Preview: CF Montréal (a).
Updated: Nov 7, 2021
When? Sunday November 7, 1.30 p.m. PT, 4.30 p.m. ET and 8.30 p.m. GMT.
Where? Stade Saputo Stadium, Montréal, QC.
How can I catch the action? MLS Live on ESPN+, TSN and TVA Sports for residents of the United States and Canada. Fox 35 Plus and LionNation TV for residents of Central Florida. Radio broadcast is on 104.1 Real Radio, Accion 97.9 FM and 810 AM. The game is being broadcast on Sky Sports Football for us UK folk. Beware though, Sky's coverage starts 29 minutes into the game.
Just like the Star Wars prequel trilogy, this season has been full of ups and downs. It could also end with a hugely titanic battle that will forever be etched into the echelons of time. You have to admit, the final duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan is pretty sick. Orlando City will be hoping their season is not left in flames, with their supporters crying and screaming 'you were the Chosen One! You were meant to make the play-offs, not drop out!'
Montréal's midweek win over Houston Dynamo (thanks, by the way) will have given them a real shot in the arm. This is going to be a difficult task. But it's one I believe our Lions will overcome. There are a number of different scenarios that could play out; from Orlando sealing a home play-off, to them missing out altogether. We'll come to those particulars shortly, but one thing is clear. It's do or die. That's it.
I won't spend any time on their style of play. I think we all know their qualities by now; they've proven to be a more than worthy adversary in the very recent past.
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That being said, I'd be remiss not to acknowledge that Montréal are a team in solid (if unspectacular) form right now, who have proven themselves exceptionally difficult to beat; they've lost only 2 of their last 8. However, there is a caveat. They've only won 2 of their last 9 in MLS. Lot of draws. Who does that sound like?
As far as our hosts go, only a win will do. Victory for Wilfried Nancy's squad lifts them into the play-off positions, regardless of results elsewhere. Possibly at our expense, depending on other results.
As for Orlando City, there are a few different scenarios which can play out. First of all, as long as Orlando avoid defeat they'll be in the play-offs. Secondly, if the New York Red Bulls lose to Nashville, Orlando are safe regardless of the result in Canada. Thirdly, and this is the most unlikely option, if Cincinnati win big in Atlanta then Orlando can clinch. There needs to be an 8 goal swing, however. So, yeah. Not likely.
Those particular scenarios pertain to the play-offs in general. For a home play-off, as far as the Lions are concerned, the picture is a little more complicated. There are essentially 2 scenarios that can play out here, that see Orlando nab top 4. One is possible, the other is, whilst still technically possible, not possible. Firstly, an Orlando victory, coupled with an NYCFC loss and a loss or draw for Atlanta sees Oscar Pareja's team home. Or, there's the goal difference option again. It's still an 8 goal swing vs Atlanta. Not happening.
*CF Montréal will be without Robert Thorkelsson, Mason Toye and Jean Aniel Assi according to the MLS injury report.
*Orlando City on the other hand are definitely without Uri Rosell and Joao Moutinho (at least according to the injury report). Rio Hope-Gund and Raul Aguilera are listed as questionable.
*EDIT: there have been some late updates to the injury report (11/6)
Possible starting XI
CF Montréal were in action midweek, against Houston, so balancing tiredness and the need to win is going to be absolutely key. That being said, I think they will line-up in their familiar 3-4-2-1 as below:
The Florida native has been instrumental for this club so far in 2021; his 4 goals and 16 assists tell their own story. Mihailovic has started 31 of his 33 appearances, amassing 2,715 minutes on the season do far. He has completed 80.1% of his 1,219 passes so far this season. It's his creativity that's the main string to his bow however; the aforementioned 16 assists as well as his 60 key passes speak for themselves. A player who has the ability to break lines and find pockets of space. Very dangerous guy.
Form Montréal are currently 8th in the standings, 1 point below the line. They sit on a 12-10-11 record, and have won 2 of their last 9 games.
Orlando are in similarly patchy form. The Lions have 2 wins in their last 11 games and have slipped to 6th. Orlando's record stands at 12-12-9.
*All statistics courtesy of mlssoccer.com.
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