vs TFC

Orlando City SC continued the march toward their inaugural season Sunday evening, drawing Toronto FC 0-0 at ChampionsGate in a preseason friendly. 

In the opening 45, Head Coach Adrian Heath featured a strong line-up including Ricketts, Ramos, Donovan, St. Ledger, Boden, Higuita, Okugo, Cascio, Molino, Kaká and Paterson in the starting 11.

After having several more training sessions since playing against D.C. United and FC Dallas, City’s play looked much sharper collectively. The Lions created several near-chances in the final third throughout the first half – stemming in particular from creative combinations between Molino, Boden and Kaká.

However, after the match, Heath remained critical of his squad’s movements on the other side of the ball saying, “I’m disappointed with our play in some aspects, particularly out of possession. I thought we were a bit disjoined, and we’ll need to work on our shape when we’re off the ball. We had some really good quality passages of play, but overall I think we’re better than what we’ve shown today.”

The second half featured a completely different team for Orlando, as the gaffer brought on Edwards, Turner, Gustavo, Redding, Nwhiloh, Neal, Estrela, Cerén, Avila, Ribeiro and Larin.

Continuing Kaká and Molino’s combination in the first half, Larin and Neal connected on several occasions in the second 45, as the 2015 number one draft pick threatened to break the deadlock various times.

Larin’s first clear-cut chance came in the 48th minute after he was played in behind by Neal’s clever through-ball. Although his final effort went just wide of the target, his movement and pace caught the attention of the Toronto backline.

Less than 20 minutes later, Larin and Neal connected again for City’s best chance of the evening. The English midfielder’s whipped ball into the box found the youngster, who did well to re-direct it on target but was unfortunate to have it deflected inches past the far post for a corner.

“He (Cyle) had four great opportunities and he created a couple for himself, so he’s had a good opening session,” Heath continued. “I thought he looked well today. He hasn’t done an awful lot of work, which is one of the reasons why we haven’t pushed him so much, but he’ll be better after that 45.”