Orlando City in danger of 10th straight loss vs. Toronto FC
Orlando City and Toronto FC were expected to contend in the Eastern Conference this year, but the MLS clubs are out of the playoff mix -- and fading just past the halfway point of the season.
The Lions look to avoid their 10th consecutive loss when they host the defending MLS Cup champion Saturday night.
Orlando (6-11-1) returns home after last Saturday's 4-1 drubbing by expansion Los Angeles FC in coach James O'Connor's debut. O'Connor is the third coach employed by the Lions this season after Jason Kreis was fired in June and Bobby Murphy served in an interim role.
"It's not that we don't have good players. It's just a fact that there's been so much that's gone on here, and it gets to a point where people are almost thinking, 'When are we going to get the next win'," O'Connor said.
But with a loss to Toronto, the Lions would tie for the second-longest skid in league history. Real Salt Lake dropped 10 in a row in 2005, as did Sporting Kansas City across two seasons in 1998 and 1999. The MetroStars hold the league record for futility with a 12-game slide in 1999.
Orlando has also surrendered multiple goals in each game during its current slide, tying Tampa Bay (2001) and FC Dallas (2003) for the longest such skid. The Lions have allowed 27 of 41 goals allowed this year during the losing streak, and their minus-16 goal differential is the worst in MLS heading into the weekend.
While Orlando owns a three-point advantage over 10th-place Toronto in the East, the Lions have dropped seven of the eight meetings all time and have been outscored 22-8.
"Ultimately, we all want the same thing, whether it's the players, myself, the owners, the coaching staff -- we all want to win," O'Connor said.
Toronto is coming off last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City. Despite earning a point, Toronto FC is winless in five matches (0-3-2) since blanking the Philadelphia Union on June 8.
Toronto is 1-6-2 on the road in 2018, and playing the third of four straight on the road.
"Every game for us is important and we have this stretch where all these games are one the road, which is not easy, and we want to take as many points as we can out of this stretch," Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney said.
Forward Jordan Hamilton, a native of Scarborough, Ontario, has goals in each of his last two matches, equaling his total from last season and one short of tying a career best in 2016.
Toronto FC topped Orlando 2-1 on May 18 at BMO Field, and has won three of four all-time in Florida.
Updated July 12, 2018