Final score 2-2 as Lions transition defense fails in the away draw – The Mane Land

Orlando City came from behind twice for the second road game in a row. This time, however, there was no late winner in a 2-2 draw against CF Montreal at Stade Saputo in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This season the teams split the points in both meetings, even though at least there were goals scored in this meeting.

Facundo Torres and Ivan Angulo scored for Orlando (2-3-3, 9 points), offsetting strikes by Montreal’s Mason Toye and Ariel Lassiter (3-3-2, 11 points). The Lions are undefeated for four games in a row (2-0-2), although the defense’s play remains astonishingly poor. Orlando gave up multiple goals for the fourth straight road game, including another early one.

“We are happy with the performance and it looks like the draw at the end could be a good result, but we also wanted to win at the end and against a good team we could have walked away with three points. ,” said Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja after the match. “But the match itself was very competitive. I thought we played an excellent first half, but we could maybe have been clearer in those last plays there, but we played really well. In the second half they got some momentum because they scored the goal (late), but after that I think we dominated the game.”

Pareja’s line-up had only one change from the starting eleven that defeated DC United a week ago. Pedro Gallese started in goal behind a back line of Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, David Brekalo and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena took their usual spots in defensive midfield, behind an attacking line of Angulo, Nico Lodeiro (in place of Martin Ojeda) and Torres, with Luis Muriel up top.

Both teams started the match probing the other’s defence, so much of the play early on took place between the penalty areas. Jansson was shown a yellow card early in the match as he tried to restart play after a foul on Montreal, which seemed to catch the Swede by surprise.

The opening goal came out of nowhere with the first real chance for both teams. Montreal’s Samuel Piette was in his own half of the field, but was not eliminated. Toye timed his run well and roasted the Orlando City backline, who were caught asleep. Toye took Piette’s pass, surrounded Gallese, who had come off his line, and hit the ball from the left into the empty net. It was the kind of sleepy play from the defense that has been on display since the start of the season, and it bit back at the Lions again, putting Montreal ahead after just 16 minutes.

Orlando City immediately pulled the goal back with the help of Montreal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois. Lodeiro slid the ball into the area for Muriel, who arrived at the same time as Sirois. The Montreal goalkeeper appeared to touch the ball, but got a lot of Muriel in the 19th minute, and referee Jon Freemon wasted no time in pointing to the spot. The game was controlled and the penalty was upheld.

Torres sent Sirois the wrong way and fired the ball into the top left corner of the net to make it 1-1 in the 22nd minute.

Torres’ goal was the first by an Orlando City Designated Player in 2024, although it came from the penalty spot.

Thorhallsson had the opportunity to put the Lions ahead a minute after the penalty conversion after a ball in the penalty area ricocheted into his feet. However, the Icelandic full-back could not find the handle and lost control of the ball just before goal. A minute after that chance, Muriel came close to scoring his first MLS goal from the top of the box, sending his shot just wide of the top left corner.

Montreal defenseman George Campbell was unable to close down from long range in the 29th minute, so he scored a goal. Campbell’s shot didn’t miss by much, but it was always high and buzzed the back of the net on its way down.

Smith had a golden opportunity in the 41st minute, crossing the left side of the penalty area. But the full-back hit his shot/cross just wide of the far post and was offside. Orlando had a few more chances in the later stages of the second half, but could do nothing with them.

Likewise, Montreal were awarded a free kick in a dangerous spot, thanks to an unnecessary foul by Cartagena. Choiniere went for goal or the back post in the 45th minute, but either way it was comfortable for Gallese to stop.

Orlando got a little sloppy with the ball late in the half, giving Montreal a lot of late possession, but little came of it. The last chance of the half came from long range for Torres, but the Uruguayan hit his shot poorly and fired high over the goal.

The teams went into halftime with the score tied at 1-1. Orlando’s biggest problem in the first half, aside from falling asleep to allow the opening goal, was getting into promising situations and then making passes that were slightly off the line or too close to a defender to be easily cleared .

Montreal had a slight advantage in possession (50.3%-49.7%), passed more accurately (84.2%-82.3%) and shot more on goal (2-1). Orlando City attempted more shots (4-3) and won more corners (2-0).

The hosts had possession for most of the first four minutes of the second half. Montreal played more directly from the break and almost created something just seconds after the restart. Smith had to be sharp to clear a dangerous cross from the left in the 46th minute.

Thorhallsson almost found Angulo on Orlando’s first attack of the half in the 50th minute. The full-back sent a ball into the top of the six, but Sirois got there just ahead of Angulo to smother the chance.

Montreal then attacked quickly and got into the back left. Gallese made a crucial save with his left hand to deny Lassiter at the other end.

Lodeiro almost took out Thorhallsson with a dangerous cross in the 52nd minute, but the defense arrived just in time to put the ball behind for a corner. The Lions took the corner short and made a complete mess of it.

Jansson made a vital block up front in the 55th minute to prevent a cross from Toye after Thorhallsson lost sight of Raheem Edwards on the wing. The corner was headed away by Jansson. Edwards gathered himself and shot from distance, but his shot went wide of the left post.

Muriel conceded a set piece in the 59th minute and dropped back to help as Orlando struggled to get out of his own end. The ball was knocked away by Gallese, but at the next stoppage of play he needed a visit from the trainers. The Peruvian was able to continue and Muriel was replaced by Duncan McGuire.

A good ball from the back made McGuire jump to the left in the 69th minute. The striker picked out Torres who crashed into the penalty area, but the Uruguayan’s shot was blocked by Joaquin Sosa.

Montreal looked to score the winning goal in the 88th minute and again it was a direct play that cut open Orlando’s defense. A diagonal ball somehow found its way through Brekalo, who seemed to have the measure. Instead, the ball landed on the foot of substitute Sunusi Ibrahim, who crawled back to the top of the penalty area and fired a shot. Gallese went down to parry the ball clear, but Smith was caught looking at the ball and had failed to mark Lassiter, allowing him to dive in and score an easy goal. Montreal led 2-1 with just two minutes left in normal time.

“We are trying to create more cohesion with the players who start or play the game,” Pareja said of his defense. “Our lines need to improve. For us, conceding early goals or conceding goals, especially in the first half, is something that we have to solve and figure out. How can we be firmer? Not just a problem for the defender. It is a collective problem. We all have to be in charge.”

It didn’t look like Orlando’s night when McGuire missed the net moments later. From a set piece, the ball was headed to the right by Jansson, where McGuire punched the ball out of the air. His shot appeared to be headed into the top left corner, but he missed the net by inches in the 90th minute.

It doesn’t matter though. The Lions instead scored two minutes into stoppage time. McGuire played the ball out to Ojeda on the left and the Argentine drove towards the backline and sent a cross into the area for Sirois. Angulo won the race for the ball and tucked it into the net, scoring his first league goal of the season and leveling the match in the 92nd minute.

“I saw ‘Tincho’ bring him into space on the left wing,” Angulo said through a club interpreter. “He was in a good spot and I saw a space I could attack. I was able to attack the space just behind the full-back, and fortunately Tincho was able to get me the ball, and all I had to do was push him in to score the equalizer.

“The good news is that we are scoring now, we are overcoming difficult moments and the attackers are also going a step further,” Pareja said.

Five minutes later the Lions almost scored a mirror image of that goal. Ojeda again reached the back line on the left and sent a cross towards Angulo. This time the cross was just inches out of Angulo’s reach and skipped through the box.

Orlando closed the match with a series of corner kicks but could not score on the set pieces and the match ended in a stalemate.

Montreal’s stronger second half was reflected in the statistics. The hosts had the advantage in ball possession (53.5%-46.5%), shots (10-8), shots on target (5-2) and passing accuracy (84.6%-81.6%). The Lions won more corners (8-1).

“It was a very tough match, a very contentious match,” Angulo said. “A lot of running. The way they like to play, they like to attack on the wings, so there was a lot. But I feel like we’ve reached the level of the game. The way we played we probably deserved three points, but we’re happy to come out here with a point tonight.”

“After we got our results at home and we came on this trip to go two games away against rivals who are direct and difficult rivals, and now to get these four points it just makes us feel a lot more like us . ” said Pareja. “The team is increasing its confidence and everyone is raising the level, and now we have two home games where we have a big responsibility to keep adding and get closer to the (top) of the standings.”

Orlando City returns home to take on another Canadian team, while Toronto FC visits Inter&Co Stadium next Saturday.

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