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Orlando City hand Toronto FC Third Straight Home Draw

Toronto failed to take advantage of its "game in hand" over the rest of the Eastern Conference, and is now just marginally ahead of the pack.

Luke Galati
For the third straight match, Toronto FC was only able to collect a single point at BMO Field. Tonight it was a scoreless 0-0 draw against Orlando City SC, one that saw Toronto with ten men for the final 20 minutes of the match.

Alex Bono and Joe Bendik traded clean sheets, although neither had to make very many particularly difficult saves over the 90 minutes.

After getting off to slow starts in both of their past two matches, Toronto FC had far more energy out of the gate tonight. Of particular importance to this was Tosaint Ricketts, who was all over the field in the first 15 minutes of the match creating chances.

Toronto's other change to the starting lineup from the past few matches was to introduce Armando Cooper into the midfield. The Panamanian international, in his first ever start with Toronto FC, impressed. His build up play in the midfield helped open the Orlando backline on a few occasions.

The club, however, was not able to finish any of the first half chances they created. Justin Morrow and Ricketts both had golden opportunities, but the former put his wide while the latter had his smothered by Bendik in the Orlando goal. They went into the halftime break tied 0-0 despite dominating the majority of the first half.

Toronto continued to create, and subsequently squander, chances early in the second half. Jozy Altidore played in Jonathan Osorio with a chip cross, but the Canadian headed the ball over the bar from close range.

After that, the match stagnated, with neither club able to find any sort of consistent rhythm on the ball. The visitors seemed content to sit back and collect what would be a fairly big point for them as they look to qualify for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

The visitors were given a big boost in the 70th minute when Tosaint Ricketts was given a second yellow card. The controversial card was given to him because the referee believed he made contact with the head of Orlando defender Jose Aja on an overhead kick attempt. Further replay appeared to show that this was not the case.

Orlando immediately pressed their advantage immediately. Forcing Toronto to defend in a match in which they were trying to be the aggressor. OCSC had some decent scoring opportunities in that period, but Bono was able to stand tall in the Toronto FC goal and smother anything that came within his reach.

Toronto had at least one late chance, but down a man were unable to get anything substantial on the Orlando City goal.

The draw takes away any dreams Toronto FC had of winning their first ever supporters shield. For the timing being it puts them back into the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but only one point ahead of the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC with no games in hand.