Orlando City SC vs. Montreal Impact | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Orlando City SC vs. Montreal Impact
2017 MLS Regular Season
Orlando City Stadium – Orlando, Fla.
Saturday, June 17 – 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE (USA) | TVAS (Canada)
The Montreal Impact haven’t exactly torn up the league – à la their rivals in Ontario – but they are slowly and surely rounding into form. In addition to reaching the final of the Canadian Championship, which they will contest against Toronto FC starting next week, they’ve collected 10 points from their last five league match-ups, form that would comfortably take them into playoff position if they can keep it up.
“I think in the last five games we’ve done very, very well,” said Impact midfielder Blerim Dzemaili at training this week. “It’s not much [in the standings], but we can always do better and I think we have to do better.”
Standing in their way is an Orlando City side that has fallen off after a red-hot start to the season and will be looking to avenge a humbling midweek defeat in the U.S. Open Cup. They remain in the Eastern Conference playoff places for now, but should current trends continue they could see Saturday’s opponents replace them in the top six sooner rather than later.
Orlando City SC
It’s been a turbulent week for Orlando, who were humbled by the NASL’s Miami FC in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday and then saw star forward Cyle Larin enter the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) program after his Thursday arrest for DUI. The Canadian international will not be eligible to participate in any competition or team activity, until that assessment is complete, he is cleared for participation by the SABH Program doctors, and Major League Soccer completes its investigation.
As far as the on-the-field product is concerned, the Lions are looking to use the defeat to Miami as motivation to end a run of nine games across all competitions that has seen them win just once – against a tailspinning D.C. United.
“You can call it an upset or whatever you want, but that’s got to hurt us deep down,” Orlando forward Giles Barnes said of the loss to Miami. “It’s got to play on your mind for a couple of days and be your motivation to get back into training and make sure it’s out of everyone’s heads by Saturday. I don’t think we were at the races from the beginning, and that can’t happen.”
On the positive side for Orlando, they will welcome back to the starting lineup a number of starters who were rested, on the bench or on international duty for the Open Cup, including Kaká, Will Johnson, Carlos Rivas, Scott Sutter, Joe Bendik, Jose Aja and Matias Perez Garcia.
- Suspended: M Antonio Nocerino (red card), Cyle Larin (SABH program)
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injuries: None
Projected Lineup (4-4-2 diamond, right to left): Joe Bendik – Rafael Ramos, Jonathan Spector, Jose Aja, Donny Toia – Servando Carrasco – Cristian Higuita, Will Johnson – Kaká – Giles Barnes, Carlos Rivas
Notes: After winning five games to open their new stadium, Orlando has won just one of their last four home games (2D-1L). In their first five games, they conceded a total of four goals. They have allowed five goals in the four games since – though they have kept clean sheets in back-to-back home games. … Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik has 52 saves this season, the second most in the league. Bendik is one of three keepers with more than 50 saves this season.
The Impact have received a mixed bag of injury news over the last week. While they were able to welcome back Matteo Mancosu and Andres Romero in a 1-1 draw at Sporting Kansas City last Saturday, they were also dealt a double blow as midfield prodigy Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla picked up an injury in warmups for that game and starting left back Ambroise Oyongo was ruled out for the season after picking up a knee injury on international duty with Cameroon.
As far as the players who will be on the field, not only did Mancosu return after missing six weeks with a thigh injury, he came off the bench to score a delightful chipped equalizer. It remains to be seen whether or not he will replace Anthony Jackson-Hamel in the starting XI in Orlando, but the Italian striker appears to be well on his way to full fitness.
“I worked hard last week,” Mancosu told reporters at Impact training on Thursday. “[And] I worked hard this week to get ready to play on Saturday.”
- Suspended: Chris Duvall (red card)
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injuries: OUT – D Ambroise Oyongo (right knee surgery); M Hernan Bernardello (undisclosed injury), M Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla (undisclosed injury), M Louis Beland-Goyette (undisclosed injury)
Projected lineup (4-3-3, right to left): Evan Bush – Wandrille Lefevre, Laurent Ciman, Kyle Fisher, Daniel Lovitz – Patrice Bernier, Marco Donadel, Blerim Dzemaili – Dominic Oduro, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Ignacio Piatti
Notes: Montreal has lost just one of their last five away matches (1W-1D) The Impact are looking for their first road winning streak in regular season MLS play since a three-game road winning streak from Oct. 10, 2015-March 6, 2016. … Montreal’s Anthony Jackson-Hamel has the best minutes per goal ratio in away games of any player at just 17.5 minutes. Jackson Hamel has two goals on the road this season.
This will be the seventh meeting between Orlando and Montreal. Orlando has won three of the last four games although, Montreal won the most recent game 1-0 in Orlando last October.
- Overall: Orlando 3 wins (10 goals) … Montreal 2 wins (8 goals) … Ties 1
- At Orlando: Orlando 2 wins (4 goals) … Montreal 1 win (3 goals) … Ties 0
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Kathryn Nesbitt
4th Official: Caleb Mendez