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Sebastian Giovinco fires Toronto FC to narrow win over Orlando City

The Lions roared back into the game after half-time but some Alex Bono heroics ensured the Reds held on.

Tagwa Moyo / Waking the Red

Toronto FC made it three wins on the bounce courtesy of a Sebastian Giovinco double that was enough to see off MLS leaders Orlando City.

The Reds were in complete control in the first half thanks to the Italian’s double before Kaka grabbed a goal on the stroke of half-time to change the outlook going into the break.

Orlando were a much-improved team in the second half, and Cyle Larin was denied what looked like a certain equalizer by an astonishing Alex Bono save.

Toronto’s 2-1 lead, however, held up to ensure they leave BMO Field having taken nine points out of nine. Giovinco finished superbly from 18 yards to open the scoring in the ninth minute before converting a smart pass from Victor Vazquez in the box.

1. Comfortable first, uncomfortable second: I’ll take an easy TFC win every day of the week, but the first half was actually kind of boring as a result of the home side’s dominance. Orlando offered little until Kaka’s goal, with Toronto troubling them out wide in the spaces the Lions’ diamond midfield afforded them.

With all the interesting storylines coming into this match - Will Johnson’s return (he sat out with illness), Larin in Toronto and the meeting of MLS’ form team with one of its most-fancied sides - it was almost a little underwhelming as a spectacle. That changed after the break, though, with Orlando giving a more appropriate demonstration of what they are about and Toronto, in the end, fortunate to cling on to three points.

2. Bono makes a statement: With Clint Irwin on the verge of making his return from injury, Bono picked a fine time to submit his Save of the Year contender.

Larin will be criticized for looking a little too relaxed as he prepared to tap the ball into the empty net, but to everyone in the stadium a second Orlando goal looked a formality. Bono’s stop was a perfect encapsulation of the athleticism and intensity that have so many so high on his potential as a young player; it was the kind of game-changing moment that only the minority can produce.

The first save on Larin’s initial shot wasn’t bad, either.

3. Playing away is hard: Toronto have faced three teams during this home stand that have come to BMO Field feeling very confident on the back of strong starts to the season. They had all been relatively untested away from home until their visits to Toronto, however, and left humbled.

The Reds can be very pleased with a trio of good results against teams stronger than most expected them to be, but there should also be a lesson in there ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Seattle Sounders. Whoever you are, wherever you’re playing, draws on the road in this league are usually perfectly respectable results.