Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Orlando City
Venue: BMO Field – Wednesday, May 3rd – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)
Match Odds: Toronto FC 3/5 – Draw 14/5 – Orlando City 4/1
Toronto FC welcome Orlando City to BMO Field in a pivotal midweek clash at the top of the Eastern Conference on Wednesday night.
Both sides have started the season well, picking up just one defeat each, and know a win in this fixture would really send out a message to the rest of the conference.
Toronto hadn’t looked convincing through six games but back-to-back home victories over Chicago and Houston have fired them into fifth place in the East. Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore have snapped into form and will now be looking to tear teams apart on a weekly basis, as they did so often last term.
The Reds remain unbeaten at home and will be looking to pick up a third-straight win against an Orlando side that are running away at the top of the East at this early stage of the campaign.
Jason Kreis has watched his men win six of their opening seven matches, with the new Orlando City Stadium proving to be a fortress so far.
The Lions’ only loss so far this term did come on the road however. They lost 2-0 at Columbus but have since won 2-0 at Yankee Stadium and have only shipped five goals in total this season so far.
Orlando are the only side yet to draw a game in 2017 but they’d be happy to leave Toronto with a point to keep them atop the standings heading into a tricky weekend game in Houston.
They have yet to win at Toronto in MLS, losing twice before a 0-0 draw last September. Their only goal at BMO Field came in a 4-1 loss two years ago so they must try and forget about their recent record if they are to get anything from Wednesday’s game.
Toronto FC remain without Chris Mavinga and Drew Moor, although the centre-back is close to returning. Clint Irwin, Ashtone Morgan and Jason Hernandez are also expected to miss Wednesday’s game. Greg Vanney might rotate his squad ahead of the weekend trip to Seattle.
Orlando City welcomed back Kaka for the first time since opening weekend as he scored in their 2-0 win over Colorado and the Brazilian will be looking to start after coming off the bench on Saturday. Kevin Alston remains out, while Rafael Ramos and Jose Aja are doubts. The Lions face a trip to Houston at the weekend so Jason Kreis might look to rotate his team too. Former Toronto duo Joe Bendik and Will Johnson will be looking to shine against their former employers.
Toronto FC’s form: D/D/L/W/W
Orlando City’s form: L/W/W/W/W
Key Stat: Defensive stand – Toronto and Orlando are two of only four teams to have conceded less than a goal-per-game so far this season, along with Sporting KC and FC Dallas.
Key Player: Jozy Altidore – The powerful Toronto striker has started the season in great form, scoring five goals in eight games. He has proven too good for Orlando in the past, netting five in four appearances against the Lions and will look to hurt them again here.
Toronto FC 1-0 Orlando City – This has the makings of being a low-scoring affair between two sides that have defended impressively through the opening weeks of the season. Both have players capable of winning this game but Toronto have home advantage and have made the count the past two weeks. If anyone is likely to take all three points here, it’s the Reds. But you can expect this to be close.