Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions rate in a dramatic 3-2 win over the Union?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Great googly moogly, that was the dictionary definition of a stressful game! Orlando City conceded yet another early goal, but scored three straight and hung on by the skin of its teeth to run out of Subaru Park 3-2 winners over the Philadelphia Union. Let’s take a look at how each individual Lion performed in a wildly eventful affair on the north bank of the Delaware River.


GK, Pedro Gallese, 7.5 — Gallese was left largely helpless on Philadelphia’s early goal, as the defenders in front of him allowed the ball to get into the box in a good shooting position. He made an excellent save from open play in each half, with the first keeping Philadelphia from doubling its lead, and the second stopping what would have been the equalizing goal. His best of the night was reserved as the clock ticked down though, as he saved Daniel Gazdag’s late penalty to preserve Orlando’s slim lead, getting revenge for Gazdag’s earlier tally from the spot. His 67% passing accuracy left a little to be desired, but he finished with four saves and ultimately preserved three big points for the good guys.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 — Jansson was his typically steady self during his time on the field. Like the rest of his partners in defense, he probably could have been quicker to close down on the Union’s first goal, but frankly no outfield Lion will want to watch that goal back, given the ease with which the whole team was carved open on the recycled ball in. Jansson’s final numbers include one block, six clearances, one tackle, three completed long balls on 11 attempts, 59% passing accuracy, and one aerial duel won. The big news though, was Jansson’s night ending early after suffering what looked to be a non-contact injury.

D, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — Deployed as the middle center back of the 3-5-2, the Peruvian did pretty damn well considering the unfamiliar position in which he found himself. Like Jansson and the rest of the team, he didn’t cover himself in glory on the first goal, but he looked more comfortable afterwards. He recorded six clearances, two tackles, three blocks, two completed long balls on four tries, and a team-best 87% passing accuracy, while committing a foul. He also took two shots, one of which was off target and one that was blocked.

D, David Brekalo, 6.5 — The Slovenian was the only true center back that OCSC finished the game with, and he put in a solid shift during this one. He provided the glue on the back line, and even found himself leading the break at one point in the second half. He totaled two interceptions, five clearances, one shot which was off target, and 68% passing accuracy while drawing one foul.

WB, Ivan Angulo, 6 — Angulo wasn’t as involved as he usually is offensively when the team lines up in a 4-2-3-1, he had to do a lot of tracking back as one of the wide midfielders/wingbacks. Still, he completed two dribbles and passed with 79% accuracy on the night, and committed one foul while not recording any defensive statistics. He was perhaps softly penalized for a foul at the back post that gave Philadelphia a chance to tie the game, but if his marking had been better then he wouldn’t have been in that position to begin with. His biggest contribution on the night was the hustle play that resulted in a steal in the attacking third that led to Luis Muriel’s first goal. Angulo got a secondary assist on the play, finding Nico Lodeiro, who in turn gave the ball to the Colombian for the strike.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6.5 — Araujo was asked to provide the steel in midfield with Cartagena dropped deeper playing center back. He did just that and finished the game with one interception, one block, three clearances, a foul committed and a foul drawn, a yellow card, a completed dribble, and a passing accuracy of 96%. He didn’t do a lot of sexy things, but a lot of his dirty work went into the Lions getting the result in this one.

MF, Martin Ojeda, 5 — It wasn’t Ojeda’s busiest night in an Orlando City shirt, but he kept the ball moving from his place in the middle of the park. Defensively, he committed two fouls and recorded two clearances, while going forward he took one shot, which was off target, completed two long balls (on two attempts) and two key passes, passed with 80% accuracy, and won an aerial duel. He was the man sacrificed for Dagur Dan Thorhallsson as Oscar Pareja tried to make his team more defensive to protect what was a 3-1 lead at the time.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 8 — It was a positively commanding performance from Lodeiro in midfield, as he assisted on all three of Orlando City’s goals. He didn’t have a ton to do with the second goal, but was directly responsible for creating the first and third by way of a great cross and an inch-perfect through ball, respectively. He was unlucky to be called for the handball that got Philly back into the game, as the flick happened from close range and there wasn’t much he could do about it. One of his three shots was off target, while the other two were blocked, and he passed with 87% accuracy, provided a team-high four key passes, had three assists, and completed two crosses, two long balls (on three attempts), and a through ball. On many other nights he would have been Man of the Match, and if he keeps turning in performances like that then he’ll surely have the award coming his way before too long.

WB/MF, Facundo Torres, 6 — As has been the case for much of this season, Facu struggled to really make his mark on the game. He was unlucky that the ball which found him in the fifth minute was just a little too far in front of him, and he could only hit the post while stretching for it. That was his last major involvement though, and while he wasn’t bad, he also wasn’t the talismanic force that we know he can be. Some of that likely had to do with extra defensive responsibilities, as he started the game at left wingback in the 3-5-2, moving into the attack in the 61st minute when Thorhallsson replaced Ojeda. Torres had two clearances and one off-target shot. He also drew three fouls, completed three long balls (out of four attempts), passed with 78% accuracy, and won four aerial duels, which might be the weirdest statistic of the night.

F, Luis Muriel, 8.5 (MotM) — This game was Muriel’s coming-out-party in a big way, and each of his goals were sublimely taken in their own right. The first showcased pure power and elite placement as he hit a howitzer with his left foot into the top corner at the far post from outside the box, while his second was all about the awareness to let the ball run across his body, a great touch to set himself up, and a cool and precise finish low into the side netting with his right foot. His night finished with three shots, two of which were on target, two goals, a game-high five completed dribbles, two tackles, two key passes, and 83% passing accuracy. He wasn’t as heavily involved in the second half as he was in the first, but every time the ball came to him while he was on the field, he was brimming with danger. It’s a well-deserved Man of the Match award, and hopefully the first of many.

F, Duncan McGuire, 6.5 — McGuire got things going for the Lions with a well-taken header, but he also did a ton of dirty work when it came to hold-up play and giving Orlando a physical outlet to clear its lines. Like Muriel, he wasn’t quite as involved in the second half, but he ran his guts out for the full 108-ish minutes of play, and he constantly stretched the Union’s back line. Offensively, he put both of his shots on target, scored the aforementioned goal, completed 71% of his passes, provided two key passes, completed one cross and one long ball (on three attempts), and drew a foul. On defense, he recorded one clearance, one interception, and one foul committed, while winning four aerial duels.


WB, Dagur Dan Thorhallson (61′), 6 — The Icelandic midfielder was brought on for Ojeda and settled into the game nicely at right wingback. He didn’t record any offensive statistics, but finished with three clearances and a block, while committing one foul and accurately delivering 71% of his passes.

D, Kyle Smith (65′), 6.5 Smith entered the fray for the injured Jansson, and delivered a steady performance in the Swede’s stead. The Accountant completed 75% of his passes, won two aerial duels, made one block, and was the third Lion to record six clearances. Depending on how Pareja decides to line up in the future, Smith is a guy we may be seeing a lot more of going forward.

MF, Felipe (85′), N/A Brought on in the dying minutes of regulation, Felipe didn’t get enough time to earn a fair grade. He also didn’t stuff the stat sheet, as he completed one long ball on his lone attempt, accurately delivered both of his two passes, and made one clearance. I couldn’t help but laugh at the timing of his substitution, as it came almost immediately after Damion Lowe started to get hot under the collar, and it almost seemed as if Pareja jumped at the chance to send on the Lions’ resident shithouser. He did his job and helped see the game out.

What did you think of the individual performances from this wild win up in Pennsylvania? Be sure to have your say down in the comments, and cast your vote for who should be Man of the Match. Vamos Orlando!


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