Orlando- Over 22 thousand in attendance this past Saturday afternoon as the Lions took the field against Toronto FC. The last time these two teams went head to head was on July 14th, 2018 when the Lions won 2-1 and the brand-new Head coach, James O’Connor, logged in his first 3 points for the 2018 season.
This time around the Lions faced their first shut out game of the season, losing to the Reds on their home field 2-0. Orlando kept a good pace in the first-half going into the locker room 11-2 on shots taken against the Reds an also produced 8 corner kicks compared to Toronto’s one in the first half but was unable to capitalize on their targets.
After the half, the Lions were unrecognizable with their lack of energy and competitiveness that they had displayed in the first forty-five minutes of the match.
Head Coach James O’Connor had this to say in his opening statement in post conference about the match. “When we look at the second half it wasn’t what we were anticipating. I think there was a lack of quality and decision making in keeping the ball, areas where to keep the ball. Giving it away really cheaply…maybe it was a lack of energy. At times we just made it way to easy, way to open.” James went on to say that the exposure to the sun may have played a part in his team’s desire to push through.
As for Toronto, they did a good job clogging up the middle of the pitch causing the Lions to move the ball across the field giving the Red’s defense more opportunity to regain control of the ball. The Reds were a much better team coming out the half and had a few close attempts on target before finally breaking down the door in the 65th minute.
Lions Goal Keeper and Audi’s player of the match, Brain Rowe, had his work cut-out for him with 7 miraculous saves in his 90mins played. Orlando City came out of the locker-room after the half lethargic and displayed less energy than the first half and Toronto took full advantage scoring their first goal in the 65th minute and a second in the 77th. Defensively the Lions were caught on their heels as Toronto’s midfielder Jonathan Osorio dribbled his way to the box pass two defenders and hammered the ball into the back corner of the net scoring the first goal of the match.
The Lions continued to struggle and played with a lack of energy an urgency on all parts of the field. Toronto’s substitute Jay Chapman scored a lucky goal that bounced in between the legs Rowe in the 77th minute and shut out the match from the Lions.
Orlando Citys’ defender, Lamine Sane, stated the importance of winning games at home. “We have to win at home it’s the most important thing especially for the play-offs. It starts at home, win all the games and never lose a point like that.”
ORLADO: On the road for the next two games in Atlanta, Sunday 5/12 @ 2:30, following Seattle Wednesday the 15th
Toronto: Continues on the road facing Atlanta United on Wednesday 5/8