Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Toronto FC: Final Score 4-0 as Lions Romp Over the Reds



Orlando City bounced back from two straight losses in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 demolition of Toronto FC at Exploria Stadium. The Reds (9-16-7, 34 points) were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss as three different Lions scored and Toronto chipped in an own goal. Orlando City (13-12-6, 45 points) climbed back to .500 at home at 8-8-0.

Facundo Torres, Ercan Kara, and Tesho Akindele scored to go along with a Lukas MacNaughton own goal to provide all the scoring.

“A very complete performance with a group that is very responsible, with a group that in spite of these quantity of games with no time to rest, they came out today and put in a very important victory and, more important, a very good performance,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “I thought we were solid. I thought we were hard (to break down). We scored goals and we had good moments on the field where the team looked very connected.”

Pareja’s lineup included Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Joao Moutinho, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, and Ruan. Wilder Cartagena started in central midfield with Junior Urso, behind an attacking midfield line of Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, and Torres, with Kara up top.

The Lions controlled most of the first half, working the ball through Pereyra in his now-familiar, deeper-lying position. Still, it was Toronto winning a corner shortly after the start of the game. Gallese did well to catch a sizzling cross that may have been an Olimpico attempt.

Orlando then went on the attack, with a Cartagena shot dribbling well left of goal in the fifth minute. Angulo took a layoff from Kara in the eighth minute and fired from inside the box but his shot deflected out for a corner. But a minute later, the Lions had the lead.

A switch in play from Angulo was flicked deftly by Carlos, who was still forward from the corner kick. His flick found Torres out on the right wing. The Uruguayan cut inside and smashed a shot past Quentin Westberg to make it 1-0 in the ninth minute. It was Torres’ seventh goal in MLS play this year and his 16th goal contribution.

“I love that type of play,” Torres said of Carlos’ backheel assist on the goal. “I know that he looked back and he already saw that I was behind him, and I just really love that type of play where you can take it back through the middle and get one on one with someone, so it was great.”

Toronto tried to pull that goal back, with Lorenzo Insigne firing over the bar in transition after shedding Ruan’s defensive efforts in the 15th minute.

Orlando doubled the lead shortly after. Pereyra sent a fantastic seeing-eye pass through the defense to Kara, who was streaking down the left. Kara carried it into the box and fired a shot past Westberg with his left foot to make it 2-0 in the 22nd minute. It was Kara’s 10th goal of the MLS season.

“I watched before the goalkeeper with my brother — he’s a goalkeeper and he analyzes the goalkeepers for me,” Kara said. “And he told me the near post is always open (against Westberg).”

“I think that those first 20 minutes gave us fresh air,” Pareja said.

Pereyra’s assist gave him 10 on the year, making him the first Lion to reach double-digit assists in a season twice.

After a shot high into the stands by Ruan in the 33rd minute, Toronto controlled the ball for a good chunk of the remainder of the first half. Federico Bernardeschi missed the target in the 35th minute after Carlos turned it over in his own end with a wayward pass that found Michael Bradley instead of a teammate.

Orlando nearly got a third in the 42nd minute when Torres took a pass and smashed a shot off the left post.

Urso sent a weak shot on goal in stoppage time and that was it for the opening period.

Orlando City held a slight edge in possession (50.2%-49.8%), and the Lions had more shots (9-3) and more shots on target (3-0). Both teams had two corners and Toronto passed slightly more accurately (89.3%-88.8%).

Orlando’s lead bulged to 3-0 early in the second half. A cross from Moutinho was deflected past Westberg by MacNaughton in the 47th minute for an own goal.

Toronto had a good flurry in the 52nd minute. Bradley had a shot blocked out for a corner and, on the ensuing set piece, Domenico Criscito fired over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, Angulo freed himself up on the left side at the top of the box and sent a soft shot to Westberg. Kara then saw a shot deflect out for a corner moments later and on the set piece he launched a shot off the facing of the upper deck.

Gallese made a nice save on substitute Jesus Jimenez in the 61st minute as Toronto made a nice cutting move in the attack. A minute later, Insigne headed a shot on target but Gallese was able to catch it, although he needed treatment on his thigh after landing on one foot and tweaking something.

Torres nearly scored again in the 79th minute but his shot fizzed just over the top left corner of the net. However, the Lions didn’t have to wait long for their fourth goal. MacNaughton was booked for taking down Angulo in transition, giving Orlando a free kick, although referee Nima Saghafi should have played advantage, as Akindele reached the ball first and Orlando had numbers forward. Akindele scored anyway after the restart, powering a shot through Westberg off an Angulo assist in the 84th minute.

Angulo notched his second assist of the night on the play and he was also involved on the MacNaughton own goal, sending Moutinho to the end line with a well-timed and well-weighted pass. His contributions in this win were vital.

“I think Ivan was definitely that player who could connect us all up front,” Pareja said. “It’s just amazing how a piece just makes things clear. I think the way that he possessed the ball and he kept it for us and protected the ball when we needed it. And also that change of speed that he has that provides as well some fast plays in the last third — all those things are helping us a lot, and we’re very happy with his contribution.”

Gallese robbed Jimenez in the 88th minute in a one-on-one chance for his best save of the night on his way to his ninth clean sheet of the year, extending his club single-season record.

After a couple of near misses by Andres Perea late, the game was over.

Toronto finished with more possession in the end (55.9%-44.1%) as Orlando was content to stay organized once the Lions built their big lead. The Reds also passed more accurately (88.8%-84.9%). The Lions had more shots (18-11) and shots on goal (7-3), while both teams finished with four corners.

“They kept going and I think that’s what I like from the effort today,” Pareja said of his team’s response to the Atlanta loss. “But I will highlight all the effort of the players. Today against Toronto, on a day we must win it, they came out with such a good performance, so that makes us feel very optimistic, that’s for sure.”

The international break is upon us, so the Lions won’t be back in action until Oct. 2 when they visit New York City FC.


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