Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night match-up between Orlando City (10-5-8, 38 points) and CF Montreal (8-8-7, 31 points) at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). This is the first of three scheduled meetings between the teams this season, with Montreal returning to Orlando on Oct. 20 and the Lions closing the season on the road in Canada on Nov. 7. If you’re unfamiliar with this new name, the club was formerly known as the Montreal Impact but is now officially Club de Foot Montreal.
Orlando City is coming off a humiliating 3-0 road loss at Atlanta on Friday, while the Clubfoots lost 1-0 at home against Nashville on Saturday.
The Lions are 5-6-2 against Montreal in the all-time league series (2-3-1 at home) since the club joined MLS and 6-6-2 in all competitions. The last meeting came at Red Bull Arena last year 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 saw their season-best, seven-match unbeaten streak end last Friday in Atlanta. Orlando City never seemed to be part of that game and Oscar Pareja will no doubt be expecting a more spirited effort tonight. Orlando is 7-1-4 in home matches this season, while Montreal is 2-6-4 in road games. Yet even 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.
The Clubfoots have only scored three fewer goals than Orlando City in the same number of games and they’ve conceded one fewer. Montreal is 0-4-3 in its last seven away games. The loss at home to Nashville, however, snapped a four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2).
Which Orlando City team will show up? The Lions have scored either one goal or none in seven of the last eight games in all competitions, with the lone decent offensive game coming in a 3-2 win in the team’s last home match against the Columbus Crew. However, that wasn’t without incident because the Lions gave up two goals in a two-minute span, scoring a goal for the Crew. Orlando also had an own goal in the team’s most recent outing in Atlanta.
The Lions will need to be better defensively after allowing five goals in the last two matches and scoring two of them for the opposition.
“Last year we played (Montreal) a couple of times and we were successful in those results, but this year they have had some changes and we’ll try to organize our ideas and regroup after our last game,” Pareja said. “We’re going in with the game plan in our hands and we’ll try to execute it and get a result. This is the repetition every week, it’s important and we know the importance of the match indeed.”
The Lions will see a familiar face on the other side, with former defender Kamal Miller a regular starter for the visitors in 2021.
Orlando will welcome back Junior Urso after his yellow card suspension kept him out of the last game and the midfield got overrun. In addition, Andres Perea and Uri Rosell each have some minutes under their belt after returning from injury.
The Lions will be without Sebas Mendez, who moved back from the international duty list to the “out” list, along with Alexandre Pato and Mason Stajduhar. Pedro Gallese is the expected starter in goal after returning from international duty. Montreal lists Mason Toye (shoulder), Róbert Thorkelsson (adductor), and Aljaz “Kiki” Struna (calf) as out.
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, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Midfielders: Mauricio Pereyra, Junior Urso, Andres Perea, Silvester van der Water.
Forwards: Nani, Daryl Dike.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Kyle Smith, Rodrigo Schlegel, Raul Aguilera, Joey DeZart, Alexander Alvarado, Chris Mueller, Benji Michel, Tesho Akindele.
Montreal Impact (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: James Pantemis
Defenders: Kamal Miller, Joel Waterman, Rudy Camacho.
Midfielders: Zachary Brault-Guillard, Samuel Piette, Victor Wanyama, Mathieu Choiniere.
Forwards: Djordje Mihailovic, Romell Quioto, Joaquin Torres.
Bench: Sebastian Breza, Zorhan Bassong, Mustafa Kizza, Emanuel Maciel, Clement Bayiha, Lassi Lappalainen, Ahmed Hamdi, Bjorn Johnsen, Ibrahim Sunusi.
Ref: Rubiel Vazquez.
AR1: Jose da Silva.
AR2: Jeffrey Swartzel.
4th: Marcos de Oliveira.
VAR: Chris Penso.
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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