KISSIMMEE, Fla. - After not allowing a goal in the first half, Orlando City Soccer Club fell to Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Toronto FC 3-0 Wednesday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Despite battling unfavorable rainy conditions, the Lions learned a lot in a humbling loss to the MLS side.
“I was really pleased with our first half performance but was disappointed with our second half play,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I was disappointed in the final score but can’t say I was in their effort.”
The Lions began the first half with a balanced attack, countering every Toronto offensive with one of their own. The wet conditions made for an interesting first 45, with players having to consider the consistent downpour in their touches. Orlando held a majority of possession through the first half, impressing the MLS side with multiple attacks and possession-oriented style of soccer.
One of those attacks nearly connected for City, with a through ball from new signee Bryan Burke to Jamie Watson in the 19th minute going just wide of the left post and out of play. Even though the chances continued to pile on for Orlando, the Lions were unable to connect. A Daley free kick was caught by the Toronto keeper while a fantastic header by Long Tan was called offside, as the two sides went into half tied at 0-0.
The second half got off to a rough start for Orlando, with a miscommunication on the backline resulting in the first score of the match. In the 53rd minute, Forward Taylor Morgan slotted home a goal as he caught Orlando Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo out of position.
The unfortunate breaks kept coming, with a handball in the 72nd minute called on the Lions after a bad bounce hit Defender Kieron Bernard in the forearm. Following suit, Toronto’s Terry Dunfield converted the penalty kick, giving the Reds the 2-0 lead. A brief scuffle ensued following the score, putting Orlando down a man after Midfielder Adama Mbengue was shown red. Toronto scored one more time after Midfielder Jonathan Osorio skipped a low-roller past the Lions defense in the 87th minute, giving them the 3-0 lead and victory.
The Lions conclude group play on Saturday, February 16, against the Columbus Crew. The Crew currently stand atop of Group A with a record of 2-0-0, outscoring their opponents 5-0 so far in the PSC. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. For ticket information, click here.