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Orlando City Can Send a Strong Message Against Toronto

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After a tough setback, the Lions can show the league they are for real against the defending champions.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Every team has its ups and downs during a Major League Soccer season. Orlando City SC fans should know it better than anyone as after three winless matches to open 2018, the Lions went on a six-match winning streak, which ended in a painful 2-1 home loss to rival Atlanta United on Sunday.

But, at the same pace frustrating moments come, they also go away, and just five days after the setback against the Georgians, the Lions will have a unique opportunity to definitely put the result in the past as Orlando heads north to Canada to face Toronto FC on Friday.

The Canadians are the reigning MLS champions and their impressive campaign in 2017 granted the Reds the unofficial label of the “the best team in MLS history.” Could there be a more appropriate way to erase a painful loss than beating the defending champs on their home turf?

Sunday’s performance exposed some of Orlando’s flaws and the match at BMO Field will be the first opportunity for the Lions to show they are working to fix them. If Orlando can do it and keep doing what it was doing well over the last six weeks, it will be just fine.

Because believe me, if there’s a time when Toronto is certainly not as good as it can be, it is now. Jozy Altidore is injured. Sebastian Giovinco is suspended. Michal Bradley was playing center back. Victor Vazquez was recently sidelined.

With all that said, it’s not a surprise the Reds are currently ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, with just seven points and six losses in nine games. Okay, they were focused on the Concacaf Champions League. Well, it ended three weeks ago. Since then, they have one win, one tie, and two losses.

Orlando was exhaling confidence after six straight wins and the defeat to Atlanta kind of stopped it. But it’s soccer, and another week is here, right in front of the Lions, presenting them the unique opportunity of sending a strong message to the entire league that what happened on Sunday just happened, but the team will remain strong.

After all, if you can hold yourself against arguably the best team in the league’s history, you’re probably doing it right.