The Lions saw an early two-goal lead slip through their fingers, but managed to strike late to get back to winning ways.
In their first match after a two-week break, a late goal from Junior Urso was all Orlando City needed to secure a 3-2 victory over Toronto FC Saturday evening at Exploria Stadium.
“The collective effort was big, it’s what leaves us proud — the performance the team had,” said Oscar Pareja following the match. “There were moments where we showed we are a big team in MLS, we made plays where we needed heart and hustle from the players where we had to show ourselves that we can overcome the problems that Toronto presented.”
Tesho Akindele opened the scoring within the first minute of the match when a ball from Mauricio Pereyra connected with the forward, who slotted the ball past Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.
The Lions doubled the scoring moments later in the eighth minute when added pressure from Silvester van der Water forced Westberg to lose the ball — van der Water then dished the ball to an open Akindele who crossed the ball to Nani who headed the ball for the 2-0 lead.
TFC eventually shifted the tempo of the match, sending several offensive waves, including one in the 10th minute when Richie Laryea managed to find the ball inside the area, firing a shot on target and Ayo Akinola heading in the round to cut Orlando’s lead to 2-1.
Goalkeeper Brandon Austin, who was making his first start of the season in place for Pedro Gallese who’s out in national team duty with Peru, made a big save in the 38th minute after stopping a shot from Laryea to deny a potential equalizer.
Toronto secured the equalizer in the 39th minute when another defense lapse from Orlando resulted into Alejandro Pozuelo finding an unmarked Jonathan Osorio to strike from close to tie the game 2-2.
Daryl Dike, in his first match available for Orlando, started on the bench on Saturday, but entered the match in the 64th minute for Akindele.
In the 56th minute, Kyle Smith made a crucial goal-line clearance save to deny a chance from Toronto.
The game winner came in the 84th minute when a high-press from the Lions forced TFC to turnover the ball, finding Junior Urso, making a give-and-go run with Chris Mueller, before striking completely unmarked to score the go-ahead goal for Orlando.
The Lions (4-1-3, 15 points) are back at Exploria Stadium on Tuesday to take on the San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 p.m.
1′ – Tesho Akindele, assisted by Mauricio Pereyra, Andres Perea (ORL)
8′ – Nani, assisted by Tesho Akindele, Silvester van der Water (ORL)
10′ – Ayo Akinola (TOR)
39′ – Jonathan Osorio, assisted by Alejandro Pozuelo (TOR)
84′ – Junior Urso, assisted by Chris Mueller (ORL)
How the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Brandon Austin; Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Kyle Smith; Andres Perea, Junior Urso, Mauricio Pereyra (Benji Michel, 80′), Silvester van der Water (Chris Mueller, 71′), Nani (c); Tesho Akindele (Daryl Dike, 64′).
Substitutes: Mason Stajduhar; Uri Rosell, Alexander Alvarado, Michael Halliday, Rio Hope-Gund, Joey DeZart.
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