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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: CF Montréal (a). Lions Fall At The First Hurdle.

This was my big worry regarding the play-offs, and ultimately our inability to secure a home berth, is that we'd be one and done.

Still, this season has been a ride, and has ultimately given us our first ever major trophy in the US Open Cup. Orlando City will play CONCACAF Champions League football for the first time. There are still a number of positives to take from the season.

That being said, there are still things that concern me. Things that I've spoken about often enough over recent weeks; so don't worry. I'm not going to go over them again here.

I want to get into what went wrong for Orlando City at Stade Saputo.


I actually think the way Orlando approached this game was the correct manner to go about things, given the circumstances. Because of the way we have been set up under Pareja, we are not a team capable of going anywhere and dominating possession; we average 50.1% on the season. We had to go there and 'do a job' on them.

We're not going to suddenly go up to Montréal and dictate the tempo of the game against a team that enjoys controlling possession and getting on the front foot. We're just not set up to play that way.

With that in mind, Orlando set up to be compact with the front 4 dropping back when out of possession (figure 1), in an attempt to force the ball wide and try to recover the ball in those wide areas. On recovery, the plan seemed to be get the ball into Mauricio Pereyra and allow him to break lines; which is what we see with the Kara chance. Pereyra, had an XA of 0.33 and created 3 big chances.

The only real problem with playing this way is that it reduces the margin of error, particularly in high profile games like this one. You have to finish the chances when they come along as this style of play naturally invites pressure from the opposition. You need something to protect. And Orlando never got themselves ahead. They never got their noses in front, and a defensive lapse has then lead to them losing the game.

It's so important to take those chances when they arise. The Lions did the 'dirty work' very well; Orlando won 5 tackles, 12 interceptions, 7 aerial duels and 32 ground duels. Their defensive shape was good for much of the game (figures 2 and 3). We just couldn't get it done at the other end of the pitch. Overall we had an XG of 0.74 and an XGOT of... 0. Of the 5 shots Orlando mustered, none were on target.

Fine margins.

Figure 1 shows a game still from the first half.

Figure 2 shows a game still from the second half.

Figure 3 is a game still from the second half.

Top player

Mauricio Pereyra

The influential Uruguayan made 85% of his 52 passes, with 12 passes into the final third. He did a good job of finding little pockets of space between their defence and midfield. Pereyra also did his share of defensive work, winning 62% of his duels. Pereyra's contract is expiring this off-season, and tying him down is going to have to be a priority for this club.

Player ratings

Starting XI

Gallese -6- Not much he could do with either goal.

Ruan -6- Lucky not to give away a penalty.

Antonio Carlos -6- Drawn out of position for the goal.

Schlegel -7- Was actually reasonably solid.

Moutinho -6- Defended well overall.

Araujo -6- Perhaps a bit fortunate to not give a penalty away.

Pereyra -7- Orlando's best player.

Torres -6- Struggled to get into the game.

Angulo -7- Had a few dangerous moments.

Urso -6- Toiled well.

Kara -6- Often isolated, needs to do better with his chance.


Michel -6- Came on late.

Mulraney -6- Bizarre move to take out Angulo for him.

Halliday -6- Came in very late.

Akindele -6- Came in far too late.


Head Coach Oscar Pareja:

“First of all, congratulations to Montreal for advancing. They had a good season and today was a good rival. Saying that, I thought we had a very good game played by the boys with intensity, discipline and desire for the game. We had our chances, especially in the first half. In this kind of game you have to be decisive and you have to finish. The minute that Montreal scored, just one mistake from us defending, which didn’t happen often and that mistake opened the scoring for them and created different gaps for us. But I’m very proud of this group, very grateful for the effort of the boys. They made us very proud and they’ve taken this Club to a different level and I think our fans and our people should be very proud about this season.”

*All statistics courtesy of

Game stills courtesy of TSN/Football Highlights.

Media availability footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.

Cover image and top player image courtesy of Orlando City SC.

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