Orlando City starts a three-match MLS regular-season trip this Saturday at the Stade Saputo against CF Montréal. The Lions are coming off a great home win over Charlotte FC, and will look to continue their winning ways north of the border. Here are the things that Orlando City needs to do to secure three points on the road in Canada.
Stop the Trio of Attackers
Without a doubt the greatest challenge for Orlando City will be containing the Club Foot’s attack led by Djordje Mihailovic, Romell Quioto, and Kei Kamara. The three players account for nine of Montréal’s 16 goals on the season. Quioto seemingly always causes trouble for the Lions and Kamara has been scoring goals against Orlando City since his Columbus Crew days. Of course, Mihailovic leads Montréal with four goals on the season.
The job of stopping these players will fall to a back line that consists of two backup center backs. With Antonio Carlos out for the better part of the season, and Robin Jansson serving a yellow card suspension, it will be Rodrigo Schlegel and 17-year-old Thomas Williams in front of Pedro Gallese. They will need to make sure they are communicating and keeping track of Mihailovic and Kamara.
Expect Joao Moutinho and Ruan to take their normal positions at left and right back, respectively. Ruan is coming off an MLS Team of the Week performance against Charlotte, and Moutinho has been very consistent so far this year. Both will need to be at the top of their game to contain Quioto while getting into the attack like Óscar Pareja’s system demands.
Boss the Midfield
Montréal will be without Victor Wanyama and Ismaël Koné in the midfield due to yellow card suspensions. This presents an excellent opportunity for Orlando City to control the midfield and time of possession. If Mauricio Pereyra and Junior Urso can put in their normal good performances, Orlando City has the advantage.
This also presents an opportunity for Facundo Torres. Yes, he plays on the wing, but in reality he floats throughout the entire midfield and into the attack. Montréal will need to make adjustments depending on which players are in the lineup. There may be some miscommunication that Torres and the others can capitalize upon.
The Flash vs. Miller
Two Team-of-the-Week winners will go head to head as Ruan takes on former Lion Kamal Miller. Miller has been excellent for Montréal just as he was when he was with Orlando City. Ruan will need to follow up his best performance as a Lion with another great one if he is to get the better of Miller.
There is no doubt that Ruan holds the advantage in speed, and Miller the advantage in size and strength. The key will be how well Ruan is able to get space away from Miller when he wants to cross or break towards goal along the end line. It’s possible one of the two can have another Team-of-the-Week performance, but not both. Has Ruan turned a corner in his form? We may find out this weekend.
That is what I will be looking for as the Lions take on the Club Foots of Montréal. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.