On the face of things, drawing at home is never good. In the friendly confines you'd always hope to take all three points, but in certain conditions a draw can feel like a win. With a late Pierre Da Silva goal rescuing a point at home last week, Orlando City B (5-6-3, 18 points) looks to turn the tables and take some points on the road in French Canada against last place FC Montreal (2-11-1, 7 points) today at 3 p.m.
Da Silva's 87th-minute goal tied up proceedings in Melbourne against the New York Red Bulls II last Saturday night, which salvaged a point for OCB after the young Lions had given up two goals within three minutes of each other to close out the first half. The Baby Bulls had won all five of their previous road games, so you have give the young Lions credit for not only hanging tough with the team tied for second place in the USL, but also for taking a point from a team so formidable away from home.
Today, however, presents a different challenge: to handle the pressure as the clear favorite in a match on the road.
Today's opponent, FC Montreal, has been driving the struggle bus for most of its short existence. Last season, the bleu et noir lived at the bottom of the United Soccer League standings before three separate three-game winning streaks in the second half of the season brought them out of the proverbial bomb shelter and into the regular basement, finishing third from last.
This season has started no differently for the USL reserve side of the Montreal Impact, with eight straight losses to open the 2016 campaign, which has seen the team accumulate 11 losses in total. However, Montreal is coming off of just its second victory of the season Tuesday night in Harrisburg, in a game which saw Montreal hold off a furious rally to win 3-2. Perhaps OCB will be up against a confident bunch.
OCB and FC Montreal have met once already this season, with the young Lions claiming all three points at the Titan Soccer Complex back on May 1 for the team's first-ever home win.
Last Week's Lineups
OCB: Mark Ridgers; Zachary Hayden*, Mikey Ambrose, Devron Garcia, Conor Donovan; Richie Laryea, Andrew Ribeiro, Tony Rocha, Lewis Neal, Pierre Da Silva; Michael Cox
Montreal: Maxime Crèpeau; Aron Mkungilwa, Nevelo Yoseke, Janouk Charbonneau, Zachary Sukunda; Alessandro Riggi, Mastanabal Kacher, Louis Bèland-Goyette, Philippe Lincourt-Joseph, Yacine Ait-Slimane; Anthony Jackson-Hamel
*Filling in for the suspended Tyler Turner, who has a game left.
Keys To Victory
- Unleash the Playmaker: Despite his time away from the team in the early part of the season, young teenager Pierre Da Silva continues to make a name for himself as one to keep an eye on for the future. The 17-year-old scored his second goal of the season last week, which goes along with his team-high four assists. The more this kid can get on the ball, the more success OCB will have in the attack and the brighter the playmaking future for Orlando City B looks.
- Keeper Battle: OCB has given up 24 goals this season, while Montreal is right behind with 22 goals allowed. Accordingly, goalkeepers Mark Ridgers of OCB and Maxime Crèpeau of Montreal have been busy, accumulating the most and second most saves in the league, with 45 and 43, respectively. Whichever keeper can come up the biggest in today's game will give his team a significant advantage, so be on the lookout for some stellar play in between the posts of either goal.
- Road Warriors?: OCB has had the benefit in the first half of this season of playing most of its games at home. The team has played just four games away from Titan Soccer Complex up to this point, having two wins and losses apiece. Will this game tip the scale to one side or the other? Considering Montreal's lack of home victories, OCB has to be the favorite this afternoon, but will the Lions use their positive road experiences to their advantage?