Orlando City at Toronto FC: Three Keys to Victory



Orlando City takes off to the Great White North again this Saturday for a showdown with Toronto FC. The Lions are coming off an Open Cup win over the Philadelphia Union in Exploria Stadium and will try to maintain their winning ways. Of course, the last trip to Canada wasn’t quite as pleasant in the loss to CF Montréal. Here are the things that Orlando City needs to do to secure three points on the road in Toronto.

Clinical Finishing

One of the most frustrating things with Orlando City this season has been the lack of finishing. If the Lions had converted some of the early chances against Philadelphia, a four-goal victory was not out of the question. But, is that the whole story?

So far this season, when the Lions convert 15% of total shots or 40% of shots on goal they are 6-2-0 in all competitions. When converting less than that they are 1-2-2 in all competitions. The 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire is the only time Orlando City earned all three points with a conversion rate lower than the 15% and 40% marks. Additionally, in the two losses in which they still converted the chances at those rates, the opposition scored four goals. 

Against Philadelphia, Orlando City converted 17% of total shots and approximately 40% of shots on goal. The result was two goals and the win. Toronto has given up 22 goals in MLS, meaning the opportunity is there to score. The Lions will need to convert at the same rate or higher to have the best chance at earning all three points in Toronto. Look for Ercan Kara to get another goal as Orlando’s attack is becoming more cohesive, and he is not stuck by himself on an island up top.

Contain Jiménez 

Jesús Jiménez has seven of Toronto’s 16 goals this season and is tied for the most goals in the league. Fortunately for Orlando City, Robin Jansson is back from suspension and has a game under his belt. Jansson and Rodrigo Schlegel will anchor Orlando City’s back line. Both Ruan and Joao Moutinho got plenty of rest in the Open Cup match, and should have plenty of energy to deal with Toronto’s attack. 

The other key will be the play of César Araújo in the defensive midfield. Araújo is potentially the best new signing for Orlando City, and it can be argued he has been the Lions’ most consistently good player so far this season. How well he deals with Alejandro Pozuelo and USMNT veteran Michael Bradley will be important in Orlando City’s overall defense. 

The Bear Essential

Júnior Urso played one of his best matches of 2022 against the Union. Can he do that again on short rest? He was instrumental in helping Orlando City transfer the ball up the pitch, helping in the attack, and getting back on defense. It might be a lot to ask of him after only four days. 

Obviously, Facundo Torres, Mauricio Pereyra, Andres Perea, and Alexandre Pato contributed against Philadelphia. If Urso is unable to maintain that level of excellence, the responsibilities will need to be distributed among the others. Of course, if the Bear can give that level of play, even for only 60-70 minutes, it might be enough to see Orlando City pick up a valuable three points.

That is what I will be looking for as the Lions make another trip to our neighbors in the north. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


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