The Bleu-blanc-noir has won three of its last four games
ORLANDO, Florida – Just 10 days after beating the Lions 3-0 at Stade Saputo, the Montreal Impact was victorious again against Orlando, this time in Florida, Saturday night at Orlando City Stadium, winning it 2-0 thanks to an own goal in the first half, and one from Nacho Piatti late in the second half.
The Bleu-blanc-noir has now won three of its last four games by shutting out its opponent and sits just three points out of a playoff spot, while Orlando City SC extends its MLS losing streak to seven games.
“It was a great team effort,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “We sacrificed ourselves for the team, and we saw how difficult it is for our opponent to put us in danger when we play like this. It’s another clean sheet, which is very important moving forward for the team’s confidence.”
Opportunistic in the first half
The Impact was forced to make a change to its starting line-up before the game began, with Chris Duvall coming in for Jukka Raitala in the right-back position, after the Finnish defender suffered an injury during warm-ups.
The game’s first real opportunity went to the Bleu-blanc-noir in the seventh minute. Impact defender Daniel Lovitz passed to Saphir Taïder, who neatly back heeled it in between Will Johnson’s legs and found Nacho Piatti at the top of the box. The Argentine turned and shot, but goalkeeper Joe Bendik was able to stifle the attempt.
A few minutes later, in the 13th minute, the Impact got the start it wanted. Chris Duvall sent the ball long on the right flank towards Matteo Mancosu, who recovered it on the opponent’s touchline. The Italian cut in and crossed with his left, but it was deflected by defender Lamine Sané directly past Bendik and into the net, ending a 360-minute goalless streak on the road for Montreal.
The Lions attempted to bounce back quickly in the 21st minute. Forward Dom Dwyer found Josué Colmán at full speed on the right side. The Paraguayan attempted a piercing pass in behind the defense, but Duvall was able to get a foot on it and eliminate the danger.
In the 35th minute, the Impact came close to doubling its lead after a good bout of pressure in Orlando territory. Duvall found Alejandro Silva, nestled at the top of the box on the right-hand side. The Uruguayan midfielder picked up his head, took a look and crossed to Mancosu in alone, but his header was directly on Bendik.
“The important part is that we battled, we gave it our all, and we all came off with cramps after the game,” said midfielder Saphir Taïder. “We can see that we’re starting to get to know each other better and there’s more chemistry, so it becomes a little easier, but the effort is always there.”
Staying sound defensively
The Impact continued with its solid defensive play in recent games; Orlando managed no shots on goal in the first half and just one in the second, but the home team had a bit more offensive bite upon the return from the locker rooms.
In the 64th minute, the hosts came close. A nice passing play between Dwyer and Sacha Klejstan at the top of the box allowed Klejstan to get a clear shot on net, but it whistled just wide of Bush’s right post.
In the 84th minute, the Bleu-blanc-noir got its insurance goal. Taïder, working on the left flank, crossed it low to Alejandro Silva. The midfielder controlled it neatly inside the box and passed it to Piatti. The Impact’s leading scorer wasted no time tiptoeing his way past Bendik and putting it in the back of the net. Although the play was originally called offside, a quick consultation with the video assistant referee confirmed that the Argentine was behind the line.
The goal was the Designated Player’s eighth against Orlando City SC, his eighth of the season, and his third in two games. The Bleu-blanc-noir has now not conceded a goal in 252 minutes, limiting the Lions to just one shot on target, and earns a second consecutive shutout for the ninth time in team history.
"We’ve had the right pieces for a long time,” said defender Chris Duvall. “It was just a matter of flipping a switch and wanting to win more than anyone else. It’s far from finished. We’re still below the red line and we’ve got half the season to go. This is a good start to the second half and hopefully we’ll push to make it to the top.”
The Bleu-blanc-noir will be back home to host Sporting Kansas City at Stade Saputo on Saturday, June 30 at 7pm (TICKETS – TVA Sports, TSN, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690), the last game in which Nutrilait’s 2-for-1 special on tickets for children will be in place. Then, the Colorado Rapids will be the visitors on July 7 at 7:30pm (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690), for the first game of Members’ Month, which allows season ticket holders to profit from a bunch of additional advantages.
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Chris Duvall (Victor Cabrera 77’), Rod Fanni, Rudy Camacho, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Ken Krolicki (Shamit Shome 84’), Saphir Taider; F-Ignacio Piatti, Matteo Mancosu (Raheem Edwards 65’), Alejandro Silva
Subs not used – Clément Diop, Michael Petrasso, Jukka Raitala, Anthony Jackson-Hamel
ORL – GK-Joe Bendik; D-Jonathan Spector, Lamine Sané, Amro Tarek (Chris Mueller 62’); M-Will Johnson, Oriol Rosell, Sacha Kljestan (Scott Sutter 66’), Donny Toia (Victor “PC” Giro 74’); F-Josué Colman, Dominic Dwyer, Justin Meram
Subs not used – Earl Edwards Jr., Chris Schuler, Dillon Powers, Stéfano Pinho
MTL – Own goal 13’
MTL – Piatti (Silva, Taïder) 84’
ORL – Kljestan 58’