Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Orlando City SC
Venue: BMO Field – Wednesday, September 28 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)
Match Odds: Toronto 8/15 – Draw 3/1 – Orlando 9/2
Toronto FC host Orlando City in an important Eastern Conference clash on Wednesday night, with both sides looking to climb the table for different reasons as the regular season edges closer to its conclusion.
Toronto are in great shape. They are joint-top of the East and have a game in hand over the two New York teams who are battling them for the division title.
Greg Vanney’s side come into the game off the back of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Philadelphia. They came from behind to earn a point in that one, but need to try and win the majority of their remaining games to enter the playoffs in the best form possible.
The Reds play three of their last four at home and will fancy their chances of winning the East so long as they can seal three points in games such as this one.
It’s a very different story for Orlando, who have had a calamitous season. Two head coaches, varying formations and a number of injuries have all contributed to a poor campaign. They don’t look set to make the playoffs in their second MLS season, which will be a disappointment for the Lions fans.
They travel to Toronto off the back of three consecutive losses, conceding four goals in each of those, so things don’t look great for Jason Kreis and his team.
The Lions have only won two of their 15 road games this term and it would be a real shock if they were to leave BMO Field with any points here.
This will be the third meeting between the two sides this season, with the previous two fixtures coming in Orlando. The Lions won 3-2 in June before Toronto sealed a 2-1 victory just a month ago. The Reds won both of last year’s games at BMO Field by a combined scoreline of 9-1.
Toronto’s star man Sebastian Giovinco is not yet 100 percent fit and isn’t expected to make his return from injury on Wednesday night. But Clint Irwin did return to the side last time out and will hope to keep his place in goal. Ashtone Morgan is definitely out, while Tosaint Ricketts is a doubt. Greg Vanney might rotate his side with another game coming up on Saturday.
Orlando City will be without Antonio Nocerino after the Italian was sent off in Saturday’s defeat at DC United for an elbow on Patrick Mullins. On top of that, Cristian Higuita remains a doubt but Kaka and Cyle Larin should both start in attack.
Toronto’s last five: W/L/W/D/D
Orlando’s last five: W/W/L/L/L
Key Stat: Leaky – Orlando City have the worst defensive record in MLS this season, having shipped 57 in 30 games. They’ve now conceded four goals in each of their last three coming into Wednesday’s game.
Key Player: Jozy Altidore – The Toronto striker has been in great form since making his return from injury. He has three in his last three games and will be relishing the chance of playing against a leaky Orlando defence on Wednesday evening.
Toronto FC 3-1 Orlando City – Toronto look poised to win for the first time in three games here. They have home advantage and are taking on an Orlando side that cannot stop conceding goals. The Lions look set to miss out on the playoffs for a second-straight seasons and still have more questions than answers about their team. The Reds, on the other hand, look in good shape and will be expecting to move back to the top of the East with three points.