TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC were their own worst enemy on Saturday night, as the Reds fell to Orlando City SC in MLS regular season action for the second time in less than a month.
Toronto FC got off to a horrific start to this match. Not even a minute into the game, Canadian international Tesho Akindele, who opened the scoring against Toronto FC last time these two teams met in May, once again found space far too easily in behind before slotting home through the legs of Quentin Westberg.
To say that wasn’t the start that TFC were looking for would be a massive understatement.
10 minutes in, here are the goals so far in this match.— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) June 19, 2021
Tesho Akindele opens the scoringpic.twitter.com/f9oUXRaYwl
And just a few minutes later, things went from bad to worse for Westberg, who was making his first start of the year for TFC.
The former TFC No. 1 tried to dribble his way past an Orlando press, coughing up possession before the ball was eventually headed home by Nani to make it 2-0 just eight minutes into this game.
2-0 Orlando, after a Westberg errorpic.twitter.com/6smwzFGMHT— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) June 19, 2021
The Reds, who had earned just five points from their first seven matches, would respond quickly though.
In the 10th minute, reigning MVP Alejandro Pozuelo, making his first start of the year for the club, would cleverly release Richie Laryea in behind, but the Canadian international’s shot was saved.
Luckily for Laryea and TFC, Ayo Akinola would be there to emphatically head home the rebound—his second goal in as many matches—and bring this game back to within one.
TFC quickly answer. Great pass from Pozuelo— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) June 19, 2021
And before the half, Toronto FC would show an incredible amount of heart to pull even.
A sublime passing play from the Reds eventually led to their magician, Pozuelo, pulling the final string, cutting the ball back to Jonathan Osorio who made no mistake. The goal was Osorio’s third in five matches in all competitions this season after missing the majority of the year due to injury.
Jonathan Osorio with the finish, but that passing pic.twitter.com/kvytYiY8LS— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) June 20, 2021
The second half was a completely different story. While in the opening 45, both sides had their fair share of chances, the final 45 was more of a tighter affair as fatigue began to set in the hot Orlando climate.
Despite a much slower tempo, the game was still in the balance, and it would be TFC who had the best chances in this one to take the lead, including one Laryea attempt that was cleared off the line and another from Pozuelo who struck the woodwork with a curling effort.
And although U.S. international Daryl Dike made his debut, Orlando did not really offer much to threaten TFC moving forward. However, in the 84th minute, another TFC mistake once again gifted the ‘visitors’ a goal.
Auro Jr., trying to pick out Mark Delgado with a pass through the middle, gave the ball away to Orlando in a dangerous area, as a quick give-and-go set up Junior Urso at the top of the box, who finished with a low shot past Westberg. Once again, TFC’s goalkeeper may have wanted this one back.
With little time remaining, the Reds would get one more glorious chance to equalize, as Pozuelo—who had a stellar game—whipped in an inviting cross that found Dom Dwyer in the six-yard box, but the former Orlando City striker couldn’t get his feet set and eventually scuffed his effort wide.
The two sides would get a bit chippy in the end, with Michael Bradley and Laryea vehemently upset with Nani for a questionable tackle on the TFC question, but nevertheless, it would be Orlando walking away with the victory, as the final score would finish 3-2.
With the loss, TFC drop to 1-2-5 through eight games this MLS season. They return to action on Wednesday as they face Nashville SC, the side that knocked them out of the postseason a year ago.
Laryea: "The goals on us today were on the players. That has nothing to do with Chris Armas."— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) June 20, 2021