Three Stars: Columbus Crew
The good times keep rolling for Oscar Pareja and Orlando City. After a promising 1-0 win over the previously unbeaten Chicago Fire, the Lions traveled to Lower.com Field to face the Columbus Crew and came away with an impressive 2-0 victory.
The result and performance were probably the best of a strong early season start and keep Orlando within striking distance of the early Supporter's Shield race. Who were the stars in Saturday's big win in Ohio's capital?
3. Rodrigo Schlegel
For the last two seasons, a lot of folks who closely follow Orlando City, self included, have been singing Rodrigo Schlegel's praises, not only for his cult hero status, but as a legitimate starting-caliber center back in MLS. Filling in for the magnanimous Antonio Carlos, Schlegel made plays all night.
He's not as good on the ball or as safe as the Brazilian, but Schlegel is a high event player who disrupts opposition play and brings a ton of bite and energy to the backline (I particularly loved a moment when he appeared to aggressively trash talk Crew forward Miguel Berry). On top of a strong defensive showing, the former Racing Club defender scored his first Orlando City goal and had a touching tribute to his late father. Memorable night for a club hero.
2. Ercan Kara
If you had any doubts about Ercan Kara's ability before Saturday night, you don't have them now. The Austrian was downright dominant in Columbus, obliterating Australian center half Milos Degenek. His goal might've legitimately been the best in Orlando City history with the beautiful combination play and high-end finish, but it was an all around performance for the new DP forward.
Kara's ability on the ball and in hold up play continue to provide a high-end outlet for the Lions in possesion and his technical quality allows for the beautiful combination play like we saw on the goal. We all love Daryl Dike, but this is what you get when you trade a bit of potential for more proven quality, and hopefully the Austrian continues his hot form in front of net.
1. Facundo Torres
Facundo Torres has been a dynamic force from the second he stepped on an MLS field, but this was probably the Uruguayan's finest showing yet. Torres's ability on the ball is superb and he's such a creative force on the left wing. His excellent crossing led to the first goal, getting the secondary assist on Schlegel's effort.
Torres also loves to come centrally and with his creativity and technical ability, he's a perfect fit for how Orlando likes to play in the final third, providing the layoff to Kara for the second goal. The former Peñarol superstar even earned MLS Team of the Week honors for his performance, his first such honors of the season.