Since winning 1-4 at Montreal Impact earlier this month, Orlando City SC have been in free fall, losing three Major League Soccer fixtures while now sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference.
While performances have left a lot to be desired lately, Jason Kreis‘ Lions are still just three points below D.C. United who currently sit in sixth place above the red line on 37 points.
Having played the same number of games (30) as Ben Olsen’s D.C. United who ran out comfortable 4-1 winners over Orlando City SC last time out, a victory over Toronto FC is imperative this week.
With BMO Field being one of the most difficult venues to achieve a positive result in all of MLS, Orlando City SC need to find some courage and battling spirit from somewhere with only FOUR regular season fixtures remaining.
Orlando City SC have only won TWO road games in Major League Soccer all season long but they will need to channel the same energy and drive as they did the last time they were in Canada when defeating the Impact.
TFC talisman Sebastian Giovinco has missed three consecutive fixtures for Greg Vanney’s men due to muscle strains recently and his absence would give Orlando City SC extra hope heading into this one.
Looking back on previous results, Orlando City SC finally broke their duck against Toronto FC this season but in the two games contested at BMO Field thus far, it hasn’t been pretty from a Lions perspective.
2015/16 head-to-head stats
Starting the game on the back foot when Tosaint Ricketts opened the scoring in only the 7th minute, Cyle Larin equalised against his hometown team around 10 minutes after half-time but the manner of this defeat proved very damaging to our morale.
Orlando City SC 1 Toronto FC 2 – Highlights – August 24, 2016 (Credit: Toronto FC)
Prior to June’s victory over Greg Vanney’s men, Orlando City SC hadn’t even managed to tie with Toronto FC with the Canadian side winning all THREE head-to-heads last season.
Wrapping up a comprehensive aggregate scoreline of 9-1 in the two fixtures contested at BMO Field last term, TFC initiated the game series with a then rare victory at the Citrus Bowl, winning 0-2 courtesy of a Jozy Altidore brace in April 2015.
While everybody knows about Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore’s prowess in Major League Soccer at large, let alone against Orlando City SC, an unlikely scorer has enjoyed facing the Lions more than most.
TFC full back Justin Morrow has only scored FIVE goals in over 80 MLS appearances for the Canadian side but TWO of those strikes have come against the Lions.
The 28-year-old scored in both the 5-0 demolition of Orlando City SC last season, not to mention TFC’s 3-2 defeat at Camping World Stadium back in June.
Toronto FC form
As alluded to at the outset, there are far easier places to travel to than Toronto FC’s BMO Field when you’re in need of three points!
Greg Vanney’s men are actually undefeated in TEN of their last ELEVEN home fixtures in Ontario with their fierce Canadian rivals Montreal Impact being the only side to have won at BMO Field (0-1) in that timeframe.
The venue has quite simply been Sebastian Giovinco’s playhouse over the past few years and if the Italian star misses out again due to injury, this would represent a huge boost for Orlando City SC.
Toronto FC have drawn the last two fixtures of what will be a four-game home streak, most recently playing out a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
Toronto FC 1 Philadelphia Union 1 – Highlights – September 24, 2016 (Credit: Toronto FC)
Orlando City SC form
Orlando City SC‘s unwanted habit of conceding four goals a game has completely derailed our MLS Cup Playoff push recently.
Going down 4-2 at LA Galaxy as well as 4-1 at D.C. United at the weekend, a 1-4 defeat to Columbus Crew in between has totally halted the momentum created during that two-game winning streak against New York City FC and Montreal Impact.
The fact remains however that Orlando City SC have usually been able to score goals on the road with the Lions registering OVER 2.5 GOALS in TWELVE of our last FOURTEEN road fixtures.
D.C. United 4 Orlando City SC 1 – Highlights – September 24, 2016 (Credit: Major League Soccer)
There’s no way of sugarcoating it; Orlando City SC‘s road form has left a lot to be desired this season.
While Jason Kreis had initially made the Lions tougher to beat on the road after succeeding Adrian Heath, the way in which we’ve collapsed at LA Galaxy and D.C. United recently has been extremely disappointing.
Failing to win THIRTEEN of our last FOURTEEN away fixtures in MLS, this form made every Orlando City SC fan relish the surprise 1-4 victory over Montreal Impact even more earlier this month.
With the exception of the Colorado Rapids and D.C. United fixtures, Orlando City SC have managed to score AT LEAST TWO GOALS in FOUR of our last SIX road games.
It’s all about mentality at the business end of the season and having conceded the first goal lately, we’ve allowed negativity to creep into our play.
It’s incredibly important to score the first goal at Toronto FC this week while trying much harder to offer Joe Bendik the defensive protection he’s been craving all season long.