In the first Tropic Thunder rivalry match of the year, Orlando City went on the road and won 3-1 against Inter Miami. Ercan Kara, Martin Ojeda, and Rafael Santos all scored to overshadow a great goal from Leonardo Campana. It was Orlando’s first win during a hectic May and should be a good result to build off of. Let’s dive into how your favorite Lions individually performed in a huge road win.
GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 — Gallese was beaten by Campana’s strike from distance, unable to get to it before it was in the back of the net. Dixon Arroyo tested him again soon after, but he did well to get low and make the difficult save. It was Gallese’s only save of the night as his back line did well to keep Miami from troubling him too much. El Pulpo’s distribution could have been a bit better as he was accurate on four of his 11 long balls and completed 46.2% of his 13 passes. The way the game played out influences those stats a bit though as Gallese didn’t need to help Orlando build possession out of the back.
D, Rafael Santos, 6.5 — A turnover in Orlando’s own half led to Miami’s equalizer, as the Herons picked off Santos’ pass and then worked the ball to Campana for him to work his magic. However, Santos made up for his error with his first goal as a Lion late in the match. Duncan McGuire found him at the edge of the area and he smashed it home. It was his second shot of the match, as he had a similar opportunity prior to his goal that went just wide. It was only his sixth professional goal and gave the Lions an insurance tally they’ve struggled to find in past matches. Santos did struggle in other ways though. His crosses looked threatening, but he was unsuccessful on both attempts and inaccurate on his four long balls as well. He had 42 passes, but only completed 73.8% of them as well. That being said, he was defensively sound with two tackles, three interceptions, and two clearances.
D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 — The Beefy Swede was dominant in the center of Orlando’s defense, finishing the match with seven clearances, three interceptions, and two blocked shots. His distribution was great as well, as he was successful on 88.9% of his 27 passes and completed three of his five long balls. Jansson was a big reason why Gallese had a fairly quiet night as he positioned himself well to force Miami’s attack to go through him or try attempts from range or bad angles. The edge and decisiveness he defended with also went a long way in a rivalry match on the road.
D, Antonio Carlos, 7.5 — This match was a testament to just how well Carlos can put out fires. Campana and Josef Martinez are not the easiest forwards to wrangle with, but Carlos kept them limited while helping Kyle Smith out on the right side of the defense when needed. He had seven clearances and two interceptions to see out danger and prevent service from reaching Miami’s biggest weapons. Carlos only completed 73.9% of his 23 passes, but was accurate on four of his five long balls. This match was another strong outing from the Brazilian in his seventh start of the season.
D, Kyle Smith, 6.5 — The right back didn’t see too much of the ball in 63 minutes on the field. Smith had 29 touches and 17 passes at a subpar 64.7% success rate. He didn’t get involved on offense much either, with his only cross of the match missing its mark. But on the defensive side of things, he had two interceptions and three clearances while communicating with Carlos to deal with the danger when it came knocking. Perhaps most notable was that, in a match in which referee Ramy Touchan handed out seven yellow cards, he wasn’t booked. In fact, he didn’t even commit a foul, which is important considering he’s a yellow card away from suspension and Michael Halliday is on international duty.
MF, Cesar Araujo, 7.5 — Araujo notched his first assist of the season with a great long throw that had plenty of power to reach Kara at the near post. It’s nice to see this part of his game result in a goal. Araujo led the Lions with 69 touches and 55 passes at an 87.3% success rate. He also had a team-high two key passes and put his only shot on target, although it was right at Drake Callender. Of his 10 long balls, second only to Gallese, six found their mark, including starting the sequence that resulted in Santos’ goal. Defensively, he had two tackles and an interception to help limit Miami’s chances. Araujo made it easy to forget he’s just 22 years old, as he comfortably played himself and his teammates out of trouble. This was his 10th straight match that he’s played all 90 minutes, so he is likely looking forward to the week of rest.
MF, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — The Peruvian was juked by Campana and couldn’t close him down in time to stop his goal. It was a blemish on a fairly strong defensive effort in the midfield from Cartagena, who led the Lions with five tackles. Cartagena didn’t have any shots or key passes, but he did connect on two of his three long balls to contribute offensively. The 28-year-old had 46 passes at an 84.8% success rate and won his only aerial duel of the evening.
MF, Ivan Angulo, 6.5 — Angulo was an active part of Orlando’s offense, using his speed to collect the ball and charge into dangerous areas. It often felt like he happened to be in the right place at the right time. However, his decision making led to mixed results. In one moment he was whipping in an excellent cross to Kara for a key pass, but in the next he was sending a shot miles wide of goal. Both of his two shots were off target and that cross was his only one of the match. He didn’t connect on either of his two long balls and he had 26 passes at a 76.9% success rate. His quickness kept the Herons on their toes, even late in the match before being subbed off in the 83rd minute. Angulo also helped out defensively with two tackles and a clearance. He did pick up his fourth yellow card of the season though, meaning his next will result in a suspension.
MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — El Cuervo’s movement both on and off the ball helped create space for his teammates. Torres attempted a whopping 10 dribbles in 75 minutes and was successful on four of them to shake defenders and increase Orlando’s tempo. However, his touch was poor at times and he continued to lean heavily on his talented left foot, which limited him a bit when attacking. Despite how active he was with his 59 touches, Torres had no key passes and neither of his shots were on target, as one went wide and the other was blocked. He was accurate on one of his two long balls, missed on his lone cross, but finished with 37 passes at a strong 89.2% success rate. Although he didn’t have any defensive stats, the pressure he provided was certainly felt. Still, he needed to be more clinical in this match to capitalize on the team’s chances.
MF, Gaston Gonzalez, 6 — The Argentine winger’s night came to an unfortunate end in the 63rd minute when he pulled up near the touchline grabbing his leg with what looked to be a hamstring injury. Up to that point, he’d been solid playing along the left wing, completing 60.9% of his 23 passes and working his way into good areas. Gonzalez was successful on one of his two crosses as well, connecting with Kara on a corner kick for a key pass. Given his injury history, it was tough to watch him exit this match just as it looked like he was picking up steam in the offense.
F, Ercan Kara, 8 (MotM) — Kara is simply on fire, as he scored his fourth goal in five games. The Austrian forward got his head on Araujo’s long throw at the near post and flicked it on past Callender for Orlando’s first goal. He had more brilliance in the second half for an assist as well, knocking the ball forward for Ojeda to run in on goal unimpeded. The Lions targeted him early and often, and he finished the match with three shots, all with his head. One went just over the crossbar and the other smacked the post early in the match. He won his only aerial duel and completed half of his 16 passes in 75 minutes of action. It was an excellent performance from Kara and he is our clear Man of the Match.
MF, Martin Ojeda (63′), 7 — In his first taste of the Tropic Thunder rivalry, Ojeda scored to restore Orlando’s lead in the second half with his only shot of the match. Only a few minutes after coming on as a substitute, Ojeda was sent in on goal by Kara and beat Callender to swing the momentum back in Orlando’s favor. He was also credited with an assist on Santos’ goal for slipping the ball through a defenders legs for it to reach McGuire, who then found Santos. His fresh legs helped see the game out and he had an interception and a clearance on the defensive side of things. He only had nine passes, completing six of them, and 15 touches, but he certainly made a difference in this one.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel (63′), 7 — The center back came on for Smith in the second half to change the shape of Orlando’s defense. He only had eight touches, but he made them count with three clearances, an interception, and his first MLS assist. A long ball from Schlegel found Kara in the center of the field and the striker passed it along to Ojeda for Orlando’s second goal. He completed three of his four passes and was accurate on one of his two long balls. It’s nice knowing a center back like Schlegel is available, as he can provide both depth and versatility for the Lions.
F, Duncan McGuire (75′), 7 — His assist on Santos’s goal was a simple one, but he did well to hold up play in the box and finding his teammate rather than trying to force a shot from a tough angle or dribbling away from goal. The rookie didn’t take a shot, but got into good positions and was fouled twice. McGuire completed five of his seven passes and added some pressure to help Orlando take all three points back to Orlando.
MF, Mauricio Pereyra (75′), 6.5 — The midfielder was sharp coming off the bench, immediately combining with McGuire in the box to create a chance. He won’t receive credit on the score sheet for his role in Orlando’s third goal, but he did well to receive and then send the ball forward without a sacrifice in tempo. Pereyra completed six of his eight passes and looked good when on the ball.
MF, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson (83′), N/A — It was another brief appearance for the Icelandic midfielder, as he had four touches and completed all three of his passes in the build up to Orlando’s third goal. There wasn’t enough time in the match for Thorhallsson to receive a grade in this one.
That’s how I saw each performance from the Lions in their 3-1 win over Miami. It’s always nice to see the Lions win, but it’s even sweeter when it’s against a rival. Who was your Man of the Match? Make sure to vote in our poll and let us know what you think in the comments!