Orlando City

The Road Ahead: Everything you need to know for Orlando City's final regular season match at Toronto FC

RoadAheadvsTOR

Orlando City (17-7-9, 60 points) at Toronto FC (4-19-10, 22 points)

When: Saturday, 6:00 PM

Where: BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Radio: 96.9 The Game, (English), Acción 97.9 FM (Spanish)

Everything you need to know for Orlando City at Toronto FC in "The Road Ahead" driven by Audi:

Milestone watch

-- Orlando City needs to score three times against Toronto to set a new single-season MLS record for goals. The Lions scored 55 times in 2016.

-- Mauricio Pereyra needs one more assist to set a new single-season club record in all competitions with 13. Pereyra’s two assists on October 7 against New England (his 11th and 12th) gave him the MLS regular season record, breaking his own mark from last year. Both Pereyra and Facundo Torres had 12 assists in all competitions last year. Remarkably, Pereyra has increased his assist total in every successive season since moving to Orlando in summer of 2019.

-- Pereyra is also three assists away from 50 in all competitions for Orlando City.

-- If Facundo Torres scores against Toronto, he’ll become just the second player in club history to score 15 goals in an MLS regular season and the first since Cyle Larin scored 17 times in 2015.

Stats and storylines

-- For the first time since 2019, Orlando City will have a completely drama-free Decision Day. And unlike that season, when the Lions were eliminated from the postseason, this time it’s good news – Orlando has already locked up both the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference and the No. 2 overall slot in the Supporters’ Shield standings.

-- It’ll be nice for Orlando City fans to enjoy Decision Day after the stress of the past two seasons, in which the Lions faced must-win matches against direct red-line rivals to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs. Orlando won both of those games, knocking off Montréal 2-0 in 2021 and coming back to beat Columbus 2-1 last season.

-- The one element yet to be determined is Orlando City’s first-round MLS Cup Playoffs opponent. The Lions will face the 7-seed in a best-of-three series, with Exploria Stadium the venue for the first and (if necessary) the third matches. Nashville currently sits in seventh place on 49 points, but Orlando could also face Atlanta (sixth place, 50 points) or even New England (fifth place, 52 points) depending on how Decision Day plays out.

  • Atlanta is away to Supporters’ Shield winners Cincinnati, who have nothing to play for but some potential records like a 70+ point season and tying the MLS single-season record with 14 home wins.
  • Nashville is home against the New York Red Bulls, who are fighting with several other clubs for one of the two new-for-2023 Eastern Conference play-in spots.
  • New England hosts Philadelphia with both clubs attempting to lock up a top 4 place and home-field advantage in the first round. New England likely needs Columbus to lose at home to Montréal to have a chance to host their opener.

-- Every Eastern Conference game will kick off at exactly 6:09 p.m. ET, with the Western Conference deciders all beginning at 9:09. 

-- It has been a fruitful international break for some of Orlando City’s stars. Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese earned his 100th cap for Peru during CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying, while rookie sensation Duncan McGuire donned the red, white and blue for the first time in a United States U23 friendly against Mexico and scored against Japan on Tuesday night. The U23s will participate in the Summer Olympics in Paris next year.

-- Wilder Cartagena and Facundo Torres were also called into Peru and Uruguay, respectively, for World Cup Qualifying, while rookie defender Abdi Salim debuted for Somalia, captaining the side in friendlies against Niger and Sierra Leone.

SERIES HISTORY

All-time vs. Toronto - 7-8-3, -4 GD (2-4-3, -8 GD away)

MLS only vs. Toronto - Same

  1. 2015 - L 0-2 (H), L 4-1 (A), L 5-0 (A)
  1. 2016 - W 3-2 (H), L 1-2 (H), D 0-0 (A)
  1. 2017 - L 2-1 (A), L 1-3 (H)
  1. 2018 - L 2-1 (A), W 2-1 (H)
  1. 2019 - L 0-2 (H), D 1-1 (A)
  1. 2021 - W 1-0 (H), W 2-3 (A*), D 1-1 (A)
  1. 2022 - W 0-1 (A), W 4-0 (H)
  1. 2023 - W 4-0 (H)

*closed-door game played at Exploria Stadium due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Meet the opponent: Toronto FC

-- Orlando City has utterly dominated Toronto since Oscar Pareja took charge of the Lions, going 5-0-1 with a +11 goal difference against their northern neighbors under Papi.

-- Most recently, the Lions smashed the Reds 4-0 on July 4 at Exploria Stadium. César Araújo, Duncan McGuire, Dagur Dan Thórhallsson, and Ercan Kara all found the back of the net for Orlando in the rout. It was the second consecutive 4-0 win for City against Toronto.

-- The Reds have locked up the 2023 Wooden Spoon, losing an astonishing 16 of their past 17 matches in all competitions since June 21. Toronto has conceded multiple goals in each of its past five games, all defeats, while scoring just two goals of their own in that span.

-- There is a ray of hope for the Reds, however – former Canada manager John Herdman will make his first appearance on the touchline as Toronto FC head coach on Saturday after agreeing to join the club back in August. Herdman coached Canada to the top slot in 2022 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, leading the country into the World Cup proper for the first time since 1986. Herdman previously helmed Canada’s women’s side, taking them to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2015.

-- Former US Men's National Team captain Michael Bradley announced he's hanging up his boots after Saturday's game, adding an interesting storyline to this one. The midfielder has 151 caps for the USMNT, third all-time for the team. For the Reds of TFC, he made over 300 appearances over the last 9 seasons, winning nine trophies.