ORLANDO, Fla – Feb. 21, 2016 – Orlando City SC today turned in a thorough performance against a team that proved quite troublesome for the Lions last year in Major League Soccer (MLS), Toronto FC. Under a bright sunny sky at ChampionsGate, the Lions battled back from an early goal deficit – on the shoulders of a brace from team captain Kaká – to win this preseason tune-up match 2-1.
Action in the first half looked slightly in favor of Toronto, with the Reds controlling most of early possession on strong play by MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco, and U.S. National Team members Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. Toronto opened the scoring in the 5th minute when midfielder Jonathan Osorio unleashed a powerful shot that sailed past a diving Joe Bendik. That would prove to be only goal for Toronto on the day.
Orlando City turned up the attacking pressure late in the first half, including a dangerous floating cross by Brek Shea into the box that was cleared in the 42nd minute by Toronto goalkeeper Clint Irwin. In the second half, the pace of play took a significant shift in favor of the Lions, who made a number of key substitutions including Aurélien Collin for Seb Hines, and Kevin Molino for Richie Laryea at the start of the second 45.
It took two minutes for Orlando City to find the equalizer, which was initiated through some clever play between Molino and Kaká. In the 47th minute, the team captain took on three defenders before curling an unstoppable right-foot shot around Irwin. The pressure continued to mount, with the Lions sending more players into the attacking third. In the 63rd minute, Molino dribbled into the penalty area and was brought down just inside to draw a penalty kick. Kaká would convert from the spot to put the Lions ahead.
Giovinco nearly evened the score line late in the second half with a strike destined for the top right corner, however Bendik was able to quickly react and push it safely wide.
Reflecting on the match, Head Coach Adrian Heath said, “I’m pleased with the performance and thought in the second half, we were very good at times. More importantly the attitude of the players was a lot more competitive than the other day and that was pleasing. This time of year, we just want to get through unscathed and get some fitness – I think we’ve done that today. But, the attitude of the players was good so I was pleased with that.”
Orlando City opens the 2016 season at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on March 6 against Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tickets are available at www.OrlandoCitySC.com/tix. The Lions have launched #FillTheBowlAgain to attempt a second consecutive sellout for its MLS home opener.
Follow the latest Orlando City news and updates via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
TOR – Osorio 5’
ORL – Kaká 47’
ORL – Kaká 63’ (PK)
Orlando City SC – First Half: GK Joe Bendik, Brek Shea (Alston 74’), Seb Hines (Collin 45’’), David Mateos, Rafael Ramos, D Darwin Cerén, Servando Carrasco, Adrian Winter (Ribeiro 74’), Kaká, Richie Laryea (Molino 45’), F Cyle Larin
Toronto FC – GK Clint Irwin, D Justin Morrow, Drew Moor, Damien Perquis, Mark Bloom (Williams 67’), M Jonathan Osorio (Cheyrou 67’), Michael Bradley, Will Johnson (Babouli 74’), Sebastian Giovinco, F Jozy Altidore, Tsubasa Endoh