Welcome to your match thread for Saturday’s match-up between Orlando City (0-0-2, 2 points) and the Montreal Impact (1-1-0, 3 points) at Orlando City Stadium. It’s the first of the two scheduled meetings between these Eastern Conference opponents, with the return leg coming at Stade Saputo on Saturday, June 1.
The Lions are 3-5-2 against Montreal in the all-time series since the club joined MLS, and 2-2-1 at home. The Impact are unbeaten in the last five meetings (4-0-1) dating back to the third match-up in 2016, in which Montreal stole a 1-0 win in Orlando after bunkering down and hitting on a Dominic Oduro counter-attack goal. The Lions dominated the match, out-shooting the Impact, 22-4, and holding 66.8% of the possession (74.2% in the second half). Oduro’s goal was the only shot on target by Montreal and it eliminated the Lions from playoff contention on Oct. 2 of that year.
The main reason the Impact have turned this series in their favor in recent years is the play of its defense and of talisman Ignacio Piatti. Montreal did not allow a goal last year in sweeping the two-game set from the Lions and the Impact have shut out Orlando City in three of the last five meetings, winning all three, and conceded just once in their other win during that span. The lone draw in this five-match Montreal run was a 3-3 shootout in Orlando in 2017, in which the Impact led deep in stoppage time, only to see Jonathan Spector’s well-placed header steal the Lions a point.
Meanwhile, Piatti has scored six of his eight career goals against Orlando City over the last two seasons. To put it mildly, the Argentine has crushed the Lions in recent seasons.
Orlando is 0-0-1 at home in 2019 while the Impact are 1-1-0 on the road, having not yet played at home this season.
The keys to a first win of 2019 for City will be finding a way to put a ball past Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush and — easier said than done — stopping Piatti. The Lions haven’t done scored a goal against Montreal since 2017 and not scoring decreases the odds of winning by...oh, a lot. I don’t know math but it seems to me like winning is harder without any goals. Meanwhile, if Orlando can take away Piatti’s space to operate, it can at least decrease the Impact’s chances of scoring. Even when he doesn’t score goals he usually sets up someone else to do so. The Lions will likely try to deny Piatti space and time on the ball in much the same way they emphasized pressure against Bastian Schweinsteiger last week — only with Piatti it’s not as easy.
Shutting down Piatti, as difficult as it is, isn’t enough by itself, however. The Impact have quietly gotten better and part of the reason is a healthy and in form Saphir Taider, who already has two goals and an assist in 2019. Taider has been part of all three Montreal goals this season.
Meanwhile, Samuel Piette will be difficult to deal with in the central midfield. The Quebecois midfielder has become Montreal’s version of Alexander Ring, only with less of a tendency to go for goal himself. Piette looks to control the midfield and immediately get the ball to his attack-minded teammates.
The Lions will be without Lamine Sané (calf, week-to-week) or Tesho Akindele (hamstring) on Saturday, and newly acquired Robin Jansson will not yet be available for James O’Connor to select. Montreal midfielder Ken Krolicki is listed out with a dislocated elbow, while Harry Novillo (hamstring) is nearing a return.
Mandatory Match #Content
Here's your mandatory match content for Saturday’s game:
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions.
- Our Intelligence Report dives deeper into Montreal with Paul Vance from Mount Royal Soccer.
- Our Jenn Glasheen leads the positivity brigade as she looks at how to love the Lions in Week 3.
Orlando City (3-5-2)
Goalkeeper: Brian Rowe.
Defenders: Danilo Acosta, Carlos Ascues, Shane O’Neill.
Wingbacks/Midfielders: Chris Mueller, Sebas Mendez, Sacha Kljestan, Will Johnson, Ruan.
Forwards: Nani, Dom Dwyer.
Bench: Greg Ranjitsingh, Kyle Smith, Alex De John, Cristian Higuita, Oriol Rosell, Josué Colmán, Santiago Patino.
Montreal Impact (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Evan Bush.
Defenders: Daniel Lovitz, Zakaria Diallo, Victor Cabrera, Bacary Sagna.
Midfielders: Saphir Taider, Samuel Piette, Micheal Azira.
Forwards: Ignacio Piatti, Maxi Urruti, Orji Okwonkwo.
Bench: Clement Diop, Jukka Raitala, Rudy Camacho, Harry Novillo, Shamit Shome, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Mathieu Choinière.
Ref: Tim Ford.
AR1: Ian Anderson.
AR2: Jose Da Silva.
4th: Christopher Penso.
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
AVAR: Kyle Longville.
How to Watch
Match Time: 4 p.m. ET.
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: MY65 (local only).
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN+, YouTube TV.
Match Thread Rules
This is your live thread for posting comments on the match. So use our comments section below to talk about the game in real time with other supporters. If you’re new, welcome to our happy home! While you’re here, please observe a few basic rules:
- Absolutely no links to illegal streams. They can get us in trouble, and no one wants that.
- Try not to be the person who spews nothing but venom and hate for the team. It’s OK to be critical, and, let’s face it, sometimes even the best teams can be frustrating to watch, but being overly negative relentlessly can sap the enjoyment for others.
- Keep it somewhat clean and fair when criticizing players / officials. You never know who might be reading.
- Do unto others in the match thread, the way you would have others do unto you. We are a fun community and want to keep it this way. We have a moderator, but we’d rather let him enjoy the game instead of having to play babysitter.
Enjoy the match! Go City!