Just over two weeks ago, Orlando City was mercilessly beaten by a Toronto FC club that was hitting on all cylinders from whistle to whistle. Luke Boden scored his first MLS goal in the 4-1 defeat, while captain Kaká sat out the Wednesday match.
What did the Lions learn from the ugly loss, and what can be done with the experience?
Sebastian Giovinco is a Monster
The Atomic Ant did what he's done to all of MLS this season: dominate.
Given some quality chances from free kicks and a try from the penalty spot, Giovinco had little trouble scoring a hat trick against a center back and defensive mid grouping that committed 12 combined fouls.
We know Darwin Cerén, responsible for the foul leading to the free kick goal, won't be available after being suspended. The Lions that do take the pitch will need to be in top form to keep Seabass from doing it again.
These Aren't the Toronto Giovincos
While their star man is the MVP front-runner, it was the quality play throughout Toronto's midfield that really hurt City in this match. Benoit Cheyrou and Jonathan Osorio were fluid and deadly in building Toronto's quick-strike attack, assisting on both open-play goals.
Cheyrou connected on 86% of his passes, including a team-leading eight long passes. His three key passes seem worth noting, until you remember Osorio registered seven key passes of his own. Twenty-five percent of his passes were key passes. That's absurd.
Look for Orlando to set the tone early defensively -- they will not be caught off guard again.
Possession With a Purpose is Necessary
Heath's boys controlled possession without their captain on that Wednesday night with a strong 56%, but still managed just five shots to Toronto's 21. Almost half of Orlando's attack came up the left side, as Luke Boden was definitively the most influential Lion on the pitch, but very rarely did these builds end with any kind of chance.
Holding the ball is well and good, but the ball does you no good if it isn't moving forward. Three key passes are not enough for a team that completed 366 passes in total. You have to round up for that to be 1%.
Rookie sensation Cyle Larin had a few chances, but more will need to be done to get the ball into dangerous positions.
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As recent Summer acquisitions David Mateos, Servando Carrasco, Adrian Winter and Corey Ashe get more time in Orlando, the depth they bring to the club proves more invaluable. It will be interesting to see which of the group steps up to the opportunity.