TORONTO (Oct. 21, 2023) – Orlando City SC (18-7-9, 63 points) wrapped up the 2023 MLS regular season with a 2-0 win at Toronto FC (4-20-10, 22 points) on Saturday night at BMO Field. With the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference secured, the Lions will now turn their attention to the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, set to face No. 7 Nashville SC.
More information on the playoffs, including Round One dates and times will be announced at a later time, however Orlando will host the opening match of the series at Exploria Stadium, before traveling to GEODIS Park for game two. Should a third game be necessary in the best-of-three series, things will shift back to downtown Orlando.
Tickets for the Round One matches at Exploria Stadium can be purchased at the link here.
With the game still scoreless an hour in, the Lions broke through in the 63rd minute with a goal from second-half substitute Duncan McGuire, who had entered the match just two minutes prior. McGuire was played downfield with a ball directly from goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar, who not only earned the assist on the goal but picked up his second career clean sheet in his 11th MLS start. McGuire added insurance for the Lions just 11 minutes later, scoring his 13th goal of his rookie campaign.
With the goals, McGuire jumped into second place all-time for goals scored by a draft pick in their first season, finishing the regular season only behind former Lions’ standout Cyle Larin (17, 2015).
Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoff vs Columbus Crew
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63’ Duncan McGuire (Mason Stajduhar) – ORL 1, TOR 0
The Lions got on the board first with goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar sending a long ball up to Duncan McGuire. McGuire took a touch over Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley and then fired a shot from distance over Sean Johnson and into the net for the opener.
74’ Duncan McGuire (Kyle Smith) – ORL 2, TOR 0
The Lions added another 11 minutes later, with McGuire again getting the goal. Defender Kyle Smith played a through ball to the rookie, breaking through the lines and slotting it calmly past Johnson for his second of the game.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja:
“Well, we're very happy with the performance. The players have [had] a great season, but the most important part is coming. It was not easy today to come here, the last game [of the regular season] and have this performance. It’s [BMO Field] a difficult place. It was a moment for us, just being qualified [for playoffs] in the second place, to take care of some players but also make sure that we are doing the right decisions. So we're very proud of the players like always. They are the ones who make this happen. We keep growing and we will keep being consistent and being prepared for what is coming.”
- Forward Duncan McGuire scored his 14th and 15th goals across all competitions this season and his 12th and 13th in the 2023 regular season respectively. McGuire finishes the regular season leading the team across all competitions.
- With the goals, McGuire jumped into second place all-time for goals scored by a draft pick in their first season, finishing the regular season only behind former Lions’ standout Cyle Larin (17, 2015).
- Goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar was credited with the assist on McGuire’s first goal, the first of his career.
- Defender Kyle Smith provided his third assist of 2023 on McGuire’s second goal.
- Midfielder Martín Ojeda served as the Lions’ captain for the first time in his Orlando City career.
- Midfielder César Araújo suffered his 100th foul of the regular season in the match, the most of any player in the league this season.
- Acquired from Toronto FC via trade on Nov. 9, 2022, defender Luca Petrasso returned to BMO Field for the first time as a Lion.
- The Lions kept a first-half clean sheet for the 24th time this regular season, with only St. Louis CITY SC (25) keeping opponents off the board more in the first half of games.
- Orlando City remains undefeated against Toronto FC in the Oscar Pareja era, now 6-0-1 all-time with a +13 goal differential against the Reds.
- The Lions finish with a 9-4-4 record on the road this season, the best across all of Major League Soccer.
- Head Coach Oscar Pareja made nine changes to his starting lineup since his side’s last match against the New England Revolution with Mason Stajduhar, Mikey Halliday, Antonio Carlos, Luca Petrasso, Felipe Martins, Júnior Urso, Gastón González, Ramiro Enrique and Martín Ojeda all getting the start on Decision Day.
No. 2 Orlando City will next host the first match of Round One of the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, a best-of-three series against No. 7 Nashville SC. Details including the date and kickoff time will be announced soon.