Toronto FC will miss the MLS Cup Playoffs for second-straight year

Orlando City SC's Tesho Akindele celebrates goal as Toronto FC will miss the MLS Cup Playoffs
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ORLANDO, FL – Toronto FC will miss the MLS Cup Playoffs for two-straight years. The last time TFC did not make the MLS Cup Playoffs two years in a row happened in their dark years. The 2013 and 2014 MLS seasons were part of an eight-year run of not making the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Toronto FC will miss the MLS Cup Playoffs again

Three keys to the game

Toronto FC could not handle Orlando City SC’s offence

From the beginning to the end of the game, Orlando City SC came into the game with a determination that Toronto FC could never match. There was too much space given, and Orlando felt like the much better team. This was shown by the number of crosses Orlando put into TFC’s box. This put the defence under pressure too many times and was a big reason why they lost the game.

  • The own goal given up by Lukas MacNaughton happened because of relentless pressure from Orlando City SC.
  • MacNaughton was forced to clear the ball late in the game, as he had no help from the TFC players.

Also, the relentless pressure from Orlando forced TFC players like Shane O’Neill to make a big defensive play in the 31-minute. This was a common theme, as if those defensive plays were not made, the scoreline might have been worse than what it was.

Orlando City SC’s through passes and counter-attack troubled Toronto FC

A big reason why TFC could not handle Orlando was because of the Lions’ through-ball passes. For some reason, it was hard for TFC to handle and it led to Orlando’s other three goals.

Of course, Torres had himself a good game, as he was the one who opened the scoring in the ninth minute of play.

Toronto FC did not convert on their scoring chances

TFC did not have enough shots on goal to win the game. However, they still had chances to prevent Orlando from getting a clean sheet. Toronto, unfortunately, did not convert on them. These are some examples.

  • Federico Bernardeschi got a great pass from Lorenzo Insigne, but his shot was nowhere near the Orlando goalkeeper.
  • Lorenzo Insigne’s shot in the 56-minute was off-target.

The only shot that really threatened Pedro Gallese was Criscito’s shot in the second half. They did have two other shots on goal, but they were routine saves for the Orlando goalkeeper.

Other Factors

Orlando City SC played well defensively.  When they needed to, they made some great defensive plays to secure the win at home in Exploria Stadium.

  • Joao Moutinho made a good tackle in the 62-minute.
  • Bernardeschi’s cross was intercepted by Antônio Carlos in the 39-minute.

The solid defence and this stop made by Gallese on Jesus Jimenez’s shot was a big reason why Orlando got the clean sheet. TFC also made great defensive plays, but they gave up too much space and the pressure from Orlando was overwhelming for the Reds.

A woeful road record for Toronto FC in the 2021 MLS Season

Toronto FC currently has two wins, four ties, and 10 losses in MLS play. This is the reason why they have the second-worst road record in the MLS Eastern Conference. The only team with a worse road record currently is Inter Miami CF, and that could change if Miami gets some positive results on the road. The bright side of their road record though is that the two wins came when the Italians were playing in Toronto.

This means that they should hopefully have a better road record next year. Those road wins came up against Charlotte FC and Nashville SC. They also won a road game in the Canadian Championship against the HFX Wanderers FC.

Toronto will play their final home game at BMO Field this year on Friday, September. 30 at 7:38 p.m. ET. That game will be shown live on My33 and UniMás. TFC will then travel to Chester, Pennsylvania to face the Philadelphia Union. That game will take place at Subaru Park and will kick off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, October. 9. Both games will be televised nationally in Canada on TSN.

Orlando City SC is in a comfortable position to make the MLS Cup Playoffs

With this win, Orlando City SC is four points ahead of Columbus Crew SC and five points ahead of Atlanta United FC. While they have played one more game than Columbus, they have also played one less game than Miami. It is not over yet for Orlando, but they did get the job done.

They first face New York City FC at 1:08 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium. That could be potentially an important game for both teams. NYCFC are four points ahead of the Lions, but Orlando has played one game less than Orlando. If Orlando wins that game, which will be shown live on the YES Network, they could try and finish in the top four of the Eastern Conference. This would mean a guaranteed MLS Cup Playoff game in the first round.

Orlando will then face provincial rivals, Inter Miami CF, on October 5 at 8:08 p.m. ET. The game will be played at DRB PNK Stadium. The Lions have a perfect opportunity in this game to possibly eliminate Miami from the postseason. That rivalry game will be shown live on CBS 4 and UniMás.

They will then end their season against the Columbus Crew SC at home in Exploria Stadium. That game on October 9 will take place at 2:30 p.m. ET. Fans can watch that game live on Bally Sports Great Lakes. Additionally, all Orlando games will be shown live on MLS Live on DAZN and Fox 35 Plus.

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC’s Twitter Account on September 17, 2022.