Toronto FC Match Preview
The Lions stay on the road this week and above the border as they take on Toronto FC at BMO Field. Orlando City has 0 clue what type of team they want to be this season, and as a fan, it’s excruciating. We watched them suffer a 4-1 loss at the hands of Montreal, and then play a midweek match against top of the conference Union for the U.S. Open Cup and walk away with a 2-1 win. Is it a “playing to the level of their competition” kinda thing? Are they simply an inconsistent bunch? It’s tough to really know for certain. The Lions have shown flashes this season of the team they can be, but you’re only as strong as you are consistent, and they have not been up to par in that aspect. Let’s even things out in Canada and get a win this Saturday.
Orlando City Stats
5-4-2, Top Goal Scorer: Moutinho/Urso/Kara/Pato/Torres Top Assister: Pereyra, WLWLW Toronto FC Stats
3-6-2, Top Goal Scorer: Jiminez, Top Assister: Osorio, Pozuelo, LLLLW
1. Get the Ball on Goal, Often
One of the biggest criticisms I’ve had on the Lions so far this year is their lack of composure and finishing in the final third. The games where they have been clinical with their chances are the games where they have walked away with points. Against the Union, one of the best teams in the whole league, they converted 40% of their shots on goal. Toronto has already conceded 22 goals on the season - they will give Orlando their offensive opportunities. It all comes down to us being clinical. This could be a fantastic game for Pato to thrive, as well as Pereyra picking out through balls and quick passes inside. If the wings get working as well, it could be an offensive showcase, but that’s only if we have our heads on straight.
2. Key Players Need to Come Through
Junior Urso had a fantastic game against the Union on Wednesday, arguably being the best player on the pitch. The rest of the big names, along with Torres, Pato, and Pereyra, will have to turn up on Saturday as well as turning up in the midweek. Balancing U.S. Open Cup and the regular season is a difficult task without amazing bench depth, which is something Orlando City lacks in my opinion. Not too many central midfielders can do what Urso does, the starting unit are the only attackers who can convert, and we’ve already seen the difference in defense without Carlos. That being said, it’s important our best players are rested and ready for Saturday despite the quick turnaround.
3. Controlling the Weapons Toronto Does Have
Schlegel and Jansson will be back as a center back pairing on Saturday, as well as Moutinho and Ruan back in as the fullbacks. It was good for the fullbacks to get deserved rest on Wednesday, and now Jansson can replace Thomas Williams who has been playing in Jansson’s yellow card absence. He’s got potential, but he’s not ready. That back line and the defensive midfield will have a job to do against Jimenez. Like I mentioned, he has 7 goals on the year out of 16 total. His conversion rate is out of this world, scoring 7 on 10 SOG. Containing him, along with former-USMNT regular Michael Bradley will be the deciding factor.
A Look at Toronto FC
~ Coach Bradley is big on possession of the ball and dictating pace of play, not as much about pressing high up the field to win the ball
~ Orlando could have patience in their build up if this is the case
~ Jimenez dangerous up top, already scored 7 goals on the year with just 10 shots on target
~ one of the worst defensive records in the Eastern Conference, only one returning regular defender, lack of chemistry across the pitch
Orlando will win this game, 3-1. Jimenez will score again just cause he likes to bag goals for fun. Our quality up top will be too much for Toronto to handle and I’m hoping we are as clinical as we should have been already in previous matches. Toronto is at the bottom of the conference for a reason, let’s keep them there. Vamos!