Toronto FC 0, Orlando City SC 0 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
One club was looking for three points to solidify its place atop the Eastern Conference. The other was looking for three points to close in on a playoff spot.
They each settled for one.
Toronto FC and Orlando City SC battled to a goalless draw at BMO Field on Wednesday night in an intense Eastern Conference affair that saw both sides create plenty of chances. The game ended with a combined 23 shots, 15 in favor of Toronto and eight from Orlando, but neither team was able to find the final ounce of quality that would have broken the deadlock.
Toronto FC finished the game on even terms despite going down a man with 20 minutes to play. Tosaint Ricketts was sent off with a second yellow card for a high kick, which gave Orlando City an advantage that they did not capitalize on.
The draw moved Eastern Conference leaders Toronto to 49 points, one ahead of the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC, with three matches remaining in the regular season. Orlando remained in eighth place, but are now five points back of the red line after D.C. United defeated Columbus Crew SC, 3-0, earlier on Wednesday night.
- DP BATTLE IN MIDFIELD: Orlando City playmaker Kaká and Toronto FC anchor Michael Bradley had plenty of duels in this one, and it was Bradley that came out on top more often than not. The US national team captain helped keep Kaká contained for much of the 90 minutes, as the Brazilian rarely found success down the center of the park. With freedom to roam, Kaká moved around a lot to keep himself active and involved. He could not, however, do much when having to go at Bradley.
- FORMATION CHANGES: Orlando head coach Jason Kreis went with a diamond midfield setup to start, but didn't like what he saw the first half and replaced the new-look formation with the 4-2-3-1 system that his team is more comfortable playing in. To do this, Kreis replaced Carlos Rivas with Cristian Higuita in the 40th minute. The tactical adjustment saw the Lions become much more compact defensively, but it came at the expense of an attacking player who was finding space out wide and using his speed to keep Toronto defenders honest.
- CLAMPING DOWN: Toronto FC's man disadvantage after losing Tosaint Ricketts in the 70th minute was evident in that Orlando City won more possession and moved their players higher up the field, but the hosts impressively held firm defensively to close the game out and earn a point. Toronto did so by getting numbers behind the ball and staying tight in their own half, which left Orlando with little room to operate as they searched desperately for a winner that never came.