Chris Mueller - Orlando City SC
USA Today Sports

Orlando City say showdown vs. fellow strugglers Toronto FC a "must-win"

SANFORD, Fla. – James O’Connor isn’t concerned about Toronto FC’s own struggles this season.

As obvious as that sounds, the new Orlando City boss said he’s more interested in turning around the club’s current misfortunes when both sides meet at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday (8 pm ET | TSN4 - Full TV & Streaming Info).

“We want to win every game, but Toronto will be the same,” said O’Connor on Wednesday. “They were the champions last year, so I’m sure there’s a lot of frustration on their camp as to what’s happening, but I’m not really too interested in what Toronto are doing or the run that they're on. We need to focus and control what we can control. We have no ability to control what Toronto do, what players they choose, what formation they play. What we can control is how we train, intensity we work on and then really focus on things that we need to do.”

Both clubs are currently going through their own respective winless streaks.

After winning a domestic treble last year and making a run to the Concacaf Champions League final earlier this year, injuries and fixture congestion has piled up for Toronto. They are currently on a five-game winless run that stretches back over a month to June 8.

The Lions, who haven’t won a game in league play since May 6, are facing a similar fate. A busy offseason saw a roster overhaul, but a promising start turned into a club record ongoing nine-game losing streak and the hiring of O'Connor after the team parted ways with Jason Kreis last month.

O’Connor, who helmed Orlando City for the first time in a 4-1 road loss against LAFC last week, has said a change in mentality among his players is needed if the club plans to turn things around.

“We want to start winning now, we don’t want to continue where we’re in a situation where we’re feeling frustrated,” said O’Connor. “We want to win. The supporters want to win, the players want to win and also as a coaching staff – we all want to win. So, it’s figuring out what’s the best way to allow that to happen. For us, mentality plays a key role in trying to do that.”

Rookie Chris Mueller said every game this season has been looked at as a must-win game and on Saturday against Toronto will be the same.

“We try to approach every game like that,” said Mueller. “… We never want to drop points, especially at home. Going into this weekend, again it’s a must-win game where we’ll try to get back on track.”