Toronto FC 4, Orlando City SC 1 | MLS Match Recap
TORONTO – With home form crucial to their playoff aspirations, Toronto FC were led by a Sebastian Giovinco hat trick to get their first win in three matches on Wednesday night, beating Orlando City 4-1 at BMO Field to collect a vital three points.
Separated before kickoff by a single point in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference, both sides were without their talisman: Orlando's Kaka was a late scratch, not travelling with the club, while Michael Bradley had yet to overcome his calf injury and Jozy Altidore serving a one-match suspension for his red card in New England.
Following an early chance that saw red-hot Cyle Larin, playing in his hometown, denied twice in quick succession, Toronto took the lead in the 12th minute courtesy of a Giovinco penalty kick, beating Tally Hall with a low right-footer from the spot after Aurelien Collin was adjudged to have felled the Italian as he cut into the area.
Jonathan Osorio began the play deep in his own half, forcing a turnover out of Tyler Turner before playing up to Marky Delgado. Delgado slipped a ball down the flank for Giovinco to threaten and Collin dove in rashly, conceding Orlando's fourth penalty of the season.
The lead was short-lived however, Orlando City responding within six minutes through Luke Boden.
Cristian Higuita played a ball across the top of the box from the right, finding Boden in space from where he shaped a well-placed, left-footer towards the top left-corner. Joe Bendik reacted, getting his fingertips to the shot, but could not prevent the ball from crossing the line.
That score would hold to the half-time whistle, and stand until the 56th minute, when Giovinco scored his second of the night with a lovely, right-footed free-kick from dead-center that sailed over the Orlando wall and kissed in off the left post, rooting Hall helplessly to his spot and reinstating the host's lead.
With Orlando hoping to equalize once more, having inserted fresh legs into the affair, Toronto would put the match out of reach in the 81st minute when Collen Warner got on the end of a short-corner routine that seemed to go awry. Cheyrou played a short corner to Osorio near the end-line, and Osorio flung a cross through the goalmouth, where it was met by Warner at the back-post for an awkward header that got past Hall.
And Giovinco sealed the result in the 88th minute, shading to the left and breaking the offside trap to get on the end of a long Benoit Cheyrou pass, stabbing another across Hall for his third of the night – his second hat-trick of the season, bringing his current tally to 16 goals.
The two will meet once more this season, with another match in Toronto later this month, but first they return to action this weekend with home matches on Saturday, August 8: Toronto face Sporting KC, while Orlando meet Philadelphia.