CF Montreal Match Review
God, I wish I was in Orlando right now. Not only to have been at Exploria Stadium to
watch the Lions get a huge 2-0 win to start the season, but also cause I’m fucking sick
of the New England snow. I would gladly have replaced myself with an Orlando player
pouring a whole bottle of water on his face in the hydration break. The Lions were able
to overcome the heat and grab an opening day victory against CF Montreal, 2-0.
Backed by a near perfect performance in the second half (near perfect because a lot of
people wanted to be tough guys and get cards) the Lions looked in control and closed
the game out strong.
The first 10 minutes had me a little nervous, I cannot lie. Montreal looked really
composed and they got the ball out wide early and spread the field. Araujo and Perea
didn’t seem up for the battle against Wanyama, but maybe that’s my Chelsea PTSD
kicking in from his Tottenham years. The Lions kept growing into the game after a close
chance by Quioto where he took it past Gallese and just fired wide. And now, I’m going
to start getting angry.
The Lions should have had a penalty. I can’t believe it wasn’t even talked about for that
long. Waterman CLEARLY positioned himself to knock the cross down with his forearm,
you could see his intention. It got glazed over and no one cared. Second, I HATE the
new offside rules. I understand if it’s close, but if someone is 5 yards offside, put the
fucking flag up. Letting the play continue does nothing for anybody. It risks injury and wastes everyone’s time. It’s so dumb. I’ve kept that bottled up for years and I saw it unfold
multiple times today.
Despite my anger, there was good in the first half. Pato looked strong and healthy,
which helped build-up to his MOTM performance. Facundo Torres looks like a homerun
signing and it’s only a matter of time until he begins bagging goals and assists. He
had free range to roam around the pitch, pick the ball up, and start playmaking,
which looks like his most dangerous role for the Lions. My biggest complaint was a
lackluster press which, when it worked, the front 3 was not close to clinical enough.
At halftime, I wrote down one sentence that isn’t grammatically correct. “Pato good,
Torres baller, defense doing well.” The second half came and the Lions came out
HUNGRY. Basically, everything that wasn’t being executed was finally corrected this
time. Pato struck first for Orlando on a beautiful move which consisted of Pereyra
breaking lines and Ruan crossing it on a plate for Pato to finish. The lackluster press I
mentioned finally woke up, with Pereyra intercepting and slipping it in for Michel to tuck
away. Just like that, it was 2-0 Orlando with 30 to go. The rest of the way was pretty
smooth sailing, despite Jansson picking up a second yellow. A near-perfect day at
Exploria Stadium, with much room to grow as well.
GOAL - 49’ - Pato (assisted by Ruan)
Yellow Card - 56’ - Araujo
GOAL - 59’ - Michel (assisted by Pereyra)
Red Card - 66’ - Quioto
Yellow Card - 66’ - Jansson
Red Card/Second Yellow Card - 81’ - Jansson
Yellow Card - 85’ - Moutinho
Yellow Card - 87’ - Wanyama
Yellow Card - 90’ + 4’ - Waterman
Yellow Card - 90’ + 5’- J. Torres
1. Perfect Pato
Pato played about as perfect of a game as I was expecting from him. Nobody likes to
factor in the mental aspect of the game. Orlando needs him right now. With all the
departures, it being the season opener, and him not scoring yet, all these factors could have been weighing on him. Instead, he was immense. His hold-up play and dropping deep to link up with other attackers was excellent. He chose the perfect moments to lead a press,
which frustrated Montreal defenders all game long. He looked sharp and quick on the
ball and made a lot of veteran decisions in his movement and decision-making. And of
course, he got the opener which was the cherry on top. What a start for a player whose
career may not have gone the direction the world hoped, but there is plenty of story left
2. Torres is Tricky
I don’t want to make this article solely about attacking players but Torres looked very
exciting today. I mentioned in my season preview and match preview articles that I want
to see him get involved and acclimated early and often. That was definitely the case.
Out the gate, he was getting involved, slipping players in, and dropping deep, roaming
around to get his feet on the ball. He was one of the only Orlando players with a pulse in
the first 20 minutes, to be honest. I liked how confident he was and put on a show for
the 75 minutes he was on today. Him on the right is just straight football porn.
3. Defense: Quiet is Good
The defense was quiet today and that is a fantastic thing. Besides a shaky first 10
minutes or so, they didn’t put much of a foot wrong. Jansson was unlucky with the
tactical foul, and in that moment you have to be a bit smarter. Carlos and Jansson did
an excellent job commanding the defense, keeping the width, and getting in Quioto’s
head. What a little childish thing to do. As soon as he got sent off, it was game over.
Mental games are 80% of it and I’ll preach it as long as I can. Gutsy and brave
performance by the backline today.
I think the Lions are going to be just fine attacking-wise. Pereyra, Torres, Pato, Kara,
and Michel all look good together in moments. The defense looked strong too. But today
was a tale of two halves. Once it’s put together for a full 90… look out.
Orlando City will take on Chicago Fire FC on Saturday, March 5th at 6pm at Soldier Field.