Orlando City blank Toronto FC, face Nashville in first round
Posted on: 22 Oct, 2023 at 12:51 AM
Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Duncan McGuire came off the substitute bench to score a brace in Orlando City's 2-0 road victory over Toronto FC on Saturday.
There wasn't much to be decided for Orlando (18-7-9, 63 points) on MLS Decision Day, as the Lions had already clinched second place in the Eastern Conference. Orlando City will face seventh-place Nashville SC in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs.
Orlando enters the playoffs on a four-match winning streak, and with only one loss in its last 12 matches (9-1-2).
With an eye towards staying healthy for the postseason, most of Orlando City's regulars weren't in Saturday's starting lineup. However, the insertion of McGuire, Ivan Angulo and Mauricio Pereyra in the 61st minute immediately sparked the Lions' attack.
Just two minutes after entering the match, McGuire gathered a long pass downfield, and took the ball to the edge of the box. The striker then launched a perfectly placed shot into Toronto's net for the highlight-reel goal.
In the 74th minute, Kyle Smith's excellent pass found McGuire with plenty of space down the far side of the field. McGuire converted the shot for his 13th goal of the season, and his fifth tally in as many matches.
Orlando City goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar made three saves for his first shutout of the season.
Toronto FC (4-20-10, 22 points) finished in last place in the MLS standings, and with the fewest points in any season in franchise history. Toronto lost its last seven matches and had only one win (1-15-0) in its last 16 regular-season matches.
Longtime Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley played 80 minutes before being substituted out of his farewell match. Bradley announced last week that he was retiring after 19 years of professional soccer, with his last 10 seasons coming with Toronto.
John Herdman was on the sidelines for his first official match as Toronto's head coach. The former coach of Canada's men's and women's national teams was hired by Toronto FC in August.
--Field Level Media