CF Montréal’s road woes continue in season-opening loss at Orlando City


CFM started the game impressively but came up short in 2-0 loss.

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CF Montréal won just three games on the road last season — a significant reason why it missed the MLS playoffs. It might be a new year, but the team’s struggles on the road continue.

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Orlando City defeated CFM 2-0 on Sunday afternoon before 21,283 spectators at Exploria Stadium as both teams launched their regular season schedules.

Alexandre Pato opened the scoring in the 49th minute before Benji Michel produced an insurance goal in the 59th. And any thoughts the visitors had of a comeback probably expired after Honduran striker Romell Quioto was ejected in the 66th, leaving CFM short a man.

The home club lost Robin Jansson in the 81st following his second yellow card.

The Lions dashed CF Montréal playoffs hopes last November, on Decision Day, when it came into Saputo Stadium and escaped with a similar 2-0 victory.

Having played only last Wednesday, in the second leg of the Champions League series against Santos Laguna, it was somewhat predictable manager Wilfried Nancy made four changes to his starting 11 — Gabriele Corbo, Zorhan Bassong, Alistair Johnston and Matko Mikjevic.

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Veteran striker Kei Kamara didn’t start but again was available off the bench as a substitute. Seeking offence, I replaced Corbo in the 72nd.

CFM started the game impressively, pressing an attack that produced four corners in the opening minutes. While the opportunities were to no avail, the visitors nearly struck with an early goal, as was the case last Wednesday. And, again, it was Quito.

In the 16th minute, he was set up by Zorhan Bassong on the left side but faced with an extremely sharp angle, his low shot rolled wide of the far post.

The Lions’ first two opportunities came in the 29th. Newcomer Facundo Torres produced a solo effort that resulted in an easy save by goalkeeper Sebastian Breza. Second later, from just outside the box, Mauricio Pereyra had a glorious chance to open the scoring. However, his shot of him sailed over the bar.

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In the 41st, Pato delivered a header, but Breza was able to cover up. The Canadian ‘keeper was mildly shaken up moments later, following a challenge on a loose ball against Torres.

CFM went offside four times in the opening half, attempting to generate some offence. The lack of quality by both sides in vital areas in the opening half was evident.

The visitors started quickly following the intermission. In the opening minute, captain Victor Wanyama delivered a low shot, but goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was perfectly positioned to make the stop. I have made two saves for the clean sheet.

Nonetheless, Orlando City opened the scoring four minutes later. Ruan Teixeira burst down the right flank, beating Canadian defender Kamal Miller. Teixeira passed to Pato, Breza unable to break up the low cross. Pato had no trouble completing the delivery for his first MLS goal. He was injured a lot of last season.

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In the 59th, Cesar Araujo was alone following a turnover by Wanyama, but his low shot missed the far post.

Just when it appeared CFM had dodged a bullet, the Lions struck for an insurance goal seconds later — this time following a giveaway by Canadian defender Joel Waterman. Michel had little difficulty scoring after accepting a short cross from Mauricio Pereyra.

CF Montréal launches the home portion of its regular season next Saturday afternoon (4 pm) against Philadelphia at Olympic Stadium. Quito won’t be eligible to play in that match.

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