Toronto FC welcome Orlando City, eye end of winless streak

Toronto FC might feel snakebitten over their most recent loss, which extended a winless streak to seven matches. They’ll try to shake off their misfortune Wednesday at home against Orlando City.

Toronto (7-11-3, 24 points) was level with Atlanta United in the final moments of second-half stoppage time on Saturday. Backup Toronto goalkeeper Luka Gavran prepared for a long clearance with no teammates near him, and Atlanta’s Jamal Thiare left the field for a drink of water.

Thiare then snuck up behind Gavran and stole the ball when he set it on the ground. Thiare turned around and scored with no time to spare for a bizarre 2-1 Atlanta victory, pushing Toronto FC to 0-5-2 in their past seven outings.

“You make errors like that and you’ve just got to learn from them,” coach John Herdman said after Toronto’s fourth straight loss. “I told Luka we love him. He’s been brilliant for us, standing in for Sean (Johnson).

“It’s tough. I didn’t have too many words. It’s just gut-wrenching, but at the same time, there has got to be a response coming into the mid-week game at home against Orlando. We’ve got to keep moving forward.”

Toronto was without No. 1 keeper Johnson while he was at Copa America with the U.S. men’s national team. With the Americans eliminated, it is unclear whether Johnson will be back in time for Wednesday’s match.

When Toronto visited Orlando City (5-9-6, 21 points) in April, the Reds were the ones pulling off the late magic. Tyrese Spicer and Prince Owusu scored in the 87th and 90th minutes, respectively, for a 2-1 comeback win.

Orlando has not won consecutive matches this year. Following a convincing 4-2 victory over the Chicago Fire, the Lions lost 4-2 to host New York City FC on Friday.

Making his fourth straight start for Orlando, keeper Mason Stajduhar suffered a broken right fibula and tibia during the first half. He had surgery this weekend, and the club plans to place him on the season-ending injury list.

“It was a very strong moment and hard for us to see the injury of Mason,” coach Oscar Pareja said. “I know our emotions came in and it could have been a part of that low performance as well. We don’t want to say that because that is not our character, but we were really sad with what happened to Mason.”

Like Toronto, Orlando was also missing its top keeper, Peru’s Pedro Gallese, during Copa. Peru has also been eliminated and Gallese is back with the club, as is teammate and countryman Wilder Cartagena.

Duncan McGuire has a team-best seven goals for Orlando after scoring against NYCFC. Federico Bernardeschi scored Toronto’s only goal against Atlanta and leads the club with eight.

–Field Level Media