Welcome to your match thread for today’s match-up between Orlando City (4-7-3, 15 points) and the Montreal Impact (7-6-3, 24 points) at Orlando City Stadium. It’s the second and final meeting between these Eastern Conference opponents this season.
The Lions are 3-6-2 against Montreal in the all-time series since the club joined MLS, and 1-3-1 on the road. The Impact are unbeaten in the last six meetings (5-0-1) 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. The Lions fell 3-1 at home back on March 16 and Piatti was a big reason why, scoring his ninth and 10th career goals against Orlando, adding to a strike by Orji Okwonkwo. Dom Dwyer added a cosmetic goal late to spoil the clean sheet.
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 six meetings. The lone draw in this six-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.
Orlando is 1-3-2 on the road in 2019 while the Impact are 3-1-1 at home. The Lions have just one victory in their last six matches (1-4-1) and have been shut out three times in their last five games. Orlando also has not won in its last four attempts away from home (0-3-1). None of the numbers in this paragraph paint a pretty picture for the lads in purple.
The key to a win will be finding a way to avoid conceding early. Orlando has yielded a goal in the first 24 minutes of a game on 10 occasions (across nine separate matches — the Impact scored twice in the first 15 minutes of the March 16 match-up) in the first 14 games. The Lions are 2-6-1 in those nine games and 2-1-2 when they have kept the ball out of their own net during that opening 24-minute span.
Of course, Orlando will still need to put at least one ball past Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush — easier said than done considering the offense in recent weeks. The Lions haven’t have only scored two goals against Montreal since 2017. I don’t know math but it seems to me like winning is harder without any goals.
Orlando gets a bit of a lucky break in that Piatti has had an unlucky one. The Montreal talisman is going to miss up to three months with a knee injury. Still, the Impact have quietly gotten better and part of the reason is a healthy and in form Saphir Taider, who has five goals and an assist in 2019. Samuel Piette has proven 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 likely still be without Carlos Ascues (hamstring/quad), although he is off of the MLS injury report. The Venezuelan is still working on getting back to fitness. Sebas Mendez was selected for Ecuador’s upcoming Copa America run and his team has a friendly tonight against Venezuela. Montreal will be without Okwonkwo (leg), Piatti (knee), and midfielders Mathieu Choiniere (concussion) and Clement Bayiha (leg).
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 tells you what you should do while the Lions are away from home for more than a month.
Orlando City (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Brian Rowe.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Ruan.
Midfielders: Will Johnson, Cristian Higuita, Sebas Mendez.
Forwards: Nani, Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Kyle Smith, Oriol Rosell. Kamal Miller, Sacha Kljestan, Josué Colmán, Benji Michel.
Montreal Impact (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Evan Bush.
Defenders: Daniel Lovitz, Victor Cabrera, Zakaria Diallo, Bacary Sagna.
Midfielders: Saphir Taider, Samuel Piette, Micheal Azira.
Forwards: Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Maxi Urruti, Omar Browne.
Bench: Clement Diop, Jukka Raitala, Rudy Camacho, Daniel Kinumbe, Ken Krolicki, Zachary Brault-Guillard, Shamit Shome.
Ref: Chris Penso.
AR1: Brian Poeschel.
AR2: Philippe Briere.
4th: Marcos DeOliveira.
VAR: Geoff Gamble.
AVAR: Peter Balciunas.
How to Watch
Match Time: 5 p.m. ET.
Venue: Stade Saputo — Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
TV: MY65 (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN+, YouTube TV.
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go City!