Championsgate, FL-- Orlando City defeated Toronto FC 2-1 in a very physical, chippy match that did not look good for the Lions early on. Toronto dominated possession early and in the fifth minute Jonathan Osorio scored for Toronto on a strike that glanced off the crossbar and deflected down behind Joe Bendik to give the Reds an early 1-0 lead.
Orlando would spend the rest of the half trying to sustain pressure, but were unable to against a stout Toronto defense and midfield that controlled much of the possession through the first 45. Orlando attacked and generated opportunities, but found itself unable to finish. Between wasted opportunities, such as sending free kicks too close to the keeper, or not being able to stay onside, Orlando City allowed Toronto to stay relatively unchallenged early.
Adrian Winter covered a lot of ground in the first half and played as tenacious as we've ever seen him. Brek Shea played well both offensively and defensively, but picked up a yellow card for a reckless challenge after being dispossessed following a great pass by Kaká.
The first half ended with Orlando City looking to figure a lot of things out in a short amount of time as its attack seemed off and the midfield play was stifled by Michael Bradley, who seemed content to let possession flow from him to Sebastian Giovinco and Osorio. However, things would change as the second half opened up as Kevin Molino came on to reunite with Kaká. They were able to bring the same excitement as when they were able to link up last year. Before the Molino show could begin, Sebastian Giovinco completely turned around Aurélien Collin and by the sheer grace of Jozy Altidore being judged offside avoided another score for Toronto.
As soon as play resumed, the band stated warming up with Kaká and Molino having a nice run of play that would lead to Molino laying off a pass for Kaká in the box. Kaká was able to finish and brought the score level at 1-1. Toronto's stars would have a difficult time as nearly all of Giovinco's free kicks would either hit the wall or be sent into the air like a Space X rocket.
It would be a tale of two halves for Orlando. For as unorganized and unable to build anything substantial as it was in the first half, the combination of Kevin Alston and Pedro Ribeiro helped through the midfield and kept pressure on for Orlando in the second half. In the 63rd minute, Molino drew a foul going into Toronto's box, earning Orlando City a penalty that Kaká converted to give Orlando City a 2-1 lead.
Play would go back and forth at the midfield while in the 78th minute Kaká, Cyle Larin, and Molino enjoyed a heart-stopping amount of passing in the Toronto area that ended Larin putting the ball at the back of the net. However, he was judged offside by the assistant referee and the goal was called back.
Joe Bendik wasn't especially tested in this match and that says volumes for a backline that had to deal with Giovinco and Altidore all afternoon. However, Bendik made a beautiful leaping save on a Giovinco strike that was headed toward the upper right corner of the net were it not for the completely outstretched Orlando City keeper.
This friendly comes on the heels of Orlando City defeating New York Red Bulls 3-2 and OCB defeating Toronto FC 1-0. Orlando City's final friendly of the preseason comes against Brazilian side Esporte Clube Bahia on Saturday, Feb. 27th at the Citrus Bowl.
Check out the post game interviews with Head Coach Adrian Heath, Defender Brek Shea and Midfielder Kevin Molino