Orlando City FC vs.CF Montreal Prediction, Preview, and Odds - 9/15/21
Eastern Conference playoff contenders will meet on Wednesday night when CF Montreal visits Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium. Montreal dropped to seventh place in the East at 8-7-8 with a 1-0 home loss to Nashville SC as a +129 underdog on Saturday. Orlando is also coming off a loss by an ugly 3-0 scoreline at Atlanta United as a +179 underdog over the weekend, but remains in third place at 10-8-5.
The all-time series between these clubs is dead even at 6-2-6 after Orlando won the most recent meeting 1-0 in November of last season.
Montreal can’t break through against top competition
While it has been a positive season overall for a Montreal club that looks headed for its best finish in several years, it still needs to improve to hang with the best of the best as second-place Nashville won at Saputo Stadium on Saturday. Playing in its first game since August 25, Montreal looked rusty as Nashville controlled the action throughout while finally breaking through on a Walker Zimmerman free kick in the 67th, as the hosts’ only truly dangerous chance of the game was denied seven minutes later.
Montreal did have a statistical advantage with 59% possession and one more shot than Nashville with 14 total, although only three of those went on target. Goalkeeper James Pantemis was the best player on the field for Montreal with seven saves, stopping numerous great chances for Nashville in the first half.
“We didn’t attack well,” manager Wilfried Nancy said to the Montreal Gazette. “I like having possession, but our passes need to be more precise and sharper. There are some adjustments to be made tactically. I want my players to have freedom in the game while respecting their positions on the pitch.”
There have been some issues of inconsistency for the Montreal offense, which is averaging 1.30 goals and 11.69 shots per match. Montreal’s defense is vastly improved from prior seasons, allowing 1.22 goals and 12.72 shots per game while keeping six clean sheets.
After being acquired in a big offseason trade with the Chicago Fire, Djordje Mihailovic has been Montreal’s best player with four goals and seven assists this year. Joaquin Torres has also been great in his first year with the club with three goals and four assists, while Romell Quioto has added three goals and three helpers.
Leading scorer Mason Toye is likely out for the season while recovering from shoulder surgery after tallying seven goals in 14 games, a huge blow to the limited Montreal offense. Quioto recently missed time with a hamstring injury and was still limited to 30 minutes as a substitute last match. Striker Lassi Lappalainen and midfielder Robert Thorkelsson are also out with injury.
Orlando City suffers rare blowout loss in Atlanta
A seven-match unbeaten streak came to an end for Orlando on Saturday, as it lost by multiple goals for just the third time all season with Atlanta United dominating from start to finish. The hosts got the first dangerous chance of the game just four minutes in and eventually broke through in the 25th with George Campbell’s first MLS goal, and an own goal from Orlando’s Daryl Dike in the 38th didn’t help matters.
It wasn’t a pretty box score for Orlando, as Atlanta had 58% possession and racked up 18 shots to just eight for the visitors. Just two of those attempts went on target for Orlando, and keeper Adam Grinwis had to make two nice saves in the first half to keep things from getting even worse.
“I think it was one of those nights where we couldn’t put our game on the field. Atlanta took advantage of two silly mistakes that we had on those set plays in the first half and that created for them more comfort on the ball, more confidence.,” manager Oscar Pareja said to Orlando’s official website.
That was a rare ugly performance all around for an Orlando team that is typically pretty balanced with the offense putting up 1.43 goals and 11.60 shots per game. Opponents are averaging 1.26 goals and 12.78 shots per match, with Orlando keeping seven clean sheets this season.
Nani has been one of the best players in all of MLS to lead the Orlando attack with nine goals and seven assists in just 16 starts. Tesho Akindele has dealt out five assists while scoring three times, with Benji Michel adding four goals and three helpers.
This is about as healthy as Orlando has been all season as just about all of its big names have missed some time, and star goalkeeper Pedro Gallese is set to rejoin the lineup on Wednesday after missing several matches due to either injury or international duty. Key striker Alexandre Pato is still out however after undergoing knee surgery back in March, while starting midfielder Jhegson Mendez has been sidelined for an undisclosed injury for two months.
Side prediction: Orlando City -135
Total: Under 2.5 (+115)
Expect a quick bounce back from Orlando City here, as it has been one of the best teams in MLS all season and nearly unbeatable at Exploria Stadium with a 7-4-1 record. This is a decent Montreal team that could likely challenge for a point if it was at full strength, but the injury situation makes this a tough task.