Preview: Orlando City prepares for trip up north to take on Toronto FC

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After a much needed week off from games, Orlando City comes into Saturday night’s match with a renewed energy and a number of healthy bodies returning to the fold.

Kickoff for tonight’s game at BMO Field is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX35+ and LionNation.

“We’re happy to return to competition and happy also to be able to go and compete in Canada,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to start getting back to normal in Major League Soccer, so we’re excited. At the same time, now with the complexity of the game for both clubs, it makes the competition more exciting. We’re happy, we’re preparing the players and the team so we can get a good result in Canada.”

Toronto (2-8-2, 8 points) are coming off a run of form that saw them fire their coach Chris Armas and win their next game 3-2 against the top seeded New England Revolution.

[2021 Orlando City Schedule]

Orlando (6-3-3, 21 points) will be looking to return to winning ways after dropping their last two matches. Historically, Toronto has not been a friendly place for the Lions to play, holding a 0-4-2 record at BMO field. Despite the Lions missing Daryl Dike, who is with the US Men’s National Team, they will be potentially getting forward Alexandre Pato back for this match. Pato traveled with the team for the first time this season, having not played since the home opener back in March.


Notebook

Injuries: Antonio Carlos will miss Saturday’s match against Toronto after leaving the team’s match against the New York Red Bulls in the 14th minute with a lower-body injury. For other longer-term injuries, Ruan, who has been out since mid-May, has been training regularly with the team and is looking to be involved with the gameday lineup soon. Joao Moutinho remains questionable with an adductor injury he suffered last month against San Jose, and will be a game-time decision for tonight.


New signing Mas finalizing paperwork: On Wednesday, the Lions filled a much needed hole to their backline by announcing the signing of Argentine left back Emmanuel Mas through the 2021 season with a club option for 2022. Oscar Pareja said on Thursday that he is expecting the fullback to finalize all his paperwork for his visa and be available for selection next match.

“Emmanuel is going to bring us a guy who knows the position,” Pareja said, “A tranquility for the problems that you are always having, but in some moments we’re going to have somebody there that he can just bring us peace in our mind.”


For more Orlando soccer news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @OSJSoccer

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