Spineless Orlando lose in Toronto


The high’s and low’s of Orlando City Soccer’s inaugural MLS season took another turn this evening as fresh off the high of beating Columbus Crew 5-2 at the weekend, the team conspired to deliver an inept spineless display in losing 4-1 to a Toronto side missing their two star (Bradley and Altidore) players.

Orlando was missing Kaka along with several key players out due to injury and the team desperately missed their leader and his ideas as they struggled to cope with a Toronto team who were intent on closing them down quickly and not allowing them to play their free flowing football.

In the third minute of play, 20-year-old Lions rookie Cyle Larin found himself with a one-on-one opportunity after receiving Corey Ashe’s ball over the top. Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik produced an excellent diving save to prevent the Canadian from scoring and good defensive work prevented the rebound shot putting the visitors 1-0 up.

Shortly afterward, Aurelien Collin found himself out of position and as he desperately tracked back, he gave away a penalty kick when he tripped Sebastian Giovinco in the penalty box. Giovinco then put the home team ahead from the spot on 12 minutes but City responded five minutes later when strong build up play from Cristian Higuita and Darwin Ceren created space for Luke Boden to curl an excellent effort into the back of the net from the edge of the area. It was Boden’s first career MLS goal.

Toronto controlled much of the remaining minutes in the first half but they would have to wait until the 56th minute to regain the lead. A superb free kick from Giovinco that rattled off the post and into the back of the net left Tally Hall in the Orlando goal stranded. Collen Warner’s header come shot extended the lead in the 81st minute and Giovinco’s finish on a counter-attack in the 88th minute secured his hat-trick and the 4-1 victory for the home side.

Orlando City Soccer 3 West Bromwich Albion 1, Orlando Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida - 15th July 2015 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

 The loss will leave Orlando Head Coach Adrian Heath (pictured above) desperately concerned about the defensive frailties of the side as they drop down the Eastern Conference and after the game he said,

“I thought we started quite bright. Cyle had a couple of early opportunities, and I thought we started okay. But as I said to the players at halftime, I thought we were fortunate to still be in the game with the way that we played. I was disappointed with the response in the second half. We have to get better, and the players who we’re bringing in can’t come quickly enough.”

First Half:

3’ Cyle Larin opened the game with a golden opportunity to break the rookie single-season scoring record and put his team ahead 1-0. While running on to a clipped ball from Corey Ashe, Larin broke free for a one-on-one chance against Joe Bendik, but the goalkeeper made a diving save to force a corner.

12’ The Lions would get caught on the counter when Sebastian Giovinco found space on the left-hand-side, driving into Orlando’s box before being brought down by defender Aurelien Collin. The Italian playmaker slotted away the ensuing penalty, recording his 14th goal of the season.

17’ However, Orlando would respond just  five minutes later. Beginning with crafty combination play between Higuita and Ceren, the ball found its way to Boden who curled it past Bendik into the back of the net for his first career goal in MLS.

19’ Marky Delgado came close to giving the home side the lead shortly afterward, with well-struck effort that just missed the far post.

30’ With 15 minutes remaining in the half, the Lions continued to win the possession battle (55-45) as both teams remained level 1-1.

41’ Moments before the halftime whistle, Tally Hall was called upon to make a crucial save when Giovinco was slipped in behind, producing a big-time save to keep things level.

45 (+1) At the end of the first half, both teams went into the break even 1-1.

Second Half:

56’ Giovinco found the back of the net early in the second half to give Toronto the lead. After earning a dangerous free-kick in the middle of the park, just outside the Lions’ area, Giovinco fired a lethal effort that rattled off the post on its way into the goal to record his 15th goal of the season.

61’ In response, Heath made his first two changes of the night, bringing on Lewis Neal and Pedro Ribeiro for Corey Ashe and Eric Avila.

75’ In the middle of the second half, Toronto became reluctant to commit heavy numbers forward  as the Reds aimed to sit back and preserve their one-goal advantage.

81’ Matters became worse for the Lions with eight minutes remaining when Collen Warner’s mistimed header ran down his body and off his leg into the back of the net.

88’ Giovinco secured a hat-trick on a late counter-attack, cutting to his left-foot before firing into the bottom corner. The goal moved the midfielder into first place in MLS for goals scored (16), passing Columbus Crew SC’s Kei Kamara.

90 (3)’ The referee blew the final whistle, resulting in a 4-1 victory in Toronto’s favor.


Orlando City SC – GK Tally Hall, D Corey Ashe (Lewis Neal 61’), Aurelien Collin, Seb Hines, Tyler Turner, M Darwin Cerén, Cristian Higuita, Luke Boden, Servando Carrasco, Eric Avila (Pedro Ribeiro 61’), F Cyle Larin

Toronto FC – GK Joe Bendik, D Justin Morrow, Ahmed Kantari, Damien Perquis (Eriq Zavaleta 82’), Jackson Goncalves, M Benoit Cheyrou, Jonathan Osorio, Collen Warner (Daniel Lovitz 87’), Marky Delgado, F Sebastian Giovinco, Robbie Findley (Jay Chapman 71’)

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