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Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik benched, lineup changes for Lions

Orlando City SC goaltender Joe Bendik (1) reacts as Toronto FC midfielder Jay Chapman (14) and midfielder Ryan Telfer (54) look on at BMO Field. Toronto defeated Orlando. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

For the first time this season, Joe Bendik will not be Orlando City’s starting goalkeeper.

Earl Edwards Jr. will start in goal for the Lions when Orlando City takes on Toronto FC at Orlando City Stadium. The match kicks off at 8 p.m.

Bendik has faced 99 shots and allowed 41 goals this season. He’s made 58 saves, but his save percentage of 58.6 percent is among the lowest in MLS.

A club official confirmed Bendik’s benching was a coach’s decision. Winger Justin Meram is not in the 18 for the match. He’s not injured — it was also a coach’s decision. 

Edwards started in Orlando City’s two 2018 U.S. Open Cup victories. The match against Toronto FC will be Edwards’ second career MLS start. Edwards also started Orlando City’s 2017 season finale against the Philadelphia Union while Bendik was out with a concussion. 

Bendik’s benching was just one of a few changes for Orlando City. Tony Rocha will line up on the wing after being used as an emergency centerback a few times this season. For the first time this season, Will Johnson is the defensive midfielder alongside Yoshi Yotun in a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Left back Mohamed El-Munir is back at his usual position after being deployed as a left winger in Orlando City’s 4-1 loss to LAFC. 

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