ORLANDO – April 26, 2015 – Orlando City Soccer Club (2-4-2, 8 points) suffered a 2-0 defeat to Toronto FC (2-4-0, 6 points) at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Sunday night, despite controlling 65 percent of the possession and outshooting the Canadian-based Club.
City’s home crowd was on full display for the primetime fixture - with 30,908 fans in attendance to watch some of Major League Soccer’s (MLS) brightest stars in action. As a result, Orlando City’s attendance average of 39,328 marked the most for an expansion team through its first four home games, surpassing the previous record held by the LA Galaxy in their inaugural season (38,826).
With the large crowd urging them forward, Orlando City kicked off the match on the strong foot - breaking forward at each opportunity to create a final product on the end of their dominating possession.
The Lions’ attacking players, Kevin Molino, Cyle Larin and Kaka, were instrumental in creating chances, however, smart defending from the Reds and sound goalkeeping from Joseph Bendik maintained a clean-sheet through the first 45 minutes.
Five minutes into the second half, Toronto’s bunkering tactics paid dividends when U.S. Men’s National Team striker Jozy Altidore skipped past City’s defense to score the game’s opening goal. In light of the visitor’s opening goal, Orlando increased its intensity to push forward in search of goal, placing more pressure on the Toronto backline.
However, with seven minutes remaining, Altidore secured a brace after running on to a deep long ball on the counter.
“It was obviously a difficult ending for us, but I don’t think we played well enough tonight,” said head coach Adrian Heath. “In terms of moving the ball, this was probably the worst game we’ve had all season. They (Toronto) did what we thought they’d do and played their most experienced team. It made things difficult and blocked off the middle of the pitch. We fell into the trap of continuously trying to force it through the middle, and overall, I don’t think we were good enough to win the game.”
1’ Jackson opened the match with a thunderous effort, blasting a shot from outside the box. Veteran goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was in a good position, however, and was able to make a difficult leaping save.
6’ Cyle Larin’s powerful run on to Darwin Ceren’s ball in behind caused problems for the Toronto defense, creating a collision in the box. Kevin Molino latched on to the loose ball and fired at goal, but goalkeeper Joseph Bendik made a close-range save.
10’ Molino was brought down after a surging run and was awarded a free-kick. Kaka took the set-piece quickly, setting up Turner for a cross in the box. The right-back, who was making his second MLS start in his rookie season, drove the ball across the area to Larin, who was unable to latch on to it.
17’ Orlando’s dominant possession deep in Toronto’s half continued, leading to additional chances for the Lions. After receiving a probing ball inside the box, midfielder Eric Avila turned quickly and fired with his left foot, sending his effort just over the bar.
30’ With less than 15 minutes remaining in the first half, Orlando City continued to control the run of play - forcing Toronto to sit deep in their own half.
38’ Sebastian Giovinco had his first chance of the night in the latter portion of the opening 45. The Italian struck a free-kick from distance, but his effort caused very little trouble for Ricketts, who watched it sail by the target.
45’ At the end of the first half, Orlando had the advantage in shots on targets (2-1) and dominated possession (60-40)
50’ Four minutes into the second half, Toronto managed to find the back of the net after Jozy Altidore skipped past the City defense and tucked the ball by Ricketts.
54’ Orlando’s best chance of the game came from rookie striker Cyler Larin, who soared over two defenders to connect with Avila’s cross to the back post. Larin’s header went just wide of the target.
61’ Kaka ran on to Turner’s pass down the right side and drove a low cross to the near-post for Larin. However, the Toronto defense was able to cut it out.
67’ In an effort to push forward for the equalizer, Heath brought on Bryan Rochez and Carlos Rivas for Amobi Okugo and Cyle Larin.
76’ Rivas was taken down by Justin Morrow just outside the box, resulting in a dangerous free-kick for Orlando. Unfortunately for the Lions, the young Colombian’s curling free-kick was far too high for the City players lurking in the box.
80’ Toronto nearly doubled their lead when Giovinco combined with Bradley on the edge of the box, leading to a one-on-one chance with Ricketts. The crafty Italian attempted to chip the Jamaican, who did well to tip it wide.
83’ However, the Reds would find the back of the net for the second time shortly afterward when Altidore secured a brace. The U.S. international ran on to ball floated deep in the Lions’ half beating both Seb Hines and Ricketts to slot the ball away.
92’ Orlando had one final chance find the back of the net. Rochez went just wide.
TOR - Jozy Altidore (Sebastian Giovinco) 50’
TOR - Jozy Altidore (Unassisted) 83’
TOR - Nick Hagglund (Yellow Card) 2’
ORL - Brek Shea (Yellow Card) 45’
ORL - Darwin Ceren (Yellow Card) 57’
ORL - Kevin Molino (Yellow Card) 68’
TOR - Jonathan Osario (Yellow Card) 69’
Orlando City SC – GK Donovan Ricketts, D Brek Shea, Aurélien Collin, Seb Hines, Tyler Turner, M Amobi Okugo (Carlos Rivas 64’), Darwin Cerén, Cristian Higuita, Kevin Molino (Danny Mwanga 76’), Kaká, F Cyle Larin (Bryan Rochez 67’)
Toronto FC – GK Joseph Bendik, D Nick Hagglund, Damien Perquis, Justin Morrow, Ashtone Morgan, M Jackson (Warren Creavalle 64’), Michael Bradley, Benoit Cheyrou, F Sebastian Giovinco (Colleen Warner 85’), Robbie Findley (Jonathan Osario 65’), Jozy Altidore
Time of Match: 7:00 p.m. ET
April 26, 2015
ORL - 9
TOR - 9
ORL - 7
TOR - 4
ORL - 7
TOR - 1
ORL - 16
TOR - 18
ORL - 2
TOR - 3
The Lions’ next match at the Orlando Citrus Bowl will take place in a friendly against the oldest club in Brazil - Ponte Preta. City will return to league play at the Citrus Bowl on Friday, May 8, to face the New England Revolution. Kick-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.