Toronto FC vs. Orlando City SC
8:00 PM Eastern
BMO Field, Toronto, ON
The first pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Canadian Cyle Larin, has been phenomenal as of late. The young striker has scored five goals in his last two matches, and is finally coming home to play his first career MLS match at BMO Field.
Astonishingly, Larin currently leads the league in non-penalty kick goals per 90 minutes (0.95). His eleven goals have him tied for the all-time league rookie record- and he still has 12 games to play!
Stopping Larin will be a difficult test for central defenders Damien Perquis and (recently acquired) Ahmed Kantari. Larin is strong on the ball, shows phenomenal positional awareness, and has been finishing with impressive power and precision. While Orlando City designated player Kakà did not make the trip to Toronto, Larin has shown that he is more than capable of making something out of nothing- shutting him down will be of paramount importance for Toronto's back four.
Bradley: Will he or won't he?
Toronto management and supporters alike are getting anxious for the impending return of skipper Michael Bradley. The club has had to wait extra long after Bradley sustained an injury while away at the Gold Cup.
In their first encounter against Orlando Bradley played a crucial role neutralizing Orlando City star Kakà- and while the latter didn't make the trip for tonight's match, Bradley's appearance would still provide a much-needed boost to a team already short one DP.
Key to the Match: Giovinco's support system
The key to the match for the Reds today is quite simple- everyone in a Toronto jersey not named Giovinco needs to show up to play.
Even without his DP teammates, Sebastian Giovinco has proven to be elusive to defenders when he is on his game. After being rested for the final 45 in the New England fixture, the Atomic Ant should be ready to make his presence felt in his return to BMO.
But if Giovinco is struggling at all with his fitness or simply has one of his extremely rare 'off' games, TFC's supporting characters need to step up. Jonathan Osorio's form has been impressive lately, and Marky Delgado has proven that he can find the back of the net when given the opportunity. Tonight would also be the perfect time for Robbie Findley to have his breakout game with Toronto (someone should tell him Jurgen Klinsmann is watching...).
On the defensive side of the ball, Benout Cheyrou will largely be tasked with shutting down Orlando's midfield and preventing service to Cyle Larin. TFC's defensive midfielders and back four need to hold the opposition to less than two goals for once- with Kakà's late announced absence this should be a realistic goal for the home side.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The <a href="https://twitter.com/BacardiCanada">@BacardiCanada</a> Starting XI: Bendik; Morrow, Kantari, Perquis, Jackson; Cheyrou, Osorio, Warner, Delgado; Giovinco, Findley. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TFCLive?src=hash">#TFCLive</a></p>— Toronto FC (@torontofc) <a href="https://twitter.com/torontofc/status/629064407234969600">August 5, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Even with Kakà out of the picture, nobody is expecting a low-scoring affair here. If Giovinco can pepper the net with his usual thirty shots on target and maybe even get some secondary scoring support, there is no reason why Toronto FC shouldn't come out as victors in this shootout.
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