Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – Orlando City SC (10-0-3, 33 points) extended their unbeaten streak to 13, one shy on tying the club record, with a brace from Midfielder Brian Span to defeat the Montreal Impact Reserves (1-0-2, 3 points) in the two side’s first meeting at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday Evening.
The Lions didn’t miss a beat with three players out on international duty as Orlando maintained the majority of possession for nearly the first half hour of the match, applying pressure immediately from the kick off.
“It was very nearly a great performance, and I was pleased with many aspects of our play,” Head Coach Adrian Heath said after a 2-1 victory on Saturday night. “Considering how many opportunities we had, it would have been a travesty if we didn’t get the three points tonight.”
Midfielder Austin da Luz went on the attack in the first couple of minutes of the matches firing off a long distance effort right at ‘keeper Maxime Crepeau before heading a chance on target forcing the keeper to tip the ball over the bar.
Moments later, the Lions would remain on the prowl with Brian Span joining his fellow midfielder in the hunt for the team’s opening goal. In the 10th minute, the FC Dallas loanee would get a near opportunity, as his headed effort was just high.
Span would cash in seconds later for his second goal of the season, and first since his debut. Defender Luke Boden ran down the left flank and sent a low cross into the box where Forward Corey Hertzog tapped it through to Span who easily put it past the ‘keeper into the bottom right corner.
The game would turn in Montreal’s favor in the 25th minute, after the hosts looked to be in complete control of the game against the visitors from Canada, when Midfielder Yordany Alvarez collapsed off the ball after a headed challenge. Alvarez was able to leave the field under his own power, but would head to the hospital for precautionary checks.
A minute later, the ball got into Orlando’s penalty area for the first time when a Montreal defender sent a through ball over the top but is out of the reach of Midfielder Maxim Tissot. The Impact would get another opportunity off Calum Mallace’s free kick, but Montreal’s first shot attempt would deflect off the wall and well over the net. On the reserve-side’s second consecutive attempt from a corner, Tissot sent a low-driven cross to the top of the box to a lurking Victor Ndiaye, but the midfielder lost his footing running onto the ball allowing the Lions to attack on the counter.
Hertzog was bearing down on goal, but defender Janouk Carbonneau tackled the striker just on the edge of the 18-yard box denying the Hertzog an attempt to add a second goal to his name on the season. Midfielder Anthony Pulis lined up the free kick and curled around Montreal’s wall near the far post forcing Crepeau to lay out to make the save.
The Lions would get a few more chances before halftime, but Impact wouldn’t fold and kept the hosts off the scoresheet. In the waning minutes of the match Mallace tried a long distance shot forcing ‘keeper Miguel Gallardo to parry the ball out of the area. The Impact would get another chance from another free kick, but the ball was cleared out of harm’s way before the ball even got close to Gallardo.
The second half saw Orlando get back into the game, as they began to reassert themselves on the game with large amounts of possession. Span would add to his total at the hour-mark when he dribbled through the Montreal defense switched the ball over to his right foot before taking the shot from just outside the box with two Montreal closing down on the New York native.. The shot would deflect off one of the two Impact defenders, wrong-footing the keeper and finding the back of the net to extend Orlando’s lead to 2-0.
However, the Canadian-based club would inch closer to cutting into Orlando’s lead in the 68th minute when Forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel was left all alone in the area, but his effort was put just wide of target.
Minutes later Montreal was able to go on the break outnumbering City’s defense after a poor free kick by the Lions. Mallace played the ball out to the right flank to Forward Santiago Gonzales who sent a cross through the box to Tissot. The Impact midfielder took a touch and slotted it past Gallardo to make the scoreboard read 2-1 in the 75th minute.
After the the goal, Heath’s squad would tighten down to keep the visitors at bay and out of their attacking third and allowing the Lions to quickly counter with chances from Midfielder Adama Mbengue, but the Senegalese winger was whistled for offside as his shot rolled between Crepeau’s legs into the net. Later second-half substitute, Aodhan Quinn’s volley just crept over the bar.
Up next. Orlando will conclude their home stand against the Orange County Blues on Wednesday, June 11. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Team 1 2 Final
Orlando City SC 1 1 2
Montreal Impact Reserves 0 1 1
ORL- Brian Span (Corey Hertzog) 12’
ORL- Brian Span (Unassisted) 60’
MON- Maxim Tissot (Santiago Gonzales) 75’
Orlando City SC- G Miguel Gallardo, D Tyler Turner, Brad Rusin, Bryan Burke, Luke Boden, M Anthony Pulis, Adama Mbengue, Yordany Alvarez (Aodhan Quinn 25’), Austin da Luz, Brian Span, F Corey Hertzog (Dennis Chin 75’)
Montreal Impact Reserves- G Maxime Crepeau, D Jerome Mechak, Janouk Carbonneau, Futty Danso (Adrian Lopez 64’), M Maxim Tissot, Calum Mallace, Louis Beland-Goyet, Victor Ndiaye (Charles Joly 56’), F Santiago Gonzalez, Anthony Jackson-Hamel
MON- Janouk Carbonneau (Yellow Card) 31’
MON- Maxim Tissot (Yellow Card) 74’
MON- Louis Beland-Goyet (Yellow Card) 84’
Time of Match: 7:30 p.m. EST
Weather: — Clear