Orlando City visits the Montreal Impact in the second of three straight road games for the Lions. Since slipping below the red line a couple weeks ago, every point is especially precious and Jason Kreis will want and expect his team to take all three points out of Stade Saputo from the struggling Impact. That said, the Lions have done plenty of struggling of their own, mostly offensively.
Dom Dwyer will be available for his second game since rejoining Orlando City and he still hasn’t spent a week training with his new teammates. Dwyer and Kaká jetted off to Chicago to take part in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game, where the striker scored a late equalizer to force penalty kicks. Hopefully he can score one for his club tonight.
I don't think anyone really expected a six-goal offensive explosion the first time Orlando City and Montreal Impact met. Do you think that will carry over to this meeting in Montreal, or more of a defensive-minded battle?
Peter Alper: MLS is a league of high scoring games but I don't see an explosion of goals like the last time Orlando and Montreal met. I do think if one team does have an explosion of goals it will be Orlando. With the new signing of Dom Dwyer and the likes of Kaká and Cyle Larin, Orlando's offense is way above Montreal's offense. Most of Montreal's offense comes from two players, Ignacio Piatti and Blerim Dzemaili; both play in the midfield area. Montreal hasn't had a striker who can be effective game in and game out since Didier Drogba. Montreal is lacking a high talented striker who can spread the goal scoring across the team rather than it coming from two players.
Ignacio Piatti had his way with center back Jose Aja in the first meeting. How do you expect the Lions to approach stopping him in this rematch?
PA: Ignacio Piatti is a wizard when it comes to him beating defenders one on one and in the past when Piatti tore the back line apart he did it again against them the next game. He is unpredictable with his feet and has made his mark like that through his time here in MLS. There is a good chance he does get stopped by the Lions’ back line this game and maybe from Jose Aja — every player has his off game and that could be against Orlando. If Piatti is feeling it come Saturday and is on the top of his game the Orlando back line will have to be very careful because Piatti will tear them apart and score goals.
With the addition of Dom Dwyer to the Orlando attack, what do you expect to see from the Montreal defense in trying to handle both Dwyer and Cyle Larin up top?
PA: One reason Montreal this season is playing very badly and not in a playoff spot is the lack of consistency from the defenders. Laurent Ciman at times will play like the best defender in MLS, but the next game will look like he never kicked a soccer ball in his life. When Ciman is off his game there is a huge gap in the back line that can be filled by anyone else. Montreal's best defender this season has been Kyle Fisher, Montreal's 2016 second-round pick in the MLS SuperDraft. He has been the most consistent and when he and Ciman are playing well they're very good together.
Dwyer and Cyle Larin up top can win you the game alone if Ciman is off his game and Montreal's fullbacks aren't something too pretty right now. I think Montreal will have a hard time defending against Orlando's attack and it may cost them another three points.
Injuries/suspensions/projected starting XI/final score prediction?
PA: Injuries: Ambroise Oyongo and Ballou are day to day.
Projected starting XI: Evan Bush; Daniel Lovitz, Kyle Fisher, Laurent Ciman, Chris Duvall; Patrice Bernier, Hernan Bernardello; Blerim Dzemaili, Ignacio Piatti, Matteo Mancosu; Anthony Jackson-Hamel.
Prediction: 3-1 Orlando.
Big thanks to Peter from Mount Royal Soccer for stopping by to help us scout the Montreal Impact.