Welcome to your open thread for today's third and final regular season match-up between Orlando City SC and Toronto FC. It's a rare Saturday afternoon encounter at BMO Field in Toronto at 4 p.m. The Lions will be looking to replicate the third-meeting success they've enjoyed against teams like Columbus and D.C. after dropping the first two meetings by a combined score of 6-1.
Toronto (9-10-4, 31 points) won the last meeting 4-0 just 17 days ago behind Sebastian Giovinco's hat trick. The Atomic Ant scored one from the run of play, one from the penalty spot and another on a maddeningly perfect free kick. Collen Warner also scored in the 81st minute, off a short corner kick that caught the Lions napping.
The Reds have not won since that night, dropping decisions to Sporting Kansas City and New York Red Bulls by a combined 6-1 score line. In fact, if you take out the Orlando City match, Toronto would be just 1-4-3 since June 24, just about mirroring the Lions' form over the same span (1-5-2)
The lone bright spot for Orlando City (7-11-7, 28 points) in the last meeting was Luke Boden's first ever MLS goal on a wonderful, curling left-footed shot. Other than that...well, let's move on.
The bad news for City is that Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, neither of whom was in the lineup for the last match-up, are back. Altidore scored a brace in the Reds' 2-0 win at the Citrus Bowl on April 26.
In the Eastern Conference playoff chase. Orlando sits just three points behind fifth-place Toronto FC, albeit with the Reds holding two games in hand. But let's not kid ourselves, the Lions have been reeling, so let's hold off on the playoff talk until Orlando can leave a game with a positive result.
Right back Rafael Ramos (thigh) should return to the lineup today, but it seems that center back Seb Hines (knee) will still be out. Defensive midfielder Darwin Ceren and right back Tyler Turner will be unavailable due to suspension. Look for Servando Carrasco to start in the midfield, perhaps in a return to the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Here's your mandatory content to prep for tonight:
- Austin Siegel's match preview and final score prediction
- Andrew Harrison's look at how playing too narrow has cost the Lions
- Allen Etzler says the defensive midfield must shine for Orlando City to get results
- Wade Williams breaks down what we've learned from the previous trip to Toronto
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Tally Hall
Defenders: Luke Boden, Aurelien Collin, David Mateos, Rafael Ramos
Defensive Midfielders: Cristian Higuita, Servando Carrasco
Attacking Midfielders: Lewis Neal, Kaká, Adrian Winter
Forwards: Cyle Larin
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Corey Ashe, Tommy Redding, Eric Avila, Pedro Ribeiro, Carlos Rivas, Bryan Rochez
Toronto FC (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Chris Konopka
Defenders: Jackson Goncalves, Ahmed Kantari, Josh Williams, Justin Morrow
Midfielders: Collen Warner, Jonathan Osorio, Benoit Cheyrou, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado,
Forwards: Sebastian Giovinco
Bench: Joe Bendik, Eriq Zavaleta, Jozy Altidore, Jay Chapman, Herculez Gomez, Daniel Lovitz, Robbie Findley, Ashtone Morgan
REF: Jose Carlos Rivero
AR1: Brian Dunn
AR2: Richard Gamache
4TH: Mathieu Bourdeau
How to Watch:
Match time: 4 p.m. (ET)
Venue: BMO Field - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TV: MY65 (locally) and Sun Sports (regionally)
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 (Spanish)
Streaming: FOX Sports Go app
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City's official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).
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