Impact Defeats Orlando City SC 3-1
ORLANDO, Florida - In the third game of its MLS regular season, the Montreal Impact beat Orlando City SC 3-1, Saturday afternoon at Orlando City Stadium. The Impact took the lead early in the first half with two goals in two minutes, holding off the home team until Piatti slotted the insurance goal late in the second half. Orlando managed to score a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time.
"It was a big performance from the players today," said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. "I'm very happy they respected the game plan and the instructions I had insisted upon. It's the reward stemming from an excellent collective effort. I think we controlled this game. We did what we wanted to do. I wanted to give the same players the opportunity to prove that last week in Houston was an accident, and I expected this reaction."
The Bleu-blanc-noir was dominant in its third road game to start the season, heavily outshooting its opponent with 19 shots, 11 of them on target, coming just one shy of the team record of 12 set against the Red Bulls in 2014 and continuing its dominance over the Lions, a team to whom it hasn't lost since 2016.
On the front foot immediately
The Impact started well, with Maximiliano Urruti getting a shot on goal within the first minute following a turnover from the Lions' defense, although the Argentinean's effort was comfortably parried away.
At the quarter-hour mark, the Impact's hard work in the opening minutes paid off. Midfielder Samuel Piette recovered the ball cleanly near the halfway line, turning immediately and finding Saphir Taïder deep in enemy territory. The Algerian international did a good job to protect the ball, waiting for reinforcements before finding Orji Okwkonkwo at the top of the box. Using his body well, the Nigerian turned and fired home his first MLS goal, giving the Impact the lead.
A minute later, it was Urruti's pressure causing problems in Orlando's box. The Argentinean managed to dispossess defender Shane O'Neil of the ball, laying it off for Piatti who slotted it into the empty net.
Midfielder Chris Mueller came close by getting a dangerous shot in the 42nd minute when he cut in from the right side, but his curled effort whistled over the crossbar.
Barrage of chances for Okwonkwo
Just a minute into the second half, it was Okwonwko again who came close to putting the Impact three goals ahead. The winger received the pass from Piette well, but his shot was punched away by goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
Okwonkwo continued to be a threat, contributing with four of the Impact's 11 shots on target and causing constant issues on the right side. He came off in the 74th minute for Harry Novillo, who made his first MLS appearance for the Bleu-blanc-noir after joining during the offseason.
"I'm very happy to score my first goal for Montreal and in this league," said Orji Okwonkwo. "The most important thing is that we won the game. We tried to manage the first half. The second half was a bit more difficult, but we tried our best. I had a few more chances in the second, I'm just happy one of them went in."
Novillo immediately made his presence felt, blocking a clearance in the 80th minute and passing to Piatti on his left. The Designated Player patiently evaded his defender at the top of the box before slotting in his second of the game. His tenth goal against Orlando comes in his 124th game for the Impact, tying Hassoun Camara for most club appearances in MLS.
Orlando managed to get one back in stoppage time thanks to Dom Dwyer, bringing an end to Evan Bush's shutout streak against the Lions at 347 minutes.
"We played the same game we managed in San Jose," said Nacho Piatti. "We all played well together, and we ran a lot. We managed to make the difference in the first half, which allowed us to calm things down in the second. It's a good win for us."
Following a melee at the end of the game, centre-back Zakaria Diallo received a red card for a gesture on Dwyer.
The Impact will be off next weekend because of the international break. The Bleu-blanc-noir will then continue its sequence of six consecutive games on the road in the Midwest, to take on Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 30 at 3pm EDT at Children's Mercy Park (TVA Sports, TSN, CTV, 98.5, TSN 690).
MTL - GK-Evan Bush; D-Bacary Sagna, Víctor Cabrera (Mathieu Choinière 83'), Zakaria Diallo, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Micheal Azira, Saphir Taïder; F-Orji Okwonkwo (Harry Novillo 74'), Maximiliano Urruti (Jukka Raitala 76'), Ignacio Piatti
Subs not used - Clément Diop, Rudy Camacho, Shamit Shome, Anthony Jackson-Hamel
ORL - GK-Brian Rowe; D-Ruan, Shane O'Neill (Santiago Patiño 74'), Carlos Ascues, Danilo Acosta (Josué Colmán 75'), Chris Mueller; M-Will Johnson (Cristian Higuita 21'), Sacha Kjlestan, Sebastián Méndez; F-Dom Dwyer, Nani
Subs not used - Greg Ranjitsingh, Alex De John, Kyle Smith, Oriol Rosell
MTL - Okwonkwo 14'
MTL - Piatti (Urruti) 15'
MTL - Piatti (Novillo) 80'
ORL - Dwyer (Patiño, Mueller)
ORL - Rowe 16'
ORL - O'Neill 23'
MTL - Azira 32'
ORL - Acosta 55'
MTL - Okwonkwo 57'
ORL - Higuita 90+7'
MTL - Diallo 90+6'
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Major League Soccer Stories from March 16, 2019
- Earthquakes Fall to New York Red Bulls on Road - San Jose Earthquakes
- Red Bulls Roll Past San Jose, 4-1, in MLS Home Opener - New York Red Bulls
- Impact Defeats Orlando City SC 3-1 - Montreal Impact
- Orlando City Falls 3-1 to Montreal - Orlando City SC
- FC Dallas Falls 1-0 at MAPFRE Stadium - FC Dallas
- Rodriguez's Brace Powers Dynamo to 3-2 Win over Vancouver - Houston Dynamo
- Montero and Bangoura score, but 'Caps fall in wild match against Houston - Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- Chicago Fire Falls 4-2 to Seattle Sounders FC - Chicago Fire
- Following 4-2 Victory in Chicago, Sounders FC Begins Season 3-0-0 for the First Time Since 2009 - Seattle Sounders FC
- Sunday's FC Cincinnati MLS Home Opener is Sold Out - FC Cincinnati
- LAFC Travels to New York City for First Road Game against NYCFC - Los Angeles FC
- Midfielder Saphir Taider Called up by Algeria - Montreal Impact
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