- Gavin Rushnell
Montreal Impact (n) Match Preview
Orlando City starts off their quest towards the MLS is Back tournament final by facing the Montreal Impact in the Round of 16.
It's go-time people. Orlando City plays the Montreal Impact on Saturday at 8:00 PM EST in the Round of 16 in the MLS is Back tournament. After topping the group, Orlando City go into this match as the favorites after the Montreal Impact scraped their way to third place in the group.
After losing to Toronto and New England, the Canadian side came out on top in a win-or-go-home match against a poor DC United team. Compared to Orlando City's results in Group A, this run of form looks much worse. Although we are the favorites going into the match, we must take this game seriously, or else we risk getting knocked out of the competition. Let's get into my three keys of the match.
1. Early subs, please
In every game thus far, we have had five full days of rest whereas, in the upcoming game, we will only have had four. It may seem small, but that extra day really helps when it comes to players being effective for as long as possible, especially since we play a high-pressing style of play. Since we have that one less day of rest, some of our players will get tired faster than usual, so we will need to bring on subs earlier than we're used to seeing under Pareja.
In our first three matches, our first unforced subs were made at the 63', 65', and 74' minutes respectively. Since we will be on our fourth match in 18 days, and only with four days of rest since the last one, we will see tired legs around the 55'-60' minute mark. It will be important that Pareja spots who is struggling and either take them off or change the system a bit to lighten their running load.
2. Take your chances
I know this is something that is key to every soccer match ever but last time out against Philadelphia we didn't take our chances. When I say that, what I mostly mean is our failure to get the final ball right on Monday. If you read my match recap, you'll know the stats from Moutinho and Ruan. 1/15 on crosses into the box is not good enough. They weren't the only ones either. Nani had a cutback to Akindele that he decided not to use. Mendez should've shot to the right of Blake, not to the left. I'm sure there were other instances as well that just aren't coming to my mind right now.
When we get into the right positions, we must be more clinical with our final ball. This is something that we struggled with a lot last season and although we've seen improvements on it this season, Monday was a huge reminder that we still have work to do. If we had just looked up and made the right decision in just two of the countless scenarios against Philadelphia, we would've won that game.
3. "Busca la forma"
These three words are Oscar Pareja's motto. It translates to "find a way." What he means when he says that is basically "find a way to win." That is exactly what we must do tomorrow. No matter how Montreal set up, no matter how we set up, no matter the referee's decisions, no matter the starting Xl, no matter any weather delays, we must find a way to win Saturday's match. We are in the knockout stages of the tournament now so it's win-or-go-home. I don't know about you but I really don't want to "go home" at the first time of asking. The boys need to find a way to win Saturday's match, no matter what.
Time: 8:00 PM EST
Where to Watch: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, TSN in Canada
Stadium: ESPN Wide World of Sports
Team News (ORL): Dwyer (questionable), Urso (questionable)
Team News (PHI): Saba (out), Tabla (out)
Predicted Lineup: (4-2-3-1) Gallese, Ruan, Carlos, Jansson, Moutinho, Mendez, Rosell, Mueller, Pereyra, Nani, Akindele
Score Prediction: 2-1 Win
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'Til next time, this has been Gavin Rushnell and #VamosOrlando