Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night match-up between Orlando City (12-8-9, 45 points) and CF Montreal (11-10-8, 41 points) at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). This is the second of three scheduled meetings between the teams this season and second of two in Orlando. The Lions will close the season on the road in Canada on Nov. 7 in the final meeting.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
The Lions are 5-7-2 against Montreal in the all-time league series (2-4-1 at home) since the club joined MLS and 6-7-2 in all competitions. The last meeting came back on Sept. 15 with Orlando falling 4-2 and finishing the game with just nine men after both Nani and Andres Perea were sent off. Romell Quioto led Montreal with a goal and two assists. Mathieu Choiniere and Quioto put Montreal up 2-0 but despite already being down one man, Robin Jansson and Ruan tied things up. But the visitors got two more from Lassi Lappalainen and Sunusi Ibrahim.
Last year, the teams met at Red Bull Arena as the then-Impact played home games in New Jersey due to the pandemic. Orlando City got a Daryl Dike goal in the 39th minute to win 1-0 on Nov. 1, 2020. It was the second meeting of the 2020 season, with Orlando also beating Montreal 1-0 in the MLS is Back Tournament knockout rounds on July 25 to advance to the quarterfinals. Tesho Akindele scored the game’s only goal on a Montreal defensive mistake. Orlando had controlled the game but was struggling to finish. Ultimately, the one goal was enough.
Orlando City snapped a six-game winless streak against Montreal (0-5-1) in MLS regular-season play dating back to 2016 when the teams met in a league game in one of the teams’ actual home stadium, as the Lions put the Impact to the sword in a 3-0 drubbing at Stade Saputo on June 1, 2019. Nani (penalty), Akindele, and Will Johnson supplied the offense that day.
The main reason the Impact had such success against Orlando the previous few years was the play of its defense and of former talisman Ignacio Piatti. The Lions fell 3-1 at Exploria Stadium back on March 16 of last season, 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 against the Lions in 2018, sweeping the two-game set from Orlando and the Impact shut out Orlando City in three of the six meetings in that 5-0-1 run. The lone draw in that time frame 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.
The first match in the Impact’s successful run vs. Orlando occurred Oct. 2, 2016, when 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 that year.
Orlando won the first two meetings in 2016 by a combined score of 6-2. The teams split three meetings in 2015, with each going 1-1-1.
The Lions are coming off a nervy 1-0 win at FC Cincinnati on Saturday, with Junior Urso providing the game’s only goal. That improved Orlando’s modest unbeaten streak to three games (2-0-1). Orlando City is 8-2-4 at home this season but one of those two losses was to Montreal. CF Montreal is 3-7-4 in road games, but many of Montreal’s “home” matches the first half of the season were away from Stade Saputo due to the team’s continued pandemic exile. So tonight’s visitors are somewhat road and battle tested and will feel confident after the last meeting, when Quioto ran rampant.
Montreal is coming off an emotional 2-2 draw against the Philadelphia Union. Ibrahim’s goal in the 95th minute helped his team escape with a point at Stade Saputo.
Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the last match that he got his tactics wrong and the team also played a rather sloppy game, which was how it quickly fell behind two goals and lost a man in the process. The Lions weren’t much better than that in the second half of Saturday’s match at FC Cincinnati, but there could have been some residual rust from a two-week layoff and the Ohio side played with desperation and much more energy in the second 45 minutes.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to keep getting close to our first objective [of making the playoffs],” Pareja said in his pre-match press conference. “Montréal comes in that battle of getting points as well and surely it’s going to be a very intense game for both teams. The frequency of the games obviously is a factor that we all have at this moment with the proximity of the games, but also there is a time where you have to go for what you need. We’ve played them already here, had a very difficult game where we had a red card (and a player sent off with two yellows) and they took advantage of that. Now we’re waiting for a different game obviously and a different outcome.”
The Lions will see a familiar face on the other side in former City defender Kamal Miller — now a regular starter for Montreal.
Orlando will be missing starting center back Antonio Carlos due to yellow card accumulation after he was put in a bad situation by a soft and ill-advised pass from Perea on Saturday. Moutinho is listed as questionable. Montreal has several players out. Mason Toye (shoulder), Romell Quioto (hamstring), Róbert Thorkelsson (adductor), Ahmed Hamdi (foot), and Jean Aniel Assi (quadriceps) are listed as out with injuries, while Joel Waterman is out with a yellow card suspension. Lappalainen (hamstring) is day-to-day.
Mandatory Match Content
- This week’s PawedCast features our key match-ups and score predictions.
Orlando City (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Emmanuel Mas, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Ruan.
Midfielders: Mauricio Pereyra, Junior Urso, Uri Rosell, Chris Mueller.
Forwards: Benji Michel, Daryl Dike.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Kyle Smith, Rio Hope-Gund, Joey DeZart, Sebas Mendez, Silvester van der Water, Nani, Tesho Akindele, Alexandre Pato.
Montreal Impact (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: James Pantemis.
Defenders: Kamal Miller, Rudy Camacho, Aljaz Struna.
Midfielders: Zorhan Bassong, Samuel Piette, Emanuel Maciel, Mathieu Choiniere.
Forwards: Djordje Mihailovic, Matko Miljovic, Joaquin Torres.
Bench: Sebastian Breza, Zachary Brault-Guillard, Mustafa Kizza, Rida Zouhir, Ballou Tabla, Clement Bayiha, Ismael Kone, Sunusi Ibrahim, Bjorn Maars Johnsen.
Ref: Robert Sibiga.
AR1: Kevin Klinger.
AR2: Logan Brown.
4th: Elvis Osmanovic.
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez.
AVAR: Kyle Longville.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market only) and on the LionNation app.
Enjoy the match. Go City!
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