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Orlando City puts unbeaten run on line vs. Toronto FC

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Orlando City SC will try to build on their early season success when they play host their co-tenant Toronto FC on Saturday.

Along with Nashville SC and the Seattle Sounders, Orlando City SC (2-0-3, 9 points) are one of three MLS teams that have yet to lose a game during the 2021 campaign. Their five-game unbeaten streak marks Orlando City’s longest such run to begin a season.

The streak was extended Sunday with a 1-0 road victory over D.C. United. Mauricio Pereyra scored in the seventh minute, and Orlando City posted the shutout despite being outshot by a 13-6 margin.

“(We) defended well against a team who threw a lot of bodies and numbers (forward),” Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja said. “I’m very happy to see this phase of our team. In many other games, we have dominated the game and then come with a sour result.”

The Lions have allowed only two goals this season, tied with Seattle for the lowest total in MLS.

Orlando City SC will be without captain Nani for Saturday’s match. Nani received a two-game suspension and undisclosed fine from Major League Soccer for unwanted physical contact with a match official.

Saturday is a home game for Orlando City, although Exploria Stadium also is being used as Toronto FC’s temporary home venue this season because of COVID-19 restrictions on travel into Canada.

Toronto FC (1-2-2, 5 points) recorded a 1-1 draw on the road against New York City FC last Saturday. Trailing into the 74th minute, Toronto’s equalizer was created by two substitutes, as Patrick Mullins set up Jacob Shaffelburg for the goal.

“It’s the second game in a row that we got really complete performances from our reserves.,” Toronto FC coach Chris Armas said. “… All of them, 5-for-5, came on and did a nice job.”

Toronto FC’s seven goals this season have all come from different players.

Roster depth has been important for Toronto FC during a busy early schedule. Between the MLS regular season and the CONCACAF Champions League, the team played nine matches in a 38-day span from April 7 to May 15.

After not facing each other in 2020, Toronto and Orlando are scheduled to meet three times in the next two months. Toronto FC is 8-2-2 all-time against the Lions.

–Field Level Media

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