The first half was nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster for Orlando fans. The Lions were flat out of the gate, and they paid for it dearly in the form of two quick goals for the Impact.
First up, the Canadians earned a fluky penalty kick in the 13th minute, as a Montreal corner pinballed into the arm of City defender Sean St. Ledger for a handball call. Impact Designated Player Ignacio Piatti stepped up to bury the PK just past a sprawling Donovan Ricketts to give Montreal a 1-0 lead at 27'.
14 minutes later, a long ball out of the back put Montreal's Jack McInerney out on the break, though Orlando looked to have things under control. "Under control" quickly became 2-0 however, as a miscommunication between Ricketts and his defenders allowed McInerney's clever chip to find the back of the net.
Just as things looked most dire for Orlando City though, the Brazilian midfield pair of Kaká and Pedro Ribeiro stepped up to bring the Lions back into the match.
Ribeiro was first to score, finishing with his left after Kaká fought off a defender to feed him the ball in the box. Ribeiro returned the favor barely more than a minute later, as he slotted the ball to Kaká just 10 yards from goal. The Orlando captain didn't disappoint, as he used his body to fend off an Impact defender and curled in his right footed shot in the 30th minute.
Similar to the Houston Dynamo match, it was Pedro Ribeiro's hustle on defense that set up the second goal in this one. The young expansion draft pick deserves a ton of credit for playing multiple positions very well for Orlando City so far this season, and now he has a goal and an assist to his name to show for it.
Both teams came out more settled in the second half, and Orlando appeared to adjust to their 5-2-2-1 formation. Ribeiro fired over the bar in the 61st for the Lions, and Ignacio Piatti's 77th minute blast was held well by Ricketts.
We didn't expect many substitutes from the short-handed Orlando City, and in the end, Head Coach Adrian Heath only used one of his three. Honduran striker Bryan Rochez entered for Danny Mwanga in the 66th, and while he was unable to seriously threaten the Impact goal, he did force Montreal captain Nigel Reo-Coker into a yellow card tackle at 74'.
In the end, while it felt like the victory was within reach for much of the second half, Orlando City should be very happy to have earned a point on the road while missing up to six starters. The Lions are back in action next Friday night, as last year's Eastern Conference champions, D.C. United, come to town.