Orlando City SC 0, Toronto FC 2 | MLS Match Recap
ORLANDO, Fla. – Jozy Altidore pulled Toronto FC out of their four-game slump and piled on the home misery for Orlando City SC, as his clinical finishing on two separate occasions was enough to separate the win-starved teams.
Altidore’s 50th-minute opener, stemming from a quickly-taken free-kick, saw the big striker run at the heart of the Lions defense, brush past Sebastian Hines and fire in a low shot that went off the fingertips of goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and bounced in off the far post.
His second came as Orlando were caught cold chasing the game seven minutes from time, with Altidore bundling the ball in from eight yards after bringing down Benoit Cheyrou’s long pass.
It was enough to end Toronto’s run of four straight defeats on their seven-game road marathon to start the season, while the result extended Orlando's barren run at home to four games to start their first MLS campaign.
Orlando coach Adrian Heath threw on attacking subs Carlos Rivas, Bryan Rochez and Danny Mwanga in a bid to salvage something in front of another capacity crowd at the Cirtus Bowl, but the final effort was largely disjointed while their earlier possession-dominant spell failed to provide any real threat against a patient defensive Reds front.
Heath also pulled a minor surprise by opting for veteran Eric Avila in midfield instead of Colombian Cristian Higuita, while young US prospect Tyler Turner made his expected appearance at right back instead of the suspended Rafael Ramos.
Greg Vanney opted for two changes from the lineup that lost 3-2 at FC Dallas, leaving out midfield duo Collen Warner and Jonathan Osorio while recalling French midfielder Benoit Cheyrou and former US national team striker Robbie Findlay, albeit with Findlay pushed more into midfield duty.
Toronto’s big-name attack was forced to live off scraps for much of the first half, holding barely 40% of the possession as the home team pressed without much penetration, their patient, probing game repeatedly falling short in the final third.
Chances were sporadic, with the best arriving as early as the second minute from a Reds corner that was only half-cleared for Jackson to fire a first-time volley towards the top right corner, with Ricketts flying across to acrobatically parry it aside.
Avila had two sights of goal but failed to seriously trouble Bendik either time while Altidore carried what little threat the visitors managed, heading one cross too high and then seeing another promising opening blocked for a corner by Hines.
Sebastian Giovinco almost made it 2-0 nine minutes from the end but his side-footed shot was blocked by Ricketts and bounced past outside of the post, but that just left Altidore to apply the coup de grace moments later.
Rochez might have salvaged a grain of consolation for the Lions at the death but his powerful shot from the angle of the six-yard box was never on target, and epitomized Orlando’s lack of real attacking menace.
Orlando will have a week off from league action to reorganize and reflect before they try once more for that elusive first home win when New England visit on May 8, while Toronto wrap up their long road tour next Saturday at Philadelphia.