Preview: CF Montréal (a).
Updated: May 5, 2022
When? Saturday May 7, 1 p.m. PT, 4 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. BST.
Where? Stade Saputo, Montréal.
How can I catch the action? The game is being broadcast on TVA Sports and and MLS Live on ESPN+ for North American residents. The game is also being broadcast on Fox35 Plus for residents of Central Florida. The game is not currently scheduled for UK broadcast.
Bonjour Montréal. Long time no see. It's only been, like 2 months? Love playing the same opponent twice in the first 11 game weeks. Good old MLS scheduling, eh? This game represents Orlando's first trip to Quebec since their play-off securing 2-0 victory last season. Daryl Dike and Sebas Mendez were the scorers that day, as Orlando secured a second consecutive invitation to the post season.
Orlando head into this game ideally placed in 3rd position. It's still relatively early days, but I always believe the standings start to shape around 10 games in. After all, you'd rather be 3rd than 13th.
That being said, Montréal have gotten off to a fairly decent start themselves. Wilfried Nancy's side are 4th in the east, 3 points further back from the Lions. Orlando seem to have their number, though. Back-to-back 2-0 wins punctuate an overall pleasing record for Orlando. Orlando have won 3 of their last 5 against Montréal, and 8 of 18 overall.
Typically I always tend to think of Montréal always being quite stern defensively. And typically, under Wilfried Nancy, they have been that. They seem to have placed more emphasis on attack so far this season, however. The form of Djorde Mihailovic is certainly a contributing factor to their improved attacking output this season; Mihailovic has 7 goal contributions so far this season.
Montréal have created 15 big chances so far this season (figure 1). For context NYCFC lead the way in MLS with 21. Montréal rank 9th for shots on target per match with 4.3 and have an XG of 14.1. In 2021, their attacking outputs were considerably lower. They ranked below 17th in big chances created, shots on target and big chances missed. There's been a big improvement so far this season.
Mihailovic is a big part of that. The Floridian playmaker is a class act with the ability to drift between the lines and pull players out of position, which has allowed the likes of Romell Quioto and Joaquin Torres to profit.
The flip side is that they have been dreadful defensively. Montréal currently ranks 24th in MLS for goals conceded per game with 2 through 9 games (figure 2).
Figure 1 shows Montréal's ranking for big chances created.
Figure 2 shows Montréal's ranking for goals conceded per match.
Montréal are set to be without Mason Toye and Bjorn Johnsen through injury. Ismaël Koné and Victor Wanyama are suspended.
Orlando City, meanwhile, will be without Antonio Carlos and Tesho Akindele. Robin Jansson is suspended. There are, as yet, unconfirmed reports that Silvester Van Der Water is facing a spell on the sidelines with an injury.
This section will be updated as new information becomes available.
Possible starting XI
Montréal will be forced into a few changes due to their player availability issues. They will likely line-up in their favoured 3-4-2-1 formation:
Mihailovic has been in stellar form so far for Montréal. His 4 goals and 3 assists across 8 starts and 1 substitute appearance underline his importance to the team. The Floridian has an XG of 2.44 and has played 21 key passes so far. His fotmob.com rating of 7.84 is team leading. He also leads the team in goals and assists. Undoubtedly the key man as far as Montréal's attacking threat is concerned.
CF Montréal have had a solid start to the season. The Canadian outfit are 4-2-3 and currently sit 4th with 14 points.
Orlando City, on the other hand, are 5-2-3 and are 3 points better off, in 3rd.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com
Cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.