Coming off a reasonably successful start to its first MLS season, Orlando City (2-4-2) has now been soundly beaten in back-to-back matches.
Worse still, the Lions have now failed to score at home in the past three matches in Orlando. In fact, their only home goal all year was the fluky, deflected extra time goal that Kaká scored against NYCFC in the opener.
While it's tempting to place the blame entirely on the revolving list of starting strikers for City, there's plenty of blame to go around. Eric Avila failed to test the Toronto keeper on two solid first-half chances, and Kaká has not looked nearly as dominant as he did in the opening weeks.
The absence of Rafael Ramos was clearly a huge blow for the Lions as well. They played extremely narrowly all night, and Kevin Molino was unable to find any space on the right side without the Portuguese youngster's overlapping runs. His replacement, Tyler Turner, wasn't horrific, but his crosses were lacking in the opening half and his mistake in the second allowed Toronto's second goal.
It wasn't quite the disaster we saw last week against Columbus, but it wasn't pretty either. Here are our player grades for tonight's match:
G, Donovan Ricketts, 6 -- In another bad defeat, Ricketts again played fairly well. It's hard to blame him on either goal, though maybe he could have got down a little quicker on the opener. His save in the first minute was excellent, and he denied Sebastian Giovinco 1v1 to keep Orlando in it in the 81st.
D, Brek Shea, 7 -- Shea was the Lions' best player on the night. His crosses were on point, and the entire offense seemed to run through him for much of the first half. Rivas should have scored off Shea's set up in the 85th to give Orlando a chance at a comeback.
D, Seb Hines, 4.5 -- Actually a fairly good night for the Englishman, but his grade suffers because he was beat on both goals. There was plenty of blame to go around on Altidore's first, but it was Hines who was soundly beaten 1v1.
D, Aurelien Collin, 6.5 -- Another solid night for the Lions' defensive stalwart. Great in the air, and made a number those flailing defensive stops that seemingly only he can pull off.
D, Tyler Turner, 4 -- On another day, this may have been a passable fill-in performance for the young right back. However, Orlando's offensive futility only served to further highlight Turner's poor crosses and general inability to threaten in attack. He loses a point for his errant trap that led to Toronto's second goal.
MF, Darwin Ceren, 5 -- Ceren seems to be getting more comfortable in attack, but his passes led to one too many turnovers tonight. With Okugo playing a solely defensive role in the middle, the Lions need either Ceren or Higuita to start providing an attacking option in the middle.
MF, Amobi Okugo, 5 -- A veteran like Okugo should know that he needs to prevent Altidore from taking the quick free kick that led to the opening goal by any means necessary. He failed to provide anything offensively, and was removed in favor of Carlos Rivas after the opening goal.
MF, Eric Avila, 5.5 -- This was Avila's best match as a Lion, but that's not necessarily saying much. He was more aggressive offensively in the first half, though his two shots were totally harmless.
MF, Kaká, 6 -- With Molino being taken out of the game by Toronto, Kaká was lacking his favorite partner in the attacking third. There were a few too many turnovers, and the Brazilian again failed to get a shot off through 90 minutes.
MF, Kevin Molino, 5 -- The Trinidadian was almost completely invisible in this one, though it's hard to really blame him. With Turner offering hardly any width down the right side, Molino often found himself swarmed by red shirts.
F, Cyle Larin, 5 -- Expectations were high for Larin after his first start against Portland, but he's looked like the rookie that he is in City's last two matches. He brings a lot of energy up top, but the touch and finishing isn't really there yet. He had a couple chances in the air that were close, though maybe he could have done better.
D, Carlos Rivas, 5.5 -- Entered in the 65th minute in his customary "super-sub" role. He brought energy and pace, but his shot let him down on two good chances in the final 10'. Blasted a particularly good set-up from Shea way over the goal in the 85th.
MF, Bryan Rochez, 4.5 -- A rare extended appearance for the Honduran Designated Player, but he did nothing to change Orlando's offensive fortunes. A bit lucky not to be red-carded for his push/shove/punch on Damien Perquis after provocation from the French-Polish defender.
MF, Danny Mwanga, 4.5 -- Bordering on a no-rating, despite playing almost 18 minutes. That tells you just about all you need to know.
* * *
Another rough night in the Citrus Bowl for Orlando City. Thoughts on our player grades? Let us know in the comment section.
The Lions have a bye week friendly against Brazilian side Ponte Preta next Saturday, May 2, at 7 p.m. They return to MLS action the following Friday, May 8, against the New England Revolution in the Citrus Bowl.