Three Stars: LAFC
Orlando City played a thrilling, if ultimately dissapointing 4-2 loss to league leaders LAFC and it was an interesting match to look at. The Lions played some of their best offensive soccer all season long, with the new Designated Players combining well with the established core, but the defense was shambolic and Antonio Carlos is out indefinitley.
It wasn't a bad game by any means, and several Lions showed out and deserve recognition. Here are my three stars from last Saturday's match.
3. Ercan Kara
You can make a strong case for Joao Moutinho, who's in excellent form to start the campaign, but the little moments from Austrian striker Ercan Kara were excellent. The former Rapid Vienna striker got the assist on Orlando's opening goal and it was a great effort from him to time his run perfectly and deftly laid it off to Alexandre Pato for the finish.
Kara also had an excellent dummy run on the early goal called off for offsides. The fringe Austrian international still hasn't scored an MLS goal, but everything else in his game has been fantastic.
2. Mauricio Pereyra
It's been a slow start to the year for Mauricio Pereyra, but the Uruguayan playmaker dominated against LAFC. His inch-perfect pass to Kara created the opneing goal and he provided a beautiful cutting ball across the box to Joao Moutinho for a second.
The former Krasnador star finished with four key passes and spent the whole game pulling the strings in midfield for the Lions. His improved play also helped Orlando's offense en masse play with more energy and sharpness into the final third.
1. Alexandre Pato
I would listen to anyone who wants to put Pereyra at the top spot, but for me, it's gotta be Pato. The 27 capped Brazilian international is such a delightful soccer player to watch. He was techincally proficient and his combination play was even better with a more fluid offense around him.
The finish on his goal was superb and the former Milan starlet had a great late header that nearly tied the game if not for a great Maxime Crepeau save. Pato also had a pair of key passes and won all seven of his duels. Every time Pato plays like this, my heart soars.