Impact Visits Orlando City SC Saturday Afternoon
ORLANDO, Florida - The Montreal Impact will play its third MLS regular-season game, this Saturday at 4pm against Orlando City SC, at Orlando City Stadium (TVA Sports, 98.5). After two games, both on the road, the Bleu-blanc-noir has three points and sits fourth in the Eastern Conference.
"We saw Orlando play and watched their two first games," said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. "They're a team that can play with a lot of intensity and physicality, especially at home. They have Nani as well now, who was and still is a good player, something he proved in Europe. They have a lot of offensive weapons. But we aren't going there as the victim, to the contrary. I want to see my team conquer like it did in San Jose."
Saphir Taïder leads the Audi Player Index
The Impact's midfielder and Designated Player Saphir Taïder is having a fantastic start to the season, scoring two goals and adding an assist in the first two games. He now sits atop the Audi Player Index, while centre-back Víctor Cabrera is ranked third. Evan Bush, on his end, ranks third among goalies for saves with seven.
If Piatti starts, he'll join Hassoun Camara for most games started with the Impact in MLS with 124. He's also just 134 minutes away from passing Camara for most minutes played in MLS in club history. Daniel Lovitz, if he plays, will reach his own milestone Saturday in Orlando, now at 99 games played in MLS.
Wanting to rebound
Saturday's opponent found itself on the wrong end of a goal scored in the last seconds of stoppage time last week: the Lions were moments away from beating a 10-man Chicago side, but ended up conceding the tying goal in the 95th minute. Both sides will want to prove that the lesson learned in the previous week has sunk in by coming away with all three points this Saturday.
"Our week went well, better than in Houston, where we played badly and lost," admitted midfielder and Designated Player Nacho Piatti. "It's behind us now. We kicked off this week with solid training sessions to prepare ourselves for Orlando. Our objective is to come back home with three points. The season just started and it's very important for us to collect points away from home."
"At the end of the day, we need to focus on what we do best," said midfielder Micheal Azira. "We can't control what other teams do but can control our effort and how we prepare. It's mostly important for us to do the things we do well. We have a good group of guys and we have a good team, so we feel like we can win any game."
A lot of turnover in Orlando
During the offseason, the Lions said goodbye to 15 players, including midfielder Yoshi Yotun, adding 14 new ones; among the newcomers, the presence of former Manchester United player and Portuguese superstar, Nani, is duly noted, and Canadian international Tesho Akindele, who is unavailable for Saturday's game due to a thigh injury. Centre-back Lamine Sané remains uncertain. Orlando City SC kicked off its MLS regular season with two draws in two games.
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 Kansas City on Saturday, March 30 at 3pm EDT at Children's Mercy Park (TVA Sports, TSN, CTV, 98.5, TSN 690).
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