There’s a list of reasons for Orlando City to doubt Toronto FC.
The Reds are in second-to-last place in the Eastern Conference table with just seven points through nine matches. Top striker Jozy Altidore is out after foot surgery. Sebastian Giovinco, the club’s most expensive player, will miss Friday’s meeting between the two clubs after he received a red card in TFC’s 3-2 loss to New England.
Orlando City coach Jason Kreis knows the troubles that have befallen Toronto FC, despite the club’s run to the CONCACAF Champions League final.
He and the Lions are still approaching the Reds with caution. Orlando City (6-3-1, 19 points) will face Toronto (2-6-1, 7 points) at 8 p.m. on Friday at BMO Field in a match that will air in Orlando on WRDQ-Channel 27 and will be live streamed on ESPN+.
“If we don’t have respect for Toronto, we don’t have respect for anybody,” Kreis said.
“This is a very good team. A team that’s a little bit hard-done with some decisions that have gone against them the past couple of games to pick up losses where they probably should have picked up draws. Maybe, you know, a bad performance or two and a ton of injuries.”
Kreis said Orlando City doesn’t take confidence from knowing their opponent is weakened. The club’s confidence comes from its performances this season, including in the second half against Atlanta United.
“It’s not something where we say, ‘OK, they don’t have Giovinco and they don’t and they don’t have Altidore, so we can relax,’” Kreis said. “No. Absolutely not. They have other players that have proven, time and time again in MLS competition and in CONCACAF competition that they’re quite capable of scoring and creating goals, as well.”
Holding midfielder Uri Rosell likely will see an increased role on Friday with Yoshi Yotún suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
“From my prospective, all I see is a very difficult opponent,” he said. “I don’t care if they are last or if they are on top of the standings. At the end, it doesn’t mean anything because when you start playing, you don’t think about what position they are. You just play as good as you can. It seems like a topic, but every game is difficult.”
Tarek grateful for World Cup opportunity
Centerback Amro Tarek on Wednesday spoke to members of the media for the first time since being named to Egypt’s 29-man provisional roster ahead of the World Cup.
“We are 29 players and just 23 are going to the World Cup,” Tarek said. “I’m happy to be part of this and to be able to play the friendly games [against Kuwait and Belgium].”
Yotún called up
Peru’s 24-man provisional World Cup squad was unveiled Wednesday morning and Yotún was among the players named. Peruvian national team manager Ricardo Gareca will eventually narrow the squad down to 23 ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Yotún has been capped 70 times for Peru’s national team. This summer will mark Peru’s first World Cup appearance since 1982.