It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if Orlando City never had to travel to Toronto again.
For the third time in four trips to BMO Field, the Lions will be coming back to the States with nothing to show, after a 2-1 loss to Toronto FC. Kaká’s second goal of the season just before the halftime whistle wasn’t enough for Orlando City to overcome a pair of first-half goals from Sebastian Giovinco, who now has six in his career against the Lions.
It was a tough loss for the club, which will be reminiscing about a couple of big missed chances by Cyle Larin in the second half. Although, you have to be happy with the fight the team showed in the second half after struggling to find chances and letting in two goals in the first 45 minutes.
Anyway, it’s time to break down grades.
GK, Joe Bendik, 6 — Joe only made two saves on the night as he returned again to his old stomping grounds in Toronto. Neither of Giovinco’s goals can be placed solely on him, as the Italian striker used just pure skill to find the net on both occasions.
D, Donny Toia, 6 — I thought it was a very average — if not above average — night for Toia, who did a lot of good defending. He did get beat badly by Beitashour in the second half when the defender dribbled right through his legs, but lucky for him it didn’t turn into anything serious for Toronto.
D, Jonathan Spector, 7 — Without Will Johnson and Antonio Nocerino in the lineup, this was a big game for Spector’s leadership to will Orlando City on. He collected three tackles, an interception, and three clearances. It’s easy to sit back and say, “yeah, the defense gave up two goals, so they weren’t good,” but I certainly don’t think that was the case in this one. Giovinco simply scored a really good goal followed by one, okay, that maybe should have been marked better.
D, Tommy Redding, 8.5 — Tommy has played a lot of good games in MLS, but this one might just rank near the top. He played a great game and kept Jozy Altidore right in his pocket throughout the entire night. There were also a couple of really big moments he had on Giovinco that I thought played a key role in keeping Toronto off of the board down the stretch, including a play in the 64th minute when Giovinco took the ball down into the penalty area. Redding stuck right on to him and forced Giovinco out of the shot and made him pass it off to an incoming Altidore, who didn’t challenge Bendik.
D, Scott Sutter, 8.5 (MOTM) — If I’m not giving the Man of the Match award to Redding, it’s definitely Sutter’s for the taking. The English-Swiss defender was all over the right side, and contributed to the attack in major ways with a slew of crosses (eight, to be exact) from the wing. He made seven total tackles, which was the highest of any player on the field, with one interception and two clearances. He also passed to an 86% accuracy, and made a couple of strong runs up the field in the second half.
MF, Servando Carrasco, 5.5 — If there’s some blame to hand out — some, not all — it could go to Carrasco for Giovinco’s first goal. Raheem Edwards cut inside and tried to dish the ball back up near the top of the box, but while Carrasco was able to cut it off, he doesn’t get a very good clearance on the ball, which puts it right at the Italian’s feet, and sets up an opportunity that he rarely doesn’t finish. An 88% passing rate is a good night in the midfield, including a nice ball served forward that Kaká was able to find for a quality headed chance.
MF, Luis Gil, 6 — I didn’t really think much of Gil’s first start with the club, to be honest. I was a bit excited to see him get the start because it meant the opportunity to actually get a good look at him after only seeing him for short stints late in games. I thought he was pretty weak offensively, and his 80% passing backs that up. He did start to look a lot better when he moved over to the right side late in the match, and made a big tackle in the midfield in the closing minutes to break up a Toronto counter. Three tackles and two interceptions is a good defensive night, and exactly what Kreis likes to see out of his midfielders in the diamond system.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 5.5 — I had Higuita marked down for several good tackles throughout the match, but overall he was really bad in this one. He won three aerial balls and passed for 90%, but he also failed to complete key passes and was dispossessed eight times, while also earning yet another yellow.
MF, Kaká, 6.5 — It’s really good to see the captain come back and score two goals in two games, even if they’re not the toughest of goals. He obviously did a great job following through on his corner and getting into the position to clean up that loose ball in the box for the goal, but I think we could have seen a little more from Kaká on the night. He did pass for 91%, which included one key pass, while putting up three shots.
F, Carlos Rivas, 6 — I didn’t think it was a great game from Rivas, but it also wasn’t that bad. He could have done a lot more with the ball that we would normally have seen him do at home this season, which is taking the ball and exposing defenders on runs. But he didn’t have those opportunities, and he struggled to find his teammates on passes, coming in at the 71% mark on 31 passes, which is pretty low. He did, however, get off nine crosses including a couple of dangerous ones that nearly found his teammates in the second half. And he did send a good free kick service forward in the late minutes that nearly created an opportunity.
F, Cyle Larin, 4 — Larin continues to struggle on his home turf in Canada, with just one goal now in eight MLS games north of the border. He had two chances he absolutely should have scored on in the 59th and 67th minutes that Alex Bono just made outstanding saves on. If both of those go in, we’re talking about a completely different game and most likely Orlando City walking out of Toronto with three points for the first time. He was dispossessed of the ball six times, and was marked down for seven bad touches. And his only two shots on goal were the weak should-have-beens I already mentioned. Rough night for the Canadian striker.
M, Matias Perez Garcia (65’), 6 — MPG pretty much came on as a straight replacement for Kaká, giving some fresh legs on the attack, but to also provide a little bit more cover on the defensive side of things. He shifted to the wing when Giles Barnes came on not long afterwards, and made one tackle while also sending in two crosses. Not a bad 25-minute shift.
MF, Giles Barnes (75’), 6 — Nothing too spectacular from Barnes in his short time on the field. Like I mentioned, he came on for Carrasco and shifted to the top of the diamond while MPG went out wide and moved Higuita to the holding midfield role at the bottom. He only attempted seven passes.
M, Tony Rocha (87’), N/A — Rocha came on in the closing minutes for Higuita moments after he picked up his yellow card and closed out the match in the defensive midfield.
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