FT - A big win for Toronto FC to kick off five games in 15 days. Next up is Atlanta on Wednesday.
89’ - Westberg! He may well have won the starters job today with an incredible performance. Bono will definitely get another look given the fixture congestion on this stretch, but today has been easily the best goalkeeper performance of the year for TFC.
78’ 2-0 TORONTO - A bit of class from Jay Chapman who takes down a ball well and proceeds to put the ball through Brian Rowe’s legs to give Toronto a 2-0 lead. Yet another effective substitute performance from Chapman.
68’ GOAL TORONTO - What an effort from Jonathan Osorio was slaloms his way through multiple orlando defenders before finding the back of the net. Third goal of the season for Osorio.
61’- Best spell of the game for Toronto FC. Chapman has come on for DeLeon and made an instant impact. Mavinga robbed by Rowe on what would have been his first MLS goal.
56’ - Toronto FC start this half on a calmer note. However, they still don’t have much doing forward. Hamilton doing what he can up top but not getting great service.
Half-time: Toronto FC will be happy to get to half-time with the score even. After a slow start, Orlando certainly had the better of the chances and attacking possession in the opening half. Alejandro Pozuelo has been the lone attacking threat for Toronto FC, which is not really surprising. Toronto will have to tighten up down the wings in the second half.
41’- Orlando have definitely been scouting Toronto FC’s struggles out wide, they have been looking to exploit the wings with every attack.
37’ - It has been all Orlando as of late as they have been attacking TFC in waves. Chris Mavinga has made a few vital interventions to keep Toronto level, but Toronto needs to take care of the ball far better.
30’ - Westberg with his first truly massive stop for Orlando to keep it 0-0 on ex-Toronto FC player Will Johnson. The first real chance of the game. Orlando looking to be growing into things right now.
19’ - Toronto FC’s first chance as Auro finds Jonathan Osorio in the box. Nice play from both of them but not enough to really trouble Brian Rowe.
8’ - Good start for Toronto FC who are moving the ball well and look up for this match. Still nothing in the way of chances but they look solid enough.
Bench: Bono, Laryea, Zavaleta, Morgan, Chapman, Fraser, Akinola
Bench: Ranjitsingh, Miller, Coleman, Higuita, Mueller, Kljestan, Smith
And so begins May madness for Toronto FC. Over a 15 day stretch, Toronto FC will play five games, starting today against Orlando City SC in Orlando.
They round out that stretch with games against Atlanta United, Philadelphia, D.C. United and Real Salt Lake. Considering that stretch includes home dates against the current top two sides in the Eastern Conference, starting it well is incredibly important.
Orlando City have been pretty much the definition of mediocrity this season with a 3-3-3 record and a middling 13 goals scored and 14 conceded. They currently sit sixth in the conference, one point behind Toronto with two more games played.
There, are, however, some familiar faces wearing purple this year. Issey Nakaj.... wait sorry wrong purple team. Orlando’s big signing this offseason is a 32-year-old Nani, he of Manchester United and Portugal fame.
Much like Toronto’s own Alejandro Pozuelo, Nani has hit the ground running in MLS with 5 goals and 4 assists in nine appearances. All five of those goals have come in his last four games. Canadian international Tesho Akindele also joined Orlando this summer from FC Dallas and has played quite well, perhaps getting himself back into the national team conversation.
For Toronto FC, there are two sizeable questions going into this match. The first is what they do up front after Jordan Hamilton struggled as a lone striker against the Portland Timbers. Do they try someone else in that spot, or do they give Hamilton some help in the form of Ayo Akinola or Terrence Boyd?
The other is between the sticks. Does Greg Vanney elect to start Quentin Westberg, who has been solid enough, but has yet to pick up a win, or Alex Bono who has continued his struggles this season? Either way, both will likely get plenty of opportunity during this heavy stretch of games.
One other interesting note — should Greg Vanney give a start to Richie Laryea? The former Orlando City SC midfielder has looked pretty good as a fullback this season and with the number of times TFC have been haunted by former players, they might as well try to give Orlando a taste of that medicine.
Toronto FC will once again will be without Jozy Altidore and Drew Moor for a various hamstring related reasons. This stretch as a whole, though, is likely to see plenty of squad rotation and maybe a first look at some players we haven’t seen much yet this year.
Because Charlie always posts a song at the end of his previews I have decided to do so as well. Here is a live performance of Old Town Road because I know for a fact it will tick off Charlie but he left for Europe and now I have to do this game thread. (I am in charge while Charlie is gone and 100% approve of this choice of song. — Benedict Rhodes)
Team news: injuries & suspensions
Toronto FC: Jozy Altidore (hamstring) could be back next week, Drew Moor (calf issue) is unlikely.
Orlando City: Both Alex De John and Carlos Ascues are questionable with hamstring injuries.
How to watch
Orlando City SC vs. Toronto FC
Match date/time: Saturday, May 4, 4 p.m.
TV channel: TSN4, Youtube TV (Orlando Region)
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto)