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Orlando City vs. Toronto FC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions close out the regular season with a Decision Day trip to Toronto.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to your match thread for a Decision Day matchup between Orlando City (17-7-9, 60 points) and Toronto FC (4-19-10, 22 points) at BMO Field (6 p.m., MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+ (free)). It’s the second of the two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals this season.

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

History

Toronto leads the all-time series, 8-7-3, but the Lions have won the last three meetings and swept the season series last year. Orlando City is 2-4-3 on the road in the all-time series, however, one of those two “road” wins took place at Exploria Stadium during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. The only win at BMO Field came last year. Orlando is currently on its longest ever unbeaten run in the series, compiling a 5-0-2 record in the last seven meetings.

The most recent meeting came back on July 4, with Orlando City putting the Reds to the sword on Independence Day, beating the Canadian side, 4-0. Cesar Araujo, Duncan 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, last Sept. 17 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 as the Reds dealt 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 Larin and Adrian Winter each gave OCSC leads in the game, only to see Jordan Hamilton and Justin Morrow equalize until the captain’s late winner. The Reds took the second 2016 matchup in Orlando with a 2-1 victory, scoring in the 86th minute 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

Both teams are coming off the international break. Orlando City last played two weeks ago at home, beating the New England Revolution, 3-2, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. The Lions were red hot entering the FIFA window, going 7-1-2 since they were eliminated from Leagues Cup competition. Orlando City is 8-4-4 on the road in MLS matches in 2023, and have clinched at least a share of the league’s best road record this season. A win or a draw, or a loss or draw by Real Salt Lake, would see the Lions finish tops in Major League Soccer away from home.

To say Toronto has sputtered since that July 4 meeting would be an incredible understatement. The Reds are coming off a 3-0 loss to New York Red Bulls two weeks ago and have gone 1-10-0 since losing in Orlando on the Fourth of July. Toronto is 4-6-6 at home in 2023, getting all four of its victories and six of its 10 draws on its home patch.

I expect the Reds to get a psychological boost for their home finale. Former Canadian Men’s National Team coach John Herdman will be on the bench for his first match at the helm of TFC. Additionally, Toronto FC will want to send off captain Michael Bradley into retirement on a winning note. It will be an emotional night at BMO Field for the hosts.

Meanwhile, the Lions have nothing much to play for, aside from adding a win and three points to their season total. Win, lose, or draw, Orlando City is locked into second place in the Eastern Conference (and all of MLS). The Lions may rotate some squad to give some guys nursing minor knocks an extra week to heal up.

Orlando’s assignment tonight will be managing Toronto FC’s emotions at the start of the match and stopping the Italians. Toronto has invested in Italian imports, who have apparently won their power struggle against former manager Bob Bradley. Attackers Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne have combined for nine of the club’s 26 goals, and they have also combined for nine assists between them this season. Deandre Kerr has scored five goals, while Jonathan Osorio has four goals and six assists to his credit.

“We are preparing the game as usual with a great responsibility to keep adding points,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “Regardless of our position not being affected, it’s a good opportunity to play another good game and to continue with the momentum [we’ve built]. At this time, we are equating the possibility to rotate a couple of players. We are good, we will take the best out of the game, and be ready for the playoffs.”

Orlando City will be without backup midfielder Favian Loyola (arm), while backup goalkeeper Adam Grinwis (thigh) is questionable. Toronto will be without Adama Diomande (lower body), Sigurd Rosted (lower body), and Brandon Servania (ACL). The Reds also list goalkeepers Sean Johnson (hand surgery) and Greg Ranjitsingh (knee surgery) as questionable.

Match Content


Official Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.

Defenders: Luca Petrasso, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, Michael Halliday.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Felipe.

Attacking Midfielders: Gaston Gonzalez, Junior Urso, Martin Ojeda.

Forward: Ramiro Enrique.

Bench: Adam Grinwis, Kyle Smith, Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Mauricio Pereyra, Facundo Torres, Ivan Angulo, Duncan McGuire.

Toronto (3-5-2)

Goalkeeper: Sean Johnson.

Defenders: Aime Mabika, Michael Bradley Shane O’Neill.

Wingbacks & Midfielders: Cristian Gutierrez, Jonathan Osorio, Raoul Petretta, Lorenzo Insigne, Kobe Franklin.

Forwards: Osei Owusu, Federico Bernardeschi.

Bench: Luka Gavran, Themi Antonoglou, Alonso Coello, Victor Vazquez, Latif Blessing, Cassius Mailula, Deandre Kerr, Hugo Mbongue, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty.

Referees

REF: Mathieu Souare.
AR1: Chantal Boudreau.
AR2: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho.
4TH: Pierre-Luc Lauziere.
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
AVAR: Rene Parra.


How to Watch

Match Time: 6 p.m.

Venue: BMO Field — Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

TV/Streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+ (free).

Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Acción 97.9 FM, 810 AM (Spanish).

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


Enjoy the match. Go City!

Orlando City

Orlando City vs. the Columbus Crew: Player Grades and Man of the Match

How did your favorite Lions perform in a 2-0 loss at home against Columbus?

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Rafael Santos Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

The Lions returned home riding a three-game unbeaten streak but a bizarre video review call moments before halftime set the tone for a physical match against the Columbus Crew. Ultimately, Orlando fell to the Crew 2-0. Here’s how I saw each individual Lion’s performance in Orlando’s fourth loss at home on the season.

Starters

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6 — The Peruvian No. 1 saw a relatively quiet first half come to a close in a fury as he was forced into action to face a penalty kick before halftime. Gallese guessed correctly, but Diego Rossi’s placement was just above Gallese’s outstretched trailing hand. The Crew put three of their eight shot attempts on target and Gallese was credited with one save on the night. He completed 94.1% of his 17 passing attempts, including two accurate long balls out of three attempts.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 7 (MotM) — Schlegel continued to fill in for injured starter Robin Jansson and has now strung a few solid performances together on the back line. Defensively, he put out multiple fires for Orlando City. He tied Wilder Cartagena for the team lead with five clearances. Schlegel also added three tackles and one blocked shot. He committed one foul while he suffered three throughout the match. He completed 93.1% of his 58 passing attempts, including two key passes. He also completed one of his three long-ball attempts on the night. For his total effort throughout the game he is our Man of the Match.

D, Wilder Cartagena, 6.5 — The Peruvian international continued to function as a center back in the squad’s 3-5-2 lineup. Defensively, he tied for the team lead with five clearances and added three tackles and a blocked shot. He won two aerial duels and was whistled for two fouls on the night. He completed 91.7% of his 48 passes, including two successful long balls out of four attempts. Offensively, Cartagena put one of his two shot attempts on target and completed one successful dribble.

D, David Brekalo, 6 — Brekalo continued to perform well in the back as he has become more comfortable in his role, leading the team with four total tackles and chipping in one clearance. He completed 91.3% of his 46 passes and was successful on both long balls that he sent up the field. He committed one foul in the match. Offensively, he did not contribute any statistics.

WB, Facundo Torres, 5.5 — Torres again slotted in at wingback, which limits the number of looks he gets at goal, but it’s nice to see a Designated Player willing to change positions for the good of the team. The Uruguayan logged one tackle, one clearance, and one interception on defense. He committed one foul and earned a foul as well. He completed 91.5% of his 47 passes, which included two key passes. He completed three of his eight crossing attempts on the night and was successful on one of two long balls. Offensively, he logged one shot, which was off target, and completed one successful dribble.

MF, Nico Lodeiro, 6.5 — Lodeiro played solidly throughout the match and was asked to do a little bit of everything during the game. Defensively, he contributed three tackles and one interception. He led the team with 77 total touches and completed 84.8% of his team-high 59 passing attempts, including one key pass. He successfully completed one of his five crosses and both of his long-ball attempts. Offensively, he put one of his two shot attempts on target. He was whistled for being offside once. Lodeiro saw his night come to an end in the 66th minute when he was replaced by Martin Ojeda.

MF, Cesar Araujo, 6 — Returning from suspension for yellow card accumulation, Araujo functioned as the only true defensive midfielder. Araujo’s effort on the night will ultimately be remembered for the jersey tug and subsequent yellow card recieved for the “foul” on Aidan Morris, which resulted in a penalty kick attempt for the Crew (instead of Orlando City) after a confusing and frustrating video review. Araujo finished the night quietly from a statistical standpoint with one interception as his only defensive stat. He committed four fouls total, including the aforementioned “foul.” He completed 96.3% of his 27 passes, including two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively, Araujo was credited with one successful dribble. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute as Orlando chased the game.

MF, Ivan Angulo, 6.5 — Angulo slotted into the midfield for the second straight game. Defensively, he contributed one tackle. He completed 86.5% of his 52 passes, including a team-high three key passes. He also completed his lone through ball attempt. Offensively, he did not log a shot attempt, but he did complete two dribbles and was fouled once. Angulo was able to use his speed to get into dangerous positions throughout the match but continued to lack precision when it came to the final pass or dribble.

WB, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, 6 — Thorhallsson joined Torres as the wingback on the opposite side in the 3-5-2 system and seemed to be an afterthought throughout much of the match as the team played down the left side of the field for the majority of the game. Defensively, he contributed three total tackles and one clearance while also winning one aerial on the night and did well to deny the speedy Yaw Yeboah multiple chances to get inside him on give-and-go plays. He completed 83.3% of his 24 total passing attempts. He was unsuccessful on both crossing attempts but completed one of his two long balls. Offensively, as a byproduct of much of the action happening opposite his side of the field, he failed to record an offensive statistic. He was subbed out of the match in the 58th minute.

F, Luis Muriel, 6.5 — Muriel put in a good effort on a night when the scoreboard unfortunately would not reflect it. His effort to get in on goal — and subsequently be taken down from behind — earned what everyone thought at the time to be a penalty attempt for the Lions, although it was taken away by the referee after the review. Defensively, Muriel was credited with one interception. He completed 88% of his 25 passes and was successful on his lone crossing attempt. He won one aerial and offensively put one of his three shot attempts on target while completing three successful dribbles and suffering one foul.

F, Jack Lynn, 5.5 — With the injury to Duncan McGuire, the hero of the Lions’ last match, Lynn made Orlando’s starting lineup. Defensively, Lynn contributed one clearance. He completed 81.8% of his 11 passes. Lynn was unsuccessful on his lone crossing attempt. Offensively, Lynn failed to record a shot attempt but was credited with one successful dribble while being whistled for offside twice. He was subbed off in the 58th minute for Ramiro Enrique.

Substitutes

MF, Felipe, (59′), 5.5 — Brought on for Araujo just before the hour mark, Felipe looked to help control the midfield. Defensively he logged one tackle and one clearance while committing one foul, which landed him a yellow card. He completed 89.5% of his 19 passes, including one key pass and two successful long balls on two attempts. Offensively he did not record a shot attempt.

WB, Rafael Santos, (59′), 6 — Santos came on for Thorhallsson but went over to fill the left wingback role, sending Torres forward and Angulo to right wingback. He recorded one interception on the defensive end. Santos completed 84.2% of his 19 passes, which included one successful long ball on his one attempt. He was fouled once and was whistled for offside once.

F, Ramiro Enrique, (60′), 6 — Making his return from an extended absence due to injury, Enrique came on for the final half hour in the hopes of providing an offensive spark. He got into good areas but struggled to finish on some of Orlando’s best scoring chances of the night. Enrique completed 66.7% of his six passes and was unsuccessful on his lone cross. In a little over 30 minutes of game time, Enrique managed to tie Muriel for the most shot attempts, with three, and put two of them on target, albeit right at the goalkeeper. Despite the poor overall outcome of the match, it was good to see Enrique return to the pitch.

MF, Martin Ojeda, (67′), 5.5 — Designated Player Ojeda came off the bench to replace Lodeiro as Orlando faced a two-goal deficit. Defensively, Ojeda logged one interception. He completed all eight of his pass attempts, with two key passes, and three of his five crosses. Ojeda attempted one shot, which was off target.


How did you see the individual performances in this game? Make your voice heard down in the comments, and be sure to vote in our Man of the Match poll. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links: 5/27/24

Orlando City loses to the Crew, Pride and OCB win, Southampton seals return to Premier League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend. I worked at Under Armour all weekend while wrapping up my high school sports coverage for the spring season. It was a mixed weekend for our teams. Orlando City lost, but both the Pride and OCB won their matches. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Lose at Home to Columbus Crew

Orlando City lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium and saw its three-match unbeaten streak end. The match’s first goal was controversial as the referee, Jair Marrufo, initially awarded the Lions a penalty late in the first half but went to the monitor and reviewed a play at the other end of the pitch. He instead awarded Columbus a penalty kick. Diego Rossi scored from the spot to put the Crew ahead 1-0 before halftime. Columbus extended its winning streak to three matches. Orlando has struggled at home, going just 1-3-4 so far this season. The Lions have not scored a goal at home since April 27. Despite the loss, the Lions still remain in 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Next up for Orlando is a pair of road matches this week, starting Wednesday at the Chicago Fire, followed by a Saturday night matchup against the New York Red Bulls. 

Pride Win at Home Over Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride won their record-setting eighth straight match with a 2-1 victory at Inter&Co Stadium against the Portland Thorns Friday. Barbra Banda scored two goals in the first half to give the Pride a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Portland pulled one back, but the Pride held on for the victory and claimed three points. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 11 matches, and the Pride stay atop the NWSL table with 27 points. The Pride are off this week but will return to action on the road next Friday, June 7, against the San Diego Wave.

OCB Win at Home against Huntsville City FC

On Sunday, Orlando City B bounced back with a season-high five goals in a 5-0 win over Hunstville City FC at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed put OCB ahead 3-0, while Yeiler Valencia scored his first two OCB goals to seal the win for the Young Lions. OCB is now in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Meanwhile, Huntsville City FC remains winless through 10 matches and stays at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. OCB’s next match will be on the road Sunday at Inter Miami CF II. 

Southampton Clinches Promotion to Premier League

Southampton booked its return to the Premier League with a 1-0 over Leeds United in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Sunday. Adam Armstrong scored the lone goal in this match as the Saints returned to the top flight after being relegated the previous season. Southampton joins Leicester City and Ipswich Town, securing promotion to the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the table, Leeds’ playoff woes continue as this is the sixth time it missed out on securing promotion and finished its season with only one win out of its last six matches. 

Free Kicks


That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Monday and I’ll see you next time.

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Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from Orlando City’s frustrating home loss to the Columbus Crew?

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City hosted the Columbus Crew in an Eastern Conference showdown Saturday as the Lions looked to extend a three-match unbeaten streak. Unfortunately, questionable calls and a continued lack of quality in front of the goal doomed Orlando City to yet another home loss. What follows are my immediate takeaways from an deeply disappointing and frustrating defeat in Saturday’s 2-0 loss.

A Controversial Penalty

In the 41st minute, Cesar Araujo slightly tugged on Aidan Morris’ shirt from behind, but Morris fell forward in the box. Referee Jair Marrufo did not call a foul. This is important. Orlando City eventually cleared and took the ball back all the way up at midfield. The Lions worked the ball into the box, where Steven Moreira knocked down Luis Muriel from behind for an obvious foul. Marrufo called the penalty, but the video assistant referee got in his ear, and he went to look at the monitor. This was all over a minute since the not called “foul” on the other end. After looking at it, he reversed his call on the field and awarded the penalty to Columbus for the soft Araujo foul, which Diego Rossi buried to give Columbus the lead. This included the willingness to overlook a foul on Rossi in the phase of attack prior to Araujo’s infraction.

We have said many times on The Mane Land PawedCast that when given the opportunity, PRO referees will go to look at the video review when it goes against Orlando City, but not when it is a call that benefits Orlando City. This is just another example of that paradigm.

The Problem with the 3-5-2 Formation

With Robin Jansson sidelined due to injury, Oscar Pareja has employed a 3-5-2 formation with David Brekalo, Wilder Cartagena, and Rodrigo Schlegel on the back line. It has been mostly effective, and Cartagena in particular has done better than one could hope for in this new role.

Though Orlando City has had success with this formation, it does present some challenges. In this match, it moved Facundo Torres into the left winger position, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson to the left wingback position. Thorhallsson has not been as effective going forward into the attack as he is when playing fullback, and Torres doesn’t look as free flowing as he usually is. It also means that Orlando City is unable to have the double pivot of Araujo and Cartagena in the defensive midfield. That pairing has been extremely effective for the Lions over the last few seasons.

Finishing Quality Still Lacking

Is someone messing with magnets? Is Professor Quirrel in the stands using his wand to redirect the ball? I’m just wondering, because Orlando City can’t seem to put the ball in the net for any amount of money at home. Orlando City generated 12 shots with five on target against Columbus and scored exactly zero goals. Several players, including Luis Muriel, Torres, Jack Lynn, and Nico Lodeiro all shot just wide of the target. Orlando City doesn’t have any trouble getting the ball into dangerous areas and creating chances, but the Lions have had trouble finishing those chances, and it’s getting to be ridiculous. Someone contact Professor Dumbledore.

Missing Players are Missed

It’s never ideal when starters are missing. Jansson returned to the 18 on Saturday but did not see any playing time against Columbus. Not having the captain on the pitch is not great, but when you combine that with not having Jansson’s quality on the back line, it makes things even tougher.

Meanwhile, Duncan McGuire’s scoring prowess is deeply missed. McGuire is Orlando City’s leading scorer with five goals. Orlando City doesn’t have another striker like him. Muriel generally plays lower than McGuire, often generating his own chances, but isn’t the target striker that McGuire can be. Jack Lynn is a target striker, but simply does not have the same level of quality as McGuire. Ramiro Enrique returned from injury in this match, but his size does not allow him to do what McGuire can do, and his rust was evident when presented a couple of golden opportunities in front of goal. Basically, the Lions really miss McGuire.

Designated Players Must Step Up

There are exceptions, but typically MLS Designated Players are attackers and are supposed to be contributing goals. Two of Orlando City’s DPs have scored. Muriel has two goals, and Torres has one. Martin Ojeda has yet to score. That means McGuire has more goals than all three DPs combined. Let’s be generous and look at goal contributions. Both Muriel and Torres have an assist on the season, and Ojeda has three assists. McGuire also has an assist. That means McGuire has six goal contributions, and all three DPs have combined for eight goal contributions. That isn’t good enough. Ojeda has mostly played a substitute role for Orlando City. That isn’t something a DP should be doing. Obviously, none of the three contributed to a goal in this match either. Something needs to change.


Those are the things I observed in the 2-0 loss to the Crew, let us know in the comments below what stood out to you. As always, vamos Orlando!

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