Orlando City didn’t get the result any of us were hoping for on Wednesday night, but the great thing about this week is that the chance to make it right is just around the corner. The games continue to come thick and fast for the Lions, and after the missed opportunity for three valuable points on Wednesday, tomorrow’s match takes on increased importance.
On Saturday night, Toronto FC is coming to town for its second match against Orlando City this season. That means that I spoke to Tomas Karageorgos, one of the contributors over at SBNation’s Waking the Red. Tomas did an excellent job of getting us refamiliarized with a Toronto team that has brought in a number of new faces in recent months.
Toronto has made some of the most headline-catching additions to its squad in recent months. How have those new names settled in?
Tomas Karageorgos: The new names have settled in quite well, especially Federico Bernardeschi. The former Juventus man has scored eight goals and assisted on another three in only 10 games. Lorenzo Insigne’s play has been a bit quieter because of the opposition’s ability to predict his style of play. But honestly, Domenico Criscito has arguably been the most consistent of the three Italian players since arriving in Toronto, his professionalism on the pitch calms the game down when TFC has possession, and he makes the right pass every time.
TFC has not seemed to struggle with scoring lately, and has scored more than two goals in seven of its eight games since the beginning of August. What has been working so well at the offensive end of the field?
TK: Just like Mike Ditka said in Kicking and Screaming: “Get the ball to the Italians.” Both Insigne and Bernardeschi have contributed an insane amount to the goal scoring. It helps they play together on the Italian national team. The amount of IQ they bring to TFC cannot be admired enough, because they raised the standards of everything both off and on the field when they arrived in Toronto.
On the flip side, Toronto also conceded two or more goals in six of those eight games. What needs to improve for this team defensively?
TK: What needs to improve on the defensive side is just staying aware of the play at all times. They’ve given up easy goals on the counter-attack and also with lack of awareness. They’ve conceded lots of easy goals because of lazy passes in the midfield and defense throughout the season. There’s just not enough discipline and there is no real leader in the center back position like there used to be (with Drew Moor for example).
Are there any injuries, suspensions, etc that will keep players unavailable for selection? What is your projected starting lineup and score prediction?
TK: Starting XI prediction: Quentin Westberg, Richie Laryea, Lukas MacNaughton, Shane O’Neill, Domenico Criscito; Mark-Anthony Kaye, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio; Lorenzo Insigne, Ayo Akinola, Federico Bernardeschi.
Score prediction: 1-1 draw
Thank you very much to Tomas for helping us get caught up on Toronto FC. Vamos Orlando!