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ORLANDO, Fla. (July 17, 2021) - Orlando City SC (6-3-4, 22 points) battled to a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC (2-8-3, 9 points) on Saturday night in its first visit to Canada since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nani extended his team lead with his seventh goal of the season on the night, converting from the penalty spot in the 77th minute to force the two sides to split the points. With the finish, Nani takes sole possession of second in Club history in goals in regular season action, passing former Lions’ captain Kaká and forward Dom Dwyer with his 25th such finish for City.

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese returned in between the posts for the Lions following his 2021 Copa América campaign with Peru, tallying two saves in the match. City returns home on Thursday, July 22 to take on the Philadelphia Union in a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff. 

Head Coach Oscar Pareja:

“I think it was a good match for us. It’s a great reaction from our players today against a good rival who was playing at home again after a long time. I know their emotions were heightened and it was not easy to handle a place with that energy. Obviously going on the road to take a point, you should be happy. [I’d be] happier if we scored on a couple of our options at the end, but we’ll take the point and prepare for Thursday.”

Scoring Recap:

72’ Jozy Altidore (Justin Morrow, Yeferson Soteldo) - TOR 1, ORL 0

The Reds took the lead with Yeferson Soteldo finding a running Justin Morrow down the left flank, who crossed it in to find the head of Jozy Altidore for the finish.

77’ Nani (PK) - ORL 1, TOR 1

The Lions found a quick equalizer after Benji Michel was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty kick upon Video Review. Nani then stepped up to the spot, hitting his strike into the back of the net despite a punching effort from goalkeeper Alex Bono.

Match Notes:

  • Nani extended his team lead with his seventh goal of the season for the Lions in the match. The Lions’ captain now takes sole possession of second in Club history in goals in regular season play, passing Kaká (24) and Dom Dwyer (24) with his 25th such finish in his MLS career. The Portuguese international now has 28 finishes across all competitions as a Lion. 
  • City was forced into an early substitution in the match, with Andrés Perea entering in the 14th minute for Sebastián Méndez. 
  • Pedro Gallese and Méndez each returned to the starting lineup following their respective Copa América campaigns, last logging a start on May 29 at the New York Red Bulls. The appearance served as the first for Gallese since that May 29 match, while Méndez came off the bench in Chicago over a week ago. 
  • João Moutinho earned his first start since June 22 against the San Jose Earthquakes, his fourth of the year. 
  • Saturday marked the Lions’ first trip to Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic, with both previous matches against Toronto taking place at Exploria Stadium despite City being the away side in the latter contest. 

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Next Match:
* The Lions return home to Exploria Stadium, set to take on the Philadelphia Union on Thursday, July 22 in a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

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