Preview: Montréal Impact (n).
When? Sunday 1st November 2020, 4.30 p.m. PT, 7.30 p.m. ET 12.30 a.m. GMT (2/11).
Where? Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
How can I catch the action? MLS Live on TSN, TVA Sports and ESPN+ as well as Fox 35 plus. The game is not currently scheduled for broadcast in the U.K. The game is available via radio locally, check local listings.
Orlando City will be hoping this trip to Harrison, New Jersey will be more fruitful than their last visit. A couple of short weeks ago, the Lions let a 1-0 lead slip late on against the Red Bulls. The Lions did seal a play-off spot that night, but their disappointment at not sealing all 3 points was palpable. However, on this occasion they return to Red Bull Arena to face a different opponent. Thierry Henry's Montréal side will be looking to avenge their 1-0 reversal at MLS Is Back, whilst simultaneously seeking to arrest their current slide. The Impact are in poor form, having lost 4 of their last 6 games, and are currently desperately clutching to a play-off spot. This promises to be an intriguing encounter.
This was a team that was suffering a real, tangible, identity crisis earlier in the year. Thierry Henry heavily rotated his team at the MLS Is Back tournament. The end result was a second round defeat to ourselves; they limped out of the competition having not scored in 3 of their 4 games. They have, however, found their feet during the regular season, at least in terms of goal scoring. The Impact have scored 30 goals across 21 games, which ranks them at joint 4th highest scorers in the east; level with Toronto. Romell Quioto and Maximilliano Urruti have scored or assisted on 19 of those efforts, and as such are vitally important to this team's attacking arsenal. It's just keeping goals out, at the other end. That's the problem.
The Impact have had significant issues defensively. Their 40 goals conceded is comfortably the worst record in the east. They have the 4th leakiest defence in the whole of MLS; behind only the Galaxy, San Jose and the Whitecaps. This is due, at least in part, to their struggles in possession. They have a hard time playing through a high press. They spend 73% of their time in possession, playing in their middle and defensive thirds. Montréal are also a team that aren't necessarily always comfortable in possession of the ball. They average 48.2% of the possession in 2020, with an overall pass completion rate of 82.4%. If Orlando can press them well, as we know they can, they could have some joy.
Oscar Pareja continues to be without Dom Dwyer and Joao Moutinho for this game. Mauricio Pereyra was listed as out on the official MLS injury report, but has since been removed. Time will tell if he's involved in this game. Uri Rosell, on the other hand, is expected to be fit for this one.
The Impact, meanwhile, are without Lassi Lappalainen who recently underwent shoulder surgery. Matheiu Choiniere will also miss out, as he has not been medically cleared.
Possible starting XI
The Impact, like many other teams this season, have used heavy rotation. The Canadian side have used 25 of their 29 rostered players this season, with 14 of those having racked up double digit appearance statistics. With that in mind, I would expect a certain degree of rotation heading into this game. I can see Thierry Henry opting for the 5-3-2 formation they utilised in New York recently. The formation can alternate between a 3-5-2 offensively and 5-3-2 defensively. This will allow them to combat Orlando's width, which was particularly dangerous against Atlanta. They'll know they need to score goals to get anything from this game, so expect to see both Quioto and Urruti.
With 7 goals and 5 assists on the season, from 15 starts and 2 substitute appearances, the Honduran is clearly the danger man for this team. The former Houston Dynamo man has forged a decent partnership with Maximilliano Urruti. The two have combined for 19 of the 30 goals scored by Thierry Henry's side. Quioto is a dangerous player; 38 goals from 96 games for Olimpia earned a move to MLS, with the Dynamo, back in 2017. He amassed 15 goals from 72 games for the Texan club. He's well established in MLS, and a dangerous finisher. Orlando's back-line will need to keep tabs on the frontman if they hope to make it 2 wins from 2.
Orlando City come into this game off the back of a confidence boosting 4-1 victory over Atlanta United, which lifted them to 9-8-3 on the season. The Lions still sit 4th in the east, following the league's decision to revert to a PPG method. They currently hold a 2 point advantage over NYCFC in 5th, with a game in hand and only 3 games left in their season.
Montréal have lost 4 of their last 6, including their last 2. They have a 7-2-12 record and currently sit 9th in the east. It's been a disappointing season for Thierry Henry's side, but they're still in with a shout of making the post-season, as they are currently 2 points clear of Fort Lauderdale in 11th (hilarious, right?).