For whatever reason, Toronto FC has really had Orlando City SC's number ever since the Florida-based Expansion side entered the league last season. They beat Orlando by a combined score of 11-1 in three matches in 2015.
In fact, their dominance of Orlando may have saved their season. Between June 27 and August 1, a difficult summer stretch, Toronto FC once just once in six matches. Coming home against Orlando on August 5, they really needed a boost and got it in the form of a 4-1 victory at BMO Field.
Toronto FC is about to enter that difficult late June to early August part of the season that can make or break an MLS campaign, and they open the dog days of summer away to Orlando City. Toronto FC will be missing players for a variety of reasons, but don't blame them if they are licking their chops for this match considering how last season went.
No player will be looking forward more to this match than Sebastian Giovinco, who played some of his best soccer last year against Orlando. In the two sides inaugural meeting, Giovinco set up one of Jozy Altidore's pair of goals in a 2-0 Toronto FC win. He followed that up by scoring a hattrick and then a goal against Orlando in 4-1 and 5-0 TFC wins.
Giovinco had struggled a bit recently, by his incredibly high standards at least, to score. He finally broke his drought this past weekend against the LA Galaxy.
On the other hand, Orlando City's stud forward Cyle Larin has played some of his worst soccer against Toronto FC. Whether that was the Canadian getting nervous playing in front of a crowd close to his hometown, or just a byproduct of the fact that everyone else on the team stunk against Toronto is up for debate.
What's clear, however, is that Larin will be raring to go for this game, looking to strike against Toronto FC for the first time. He is putting together an impressive sequel to his rookie campaign, and so far has 7 goals and 3 assists.
While Larin and Giovinco will be the dangermen for both sides, it is who plays around them that could ultimately determine the outcome of the match. Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are still out for Toronto FC with injury and international duties respectively. Whether Benoit Cheyrou and Steven Beitashour is the biggest question, however, as Toronto could rest both against Orlando.
Orlando will be missing Seb Hines through suspension and Pedro Ribeiro through injury. They may also be missing Kaka and Darwin Ceren who are currently recovering from injury as well. Kaka is evidently the biggest question today for either team, as he has been a game breaker for Orlando this season.
Both Orlando and Toronto will be desperate for a win today, and the standings only add to that need for points. A win for Orlando would see them pass Toronto in the standings, and a number of other teams will likely follow. A win for Toronto and they will finally have some security in the top half of the Eastern Conference.
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