Orlando City vs. Toronto FC: Five Takeaways (2024)

Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night matchup between Orlando City (2-3-3, 9 points) and Toronto FC (4-4-1, 13 points) at Inter&Co Stadium (7:30 p.m., MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+). It’s the first of the two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals this season, with the Lions set to make the return trip to Toronto on July 3.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.

History

Orlando is 8-8-3 in the evenly split all-time, regular-season series. However, the Lions have won the last four meetings, sweeping the season series in 2022 and 2023. At home, Orlando is 5-4-0 against the Reds. City is currently on its longest ever unbeaten run in the series, compiling a 6-0-2 record in the last eight meetings.

The most recent meeting came on Decision Day of last season on Oct. 21, when Duncan McGuire came off the bench at BMO Field, scoring twice to beat Toronto 2-0. The teams last met in Orlando on July 4, 2023, with Orlando City putting the Reds to the sword on Independence Day, beating the Canadian side, 4-0. Cesar Araujo, McGuire, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, and Ercan Kara scored for the Lions, and Toronto finished with 10 men after Federico Bernardeschi was shown his second yellow card just past the hour mark.

Orlando City also romped 4-0 over the Reds in the previous meeting, Sept. 17, 2022 at Exploria Stadium. Facundo Torres, Kara, and Tesho Akindele scored for the Lions to go along with a Lukas MacNaughton own goal. The Lions won on May 14, 2022 at BMO Field, 1-0, thanks to a 92nd-minute goal from Kyle Smith, who flicked a header from a corner kick cross inside the far post to lift the Lions to victory.

The Lions went 2-0-1 in three meetings with Toronto FC in 2021. The teams played to a 1-1 draw at BMO Field on July 17, 2021. Jozy Altidore came off the bench to score the opener but Nani equalized from the penalty spot minutes later. Benji Michel drew the penalty, which was originally ruled a foul on the Orlando winger but was overturned after video review by referee Marcos de Oliveira.

The other Toronto “home match” in the 2021 season series came on June 19 at Exploria Stadium. The Reds were dealing with pandemic restrictions in Canada that forced the team to play home games in the United States. Orlando City built a 2-0 early lead on goals by Akindele and Nani, only to see Toronto tie the match by halftime on goals by Ayo Akinola and Jonathan Osorio. Junior Urso scored late to lift the Lions to a 3-2 victory. The teams first met that year on May 22, with Orlando City claiming a 1-0 win on Akindele’s goal.

The teams did not play in 2020 due to the pandemic affecting the schedule. Prior to the MLS stoppage for the pandemic, the teams met most recently in Toronto on Aug. 10, 2019, with the Lions grabbing a point at BMO Field in a 1-1 draw. Michel opened the scoring in the 69th minute but the Reds equalized off a scramble following a set piece in the 77th. The other matchup between the sides that season came on May 4, 2019, when the Reds walked out of Orlando with a 2-0 win on goals by Osorio and Jay Chapman.

The teams split their season series in 2018. Orlando City captured a 2-1 win at home in James O’Connor’s first home game as head coach of the Lions on July 14, 2018. Chris Schuler and Dom Dwyer staked City to a 2-0 lead and Nick Hagglund ruined the shutout in the 94th minute off a Sebastian Giovinco free kick delivery. The 2018 meeting in Toronto saw the Reds get a 2-1 win at BMO Field on Ryan Telfer’s 87th-minute goal.

Toronto shredded Orlando in a 3-1 win on July 5, 2017. Altidore and Giovinco combined to score Toronto’s three goals. Carlos Rivas gave Orlando a consolation goal. In the first meeting of 2017, Orlando out-possessed, out-shot, and out-passed the hosts, and played like the better team on the night. However, the Lions could not overcome a two-goal deficit and Giovinco’s first-half brace led Toronto to a 2-1 win.

The Lions got their first victory in the series on June 25, 2016,winning 3-2 at Camping World Stadium. Kaká scored from the spot in the 10th minute of stoppage time to win it.Cyle Larinand Adrian Winter each gave OCSC leads in the game, only to seeJordan HamiltonandJustin Morrowequalize until the captain’s late winner. The Reds took the second 2016 matchup in Orlandowith a 2-1 victory,scoring late through Altidore. Tosaint Ricketts gave Toronto an early lead but the Lions fought back on a Larin goal. The teams also drew 0-0 on Sept. 28 of that year, with Toronto able to fend off the Lions with 10 men over the final 20 minutes of the match.

In 2015, Toronto took home all nine points in the three meetings, beating Orlando by a combined score of 11-1.

Overview

Orlando City enters on a four-game unbeaten run (2-0-2), including last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at CF Montreal. The Lions are 1-1-2 at home in 2024, but the win and one of the draws came in the two most recent matches at Inter&Co Stadium.

Toronto FC has shown tremendous improvement under John Herdman early in the season despite missing several key players with injuries. The Reds, however, are 3-1-0 at home but just 1-3-1 on the road in 2024. The team had lost three straight matches overall before knocking off New England last week. Now the Reds are on a two-game winning streak in all competitions, having beaten Rovers FC 5-0 in the Canadian Championship Wednesday.

The Lions will have to track forward Prince Owusu, who paces Toronto FC with four goals on the season. No one else on Toronto has more than two goals, and sitting on two is Lorenzo Insigne, who is out for tonight with a thigh injury. Orlando will need to be aware of Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, who leads the Reds with two assists.

But perhaps the sleeping giant is Bernardeschi, who leads Toronto FC with 37 shot attempts and 18 key passes, yet somehow has no direct goal contributions on the season. Even if he hasn’t been producing end product, the Italian has been dangerous.

“Looks like we’re getting more cohesiveness with the boys and they’re gluing more things together,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the game. “We’re reviewing things and have done in prior games, but since we’re not getting results it seems like it’s not happening. In the end, you have to win games, you have to get results, so the good things get magnified and the things that aren’t being done well, seem like you need more time to fix it. It’s indeed important to get results.”

Orlando City will be without forward Ramiro Enrique (ankle). Toronto will be without Insigne (thigh), former Lions Richie Laryea (thigh) and Shane O’Neill (thigh), and Brandon Servania (knee). In addition, Deandre Kerr (foot) is questionable.

Match Content

  • Our Intelligence Report provides more information about the Reds fromTomas Karageorgosfrom Toronto blogWaking the Red.
  • The latest episode of the PawedCast includes our key matchups and final score predictions, as well as a Toronto FC preview with torontofc.ca beat writer James Grossi.
  • Our David Rohe provided his three keys to an Orlando City victory in this matchup.

Official Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, David Brekalo, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Facundo Torres, Martin Ojeda.

Forward: Duncan McGuire.

Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Kyle Smith, Michael Halliday, Rodrigo Schlegel, Felipe, Jeorgio Kocevski, Nico Lodeiro, Jack Lynn, Luis Muriel.

Toronto (3-4-3)

Goalkeeper: Sean Johnson.

Defenders: Nicksoen Gomis, Kevin Long, Sigurd Rosted.

Wingbacks & Midfielders: Raoul Petretta, Alonso Coello, Deybi Flores, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty.

Forwards: Jonathan Osorio, Prince Owusu, Federico Bernardeschi.

Bench: Luka Gavran, Tyrese Spicer, Aime Mabika, Matty Longstaff, Kobe Franklin, Cassius Mailula, Kosi Thompson, Derrick Etienne, Jr., DeAndre Kerr.

Referees

REF: Armando Villarreal.
AR1: Cory Richardson.
AR2: Logan Brown.
4TH: Brad Jensen.
VAR: Kevin Terry, Jr.
AVAR: Jonathan Johnson.

How to Watch

Match Time:7:30 p.m.

Venue:Inter&Co Stadium — Orlando.

TV/Streaming:MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.

Radio:Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Mega 97.1 FM (Spanish).

Twitter:For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at@TheManeLand, as well asOrlando City’sofficial Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).

Enjoy the match. Go City!

Orlando City vs. Toronto FC: Five Takeaways (2024)
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