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Orlando City v Toronto FC: Pareja delighted with Lions’ character

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Apr 2024

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Oscar Pareja is thrilled with the character his Orlando City players showed in their 2-2 draw with CF Montreal last time out.

Orlando conceded late against Montreal – in the 88th minute, in fact – but Ivan Angulo scored deep into stoppage time to salvage a point.

It was a result that extended Orlando’s unbeaten streak to four MLS games, as the Lions look to propel themselves up the Eastern Conference standings.

Next up is a home game against Toronto FC, and Pareja was proud of the resilience his team displayed.

He said: “I’ve seen the character of the team, and the willingness that we have with this group of players is incredible. It has happened already [this season], and then the last good result has shown that this group has a lot of intentions all the time to be upfront and try to propose the game.

“When we are at a disadvantage, we want to equalise with a lot of character, that’s what we have. Once we start being more precise in the last third, I think we’re going to have less problems, but we are resolving them and, really, I congratulate the players. I think they’re doing a great job, they don’t give up in any minute and today if we played five minutes more I think we win the game.”

Pareja knows his team must tighten up at the back, though.

He added: “We are trying to have more cohesiveness with the players that are starting or playing in the games. Our lines have to be better. Conceding early goals, or conceding goals especially in the first half for us, is something that we need to resolve, we need to figure it out. How can we be more solid? Not saying that it’s just a defender’s problem, it’s a collective problem. We all have to be in charge. We need to be much better.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Orlando City – Duncan McGuire

McGuire scored three goals in his first two matches against Toronto. Five players in MLS history have scored in their first three matches against Toronto, most recently Josef Martinez in 2017-18.

Toronto FC – Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty

Marshall-Rutty set up Prince Owusu for Toronto’s lone goal on Saturday. Either Marshall-Rutty (two assists), Owusu (four goals) or both have been involved in each of Toronto’s last five MLS goals.

MATCH PREDICTION: ORLANDO CITY WIN

Toronto FC’s 1-0 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday was its fourth victory of the season, equalling their total from all of last season. Only one of the Reds’ last 25 regular-season matches dating back to late June has ended in a draw.

However, Orlando have lost only one of their last 16 regular-season home matches (W9 D6) dating back to late April 2023, a run that includes a 4-0 win over Toronto in July.

Indeed, Orlando are unbeaten in eight straight matches against Toronto (W6 D2) including winning the last four in a row. This is the Lions’ longest unbeaten run against a single opponent in regular-season play while they’ve won five in a row against an opponent once before, doing so against the Crew from 2018-21.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Orlando City – 59.6%

Toronto FC – 16.1%

Draw – 24.3%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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