CF Montreal Match Preview
Alright folks, who’s ready?!?!?! I’m very excited to finally watch my first match as an Orlando City fan. Look I know I am New England born and raised (and the Revolution will always be number #1, sorry not sorry) but allow me to adopt myself into the Mane Land. Orlando City SC will open its 2022 season at home at Exploria Stadium and welcome CF Montreal into the building. Just like last year, the Lions will look to start off hot.
Montreal is opening their second season under Wilfried Nancy. They were close to making the playoffs but barely missed out. However, not all was lost, as Montreal was able to bring something home, winning the Canadian Championship vs Toronto in the final, while also securing Concacaf Champions League soccer in the process. And wow, guess who Montreal lost to on the final day. The Lions. A win could have seen them jump to 6th and qualify, but CF Montreal missed out. Without a doubt, they’ll be out for revenge.
Orlando City Stats
13-12-9, Top Goal Scorer: Nani, Top Assister: Pereyra, LWDLD
CF Montreal Stats
12-10-12, Top Goal Scorer: Quioto, Top Assister: Mihailovic, LWLWL
1. Protect the Flanks
The classic clashing of formations. The Lions typically operate in a 4 back system and CF Montreal operate with 3 center backs and 2 wingbacks whose goal is to bomb up and down the wide areas of the pitch and create havoc. On one end, make those wingbacks earn their sweat. I want them running so much this game and getting caught in transition OFTEN. Having been a wingback myself, it is frustrating having to get back and defend, especially with numbers get confusing and you’re forced into 1v1 battles with wingers. Attack the width while also keeping the fullbacks disciplined to win the wide areas.
2. Be Ready Mentally
Clubs hold grudges. A result against us last year would have gotten Montreal into the playoffs. They have a point to prove coming into our stadium opening the season and they will come out with a bang. I expect a really hard-nosed physical game, with the first 30 minutes or so being fouls exchanged back and forth. Win the midfield battle and don’t be afraid to put a tackle in here or there. Protect your pitch on opening day and be checked in mentally.
3. Torres Time
Torres got himself immediately involved in the action in preseason, playing a nice ball which led to a goal in the last game. Watching his highlights at his old club, the kid is fierce. I know it can sometimes take time to adjust to a league, but most South American leagues are typically very physical and technically skilled in nature, so he should be used to that. As I mentioned in the wingback discussion, and in the Season Preview article, get him on the ball to attack the flanks. Operating against their back 5 will get him into pockets of space between central midfielders and center backs where he can operate well. He has a strong and gifted left foot and can create for himself. With the loss of Dike, Nani, and Mueller, his presence is needed in this opener.
A Look at CF Montreal
~ Three-man center back system, lots of attacking freedom
~ Counter, counter, COUNTER!
~ Key Players:
Mihailovic (led team in assists, dangerous playmaker, finds pockets of space)
Quioto (led team in goals, speedy dribbler who is so vital on the counterattack)
Wanyama (experienced midfielder who can progress passes and break up play defensively)
~ Montreal lost their first game vs Santos Laguna after an 88’ minute winner.
~ Montreal won their second game vs. Santos Laguna in a dominant 3-0 performance.
Fuck it. 2-0 to the Lions. It’s my first match preview and I’m excited and confident. Opening at home to the team you beat last season, let’s go out there and get the win. Torres and Kara to get on the scoresheet if Kara is fit. VAMOS ORLANDO. (Come back when I’m right).