Toronto FC started the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic with a 2-2 draw against Orlando City Soccer Club.
The Reds fell behind once in each half, only to go level first thanks to a Miguel Aceval free kick and later a Torsten Frings equalizer.
Orlando took a 17th minute lead on a penalty kick from John Rooney, converted after Maxwell Griffin was fouled inside the area by Geovanny Caicedo. The 1-0 lead was received enthusiastically by a raucous crowd that largely believes their city is worthy of a Major League Soccer franchise.
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Reds took only six minutes to draw level, with Aceval delivering a set-piece that deflected off the arm of an Orlando player, making it 1-1.
The local side took the lead again 10 minutes into the restart, Kevin Molino bundled home on a counter with Toronto claiming offside. The assistant referee’s flag stayed down and the Trinidad & Tobago international made it 2-1 for Orlando.
That lead lasted just seven minutes when Toronto captain Torsten Frings pounced on a ball inside the Orlando area and equalized at 2-2 with what stood to be the last goal of the contest.
“I’m not happy about the way we played. I’m not happy about the result. We were a little bit lucky,” Toronto head coach Aron Winter said after the game.
“You saw some good things, but also some bad things, but those things we have to work on and improve.”
Stefan Frei played the full 90 minutes in goal for Toronto, making several key saves in the second half to help preserve the draw for the Reds.
Toronto’s next outing in the tournament will be against Swedish side BK Hacken on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET. That match will be streamed live on TorontoFC.ca.
The Reds will be back at training Sunday morning for a recovery session.
17' Rooney - Orlando
23' Aceval - Toronto
55' Molino - Orlando
62' Frings - Toronto
Toronto FC (4-3-3, left to right): #24 Stefan Frei -- #5 Ashtone Morgan (#42 Kevin Huezo), #3 Miguel Aceval (#32 Michael Green), #2 Geovanny Caicedo (#21 Aaron Maund), #27 Richard Eckersley (#4 Doneil Henry) -- #23 Terry Dunfield (#16 Oscar Cordon), #8 Eric Avila (#15 Matt Stinson), #22 Torsten Frings (#38 Sergio Camargo) -- #7 Joao Plata (#33 Junior Burgos), #14 Danny Koevermans (#18 Nick Soolsma), #19 Reggie Lambe (#43 Moises Orozco)
Orlando City SC (4-2-3-1, left to right): #1 Miguel Gallardo -- #14 Luke Boden (#8 Erik Ustruck), #5 Kieron Bernard (#16 Wes Allen), #22 Rob Valentino, #2 Jerome Mechak -- #6 Anthony Pulis, #17 James O' Connor (#20 Don Smart) -- #23 Charlie Campbell (#3 Adama Mbenge), #10 John Rooney (#7 Dustin McCarty), #18 Kevin Molino (#25 Nick Sowers) -- #11 Maxwell Griffin (#15 Dennis Chin)
Referee: Geoff Gamble
Assistant Referees: Philippe Briere, James Conlee
Fourth Official: Edvin Jurisevic
NOTES: Toronto forward Ryan Johnson is back with the team after spending the last week in Jamaica, where he set up the winning goal on Wednesday and scored Friday in a pair of international friendly victories over Cuba ... Former Wolverhampton manager Mick McCarthy was in attendance at the match, reportedly as a guest of Orlando City SC … Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber will visit Orlando next week where he is expected to discuss the possibility of an expansion into central Florida.