Following a three-week layoff for the international break, Orlando City hits the road for a Saturday night matchup with Toronto FC.
Well, not really. The Lions technically will be the road team for Saturday's game at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, which they are sharing with the Reds because of Canada's COVID-19 travel restrictions. No spectators will be allowed at the contest.
"It's our home game in their building, which is always interesting," Toronto FC coach Chris Armas said. "Much of (Saturday night) is about TFC. Can we execute? And put that performance together where it adds up to three points. A whatever-it-takes mentality."
This is the second meeting between the two teams. Orlando City (3-1-3, 12 points), which is third in the Eastern Conference, won the first one 1-0 over Toronto (1-4-2, 5 points) on a goal by Tesha Akindele in the 12th minute on May 22 at Exploria Stadium.
Both teams lost their last game before the break. The Lions fell to the New York Red Bulls 2-1 on May 29 in Harrison, N.J., while Toronto lost 2-1 at Columbus.
Orlando City will get top goal-scorer Nani (three goals) back for the contest after he served a two-game suspension. The Lions also could get a big boost from forward Daryl Dike.
The 21-year-old striker returned to training with Orlando City this week after scoring his first-ever goal with the U.S. men's national team in a 4-0 victory over Costa Rica in an international friendly in Sandy, Utah on June 9. Prior to that, Dike opened some eyes internationally by scoring nine goals in 19 games during a four-month loan with Barnsley in the English Football League Championship.
Dike, the No. 5 pick of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft out of Virginia, had eight goals and four assists in 17 games with Orlando City before heading to England. Thanks to his performance with Barnsley, he has been linked with a possible transfer to a number of English Premier League teams in the fall, including Leeds United, Newcastle, Everton and even Manchester United.
"For me, all that stuff is kinda extra noise," Dike said. "For me right now, it's focusing on acclimating back to the team and seeing how I can be able to affect the games in the next couple of weeks."
--Field Level Media