Toronto FC-Orlando City Preview
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas hailed Jacob Shaffelburg after he came on to salvage a point against New York City FC last week.
Shaffelburg scored his first MLS goal five minutes after coming on against NYCFC, ensuring a point for Toronto, who have not started the season well.
And Armas was swift to praise the 21-year-old winger ahead of the clash with Orlando City.
"Jacob, he's instant energy," began Armas. "He's quick. He runs. He likes to press. He brings energy and plays with intensity. He's such a good kid and we are now trying to push the demands every day. Not to be not too nice on the field; how can we help him use his weapon; the confidence. I think every player could use that."
"When players are confident, it's the only way you can see how good they are. It's so much about confidence, so much about giving opportunity to young guys, and about helping him just calm down and get the reward."
Orlando have started the season brightly, taking nine points from five games, and they beat DC United 1-0 last time out.
"The last game went very well for us. Difficult game but very good for us. Now we are second in our conference, let's try get one more win, get into first position because that's our dream, that's our idea for this season," said Junior Urso.
"Last year we played so well, almost got our target. This year we want more than before. Every game is important to get points, we haven't lost yet and we'll try to keep it like that."
They'll attempt to do so without leading scorer Nani (three goals), who has been suspended for two games and fined by MLS for making contact with an official against D.C.
Orlando City - Christopher Mueller
He has not yet found the net in five MLS appearances this season, but Mueller has been an important player for Orlando, providing two assists, and all he needs now is that first goal.
Toronto FC - Jacob Shaffelburg
"I know you're not supposed to do it, but I kept on myself to get a goal and it was getting a bit much," Shaffelburg said after breaking his MLS duck last week. "It was a breath of fresh air getting that weight off my back."
- Toronto have averaged 2.2 points per match in 12 meetings with Orlando (W8 D2 L2), its highest points per match rate against any team they've played five or more times in MLS.
- Orlando are unbeaten through five matches for the first time in club history. They have allowed a joint-league low two goals (with Seattle Sounders) after having conceded at least four times in the first five matches of each of the club's first six MLS campaigns.
- Toronto's draw with NYCFC ended a four-match away losing streak going back to the end of last season. Still, the Reds are winless in five straight on the road (D1 L4) after failing to win only four of their previous 11 away matches (W7 D2 L2).
- Orlando have faced only 2.6 shots on target per match this season, second-fewest in MLS (Nashville SC - 2.4).
- Toronto used an MLS-high 25 players so far this season, including 16 different substitutes. Seven different TFC players have scored a goal this season, most in MLS.
Updated May 21, 2021