Feels good to be back, doesn’t it? Toronto FC beat Orlando City 2-1 at BMO Field to snap their two-game losing streak and pick up a vital three points.
Jay Chapman and Ryan Telfer scored for the Reds, showing off some classy finishing after struggling in that department for much of the last few games. Overall, it wasn’t the most convincing performance TFC have put in, but you have to get back on the horse somehow. They’ll have Sebastian Giovinco back next week to play FC Dallas, and they’ll hope to start stringing together a few wins.
89’ — A squirrel ran into the net. Twice. It was hilarious, and was a fantastic throwback to early TFC.
88’ Toronto FC 2-1 Orlando City — RYAN TELFER WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? Auro shows some serious skill and hustle running along the byline with the ball and he sends a cross over almost everybody in the box. Ryan Telfer, who’s so deserving of a goal tonight, finishes with an extremely professional volley that Joe Bendik can’t quite get all of. Telfer’s goal celebration is perhaps even better than the goal, as he just shrugs and points at Auro. Incredible performance from Telfer tonight.
What a way to score your first MLS goal. Ryan Telfer gives Toronto the 2-1 lead. The best part is his "act like you've been their before" thumbs up celebration. pic.twitter.com/gJEHK1cag3— Mitchell Tierney (@mitchelltierney) May 19, 2018
74’ Toronto FC 1-1 Orlando City — Very tough few minutes for Toronto FC. Just after their goal is disallowed in the south end, Cristian Higuita smashes home from the top of the box to tie the game with just under 20 minutes left to play.
72’ — Looked for a bit like Tosaint Ricketts had scored to put TFC up 2-0, but referee Allen Chapman was pretty quick to disallow it for offside. No VAR here, but it seemed pretty clear from the press box that Ricketts was a good step or two ahead of the defence. The crowd is still furious, though.
Right before #OCSC equalized, #TFC thought they had doubled their lead. But the goal from Ricketts was ruled offside, after a training ground routine from a corner. Big swing of events. #TFCLive #TORvORL #MLS pic.twitter.com/z2vEK4GXMS— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) May 19, 2018
63’ Toronto FC 1-0 Orlando City — Tosaint Ricketts gets himself a glorious chance, but hits the post on an almost open goal. Thankfully, Jay Chapman is there to finish it off, sending it along the ground past the Orlando defender and through Ricketts’s legs. That’s the kind of goal TFC have been looking for all night; they may be able to shut things down now.
1-0 from Jay Chapman, could be a huge goal for Toronto FC after Ricketts hits the woodwork. pic.twitter.com/WGXm7Up0f5— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) May 19, 2018
46’ — Toronto FC have 45 minutes to get something going. The defence has been solid, so they may only need one or two, but somebody has to score at some point. Wouldn’t be surprising to see Ager Aketxe come in for Jay Chapman.
HT — Nothing doing at halftime. TFC have had a few decent chances, but the finishing continues to be a problem. The Reds will definitely need to up the creativity in the final third. If I were placing a bet, frankly Ryan Telfer might be the guy I’d pick to score for Toronto.
37’ — Ryan Telfer has arguably been Toronto FC’s best attacking player so far today. He’s been ripping Will Johnson apart on the left flank, and he’s had quite a few good chances.
8’ — Gregory van der Wiel and Victor Vazquez show off some creativity in midfield with a couple pretty backheels.
1’ — Game on! Toronto FC attack toward the north end to start.
Lineups are posted below! Eriq Zavaleta and Chris Mavinga return to the starting eleven for Toronto FC, and Jordan Hamilton will get an opportunity up front.
Tonight, Toronto FC will look to pull back some sort of ground in the standings against Orlando City, who may well be jockeying with TFC for positioning come the fall. The 10th-placed Reds have now lost two on the trot, suffering blows at the hands of the Seattle Sounders and New England Revolution.
Unfortunately, TFC may be a little stunted in attack tonight. Jozy Altidore remains out of the lineup with injury, and Sebastian Giovinco will be serving his one-match suspension for the red card he took at the end of Saturday’s game. The latter is perhaps even more of a blow to TFC than it might normally be, because of how successful Giovinco has been against Orlando in the past (he has eight goals and six assists in seven games against the Lions).
However, TFC aren’t the only team whose attack might struggle tonight. Orlando’s first-choice striker, Dom Dwyer, apparently didn’t make the trip to Toronto due to a lower body injury. So, probably don’t expect a goalfest tonight.
This could still be a decently interesting match. TFC should be boosted by the return of Chris Mavinga, which will push Michael Bradley back into midfield. Having him back to command the transition game will have an enormous impact on their ability to move the ball quickly and get into dangerous areas.
Orlando has started the season very well (although they seem to always do that), currently sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 6-1-3 record. Without Dwyer, they still have some talented players around the midfield, including Justin Meram and Cristian Higuita, as well as a player TFC fans are all too familiar with in Sacha Kljestan.
This will be Kljestan’s first return to BMO Field since the tunnel incident at halftime of TFC’s Eastern Conference semi-final game against the New York Red Bulls in November. Unfortunately, Altidore won’t be in TFC’s lineup to greet him.
TFC are 6-1-1 all-time against Orlando City, and tonight they’ll look for a seventh win against the Lions.
Team news: injuries & suspensions
Toronto FC: Jozy Altidore, Drew Moor, Nicolas Hasler, and Justin Morrow are the ones we know for sure will miss out due to injury. Eriq Zavaleta and Nick Hagglund have been working their way back in training this week, but both would probably still be considered questionable. Sebastian Giovinco is, of course, suspended.
Orlando City SC: Defenders Jonathan Spector and Scott Sutter will likely miss tonight’s match, as will forward Dom Dwyer. Midfielder Yoshi Yotun is suspended due to yellow card accumulation and will also be out of the lineup.
Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against Orlando City (Benedict Rhodes)
Did Sebastian Giovinco actually deserve a red card? (Ben Fenech)
Footy Talks Podcast: At what point do we panic? (Mitchell Tierney)
How to watch
Match date/time: Friday, May 18, 8 p.m.
TV channel: TSN 1, 3, 4 & 5 (Canada), WRDQ TV 27 (Orlando)
Live stream: ESPN+, TSN GO
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto)