If you are teaching a philosophy course on futility, the meeting of Montreal and Orlando City should provide numerous case-study opportunities to share with your students. Both the Impact and Lions have won only a single time in their last 6 matches, and it feels like if there's any possible way for both teams to lose this would be the match where it could happen. Both teams are well below the red line and working hard to eliminate themselves from any chance of playoff contention before the middle of the season arrives.
Injuries, Internationals, Suspensions, and Players to Pity
Normally I call this "Players to Watch," but in the case of this matchup, both teams are so inept right now that it's probably better to say you should pity anyone that has to wear the kit and take the pitch to represent these two teams. As usual, the stats below include those players expected to be available for selection who have played at least 630 minutes on the season.
- Injury Report:
- OUT: D - Zakaria Diallo (ruptured Achilles tendon), D - Kyle Fisher (tibia injury), D - Victor Cabrera (calf injury), M - David Choiniere (ankle surgery), M - Louis Beland-Goyette (foot injury)
- Offensive Leaders: Ignacio Piatti (5 Goals, 5 Assists, 2.6 Shots/match, 4.2 Dribbles/match), Saphir Taider (2.6 Key Passes/match)
- Defensive Leaders: Samuel Piette (2.7 Tackles/match), Jukka Raitala (3.1 Clearances/match), Rod Fanni (3.4 Interceptions/match, 0.7 Blocks/match)
- Passing Leaders: Saphir Taider (61.1 Passes/match, 0.9 Crosses/match, 5.1 Long Balls/match), Samuel Piette (88% Pass Completion rate), Ignacio Piatti (0.4 Through Balls/match)
- Suspended: D - Mohamed El-Munir
- International duty: M - Yoshi Yotun
- Injury Report:
- OUT: GK - Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), D - Scott Sutter (knee injury)
- QUESTIONABLE: D - Lamine Sane (knee injury)
- Offensive Leaders: Dom Dwyer (7 goals, 3 Shots/match), Chris Mueller (3 Assists), Sacha Kljestan (3 Key Passes/match), Justin Meram (2.8 Dribbles/match)
- Defensive Leaders: Cristian Higuita (3.3 Tackles/match), Amro Tarek (2.7 Interceptions/match, 4.3 Clearances/match, 1 Block/match)
- Passing Leaders: Sacha Kljestan (54.8 Passes/match, 1.1 Crosses/match, 0.2 Through Balls/match), Will Johnson (4.5 Long Balls/match), Cristian Higuita (89.8% Pass Completion rate)
Lineup and Score Prediction
My lineup is halfway between what I expect to see and what I want to see. Colman has the talent to be a striker up top, but I think with Dom back and healthy he will start, so I would hope to see Colman in the attacking midfield line, where he can have the freedom to push forward along with Mueller and maybe give Montreal multiple threats to worry about. Meram has just been too tentative--I honestly think the lack of scoring in the first few games has made him a head case, and it's long past time he should have been parked on the bench for a few matches to reset himself. He was contributing assists for a while, but his production has really dropped off as of late, and the one goal he did score didn't seem to bring him out of his slump.
In the defense, I'd really lie to see Johnson sit for a game due to his tendency to get in bad circumstances, but I don't think the coaching staff will do that. Rocha has impressed me with his last few outings, so I think he deserves a start, possibly in the place of El-Munir.
Normally, I would feel a sense of optimism going into a match against an opponent that has only managed to score one goal in its last five outings like Montreal. But in this case, I look at the 14 goals Orlando City has conceded in its last five games and I think this might just be the time Montreal can have a breakout offensive showing. I said the other day that Orlando City will have to prove to me that they can win before I pick them to win again, and I stand by that. So I'm going to predict that Orlando City's abysmal form continues and the Lions find a way to lose this match 3 - 1.
Of course, the best thing about this match is that it's the last time we'll have to watch Orlando City before the World Cup starts. Watch my twitter feed every morning of the World Cup to see a lineup of the day's matches. Tweets go up before kickoff of the first match; most days that means before 8 am Eastern Time.