Toronto FC was eliminated from MLS playoff contention with a loss at Orlando City

Toronto FC was eliminated from MLS playoff contention with a loss at Orlando City

Toronto FC was eliminated from MLS playoff contention on Saturday with a 4-0 loss to Orlando City.

Facundo Torres and Ercan Kara gave Orlando a 2-0 lead midway through the first half. A Toronto goal by Lucas McNaughton made it 3-0 early in the second half before Canada’s Tisho Akindele added salt to the wound with a goal off the bench in the 84th minute as Toronto’s defense opened up again. became

Toronto (9-16-7) came into the game knowing a loss at Exploria Stadium would eliminate it from playoff contention, with Tate’s postseason hopes also ending depending on results elsewhere.

Toronto also missed the playoffs in 2021 when the club finished 26th in the then-27 team league with a 6-18-10 record. TFC finished second overall in the league in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season at 13-5-5 but was eliminated by Nashville in the first round of the 2020 playoffs.

Previously, Toronto reached the MLS Cup finals in 2016, ’17 and ’19, winning the title against Seattle in 2017.

But the glory days are far behind the club with coach Bob Bradley, who took over last November, overseeing a roster overhaul that is likely to continue into the off-season.

TFC’s elimination game is bad news for Canadian coach John Herdman, meaning defenders Richie Laria and Donnell Henry and midfielders Jonathan Osorio and Marc-Anthony Kaye will be out after the club’s regular-season finale on Oct. 9. The level is idle. It starts on November 20 in Qatar.

Laria, Osorio and Kaye head to Europe to join Canada for exhibition games against Qatar and Uruguay during the FIFA international window. Henry is nursing a hamstring issue.

Toronto, which ends the season at home against Inter Miami on Sept. 30 and at Philadelphia on Oct. 9, entered the weekend in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, six spots out of the playoff line. Seven points below.

Orlando (13-12-6) started the day in fifth place in the East. The shutout was his ninth of the season, tying a single-season club record.

The home side got off to a blistering start and Torres faced Orlando goalkeeper Quentin Westberg in the ninth minute as the 22-year-old Uruguayan’s dipping shot from the edge of the penalty box went past him for his seventh of the season. .

Cara doubled the lead in the 22nd minute after a good pass from Mauricio Pereira got him past the Toronto defense. The Austrian forward beat McNaughton and beat Westberg with a left-footed shot for his 10th goal of the season. It was Pereira’s 10th assist of the campaign, a career high.

Cara became the eighth Orlando player to score two goals in a season. Others to do so include Canadians Ciel Lauren and Akindele and former TFC forward Dom Dwyer.

Orlando also became the first team in the MLS Championship to have at least one 10-goal scorer in the club’s first eight regular seasons.

Torres hit the Toronto goal post in the 42nd minute by beating Westberg. Orlando outscored Toronto 9-2 (3-0 shots on goal) in the first half.

It went from bad to worse for Toronto in the 47th minute when McNaughton denied Joao Moutinho’s cross into the Toronto goal. TFC has now conceded 61 goals this season, the fourth most in franchise history.

Adding to MacNaughton’s pain was a late yellow card that would force him to sit out the next time.

Toronto’s first shot on goal came in the 61st minute, a shot from Jes Jimenez that went straight past Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Galesi. A minute later Gilles headed Lorenzo Ingen.

Giles got a hand in front of Jimenez’s shot late in the game to preserve the shutout.

TFC is winless in four games (0-3-1) and has now scored four goals in its last three games, losing 4-3 in Montreal and most recently 4-2 in Atlanta. . Earlier the match was a 2-2 draw with visiting Los Angeles Galaxy, who earned a point with a goal in the 89th minute.

Toronto became just the fourth team in MLS history to concede four goals in three straight games, most recently accomplished by FC Cincinnati in October 2021.

Prior to the latest slide, Toronto had lost just one of its last seven (4-1-2), a run that coincided with the arrivals of Italian stars Insignia and Federico Bernardeschi.

Ensingen, who missed last weekend’s loss in Atlanta due to what the club called a “personal family situation,” returned to Toronto’s lineup. Bradley also slotted in Cosey Thompson with Jayden Nelson and Noble Okello moving to the bench.

Osorio, who has missed the last four games with a “nervous concussion” after taking a blow to the head against Chicago on July 13, entered the game in the 72nd minute – his first since Aug. 20. act out.

Bernardeschi (eight goals and three assists), Insignan (six goals, two assists) and fellow Italian Domenico Crescito (one goal) had been involved in 18 of Toronto’s last 22 goals in MLS action before Saturday, including 12 of last 14.

Bernardeschi had a chance in the 35th minute but his shot went wide. Insigne dropped back at times in search of the ball but was a peripheral figure for most of the match.

Orlando had lost two straight since losing to second-tier Sacramento Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup final on Sept. 7, 5-1 at the Philadelphia Union last weekend and midweek. beat Atlanta 1-0. Orlando had won four straight before their Cup win.

Toronto hasn’t traveled well this season, with a 2-10-4 record on the road. Orlando, meanwhile, has a league-worst eight home losses this season (8-8-0) at Exploria Stadium, which TFC called home for a while during the pandemic.

Prior to this season, Orlando had lost just eight (18-8-12) of their previous 38 league matches at home through May 2019.

Orlando was missing injured forward Alexandre Pato and defenseman Robin Johnson. Akindele came off the Orlando bench in the 80th minute.

Orlando is now unbeaten in six meetings (4-0-2) with Toronto after winning just two of the previous 11 games (2-8-1). Orlando prevailed 1-0 when they met at BMO Field on July 14, thanks to a stoppage time header by substitute Kyle Smith from a corner.

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