Toronto FC made history tonight at the Citrus Bowl in a number of different ways. A 2-1 win over Orlando City SC was a club record fifth road win, and it put them in first place in the Eastern Conference. This is the latest in a season that they have achieved this honour.
Jozy Altidore scored the late winner for Toronto FC, his fifth goal of the season. Tosaint Ricketts and Cyle Larin traded goals before that, while Sebastian Giovinco added a pair of assists.
Orlando came out of the gate as the aggressors, looking to catch Toronto FC early. Larin capitalised on a bad giveaway from Marky Delgado. Alex Bono had to stretch out and make an incredible save to deny Larin's shot.
Both of these narratives were prevalent in the first half. Larin had several chances, but could not find the back of the net. Delgado, who was forced to play at fullback, struggled out of his natural position in the opening frame. It never cost Toronto FC, however.
Orlando's early pressure was short-lived, as Toronto caught them on a counter attack in the seventh minute. Sebastian Giovinco quickly took a throw in, putting it ahead of the Orlando backline. Ricketts used his trademark speed to burn past Orlando defenders and put himself one-on-one with Joe Bendik in the Orlando goal. He calmly curled the ball around Bendik and gave Toronto a 1-0 lead.
Both sides struggled to put together anything for the rest of the half, but Toronto FC was certainly the happier of the two when halftime was reached. They had not lost when scoring first all season, and therefore were in a good position to finish their three-game road trip undefeated.
Toronto came out flat in the second half, however, as an Orlando City side desperate for three points at home pushed forward. Orlando created several chances as they exposed a makeshift Toronto FC backline. Perhaps it was the result of being on the road for so long, but Toronto FC looked tired.
Orlando equalised in 56th minute, when a Luke Boden cross from the left wing found the head of Larin. The Canadian headed the ball off of the ground and into the top corner of the net, beating Bono. It was his 13th goal of a strong sophomore season for last year's rookie of the year.
With all the momentum going the other way, Toronto FC replaced Ricketts with Jozy Altidore. Shortly after coming on the American almost regained Toronto's lead. Nick Hagglund's cross found the striker in the middle of the box, but Bendik made an incredible save to keep the match tied.
With time running out, however, Altidore got another chance when Giovinco played him behind the Orlando City backline. This time, Altidore made no mistake as he calmly rounded Bendik before slotting the winning goal into the back of the net. It was the fourth straight game that Altidore has scored for Toronto FC.
Heading into a 401 derby with the Montreal Impact at home on Saturday, Toronto FC sit two points ahead of New York City FC for the conference lead. They are also just two points shy of the Supporter's Sheild leading FC Dallas.