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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: CF Montréal (a). Lions Dig In For A Crucial Point.

Orlando City showed tremendous spirit to twice recover from a goal down against Courtious Laurent's side.

There are tentative signs that this team are starting to find a bit of form after their extremely sluggish start to the season.

It was far from the complete performance, but there were certainly positives to take from the game. Orlando looked a lot more defensively sound with their first choice midfield double pivot of Wilder Cartagena and Cesar Araújo. David Brekalo's installation at centre-back has also seemed to inject an air of calmness into a struggling back-line.

At this stage of the season, given how we started, it's vitally important that Orlando use this mini-sequence of games against DC United and CF Montréal as a springboard for a healthy run of form. Orlando will still have Supporters Shield aspirations, so it's important the leaders don't pull too far away. A home game against Toronto next week will give Orlando ample opportunity to do just that.

If you can't win the game, get something

An age old adage in football, but it's true. It's not always possible to be at your best. Particularly in MLS with the punishing travel schedules and rapidly improving standard of play league wide. Montréal isn't an easy place to go and play. The crowd are right on top of you. The stats won't paint this picture, but I think Orlando did incredibly well to steal a point in the circumstances they did.

When Ariel Lassiter scored what appeared to be the winner, minutes from the end, anyone of an Orlando City persuasion could be forgiven for thinking that was it. Game. Set. Match. But this team does not know when to give up. It's like the Jurassic Park franchise. Even in the dour home draw with the Red Bulls, the team had the character to recover a point.

Orlando have now scored 5 times after the 80th minute in MLS play. Including in each of their last 3, recovering 5 points in the process.

That's something to be celebrated for sure. We now just need to get the team clicking in possession.

Having Cesar Araújo and Wilder Cartagena back in the middle is essential

That much is obvious to me. Wilder in particular had a strong game. The Peruvian midfielder led the match in tackles won, with 5 and made a whopping 13 recoveries as well as 3 interceptions (figure 1). Cartagena and Araújo provide them forwards with a solid base to play off of, as well as providing solid cover for the back 4.

Both are always positioned well out of possession, ready to spring on any loose balls in the centre of the park (figures 2 & 3). Araújo made a further 3 recoveries and 2 interceptions to add to Cartagena's monstrous tally.

Figure 1 shows Cartagena's defensive statistics.

Figure 2 is a game still from the first half.

Figure 3 is a game still from the second half.

Top player

Wilder Cartagena

Cartagena's welcome return to the side saw Orlando add some much needed strength and positioning to the spine of the team. As well as covering well defensively he also allowed the Lions to be more progressive in the middle of the field.

Player ratings

Starting XI

Gallese -6- Should probably do better with both goals.

Þórhallsson -7- Got up and down the pitch well.

Smith -7- Was reasonably solid.

Jansson -7- Recovered well after early booking.

Brekalo -7- Solid performance.

Cartagena -8- Immense.

Araújo -7- Solid.

Angulo -7- Lively, took his goal well.

Torres -8- Caused lots of problems.

Lodeiro -7- Disciplined performance.

Muriel -6- Struggled to get into the game.


McGuire -7- Unlucky with his late effort.

Ojeda -7- Lovely cross for the leveller.

Santos -6- Came in late.


Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja

"Well, we are happy with the performance and tying the game at the end. Seems like it could be a good result, but we were eager to win it at the end, as well. We could have walked out with three points against a good team but the development of the game itself during the whole part was very competitive. I thought we played an excellent first half, we could maybe be clearer in those last actions there, but we really played well. Second half, they [Montréal] had some momentum, they got the goal, but after that we I think we dominated the game.”

*All statistics courtesy of FlashScore and Fotmob

Game stills courtesy of MLS/Apple TV.

Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.

Media availability footage and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.


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