As expected, considering the quick turnaround from Saturday and Mark Pais' recall to the first team, there were massive changes to the starting eleven. Mitch Taintor, Angelo Cavalluzzo, Ricardo John, Shaan Hundal, Jordan McCrary, and Malik Johnson all made their first starts of the season.
Through three matches, the only player to start in each was midfielder Brian James, though with Taintor's return, James passed on the responsibilities of the captain's armband to the defender.
Given the lack of familiarity that has been an impediment at this early stage of the season, there were a few nervy moments in the opening passages.
Richie Layrea tested Cavalluzzo early from range with a blast after some neat interplay with Hadji Barry that created space for the effort on the left. Cavalluzzo was equal to it, pushing it over the bar, but the ensuing corner kick saw more pressure, the TFC II keeper lucky to collect a blocked shot with the net gaping, having come out for the delivery and missed.
Taintor was twice called on in the 11th minute to make key defensive plays, desperately getting a touch as he slipped to prevent an Orlando attacker from getting in clear on goal and then stretching out to get a header on another cross, cutting out yet another threat from wide.
Toronto would craft a chance of their own in the 17th minute when Hundal found Ryan Telfer, playing in the left wing-back position on this night, in the area. Telfer cut in onto his right-foot, but saw his shot blocked by a sliding Paul Clowes.
Orlando would open the scoring a minute later in peculiar circumstances. A right-sided corner kick sailed well-beyond the back-post, where it was put back into the middle by Zach Carroll. Cavalluzzo got his hands to it, near-simultaneously, as Clowes' head made contact, spinning the TFC II keeper and resulting in the ball trickling into the back of the net.
Such incidents have been whistled as fouls before and the USL dubious goals committee, should such a thing exist, could be reviewing for an own-goal, but Clowes would be credited in the interim; though jokes aplenty about 'own goal' scoring both of OCB's tallies this season were flung about.
Undeterred, Toronto nearly pulled themselves level in the 23rd minute when James slid in a ball for John, who was clear on goal, but Orlando keeper, Earl Edwards Jr., was quick off his line to snuff out the danger.
TFC II enjoyed their best spell of pressure through the next ten minutes, James sending a drive over the bar after Liam Fraser picked out Telfer with a cross-field ball. The initial cross was cleared, but fell kindly for James' attempt.
Johnson, in a moment of pure class, spun away from a series of defenders, before slipping a ball deep in the area for Hundal. The 17-year old striker turned away from his mark to deliver a low ball through the goal-mouth. Unfortunately, it was just beyond the reach of the arriving John.
The brightest spark on the night, Johnson would find the equalizer on the half-hour mark when a ball from James into the arc bobbled off the feet of a few defenders, before falling for the midfielder. He placed a nicely-shaped right-footed bender into the bottom right-corner of the goal from outside the box, past a stranded Orlando keeper.
Toronto looked to use the swing of momentum in their favour, John turning wide left and burning away from a defender won a dangerous free-kick atop the Orlando box, but James' attempt sailed on him, having cleared the wall on the up, but not dipping as required.
But the tide turned as half-time approached, OCB's Barry proving a handful in the area. His dangerous movement lead to some scrambled, emergency defending from TFC, that required a massive block and clearance from Fraser at the edge of the six-yard box.
Come the 41st minute, Barry would not be denied. Laryea surged up the middle before dishing wide left to Pierre Da Silva. His ball through the corridor of uncertainty took a slight touch off Taintor, but continued on to Barry arriving at the back-side for a simple tap-in, retaking the lead for Orlando before half-time.
John attempted to equalize before the whistle in spectacular fashion, with an audacious bicycle kick from the top of the box in the final minute of play, but his effort was handled easily by Edwards in goal.
Brandon Aubrey replaced Taintor at half-time and TFC II had a few minor chances, but it was Orlando who got the crucial next goal in the 51st minute.
Laryea and Da Silva once more combined down the flank, setting up a simple pull-back for Lewis Neal, who finished high into the roof of the net with a left-footer from the edge of the six, padding Orlando's lead to 3-1.
From there, the match got a little chippy: an incredulous Laryea and Brandon Onkony both saw yellow, before an incident in the 68th minute changed the complexion of the night.
Da Silva went in hard on McCrary, who appeared to lash out in response, leading to a minor scuffle. The referee, upon conversing with his linesman, showed a red card to the Orlando midfielder, while McCrary was quickly substituted for Tsubasa Endoh.
With a man advantage, TFC II pressed for a route back into the match. Fraser played a curling ball into the back-post area for Sergio Camargo, who replaced James in the 64th minute. Camargo readied for the volley, only for the Orlando keeper to intercept alertly with a needed touch.
Endoh, who was on the ball regularly in the remaining twenty minutes, whipped a cross to the same spot for John. His cushioned header into the middle fell for Hundal, but his striker partner could not turn to get off a shot.
Orlando would see out the remainder of the match, with the customary bit of time-wasting and cramp-milking, earning themselves a 3-1 win on the night. Their first of the season and Toronto's second loss in a row on a difficult Florida road-trip that saw them outscored 7-1 throughout.
An archive of the match is available for those who missed the live action.
TFC II return home for another match in short order as they welcome the Rochester Rhinos to the Ontario Soccer Centre on Friday night – their home opener. Fans are highly encouraged to head up, though the current weather forecast is anything but positive.
OCB – Clowes 18’
TFC II – Malik Johnson 30’
OCB – Barry 41’ (Da Silva)
OCB – Neal 51’ (Da Silva)
OCB – Clowes 16’(caution)
OCB – Carroll 37’ (caution)
OCB – Laryea 55’ (caution)
TFC II – Brandon Onkony 57’ (caution)
OCB – Da Silva 68’ (ejection)
Toronto FC II (W-D-L): 1-0-2 3pts.
Orlando City B (W-D-L): 1-0-2 3pts.
Toronto FC II – Angelo Cavalluzzo; Oyvind Alseth, Mitchell Taintor © (Brandon Aubrey 45’), Brandon Onkony; Malik Johnson, Brian James (Sergio Camargo 64’), Liam Fraser, Ryan Telfer, Jordan McCrary (Tsubasa Endoh 69’); Shaan Hundal, Ricardo John
Substitutes Not Used: Brogan Engbers, Anthony Osorio, Luca Uccello, Ben Spencer
Orlando City B – Earl Edwards Jr., Alston, Pagliari Giro, Carroll, Léo Pereira; Clowes (Kraft 64’), Martz, Laryea (Deakin 71’), Neal ©, Da Silva; Barry (Dikwa Albert 79’)
Substitutes Not Used: Fenlason, Donovan, Ellis-Hayden, Gallardo
|Toronto FC II||Orlando City B|
|Toronto FC II||Orlando City B|
|Shots – 9||Shots – 10|
|Shots on Target – 3||Shots on Target – 5|
|Blocked Shots – 2||Blocked Shots – 3|
|Possession – 55.5 %||Possession – 44.5 %|