Sports

Orlando City welcomes TFC to Citrus Bowl

Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of clubs hoping for rebound performances will clash on Sunday when Orlando City SC welcomes Toronto FC to the Citrus Bowl.

As with fellow expansion side New York City FC, Orlando City has struggled a bit upon its entry into Major League Soccer, having won just two of their first seven matches -- neither of those came at home.

After their best performance of the season in a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers, OCSC followed it up with a poor 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Columbus Crew last time out.

The Lions fell behind in the 31st minute when Federico Higuain pounced on a poor clearance from Orlando's Rafael Ramos and fired home

Ramos' frustration continued shortly afterward, when the 20-year-old defender was sent off for a high challenge deep inside Columbus' half on Waylon Francis.

Crew SC managed to double their lead early in the second half when Meram powered the ball into the roof of the net, after a giveaway by the Lions inside the area.

In the 59th minute, Crew SC striker Kei Kamara ran onto Higuain���s ball over the Orlando back line and lobbed goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts who was forced to charge off his line in an attempt to clear the danger.

"I think the first ten minutes we started poorly, giving them a few opportunities. But, for the next 30 minutes of the first half, I thought we played some really good stuff and had one or two chances of our own," said head coach Adrian Heath.

"Small margins make the difference in games, and we haven't done well with the small things tonight. But credit to them (Columbus), they're a really good team. I've said before that they'll be one of the best teams in this conference, and nothing tonight has made me change my mind."

For Toronto, meanwhile, its been a tough go as the club has lost four straight despite another major offseason spending spree which landed the club Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Benoit Cheyrou.

Greg Vanney's team found itself down 2-0 after just 10 minutes against FC Dallas last week thanks to a brace by Fabian Castillo. Blas Perez added a third goal as it was 3-0 at the break before a 3 1/2 hour weather delay due to heavy rain and lightning.

Giovinco brought TFC within 3-2 with two excellent goals in the final six minutes, but it wasn't enough.

"We got off to a miserable start," Vanney said. "We talked all week about protecting ourselves. Thirty seconds in the game, it was obviously not the start we wanted and then we found ourselves in a situation again where we were down 2-0. Third goal was just a mess. It was two guys getting in each other's way. It should have been cleaned up."

"As entirely frustrating as the first half was and the mistakes that continued that have to improve, I was extremely proud of the team," Vanney added, referring to the long delay. "In the locker rooms, we talked about going out there and really fighting, laying it out there, and showing what we're capable of or we could shut it down, call it a night and go home. The guys came out and fought like real men out there in the second half. It was one of the best competitive performances we've had so far. We battled, and scored two goals."