Orlando City vs Montreal Impact - Prediction, Odds & Picks
- Orlando are thriving with a fairly unknown name leading their goalscoring efforts
- Manager Oscar Pareja has also helped with a much-needed reorganization of the defense and attack
- Montreal, shuffling into the knockout round, will need some luck to clinch a win
|What||Orlando City vs Montreal Impact|
|Where||ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Bay Lake, Florida)|
|When||Saturday, July 25th at 8:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes|
And so begins the round of 16 of MLS Is Back. After 24 teams stepped into the competition, 16 are now left to fight in a knockout round.
This stage of the tournament will kick off with Orlando City vs Montreal Impact on Saturday night.
Orlando, fresh off a commendable charge through a tough list of opponents, have so far exceeded expectations with a place in 1st of Group A. Boosted by the hope and potential of new manager Oscar Pareja, the team that has previously failed to earn a single playoff appearance can now begin its first-ever trek in the knockout stage of an MLS competition.
Montreal Impact will be joining them as well, albeit with a few scratches from their own journey. Their one victory and decent goal differential has narrowly provided them with a place in the round of 16 as one of the top 3rd-placed teams. With two losses also in tow, the Impact and manager Thierry Henry (yes, that Thierry Henry), have plenty they need to fix if they hope to somehow sneak further into the quarterfinals.
Orlando City vs Montreal Impact Odds
Odds taken from Caesars
Bruised and battered, Montreal trail behind Orlando when looking at the odds. This match will be Orlando’s to lose.
Orlando City’s Secret Weapon: Chris Mueller
In the entirety of 2019, young American striker Chris Mueller scored a total of five goals for Orlando. He’s now scored three times in his last three games. Not exactly known for his finishing or goalscoring, the speedy winger has been a godsend for Orlando City. With a few goals in hand, Mueller and his teammates were able to bound past other MLS heavy-hitters like New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union in their group table.
The good news is that the attack isn’t completely reliant on Mueller — a couple of other names like Nani, Tesho Akindele and Mauricio Pereyra have also found the back of the net. That said, the 23-year-old may continue to be Orlando’s secret weapon if he maintains his form from the group stage.
A Revival of Defense And Attack Under Pareja
As mentioned earlier, the attack is much more than just Mueller. Under the leadership of Pareja, the manager has helped instill a proactive style that creates plenty of possession and at least 10 shots per game.
The defense has been fantastic as well. Looking more organized than it has in a very long time, Pareja’s four-man backline has frustrated opponents throughout the tournament. In net, Pedro Gallese has also been a trustworthy backup plan, when needed.
Momentum is building in different areas of the pitch for Orlando, which will more than likely make things quite challenging for their Canadian foes this weekend.
Can Montreal And Henry Catch Orlando Off Guard?
It must be stated: The Impact and Henry are lucky. Were it not for the lone (and deflected) goal that Saphir Taïder scored in the final group stage game, a place in the round of 16 would not exist.
Nonetheless, credit must still be given to Henry and his men. In that latest 1-0 win over DC United, Montreal proved they could make some magic happen through a set-piece and ensuing goal that gave them a place in the knockout round.
Once criticized by Henry for their lack of fighting spirit, improvements were made by the Impact roster that appeared to win more balls in the air and on the ground. Given a bit more of this energy, is it possible that they can not only score once again off a set-piece but also hold a lead with their more aggressive presence on the pitch?
The Impact will need a number of prayers to be answered in order to gain a win. Pick Orlando City.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast.