Orlando City (6-3-3, 21 pts) returns to action after a 10-day break this Saturday evening, battling Toronto FC (2-8-2, 8 pts) for the third time in just eight weeks. The match, presented by Pepsi, is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised locally with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. on FOX35 PLUS and LionNation TV. Radio coverage will be available from 7 p.m. on FM 96.9 the Game in English and Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM in Spanish.
Here’s everything you need to know about Toronto FC:
Key Transactions and Player News
Key Additions - LW Yeferson Soteldo (Santos), LB Kemar Lawrence (Anderlecht), CF Dom Dwyer (Orlando City)
Key Departures - Head Coach Chris Armas, LW Pablo Piatti (Elche), CB Laurent Ciman (retirement)
Player News - The biggest news surrounding Toronto at the moment comes not from their players, but their coaching staff, as Chris Armas was relieved of his duties after just 11 MLS matches following the Reds’ 7-1 humbling at the hands of DC United on July 3. Armas was replaced by interim head coach Javier Perez, who led the team to a 3-2 upset victory at Gillette Stadium in New England in his first match in charge last week.
With Armas’ dismissal, DP center forward Jozy Altidore has returned to full team training and could be available on Saturday. Altidore has scored 74 goals in 164 career MLS regular season matches. On the other hand, the Reds will be without five players for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup–right back Richie Laryea, center forward Ayo Akinola, and midfielder Jonathan Osorio are all with Canada, while center back Eriq Zavaleta is with El Salvador and left back Kemar Lawrence is with Jamaica.
Take a look at Toronto FC’s full roster here.
Armas’ final four matches in charge were all defeats, starting with a 3-2 loss to Orlando City on June 19 and culminating in the DC United blowout, but the squad showed tons of life against New England last Wednesday. Star DPs Alejandro Pozuelo and Yeferson Soteldo both started the game and the Reds put three goals on the board in the opening 24 minutes, with Soteldo providing both a goal and an assist.
Toronto came into 2021 with more wins and more goals against Orlando City than any other team in MLS history. But the Lions have flipped the script this year, with Oscar Pareja’s side taking each of the first two matchups between the teams. First, Tesho Akindele got on the end of Silvester van der Water’s first MLS assist and Pedro Gallese pitched his fourth clean sheet in six matches to get Orlando a 1-0 win on May 22. Then, four weeks later, Júnior Urso smashed home an 84th minute winner from Chris Mueller to break a 2-2 deadlock and secure three more points for the Lions.
Rasmussen University Fact
Orlando City and Toronto are making up for lost time this year. Due to the pandemic, the two sides did not face each other in 2020, going 651 days between matches. Since then, though, the teams will be playing for the third time in 56 days.