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Toronto FC hopes to end four-game losing skid against Kaka and Orlando City

04/24/2015 07:18 EDT | Updated 07/24/2015 04:59 EDT
TORONTO - The list of areas that need improvement is a long one for Toronto FC. The club's defence has been suspect, the offence has been hit and miss and injuries have also been a problem.

They will try to get back on track this weekend at Orlando City, and avoid a fifth straight loss in the process. After opening the season with a 3-1 win in Vancouver, TFC has lost to Columbus, Real Salt Lake, Chicago and FC Dallas.

"Collectively we've not defended well enough. By defended well enough, I mean collectively we have not found a way to make the game hard enough on a consistent basis yet on the other team," team captain Michael Bradley said Friday. "There have been moments that have been good, obviously the second half in Vancouver. After an open first half, I thought we responded well and made some good adjustments.

"I thought the first half in Columbus was still good in that regard, but by and large we've been a little bit too easy to play."

Centre back Steven Caldwell and right fullback Mark Bloom were both expected to miss Sunday's game at the Citrus Bowl due to calf injuries. Caldwell has missed three games while Bloom has yet to see the pitch this season.

"Stevie is running, he's back on the field and now it's just a response thing in terms of getting back," said head coach Greg Vanney. "Based on having the slight tear in the calf that he has, we're right around the four weeks and we should be at that point where he's now integrating back into training. (Bloom) had a Grade 2, which is right around that six weeks-ish (period) and he's reaching that mark.

"We tried to integrate him back in at the front end of the injury timeline and he wasn't quite ready. Obviously had a (negative) response and we pulled him out quickly. He's more on a normal timeline now, which we're hoping next week he should be progressing back into training."

A natural left fullback, Justin Morrow has played out of position as a result of a lack of depth. The 27-year-old, who has seen time at centre and on the right side of the defence, revealed Friday that he'd never played the right side until last week in Dallas.

"Obviously the beginning of the game wasn't the greatest start so just worried about staying solid defensively, trying to do whatever I could to help the team get a win," Morrow said. "It's a little bit different than being on the left and I think it's different just because I've never been there before, but it's something that I can handle and if it's something that I have to do again, I'd be comfortable with it."

Midfielder Benoit Cheyrou, who sat out last weekend's loss, is fit and expected to play.

Toronto FC's defence will be challenged this week by Brazilian international Kaka. The midfielder has three goals through the first seven games and has Orlando City (2-3-2) in fifth place on the Eastern Conference table.

"Part of it is trying to eliminate some of his space," said Bradley of defending Kaka. "Right away you see how motivated he is, how much he puts into every game and his ability still to take certain plays and run with the ball and flip a pass or shoot the ball himself is very, very special.

"When you play against these kinds of guys, you always know they're still going to have moments."

Sunday's contest will see Bradley and Jozy Altidore face American teammate Brek Shea. Altidore admitted there's a little more on the line playing against a friend.

"There's always bragging rights," said Altidore. "You're always going to want to put in a good performance obviously against him and at the same time keep him at bay, he's a good player and he's a guy we're going to have to look out for."

Added Bradley: "Look, we want to win. Obviously I've gotten to know Brek well. He's another one that's had a great start to the season playing left back so for us, we know it's going to be a difficult game."

Following Sunday's game, the Reds will conclude their seven-game season-opening road trip May 2 in Philadelphia against the Union.

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