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Toronto FC vs. Orlando City SC | 2017 MLS Match Preview

Toronto FC vs. Orlando City
2017 MLS Regular Season
BMO Field – Toronto, Ontario
Wednesday, May 3 | 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: TSN (Canada) | MLS LIVE (USA)

Orlando City SC have stolen a lot of the headlines in the Eastern Conference so far this season, and with good reason. The Lions are the East's early success story, surging to the top of the Supporters Shield standings and averaging a staggering 2.57 points per match behind six goals – in only seven games – from forward Cyle Larin.

But after a slow start that saw them win just one of their first six matches (OK, so they only lost one over that span too), Toronto FC's 2016 MLS Cup runners-up are starting to find their groove. They've won two in a row and climbed into fifth place in the East, tied with New York City FC on 13 points each but behind those two clubs on the total-victories tiebreaker.

With both clubs stealing three out-of-conference points over the weekend – Orlando City over Colorado and TFC over Houston, both by 2-0 margins – each side will bring plenty of momentum, if not a lot of rest, into Wednesday night's matchup at BMO Field.

Toronto FC

The Reds' rise has (no surprise here) come as a result of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco hitting the one-two scoring stride that TFC need to function at their best. Altidore has five goals on the year after his brace against the Dynamo, and Giovinco is starting to climb the charts with three goals in the last four games.

And when the two combine up top, as they did against Houston in one of the prettiest combinations you'll ever see, they can give opposing defenses fits.

The Reds have a slight advantage going into Wednesday's match, in addition to the obvious one of playing on their home pitch. They played Houston on Friday, while Orlando City beat the Rapids on Saturday. That gives their defense an extra day to recover, which is important if Lions coach Jason Kreis runs out Larin for the midweek match.

  • Suspensions: None
  • Int'l Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT – D Chris Mavinga (quad injury), D Drew Moor (cardiac arrhythmia); GK Clint Irwin (hamstring strain), D Ashtone Morgan (stress fracture in foot), D Jason Hernandez (calf injury)

Probable Formation (3-5-2): Alex Bono –  Eriq Zavaleta, Nick Hagglund, Justin Morrow – Steven Beitashour, Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Raheem Edwards – Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco

Notes: Toronto have only lost once in their last 10 regular season MLS matches (4W-5D). They have conceded multiple goals in five of those games, and kept four clean sheets. … Jozy Altidore (five in four) and Sebastian Giovinco (four in five) have a combined nine regular season MLS goals in nine appearances against Orlando. 

Orlando City

As if things weren't going well enough already for the Lions, Kaká is back – and already contributing, after sitting out the early going with an opening-week hamstring injury.

The Brazilian veteran scored off the bench in Saturday's victory over Colorado teaming up with Carlos Rivas – who didn't start for the first time this year but also found the net as a substitute – to provide all kinds of pressure on Colorado's defenders. Granted, the Reds are better across the backline, but that's still not a happy prospect for even the stoutest defense.

Speaking of D, has anyone noticed that the Lions are the second-stingiest team in the league? Led by returned expat Jonathan Spector, Orlando City have conceded just five times this year. Still, if the Reds come full-strength on Wednesday – and there's no reason to believe that they won't – the Lions will have their hands full with Giovinco, Altidore and assists leader Victor Vazquez.

  • Suspensions: None
  • Int'l Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT – D Kevin Alston (knee); DAY-TO-DAY – D Rafael Ramos (hamstring injury), D Jose Aja (hamstring injury)

Probable Formation (4-1-2-1-2): Joe Bendik – Scott Sutter, Tommy Redding, Jonathan Spector, Donny Toia – Antonio Nocerino – Will Johnson, Cristian Higuita – Matias Perez Garcia – Cyle Larin, Giles Barnes

Notes: In seven previous trips to Canada, Orlando has only won one regular season MLS game (3L-3D). Their 0-0 draw in Toronto on September 28 of last year was their first clean sheet in Canada in franchise MLS history. … Orlando allowed only one shot on target against Colorado last weekend. This ties the franchise MLS record for fewest shots on target faced in a single game (it has happened four other times in Orlando’s MLS history). 

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Toronto 4 wins (15 goals) … Orlando 1 win (5 goals) … Ties 1
  • At Toronto: Toronto 2 wins (9 goals) … Orlando 0 wins (1 goal) … Ties 1

Referees

  • Referee: Baldomero Toledo
  • Assistant Referees: Gianni Facchini, Peter Balciunas
  • 4th Referee: Silviu Petrescu