Desperation can be a good motivator, and Wednesday’s game in Montreal between the Impact and visiting Orlando City SC features no shortage of desperation.
Montreal (4-11-0) sits three points out of last place in the Eastern Conference, and the club has scored one goal in its past six matches combined. That goal came in a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo two weeks ago, but a trip to Dallas on Saturday ended in a 2-0 loss, leaving a pair of victories in March as the last two-game winning streak in this dismal season.
Orlando City (6-7-1) comes to town off a crushing 5-2 loss in Vancouver to the Whitecaps.
With a tenuous grasp on the last playoff spot in the East, Orlando City is a prime target for the Impact. Montreal senses chance to change its fortunes and pick up points and position in the standings, as the clubs will square off again in Florida on June 23.
“It’s our opportunity to begin coming back,” Impact head coach Remi Garde said. “Orlando City SC is a direct competitor for a spot in the playoffs. Obviously, these are two very important games, especially the first one at home.”
Orlando City, meanwhile, is looking to recapture the success it had earlier this season when it won a franchise-record six consecutive games. Since that streak ended May 13, the team has dropped five straight in league play.
According to coach Jason Kreis, improved results will come with improved effort.
“You can’t play 90 percent well. I’ve been saying for five games in a row,” he said. “It’s too many times that we’re making critical mistakes at critical moments, too many decisions are going against us. We need to focus on that 10 percent.”
That improved Orlando effort will have to come without star midfielder Yoshi Yotun, who is away on international duty with Peru, and defender Mohamed El-Munir, who will serve a red-card suspension. Out with injury are goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar (cancer treatment) and defender Scott Sutter (knee). Defenders Lamine Sane (knee) and Jonathan Spector (concussion) are questionable.
Montreal will play without defenders Zakaria Diallo (ruptured Achilles tendon), Kyle Fisher (tibia) and Victor Cabrera (calf), leaving the Impact very thin on the back line. Also out are midfielders David Choiniere (ankle surgery) and Louis Beland-Goyette (foot).
—Field Level Media