Happy match day, Lion Nation! Our lads in purple will be in action at home against the Montreal Impact on the MLS side at 1 p.m., and our reserve squad is in New Jersey to take on the New York Red Bulls’ reserve squad, NYRBII, at 4 p.m. It has the potential to be a huge day for the club but it could also be...well...not good.
Not only will NYRBII be incredibly difficult for OCB to beat, but those jerks in Kansas City and Toronto lost last night to New England and D.C. United, respectively, so there is absolutely no margin for error. The MLS Lions must win out and get help along the way in order to make the 2016 postseason. That has to start this afternoon against the Impact.
Kreis Appreciates Clarity of Orlando City’s Situation
In this ESPN FC piece, Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis talked about how the situation his team finds itself in does make life a little simpler. There’s no more worrying about if the club can just get this number of points on this road trip or that point total during a stretch of three matches in nine days. Everything from here on out is cut and dried. From the article linked above:
"If there's one thing that I really like about this game, it's that the immediate incentive is really clear. We have to get three points. You know, you go through a season saying, 'Well, we have to get these three points' or 'We really need that point on the road' or 'performance this' or 'performance that' ... No. This one's really clear. We have to get three points or our season will be over."
It’s kind of like how Littlefinger in Game of Thrones must feel, knowing that if one of his machinations goes awry, he’ll lose his head and that’s that. There’s probably some kind of freedom in that knowledge, but I’ll bet Kreis would still prefer to be above that red line. Well, you never know. Let’s play those games and see how it goes.
Impact out for Revenge Today
The Lions are 2-0 against Montreal this season with a win in each team’s home grounds. Orlando City will need a sweep of the three-game series to stay in the hunt, while the Impact will try to seek revenge for the two prior losses.
"Well I think the fact that they beat us both times, and beat us at home, is obviously something that we're conscious of," Montreal head coach Mauro Biello said after practice in Montreal on Friday. "They came into our stadium and beat us and now is an opportunity for us to pay them back. We know it's going to be a difficult game. They're a team that's fighting for their lives, and we have to be ready for everything."
Meanwhile, in the same article, Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush thinks Orlando might be easy pickings since the Lions have to play for three points.
"You play teams three times a year so you can get revenge on anybody at any point. So we've struggled with them obviously in the past, the home game here and down there. We've had some close games but couldn't pull it out in the end, and they're a good team. They give us trouble but we're excited for that challenge and we know that they're going to throw everything at us because they need full points so as long as we can absorb some blows and weather the storm, you know, I think we'll be able to find chances ourselves."
Yes, Orlando needs full points but if Evan Bush checks out the standings, I don’t think Montreal can afford to play for the draw, either. The Impact are just above the red line, two points behind the suddenly surging Revolution and now behind D.C. United. New England, Columbus, and Orlando City could all still finish ahead of the Impact if they’re content to try to play for a point.
Impact Defense Shorthanded Tonight
Montreal has some key back line personnel missing for today’s match-up against Orlando City. Defenders Hassoun Camara and Victor Cabrera will miss today’s game due to suspension, while fullback Donny Toia’s season continues to be marred by injuries. This could help the likes of Cyle Larin, Kaká, Matias Perez Garcia, and Kevin Molino. But Laurent Ciman, one of the league’s best center backs, will still be in the lineup. Orlando must take advantage of Montreal’s makeshift back line today if the Lions are going to keep their faint playoff hopes alive. Wandrille Lefevre, Ambroise Oyongo and rookie Kyle Fisher are expected to step in to fill the holes for the Impact.
Playing Games: Great Career Move
Next time someone in your life nags you about playing games online, just tell them you’re preparing for a career change. This Guardian piece tells the story of how Matt Neil’s obsession with playing Football Manager turned into a career in soccer in real life. Neil is working in League Two in England as the lead first-team analyst with Plymouth Argyle. The story linked above quotes Neil telling his story.
I’ve always played Football Manager. My greatest achievement was having a stadium named after me at Huddersfield. If I looked at the hours I’ve played over the past five years or so, I’d be quite worried to be honest. It’s around 600 to 700 hours a year. The time just flies; you don’t notice when you’re playing it. I’ve never managed Plymouth because after becoming a researcher it feels like I know too much. I know every single piece of data for all the players and everything that’s hidden in the background of the game. It makes it too easy.
Check out his interesting story and keep playing those games.
Well folks, that’s all I’ve got for you this morning. Please check back later for coverage of Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact, and OCB at New York Red Bulls II. Your how to watch/match thread posts for both will drop later.
Play me out, Dimitry Payet: