Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (12-12-6, 42 points) and Toronto FC (9-15-7, 34 points) at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). It’s the second of the two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals this season.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
Toronto leads the very lopsided all-time series, 8-5-3, and is 4-3-0 against the Lions in road games. However, Orlando is 4-4-0 against the Reds in league play at Exploria Stadium due to Toronto “hosting” the Lions in a match during the Canadian team’s pandemic exile in 2021.
The Lions won the most recent meeting, 1-0 at BMO Field thanks to a 92nd-minute goal from Kyle Smith back on May 14. Smith flicked a header from a corner kick cross inside the far post to lift the Lions to victory.
Last season was Orlando’s most successful in the all-time series, with the Lions going 2-0-1 in three meetings with Toronto FC. The teams played to a 1-1 draw at BMO Field on July 17, 2021. Jozy Altidore came off the bench to score the opener but minutes later Nani equalized from the penalty spot. Benji Michel drew the penalty, which was originally ruled a foul on the Orlando winger but was overturned after video review by referee Marcos de Oliveira.
The other Toronto “home match” in the 2021 season series came on June 19 at Exploria Stadium as the Reds dealt with pandemic restrictions in Canada that forced the team to play home games in the United States. Orlando City built a 2-0 early lead on goals by Tesho Akindele and Nani, only to see Toronto tie the match by halftime on goals by Ayo Akinola and Jonathan Osorio. Junior Urso scored late to lift the Lions to a 3-2 victory. The teams first met that year on May 22 with Orlando City claiming a 1-0 win on Akindele’s goal.
The teams did not play in 2020 due to the pandemic affecting the schedule. Prior to the MLS stoppage for the pandemic, the teams met most recently in Toronto on Aug. 10, 2019 with the Lions grabbing a point at BMO Field in a 1-1 draw. Michel opened the scoring in the 69th minute but the Reds equalized off a scramble following a set piece in the 77th. The other match-up between the sides that season came on May 4, 2019, when the Reds walked out of Orlando with a 2-0 win on goals by Osorio and Jay Chapman.
The teams split their season series in 2018. Orlando City captured a 2-1 win at home in James O’Connor’s first home game as head coach of the Lions on July 14, 2018. Chris Schuler and Dom Dwyer staked City to a 2-0 lead and Nick Hagglund ruined the shutout in the 94th minute off a Sebastian Giovinco free kick delivery. The 2018 meeting in Toronto saw the Reds get a 2-1 win at BMO Field on Ryan Telfer’s 87th-minute goal.
Toronto shredded Orlando in a 3-1 win on July 5, 2017. Altidore and Giovinco combined to score Toronto’s three goals. Carlos Rivas gave Orlando a consolation goal. In the first meeting of 2017, Orlando out-possessed, out-shot, and out-passed the hosts, and played like the better team on the night. However, the Lions could not overcome a two-goal deficit and Giovinco’s first-half brace led Toronto to a 2-1 win.
The Lions got their first victory in the series on June 25, 2016, winning 3-2 at Camping World Stadium. Kaká scored from the spot in the 10th minute of stoppage time to win it. Cyle Larin and Adrian Winter each gave OCSC leads in the game, only to see Jordan Hamilton and Justin Morrow equalize until the captain’s late winner. The Reds took the second 2016 match-up in Orlando with a 2-1 victory, scoring in the 86th minute through Altidore. Tosaint Ricketts gave Toronto an early lead but the Lions fought back on a Larin goal. The teams also drew 0-0 on Sept. 28 of that year, with Toronto able to fend off the Lions with 10 men over the final 20 minutes of the match.
In 2015, Toronto took home all nine points in the three meetings, beating Orlando by a combined score of 11-1.
Orlando City has lost two straight since capping a five-game winning streak with its 2022 U.S. Open Cup title. Wednesday’s 1-0 home loss to Atlanta was particularly damaging as the Lions wasted a game in hand trying to track down a home playoff berth. That loss also prevented Orlando from ensuring it finished ahead of three teams below the line that now still have a chance to catch up. Orlando wasted a 20-shot night by hitting the target only three times all night and must be more precise to get back on track. The midweek loss also knocked the Lions back below the .500 mark at home this season at 7-8-0.
Toronto is 2-9-4 on the road in 2022, but that’s one more win than Atlanta had away from home entering Wednesday night. The Reds will be the fresher side, having not played since last Saturday, when they lost at Atlanta, 4-2. Toronto FC is 0-2-1 in its last three games but the team’s two road wins this season have come in its last four away games. The Reds are also scoring goals, netting at least two in seven of their last eight games.
Orlando’s assignment tonight will be stopping the Italians. Toronto has invested in three Italian imports and attackers Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne have combined for 14 goals and five assists between them in 19 total man-games played. The Reds also have dangerous fullbacks, which include former Lion Richie Laryea, who returned to Toronto during the summer transfer window.
According to the game notes for this match, Orlando City will be without Alexandre Pato (knee) and Joey DeZart (knee), while Robin Jansson (lower leg) and Cesar Araujo (non-COVID-related illness) are listed as questionable. Toronto lists Chris Mavinga and Doneil Henry out with lower body injuries, while Osorio (upper body injury) was upgraded this week from out to questionable.
Mandatory Match Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more information about the Reds from Tomas Karageorgos from Waking the Red, SBNation’s Toronto FC blog.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and final score predictions.
- Our Josh Munsey provided a scouting report on Toronto FC.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Wilder Cartagena, Junior Urso.
Attacking Midfielders: Facundo Torres, Mauricio Pereyra, Ivan Angulo.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Michael Halliday, Kyle Smith, Thomas Williams, Andres Perea, Jake Mulraney, Nicholas Gioacchini, Benji Michel, Tesho Akindele.
Goalkeeper: Quentin Westberg.
Defenders: Domenico Criscito, Lukas McNaughton, Shane O’Neill, Richie Laryea.
Midfielders: Kosi Thompson, Michael Bradley, Mark-Anthony Kaye.
Forwards: Lorenzo Insigne, Ayo Akinola, Federico Bernardeschi.
Bench: Alex Bono, Luca Petrasso, Deandre Kerr, Ifunanyachi Achara, Jonathan Osorio, Noble Okello, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Jesus Jimenez, Jayden Nelson.
Ref: Nima Saghafi.
AR1: Cory Richardson.
AR2: Lyes Arfa.
4th: Matt Franz.
VAR: Michael Radchuk.
AVAR: Tom Supple.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market only) and locally on the LionNation app.
Enjoy the match. Go City!
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