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Must Win Montreal!

As Orlando puts last week’s disappointment behind, only a win will do for Nancy’s men.

SOCCER: OCT 30 MLS - CF Montreal at New York Red Bulls
Djordje Mihailovic - Montreal will be hoping he can carry this season’s impressive contribution across another crucial 90 mins.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There’s a feeling in the Orlando City camp they should already be assured of their place in the play-offs, but not one the Lions’ players will want to dwell on too much when Decision Day finally gets underway later this afternoon.

Orlando consternation is fuelled by referee Allen Chapman’s decision a week ago to disallow a late, late Andreas Perea effort which would’ve secured a 2-1 win over Nashville. Had the goal counted Orlando would already be planning their 2021 assault on post-season football.

It’s something this evening’s visitors must consign to history and concentrate on the task in hand. Put simply Orlando must avoid defeat, while only three points will do for Montreal.
Consequently this evening is a real cup final with elimination for whichever side fails to meet its objective.

The outcome is finely balanced on a knife-edge with a real air of unpredictability between two borderline clubs. Since returning to Quebec Montreal have gone 6-2-2 at home, their only defeats coming against the top two in the East, New England and Nashville.

Orlando’s road form has been far from disastrous. It’s ordinarily average with a 4-7-5 record. The Lions are capable but no certainty, and in two previous encounters this season in Florida, Montreal emerged unscathed, winning one and drawing the other.

Despite this, only the most optimistic CFM fan would consider their team a reliable favourite this evening. The 4-2 win in Orlando was achieved ultimately against 9-men, and in fact at one stage in that game City managed to level after being two goals down and a man light.
In the other game which ended in stalemate, Orlando enjoyed the ascendancy for about two-thirds of the game, but were pegged back by Rudy Camacho’s goal shortly after the interval. Montreal will be hoping its first home advantage over Orlando this season in front of a potentially-capacity Stade Saputo, can swing the pendulum significantly in their favour.
Orlando has a fairly clean bill of health, with only Jordan Bender out and Joao Moutinho Moutinho doubtful. Montreal of course do not have second-top scorer Mason Toye (shoulder). Róbert Thorkelsson (adductor), and Jean Aniel Assi (quadriceps) are also absent while Lassi Lappalainen (illness) is a doubt.

I expect Sam Piette to partner the returning Victor Wanyama in forming the midfield anchor this evening and provide the springboard for assist-king Djordje Mihailovic to extend his handsome numbers this season. Mihailovic may see Ruan up close and personal for most of the ninety as Orlando attempt to shackle his creativity.

It’s a tight one, too close to call, which for one of this evening’s teams will bring the high cost of failure. Game on, the 2021 season is all down to these next 90 minutes...