On March 28, the Montreal Impact squared up opposite Orlando City and managed to leave with a 2-2 draw, stealing two points from City's grasp and leaving the fans searching for answers.
Some of those answers have been found over the last weeks and months. New questions have formed as the season has worn on. What did we learn about Montreal in that match, and how is Orlando City ready to exploit that intelligence?
Montreal came at Orlando with a pretty focused attack, building up their right side 46% of the time. Ignacio Piatti and Bakary Soumare were ball-dominant on this side, and Orlando struggled to disrupt many of their 96 combined passes as they made their way up the pitch.
While we've seen midfielders Darwin Ceren, Cristian Higuita and (most recently) Lewis Neal emerge, can they do enough to cover for a left side that may be fatigued, following two hours of soccer in Charleston Wednesday night?
Piatti gained confidence early when he scored on a penalty kick just 14 minutes into the game. Disrupting his rhythm and keeping him uncomfortable on the pitch -- in any way -- will be a priority.
A Lot More Pedro
He may be the slowest striker in MLS, but Pedro was a maestro in the previous match-up with Montreal. He connected with Kaká twice in two minutes of absolute magic that culminated with the captain equalizing what had been a 2-0 deficit just half an hour into the game.
You can't help but love a motor like that, especially when it leads to scoring chances like this one for Kaká. Ribeiro, who put in a MOTM caliber effort, has become something of a cult hero in Orlando, with stellar play from a variety of positions and an uncanny ability to turn scrappy, hustle plays into unconventional goals. If fit to play, look for Pedro's trademark hustle to give Montreal's Wandrille Lefèvre all he can handle.
Montreal Takes Chances
Montreal took four shots from outside the box in a game where they went for 60 long passes, showing an eagerness to its attack that Orlando seemed lethargic to respond to at times, specifically in the 27th minute.
Miscommunication, what appears to be a lack of urgency, and poor positioning, all led to this deep ball being playable at all for Jack McInerney, who finished it off with a display of brilliance and put the Lions in a 0-2 hole early on.
We've seen Sean St. Ledger and Seb Hines both raise their level of play, but we've also seen communication issues all along the back line.
19-year-old Tyler Turner got the start in place of suspended Rafael Ramos in that match-up. Look for the return of Ramos to provide some stability to the back line, as they look to apply a little more pressure on the ball.
Saturday night, the Lions head to Montreal to give another go at three points and look to extend their unbeaten streak to six league games. What adjustments do you think are necessary to bring home the win?