Orlando City, Montreal hope to start turnaround (Jun 11, 2018)
May wasn't very kind to Orlando City SC. Two weeks into June, things aren't looking much better.
After a 6-2-1 start to the season, Orlando has cooled off considerably. It slides into Montreal on a five-game losing streak to face the equally-struggling Impact on Wednesday night at Saputo Stadium.
The latest came after a 5-2 result against the Vancouver Whitecaps, a game in which the Lions played most of the second half down a man after defender Mohamed El-Munir was sent off. El-Munir will miss Wednesday's match as he serves his suspension.
Trailing 1-0 at the time of the ejection, Orlando (6-7-1) evened the score a few minutes later. But Vancouver scored four times in the final 14 minutes, sending the club home empty-handed.
"You can't play 90 percent well, I've been saying for five games in a row," Orlando City coach Jason Kreis told the team website. "I have been saying you can't play 90 percent well. The problem with that line of thinking is it makes you forget about the 10 percent. That is the difference right now.
"We start the game dictating things, then we give the ball away one time, and they go right down the field to score on their first chance. It's too many times that we're making critical mistakes at critical moments."
One bright spot for the Lions was the return of forward Dom Dwyer after missing three games to injury. Dwyer scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season, a welcome sight as the club has struggled to find the back of the net, with just five goals for during its current slide.
Saturday's five goals allowed is the most Orlando has given up this season and matched its largest deficit in a loss in 2018, equaling the club's 3-0 defeat to New York City FC a week earlier.
"Him out there, it brings a little bit of a spark," rookie Chris Mueller told the Orlando Sentinel. "It gives some of the guys a little bit more belief, in my opinion, that's what it kind of comes across as.
"Dom's just a really good player. He's one of the best in the league at what he does. He scores goals, he holds up the ball for us, he provides so many different things, outlets when we're taking a lot of pressure."
Things aren't much better in Montreal, where the Impact (4-11-0) have been stuck in neutral for much of the season.
Remi Garde's crew was shut out by FC Dallas last weekend, the sixth time the Impact failed to score this season. In 15 games, the club has 14 goals, and six of those have come in two games.
Despite the loss, Garde liked the effort his team delivered.
"We didn't throw in the towel," he told the Journal de Montreal. "We had a few chances and Matteo (Mancosu) came close at the end of the first half. But we know that as soon as we give up a goal, we're fragile."
The Impact played without star striker Ignacio Piatti, who wasn't 100 percent. They hope to have him back against Orlando.
Without a goal in his last five games, Piatti has scored five times in seven games against the Lions, his third-highest total against any MLS team.
"Luck wasn't on our side (against Dallas), but at the same time we have to create that luck," Impact midfielder Samuel Piette told reporters. "We have another game (on Wednesday), so it'll be important to build off those positives and bring those against Orlando."