ExLink - 05/18/18 - TORvORL

Toronto FC vs. Orlando City SC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Toronto FC vs. Orlando City SC
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 12

BMO Field — Toronto
May 18 - 8:00 pm ET
WATCH: TSN 1/3/4/5, ESPN+

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It’s not quite a must-win for the defending MLS Cup champions, but it’s getting late early for Toronto FC, which has dropped back-to-back games following a 3-2 defeat at New England last Saturday.

Meanwhile, Orlando City SC heads to BMO Field on the heels of their first loss since March 17 when the Lions franchise-best six-match winning streak was snapped Sunday in a 2-1 loss to Atlanta United FC.

Toronto has won six of their eight meetings with Orlando City (1L-1D), scoring multiple goals in all but one match, per Opta.

Toronto FC

Greg Vanney made four changes to his side that fell 2-1 to Seattle Sounders FC in a rematch of the last two MLS Cup finals in midweek, bringing on Jason Hernandez and Ryan Telfer in a four-man backline and Jordan Hamilton and Tosaint Ricketts partnering up top in an altered 4-4-2 formation for Sebastian Giovinco and an injured Victor Vazquez.

Trailing 3-0, Toronto FC (2-6-1) pulled a goal back on an Antonio Delamea own goal and then Giovinco came off the bench to convert a penalty kick in the 89th minute. But he was sent off seconds later for what was deemed violent conduct after making contact with Wilfried Zahibo’s face.

It was the third time this season that the Reds have lost back-to-back games.

“It’s too many games we lost, it’s no good,” Giovinco said after the match. “I think we have to change direction, we have to change everything.”

  • Suspended: F - Sebastian Giovinco
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Nick Hagglund (hamstring strain), F - Jozy Altidore (foot surgery), D - Drew Moor (quadricep strain), M - Nicolas Hasler (quadricep strain), D - Justin Morrow (calf strain); QUESTIONABLE: D - Eriq Zavaleta (quadriceps strain)

Projected Starting XI
(4-4-2, right to left)
GK: Alex Bono — Auro, Michael Bradley, Gregory van der Wiel, Ashtone Morgan — Jay Chapman, Marky Delgado, Ager Aketxe, Jonathan Osorio — Tosaint Ricketts, Jordan Hamilton

  • Notes: Giovinco has found the back of the net eight times in seven matches against the Lions. He has scored more goals against just one MLS foe…. The Reds are looking to avoid their first three-game regular season losing streak since Sept. 5-16, 2015 (83 games since then). They are also looking to avoid back-to-back home losses in league play for the first time since Aug. 30-Sept. 6, 2014 (60 games since).

Orlando City SC

A franchise-best six-game winning streak came to an end Sunday with Atlanta United racing to a two-goal lead on a penalty kick goal by Josef Martinez, his MLS-leading eighth of the season, followed by Ezequiel Barco’s second goal of the season just past the half-hour mark.

Justin Meram cut the deficit in half with his first goal for Orlando City SC (6-3-1), but the Five Stripes prevailed in a testy encounter.

Now, after falling to a team Orlando City coach Jason Kreis calls the “apex” in MLS, the Lions will attempt to start a new streak against the reeling Reds.

“I think we’re close,” Kreis said after the game. “I feel like if we would have just handled things a little bit differently, maybe if the referee doesn’t give that penalty kick early on maybe the game then looks different. But I do think we caused them some troubles and I think we’re heading in the right direction. I still think so.”

  • Suspended: M - Yoshi Yotun
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: GK - Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), D - Jonathan Spector; QUESTIONABLE: D - Scott Sutter (lower body), F - Dom Dwyer (lower body)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Joe Bendik — Will Johnson, Lamine Sane, Amro Tarek, Mohamed El-Munir — Cristian Higuita, Oriol Rosell — Chris Mueller, Sacha Kljestan, Justin Meram — Stefano Pinho

  • Notes: Orlando’s 2-1 loss to Atlanta last weekend was just the second time this season that Sacha Kljestan has failed to record a goal or an assist in a match. … Orlando saw their franchise record six-game winning streak in their 2-1 loss to Atlanta last weekend. They scored 2+ goals in all six games during their winning streak.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Toronto FC 6 wins, 20 goals … Orlando City SC 1 win, 7 goals … 1 tie
  • At Toronto: Toronto FC 3 wins, 11 goals … Orlando City SC 0 wins, 2 goals … 1 tie
  • Last meeting at Toronto: Toronto FC 2, Orlando City SC 1 (May 3, 2017)

Officials

Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Nick Uranga, Andrew Bigelow
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: Silviu Petrescu