, with one tackle and one interception. He completed 86.7% of his 30 passes, including one key pass. Similar to Moutinho, Smith only completed one of his six crosses, which in part doomed the Lions to defeat. The key play from Smith in this game was a clearance off the line in the 37th minute that would’ve gone in. He was taken off for Ruan in the 58th minute, but it was due to Ruan’s attacking presence rather than Smith’s performance.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7 (MotM) — Pereyra was the conductor of the team that Orlando City fans love to see. Everything the Lions did going forward went through the captain. He led the team in touches (89), passes (71), key passes (five), and tackles (three). Pereyra completed 85.9% of his 71 passes and two of his four crosses, also a team high. He took two off-target shots, though one missed by inches, resulting in yells from the crowd as they thought the ball went in.
MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — With Cesar Araujo out with an illness, Cartagena was thrown into the starting lineup for this important game and he played very well. The defensive midfielder recorded one tackle and one interception on defense and was terrific going forward. He completed all of his 34 passes and four long balls, including one key pass. While he may not have had the impact of Araujo, it was a terrific performance by the Peruvian.
MF, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres has been arguably Orlando City’s best player but this wasn’t his best game. The attacking midfielder completed 76.7% of his 43 passes but had two key passes. He completed one of his two long balls and took two off-target shots. Torres helped out defensively with two tackles and one clearance but he’ll be looking for a better performance on Saturday.
MF, Junior Urso, 6 — While Urso didn’t have a tremendous impact on the game, it was a solid performance. The midfielder completed 93.3% of his 30 passes, including one key pass. He had a chance to score in the 21st minute when he headed an Ercan Kara cross towards goal, but he didn’t get enough on it and hit it close to goalkeeper Raul Gudino, who got down to make the stop. Urso also completed three long balls in 74 minutes..
MF, Ivan Angulo, 5.5 — Angulo came off with Urso late in the game, replaced by Tesho Akindele in the 75th minute. While Angulo is an upgrade on Jake Mulraney, it wasn’t Angulo’s best performance. He completed 84.6% of his 26 passes but no key passes. He took three shots but all were off target — the first by just inches — and completed one of his two crosses.
F, Ercan Kara, 5 — Kara wasn’t very involved in this one, only recording 21 touches. He completed 44.9% of his nine passes but the Austrian’s main contribution is expected to be in the final third. Kara only had one shot in this game, getting his head to a good cross by Smith. However, he headed it just wide when he should’ve gotten it on target. Kara’s first-half cross to Urso was a good one but unfortunately didn’t lead to a goal. Opposing back lines will never need to mark Kara tightly if his teammates continue to ignore his calls for the ball when he’s in position to split the center backs, as he again was several times in this game.
D, Ruan (58’), 6 — Ruan came on for Smith in the 58th minute as the Lions looked for more in the attack. The usual starting right back did well, completing 70% of his 20 passes and recording two key passes. Additionally, he completed one of his three crosses. Ruan’s three tackles were tied for the team lead and he also recorded an inception.
F, Benji Michel (58’), 5 — At the same time as the Ruan substitution, Michel came on for Kara. Oscar Pareja was looking for some more energy up top but Michel didn’t provide much for his team. He only completed 66.7% of his nine passes and all three of his shots were off target.
MF, Andres Perea (65’), 5.5 — For the most part, Perea was pretty good in this game. He completed all of his 22 passes, including two long balls. However, his most impactful moment of the game was getting caught flat-footed as a quick one-two resulted in Atlanta’s goal. He fired a shot off the facing of the upper deck that he should have done better with and he had the game’s final shot when he headed a corner cross straight at the goalkeeper from a few yards out.
MF, Jake Mulraney (74’), 5.5 — Mulraney came on for Urso in the 74th minute. The midfielder completed 83.3% of his six passes, including two key passes and a long ball. Just after coming on, a lovely cross to Akindele nearly resulted in the equalizer, but Gudino made a good save. That was his only completed cross in seven attempts and took three off-target shots.
F, Tesho Akindele (75’), 5.5 — Akindele came on with Mulraney and the two almost tied the game in the 76th minute. A good ball by Mulraney found the head of Akindele, who forced Gudino into a good diving save. Akindele had one other off-target shot but that was his contribution to the game. Most importantly, he was unable to find the game-tying goal.
That’s how I saw the individual performances for Orlando City in this midweek clash. Let us know how you saw the game in the comments and don’t forget to vote on your Man of the Match.
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