RAFAEL RAMOSFullback, Portugal
Orlando City right back Rafael Ramos, despite recent injury concerns, has been a pleasant surprise for most of the beginning of the 2016 Major League Soccer regular season.
He’s started 10 matches for the Lions and has only picked up two yellow cards. Last season the big complaint about the Portuguese international’s game was that he was notoriously undisciplined, getting suspended for three matches last season.
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In his first 10 matches of 2016 he’s already matched his assist total of two, from last season. Three of his four assists with the Lions have been to Cyle Larin, including both of the one’s this season.
Ramos is: second on the team with 11 completed crosses, third on the team with 10 key passes, fifth on the team with 18 defensive clearances, and seventh on the team with 20 interceptions.
Most Forgettable Performance:
Ramos didn’t play terrible against the Philadelphia Union, in the 2-1 loss on April 8th, but he did make one massive mistake that cost Orlando City the match.
In just the second minute of action at Talen Energy Stadium, Keegan Rosenberry sent in a manageable cross to Union forward CJ Sapong. Instead of putting his foot through the ball and clearing it away from the Lion’s goal, Ramos completely whiffed on his attempt and Sapong pounced to put the ball in the back of Joe Bendik‘s goal.
Most Memorable Performance:
The former SL Benfica academy player had his best game of the season in just the team’s third game, a 1-0 win at Yankee Stadium against NYCFC.
In that match not only was Ramos massively important in keeping the Lion’s first and only clean sheet of the season so far, but he also played an important role in the Orlando City attack.
In just the seventh minute of play, Ramos set up the game’s only goal when he lofted a curling cross that dropped right onto Cyle Larin’s forehead. It wasn’t the prettiest of finishes, but when somebody provides service of that much quality, all you need is a decisive touch.
Ramos led all players on the field that day with three key passes, not a small feat when the other team features Andrea Pirlo and David Villa.
Ramos also lent a huge hand defensively in the match: completing two successful tackles, intercepting the opposition twice, and making six defensive clearances, all while committing not a single foul.
All statistics quoted are taken from https://www.whoscored.com/