Orlando City SC boss Oscar Pareja and CF Montreal counterpart Wilfried Nancy are each seeking a swift response from their sides following disappointing defeats last time out.
The Lions’ seven-match unbeaten run was brought to a halt with a 3-0 loss to Atlanta United on Friday, while Montreal were beaten 1-0 by Nashville SC – their first loss in five.
The two teams occupy places in the Eastern Conference playoffs heading into the midweek round of action and the message from both camps is the same.
“We’re very disappointed with the last game, not just in terms of the result but also the way we played” Orlando head coach Pareja said.
“It was one of those night where we couldn’t put our game together and we have to accept that. We have to move on and the boys will be prepared for this game with Montreal.”
Montreal are winless in seven games on their travels, drawing the last two of those, and Nancy knows improvements must be made ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Exploria Stadium.
“We didn’t attack well enough in the last game. I like having possession, but our passes need to be more precise and sharper,” he said.
“So there are some adjustments that we will have to make tactically. I want my players to have freedom during games while also respecting their positions on the pitch.”
Orlando have won their last two meetings with Montreal, though the Canadian side were 3-1 winners the last time the sides met at Exploria Stadium in March 2019.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Orlando City SC – Tesho Akindele
Akindele has had to settle for a back-up role up top in recent games but could be recalled to the frontline against Montreal. The 29-year-old made his 200th MLS appearance in the loss to Atlanta and played one key pass in his 15 minutes on the field, a tally only Nani (two) could better.
CF Montreal – Bjorn Johnsen
While by no means alone in having a quiet game against Nashville, Nancy spoke specifically about Johnsen after the game and suggested he is after more from the striker. Johnsen had 15 touches during his hour on the field but not one of those was in the opposition box. Over the course of the season, he has either scored or assisted in just one of his 20 appearances.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Orlando City has won three straight matches against CF Montreal, keeping clean sheets in all of them, including eliminating Montreal at MLS is Back. Orlando had won just three of the first 11 meetings between the sides (D2 L6), failing to keep a clean sheet in any of those games.
– Orlando City’s 3-0 loss at Atlanta on Friday ended a seven-match unbeaten streak (W3 D4). The Lions have lost consecutive regular season matches just once since the start of last season, recording five wins, two draws and a loss following their previous eight league defeats.
– CF Montreal is winless in seven straight away matches (D3 L4), though it’s drawn its last two on the road. Montreal has gone unbeaten in three straight road games just once in the last four years, recording two wins and a draw from March-September 2020.
– The last 19 non-penalty goals Orlando City has scored at home have been assisted. The only unassisted non-penalty goal this season for the Lions at home was their first, an opening minute strike by Tesho Akindele against FC Cincinnati on May 1.
– Djordje Mihailovic has created 53 chances for teammates this season, eighth in MLS this season. His 2.6 chances created per 90 minutes are on pace for the most by a player in a single season in CF Montreal’s MLS history (minimum 500 minutes played).