Orlando City has now matched its six-game winning streak earlier this season with a six-game losing streak after falling on the road to the Montreal Impact, 3-0. The Lions (6-8-1) were unable to score, despite forward Dom Dwyer returning to the starting lineup for the first time since May 13. Meanwhile, the Impact improved to (5-11-0) and will try to begin to climb back up the Eastern Conference standings.
Impact forward Ignacio Piatti scored a brace in the match — including from the spot to set the tone early — continuing his dominance over Orlando with seven goals in eight appearances. Montreal’s second goal came off an own goal after left back Daniel Lovitz sent in a low cross that bounced off Amro Tarek and beat Joe Bendik.
Orlando had plenty of chances to answer, but poor finishing, bad passing, and dumb luck cost them yet another game.
Here’s the lineup Head Coach Jason Kreis fielded, with Jonathan Spector getting his first start in an MLS game since April 8:
Montreal started the game with its foot on the gas and Orlando City didn‘t look like it was ready for the match. Orlando City nemesis Piatti and Raheem Edwards spent the early minutes of the match causing mayhem and it didn’t take long for the pressure to cause Orlando City to crack. Montreal’s moment came after a corner caused by an Edwards’ shot that Joe Bendik had to deflect out of play.
In just the fifth minute, Cristian Higuita made a grave mistake while desperatley trying to stop Montreal’s Saphir Taider ad clipped him inside the box. The referee took little time to give Montreal a penalty for the foul as Orlando City got off to perhaps its worst start of the season, which is saying something given how sluggish Orlando is to start games.
Piatti converted the penalty, with Bendik diving the opposite direction and Montreal taking an early 1-0 lead.
Down a goal, Orlando City began to see more and more of the ball as the team searched for an equalizer. But the Lions weren‘t able to make anything happen with the ball at their feet. Any time the Lions looked dangerous, the target was always Dwyer. The forward was chasing every long ball and cross sent his way and was close many times.
A chance came in the 11th minute when Justin Meram found Tony Rocha out wide and the left back delivered a pass that danced in front of Montreal’s net. Dwyer slid to try to get on the end of it but was inches away from making contact, possibly due to the wet field that caused the ball to quickly skid past the center of goal.
Frustration seemed to set in for Dwyer after the miss and he picked up a yellow card after a late and frankly unnecessary tackle. Higuita then followed up Dwyer’s performance with one of his own, giving a signature hard foul and being issued a yellow card as well. But unlike Dwyer, Higuita’s yellow card will now have him sitting out of Orlando’s next MLS game thanks to accumulation.
Orlando City‘s first shot didn’t come until the 31st minute when Dwyer got his head on the end of a cross by Oriol Rosell. Dwyer had to come back to the ball to make contact, sacrificing some power behind the attempt and Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush comfortably collected the shot.
Gaining some confidence on the pitch, the Lions had another opportunity in the 34th minute with a set of nifty passes between Meram and Sacha Kljestan that ended with an open shot outside of the box from Rosell that sailed just wide of the goal. It would‘ve been unexpected for Rosell to score from that far out but it was a nice sign to see from the trailing Lions desperate to end their losing streak.
In the 42nd minute, the Lions were given a chance to level the game before the half after Dwyer was fouled just outside the box. After earning the foul, Dwyer fired a curving shot from the set piece that curled over the wall and beat Bush but wasn’t able to dip into the goal.
That was the last real chance the Lions had before the break, finishing the first half ahead in possession (51%) after finding a good amount of momentum and looking the better team outside of the first 15 or so minutes. Despite looking like the better team for the latter stages of the first half, the Lions finished with just three shots, two of which were on target.
Orlando City started the second half right where it left off with a sense of urgency, but momentum came to a halt in the 49th minute when Rosell slid in for a ball and was issued a yellow card and the game was stopped by the referee and he went to video review to see if the challenge was worthy of more discipline. After probably taking the rainy conditions (and common sense) into account, the referee decided a yellow was enough and the game continued.
The break was apparently all Montreal needed to put itself back in the driver’s seat. Montreal started to see more of the ball and found the back of the net for the second time when Piatti found open space down the left side, cut toward the middle and sent Lovitz down the left. Orlando couldn’t close in on him before he whipped a ball into the box. Neither Bendik nor Montreal‘s Matteo Mancosu got on the end of the ball. Instead, it was Tarek who made the slightest bit of contact and caused an own goal, giving Montreal a 2-0 lead in the 55th minute and making the uphill climb for Orlando that much steeper.
Down two, Kreis made his first substution of the match by putting Jose Villarreal in for Higuita in the 57th minute. The midfielder had an immediate impact, his first touch of the game being a cross to Dwyer that was just behind the forward and making him unable to get enough power to drive the ball into the goal yet again.
Villareal delivered another good ball, finding Rocha down the left side as the left back weaved his way towards the goal but the final pass just wasn’t good enough and the chance was lost. I bet you’re starting to see a theme here.
But Orlando City didn’t stop pressing forward. Meram was finally able to give Dwyer a cross he wanted in the 65th minute, but the shot went inches wide and the scoreline remained the same.
After having little impact on the match for the most part, Josué Colmán’s opportunity finally came in the 66th minute as the Young Designated Player chased down a long ball. The Paraguayan was able to fight past two defenders but he couldn’t his his shot cleanly and sent it harmlessly wide and over the bar.
Seeing enough, Kreis took Colmán out immediately after the missed shot, electing to put rookie Chris Mueller into the game for an injection of energy. That move was followed by a similar one as Meram came off for Stefano Pinho.
In a night full of bad, there was at least something to smile about in the 70th minute when Piatti was in a one-on-one situation with Spector and the American center back was able to hold his own against the potent attacker. He may not have been able to stop the onslaught of three goals, but it’s nice to have Spector back in the lineup.
Like every chance it had in the game, Orlando City simply couldn’t catch a break in 78th minute when Rosell had a wide open shot that was sure to go in but was accidentally deflected by Pinho right into the belly of Bush, who was down on his side.
Orlando City’s assualt continued just minutes later when Dwyer got on the end of a cross for his best scoring chance of the night but the header went off target and Orlando remained scoreless.
Another chance came shortly after with Pinho making contact with the ball directly in front of the net but the shot somehow went high and over the bar. It would be almost comical how close Orlando was to scoring if not for the frustration that comes from Orlando City squandering opportunities yet again.
Bendik was able to stop Montreal from extending its lead on two occasions late in the game, with two big saves where he had to come out and make the stop. However, third time was the charm for the Impact when Piatti caught the tired Orlando City defense sleeping. Alone behind the defense with the ball after a through ball, Piatti dribbled around Bendik and easily tucked the ball into the goal to secure his brace and put Montreal up 3-0.
A few late chances by Dwyer and Pinho were unsuccessful and the Lions were shut out for the third time this season.
The chances were there for Orlando City, but like so many games during this six-game losing streak, the Lions simply weren’t able to score. Orlando City ended the game with 57% possession and led Montreal in shots, 12-11. Both teams had four shots on target but the game obviously came down to finishing with Orlando City unable to score.
The Lions continue their five-game road trip with only a U.S. Open Cup victory to show for it so far. Orlando City will hope to keep its run in the tournament alive on the road against D.C. United next Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET. The Lions will then look to end their MLS skid at home a week from Saturday in a rematch against Montreal on June 23.