Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City SC vs. Toronto FC
Venue: Orlando Citrus Bowl – Sunday April 26th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Orlando 6/5 – Draw 5/2 – Toronto 9/4
Head coach Adrian Heath has spoken of how important that first victory will be for the supporters that have turned out in their thousands for the previous three fixtures at the Citrus Bowl.
Orlando return home for the first time in three weeks after back-to-back road games in which they have experienced mixed emotions. A 2-0 win at Portland was followed up by a first ever away loss to the Columbus Crew as they were beaten 3-0 after playing most of the game with ten men.Embed from Getty Images
They will hope to seal an important first win in front of their own fans against a Toronto side that have struggled so far this season.
The Reds started with a 3-1 win against the Vancouver Whitecaps but have lost four in a row since and Sunday’s trip to Florida will be the Canadian club’s sixth straight road game.
Toronto will have to wait another two weeks before they can play at home but they will know that it’s important they stop the rot by getting a result in Orlando this weekend.
Head coach Greg Vanney is under pressure, with some reports suggesting a loss on Sunday will cost him his job, but the Reds have been scoring plenty of goals.Embed from Getty Images
They have eight in five games so far, with Sebastian Giovinco netting two of those last week in a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas, and supporters will hope the Italian star can build on that display with another goal or two.
Giovinco will look to try and outperform Orlando’s very own foreign star in Kaka, and watching those two play on the same pitch should ensure this is a good one.
Orlando City will be without Tally Hall, Pedro Ribeiro and Martin Paterson, who are all still injured, while Lewis Neal and Tony Cascio are both doubts for the game. Rafael Ramos will also miss out as he serves a one game suspension after a red card in Columbus last weekend. Cyle Larin is likely to start in attack again with Kevin Molino and Carlos Rivas on the wings. Amobi Okugo is one booking off a suspension and will need to be careful.
Toronto FC have three injury concerns ahead of the trip as Clement Simonin, Steven Caldwell and Mark Bloom will all miss out. Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco are likely to start in attack, with Michael Bradley and Colleen Warner set to start in the centre of midfield.
Orlando City’s last five: L/D/L/W/L
Toronto FC’s last five: W/L/L/L/L
Key Stat: Toronto have conceded at least two goals in their last four away games. They have questions to answer defensively and need to shore up a backline that has conceded more goals on average per game than any other team so far.Embed from Getty Images
Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – ‘The Atomic Ant’ scored two excellent goals last weekend that showed how good a player he is. He needs to build on those strikes with another great performance in Orlando if his side are to get anything out of the game.
Orlando City 2-2 Toronto FC – This looks set to be a real thriller between two sides that love to attack, without being too good defensively. That should lead to an open game and goals are to be expected. Neither side will want to lose this one though and that could see a draw.