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Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact Notebook: Ribeiro Steps Up

News and notes from the Lions' 2-2 road draw at Olympic Stadium include a big day for a Brazilian other than Kaká, several debuts, solid play from Aurelien Collin, improved shot and crossing accuracy and more.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes a draw feels like a loss and sometimes like a victory. Yesterday's 2-2 result in Montreal felt like the latter because Orlando City fell behind 2-0 on the road with a lineup that shouldn't scare anyone in Major League Soccer, including last season's dead last team.

Head Coach Adrian Heath couldn't even fill out a full 18-man roster for the game, with seven men serving their national teams and five more key players - Martin Paterson, Carlos Rivas, Cristian Higuita, Tony Cascio and Lewis Neal -- on the injured list.

A rough start to the match for Sean St. Ledger and Donovan Ricketts led to an early 2-0 deficit to a Montreal Impact side that had not scored in two previous MLS matches and had two of its own offensive stars out in Cameron Porter and Justin Mapp.

St. Ledger's extended arm came in contact with a deflected ball and referee Ted Unkel awarded a penalty for handball to the Impact. Ricketts correctly guessed the direction of Ignacio Piatti's spot kick, which went right under his outstretched arms. The veteran keeper will likely think he should have done better and pushed it wide, as it didn't have a great deal of pace on it.

At the 27-minute mark, Jack MacInerney got onto a ball with Orlando defenders back.  St. Ledger and Ricketts had a miscommunication and with Luke Boden trying to hold the Impact striker off, McInerney chipped the ball skyward and it found its way over Ricketts and into the net. St. Ledger let up as if he thought Boden had it covered and that allowed McInerney to get their first for the chip.

Ricketts did have one nice stop on a Marco Donadel try from distance. Thankfully, Kaká, who had been robbed inside the box by goalkeeper Eric Kronberg between the two Montreal goals, set up Pedro Ribeiro for one marker and scored one of his own to pull Orlando back and earn the point.

Speaking of Ribeiro...

Pedro was brilliant in the first half, when Orlando City had its best attacking pressure. He and fellow Brazilian Kaká each registered three shots, a goal and an assist, and Ribeiro was also dangerous as a setup man, finding teammates in and around the area and drawing fouls in dangerous spots.

When he opened his Orlando City scoring account in the 29th minute, it was just his third career MLS goal. He scored twice for Philadelphia in nine games in 2014. Ribeiro is supposed to be a talented sub that can provide depth off the bench, but his play this season has to be giving Heath more to think about, at the same time it illustrates how good this lineup should be if everyone is healthy and not on international duty.

In the second half, Orlando City seemed to run out of steam and had trouble keeping possession. After having better than 58% possession in the first half, the Lions finished with 48.8% for the game.

As such, Ribeiro's contributions fell off after halftime. However, in the game's dying minutes, it was Ribeiro who beat two men in the corner, found his way into the box and sent in a dangerous cross that nearly fell for a teammate. All in all, it was Ribeiro's best game with Orlando City and hopefully a sign of more to come for the 24-year-old from Belo Horizonte.

Debuts

Saturday marked the Major League Soccer debuts for Boden and Tyler Turner, as well as the Orlando City debut for forward Danny Mwanga, all of whom started. It was a mixed bag for the trio.

Boden and Turner played solid, if unspectacular, games. Both made mistakes they'll want to correct and both did a decent job of occasionally getting forward and joining the offense. Crossing accuracy was better tonight (three of Turner's four crosses were accurate and one of Boden's three was on target), but both Boden and Turner showed some hesitancy or indecision on the defensive end.

Mwanga was largely invisible. His off-the-ball runs helped create space, but he was not nearly as involved in the final third as Ribeiro or Kaká. It was an uneventful run-out for the former first overall pick and one wonders if he can keep his spot on the team when everyone is healthy. Bryan Rochez came on as a sub in the second half and immediately made more of an impact, drawing an early free kick and later forcing Nigel Reo-Coker to take a yellow card to stop him on a counter attack.

Also, Tommy Redding made the 18 for the first time, giving Orlando City three players age 20 or younger on the bench in Rochez (20), Redding (18) and Harrison Heath (19).

Collin Saves the Day (Repeatly)

Although his career as a Lion got off to a rough start, with red cards in his final preseason and first regular-season game, central defender Aurelien Collin has more than earned his keep the last two games. Collin's only misstep on the night was to earn a yellow card for dissent, but he made multiple clean, saving challenges in the box as Montreal attacked off the counter or found space around St. Ledger or Seb Hines, or off the edge against Boden.

The Frenchman won at least three vital battles that kept Montreal from being in on Ricketts. This comes a week after a solid performance against Vancouver. He was a little better against Vancouver than at Montreal, but it was still a solid outing and he's showing signs of being that rock in the center of defense that Orlando envisioned when the front office brought him aboard.

Improved Accuracy

We talked a bit about the crossing accuracy, which has been a problem for Orlando City this season. Saturday the team was better, registering five accurate crosses on 14 tries (36%). The Lions entered Saturday only completing 2.3 crosses per match, so it was a much better performance.

The other improvement was shot accuracy. Orlando City registered eight shot attempts, with almost half (three) on target. In addition to the two goals, Kaká's half volley was labeled for the upper left corner before it was well saved by Kronberg. The Lions didn't get a lot of second half chances, but the shots are getting closer and part of that is that 75% of those eight shots came from inside the penalty area.

This is a trend Heath will want to see continue and improved upon even more.

Stat Line

Montreal

Orlando City

9

Shots

8

4

Shots on Target

3

2

Shots off Target

4

3

Blocked Shots

1

6

Corners

3

14

Crosses

14

2

Offsides

1

23

Fouls

13

4

Yellow Cards

2

0

Red Cards

0

421

Total Passes

399

84%

Passing Accuracy

84%

51.2%

Possession

48.8%

46

Duels Won

58

14

Tackles Won

14

1

Saves

2

23

Clearances

20