May 20th, 2024

Spicer, Owusu score late goals to lift Toronto FC to comeback win in Orlando

By The Canadian Press on April 27, 2024.

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire (13) starts to celebrate a goal against Toronto FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson (1) during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Late goals by Tyrese Spicer and Prince Owusu lifted Toronto FC to a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over Orlando City SC in Major League Soccer play Saturday night.

Orlando had seemed headed to victory thanks to Duncan McGuire’s 37th-minute strike. But Federico Bernardeschi’s long ball found Kobe Franklin on the right of the penalty box and his cross was headed in by Spicer in the 87th minute.

Three minutes later, Owusu headed in Bernardeschi’s cross for his fifth goal in his last four games across all competitions.

The late Toronto goals were a taste of Orlando’s own medicine.

Orlando had shown a never-say-die attitude in its three previous games, scoring in the 92nd minute to tie CF Montreal 2-2 last time out, in the 91st minute of a 3-2 win at D.C. United, and securing a 1-1 draw with the visiting New York Red Bulls courtesy of an 89th-minute own goal.

This time, the late heroics went the other way.

Toronto (5-4-1) had a lot of the ball in the early going, with Orlando (2-4-3) looking to threaten on the counterattack. And while both teams managed just one shot on goal in the first half, Orlando scored on its shot.

McGuire put the home side ahead in the 37th minute, knocking home a well-flighted Facundo Torres cross after centre back Robin Jansson’s long pass found the Uruguayan designated player down the left flank.

It was the fourth goal of the season and 20th of his career in all competitions for the second-year forward.

McGuire has had success against Toronto, with four goals in three meetings. Two of those came in Orlando’s 2-0 win in the 2023 regular-season finale at Toronto in John Herdman’s first game on the sideline with TFC.

McGuire scored again, with a howitzer-like shot from inside the penalty box, in first-half stoppage time only to see the offside flag go up.

While there were plenty of attacks on the night at Inter & Co Stadium, a lack of clinical finishing meant chances were few and far between.

Toronto pressed in the final 20 minutes with the Orlando defence bending but not breaking until the final minutes.

TFC snapped an eight-game winless streak against Orlando (0-6-2) dating back to 2019. Orlando had won the four previous games by an aggregate score of 11-0.

The Florida team, which had to divide its time between league and CONCACAF Champions Cup play earlier to open the campaign, had a rough 0-3-1 start to the MLS season before steadying the ship with a 2-2-0 run in the lead-up to Saturday’s match.

Toronto is unbeaten in three games (2-0-1) in all competitions after a three-game league slide.

Herdman made three changes to his starting lineup from last weekend’s 1-0 win over visiting New England. Kevin Long, Alonso Coello and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty slotted in for Franklin, Matty Longstaff and Spicer.

Toronto was without the injured Lorenzo Insigne, Richie Laryea, Brandon Servania and Shane O’Neill.

Owusu shot high for Toronto in the ninth minute. Four minutes later, Martin Ojeda was off-target with a free kick just outside the Toronto penalty box.

Orlando had to replace David Brekalo in the 16th minute after the Slovenian defender took a knock.

Owusu was put behind in the 28th minute but his first touch was off. Toronto’s Federico Bernardeschi shot went just wide from distance in the 42nd minute.

Newly acquired winger Derrick Etienne Jr. came on for Toronto in the 58th minute.

Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese stopped Coello, off a deft Bernardeschi feed, from a tight angle in the 68th minute. At the other end, a diving Sean Johnson got a hand to Torres shot minutes later.

Etienne’s header was off-target in the 80th minute.

UP NEXT

TFC hosts FC Dallas next Saturday while Orlando welcomes FC Cincinnati.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2024.

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