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FT: Toronto FC 2-3 Orlando City SC—Game thread, preview, and how to watch

The Reds look to snap a two-game winless streak and look to even up the season series.

MLS: Toronto FC at New York Red Bulls Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Match Thread

FT—Things get heated late, but it’s Orlando who come away with the victory. See you on Wednesday.

90’+2—Dom Dwyer misses a glorious chance to tie this match, awkwardly attacking another Pozuelo cross in the six yard box. He was alone.

84’—GOAL! Orlando City 3-2 Toronto FC—A terrible giveaway from Auro Jr. and another weak goal from Quentin Westberg. Ooof.

77’—CHANCE! Pozuelo curls one off the post with his weak foot. TFC were that close to taking the lead — again.

72’—Best chance of the half so far falls to Patrick Mullins, who gets across his defender and onto the end of a Pozuelo cross, but he can’t keep his effort down. Still 2-2.

70’—Jacob Shaffelburg is into the game for TFC in place of Jonathan Osorio. Second half has been much different than the first so far, no real chances for either side.

65’—Patrick Mullins checks into the match for Ayo Akinola. Daryl Dike, meanwhile, enters the game for Orlando City for the first time this year.

64’—Great professional foul from Mark Delgado to prevent the counter attack. Well earned yellow card.

56’—CHANCE! A clever free kick taken by Pozuelo springs Laryea—this not a recording—who cuts it across the face of goal, but the chance is cleared off the line! It looked like that ball had eyes for the back of the net! So close.

46’—And we’re off for the second half. Let’s see if TFC can build off their momentum after clawing their way back into this match. Friendly reminder, it’s Juneteenth today.

HT—After going behind 2-0 within 8 minutes, TFC have battled back to tie the game. How are we feeling? What a half.

45’—GOA—Nevermind. Offside. Van Der Water almost gets one back for Orlando, once again beating Q through the legs, but the goal is called back. 2-2 still.

40’—GOAAAAAAAALLLLL! TORONTO FC 2-2 ORLANDO CITY SC. Jonathan Osorio finds the back of the net off a cutback from who else but Alejandro Pozuelo. TIE GAME.

28’—CHANCE! Richie Laryea finds his another opportunity in behind, but his shot from a sharp angle is stopped. He’s been all over the pitch early on and has had a great half.

11’—GOAL! Ayo Akinola gets up and heads home! 2-1. Richie Laryea was sprung through by Pozuelo, but his effort was stopped. However, Akinola was there to clean up the mess as TFC are back in this one.

9’—GOAL! Orlando scores. 2-0. Quentin Westberg tries to dribble past his man, but turns the ball over. It’s quickly crossed and Nani heads home. Couldn’t have asked for a worse start to the match from Q.

7’—Another chance, this time from Ayo Akinola, who bullies his way past his defender at the top of the box, but his effort is again blocked by Orlando. TFC pressing.

6’—CHANCE! Pozuelo weaves his way through the Orlando defence, before cutting the ball to a wide-open Richie Laryea, but his effort is blocked after taking a touch.

5’—Good response from Toronto FC after conceding early. But that early goal has certainly sucked the life out of the TFC fanbase.

1’—GOAL! Tesho Akindele opens the scoring for Orlando, getting in behind the TFC defence before sliding the ball through Quentin Westberg’s legs. Everything is fine.

1’—And we’re off. Thank you to everyone who tuned in on our pregame show! Auro starting at RB, Delgado at CM, Richie at RW ... things you absolutely love to see.

6:46 pm EST—Welcome back to another live match thread! Toronto FC are back in action for the first time since May 29 and they’re looking to get things back on track. And guess what? Quentin Westberg will be making his first start of the season tonight (!) for the Reds as Armas has elected to go to TFC’s former No. 1 keeper for the first time this year.

We’ll discuss all of this — and more — on Twitter Spaces before the game. Join us!

Starting XIs

Quentin Westberg will make his first start of the season for Toronto FC tonight.

Here’s how Orlando City line up tonight vs. TFC

Match Preview (via Aasim Hashim)

TORONTO, Canada—After a nearly three week hiatus, Toronto FC are back in action at Exploria Stadium as they ‘host’ Orlando City SC on Saturday night. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST and can be watched on TSN 1 & 4.

Much has been made of the Reds slow start under Chris Armas. But after a nearly three week break, the Reds will want to forget the past and hit reset on their season, starting on Saturday. That of course, is easier said than done, considering the hole that Reds have managed to dig themselves into by accumulating just five points through seven matches.

TFC will be getting at least one key player back for Saturday’s tilt. Alejandro Pozuelo, who had been unavailable through injury the first few weeks of the season, made his season debut against Columbus in Toronto’s last outing. It’s no secret the game changing ability that Pozuelo has, so his inclusion to the squad will be a massive boost for an offence that has scored eight goals through seven games so far.

While the club deals with the situation surrounding Jozy Altidore, striker Ayo Akinola will likely be the player to benefit most with Pozuelo’s return to the starting lineup and will surely be looking to add to his tally after opening his season account against Columbus on May 29.

While Pozuelo’s return will be a big boost, Reds faithful will continue to have to wait to see Pozuelo and newly acquired Yeferson Soteldo on the pitch. Soteldo was unavailable for the club’s last match against Columbus and has been ruled out for four to six weeks with a hamstring injury. Like with Pozuelo, the club will continue to take a cautious approach with the Venezulan’s return, and according to Armas on Friday, Soteldo is still a couple weeks away.

Toronto’s opponents come into Saturday night’s match up looking to bounce back from their last outing. Orlando got their season underway by picking up points in six straight matches and conceding just two goals. Heading into the international break, the Lions saw that run come to an end after suffering a 2-1 defeat to the New York Red Bulls in their last outing.

The Reds have already seen Orlando once this season already. Orlando picked up all three points during their last encounter under a month ago, through an early goal by Canadian striker Tesho Akindele. The 1-0 win last month marked the Lions third ever victory over the Reds and the first time that Orlando picked up all three points in this matchup since 2018.

While Orlando is in a similar boat to the Reds in terms of goal scoring having scored the same number of goals as TFC through seven matches, they have relied on stellar defence up until now, as the Lions are getting some more help up front. Orlando will welcome back two of its stars back into the starting lineup who weren’t available when these clubs met last month. Club captain Nani, and U.S. international Daryl Dike will both be available for Saturday’s re-match.

The Portuguese international, Nani, has a club leading three goals five matches but has missed out on his club’s last two matches through suspension. While Dike returns to the club full of confidence following a successful loan spell at English club Barnsley where he scored nine times in 21 matches with the Championship side. Even with Alexandre Pato still unavailable through injury there are plenty of weapons that OCSC head coach Oscar Parjea can call upon and that TFC will have pay special attention too.

Orlando’s defensive ability has been a big part of the success that sees the club sit in third place in the Eastern Conference. The Lions have conceded just four goals through seven games which has included a league leading four clean sheets for OCSC goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

As the Reds will have experienced first-hand, Orlando can be a tough group to break down. Ensuring that the Reds don’t go down early as they did in their first matchup of the season will be key if Armas’ side are to pick up all three points on Saturday.

General Manager Ali Curtis and skipper Michael Bradley backed up their head coach heading into Saturday night’s match and reiterated the growing pains that come with having a new head coach. While growing pains may be part of the process, Chris Armas and his squad are going to have to start picking up wins in a hurry if they plan on playing meaningful matches late into this summer and the fall, starting with Saturday’s tilt against Orlando.

How to watch

Opponent: Orlando City SC
Time: 7:30 PM EST
Watch: TSN 1 & 4