The Montreal Impact rode a first-half flurry and late insurance goal to emerge with a 3-1 win at Orlando City SC on Saturday evening. Ignacio Piatti scored a brace and turnovers by Orlando took their toll, as the Lions remain winless early into James O’Connor’s first full season in charge.
The ball got rolling in the 14th minute, when Samuel Piette sprung a through ball for Saphir Taider. The Algerian midfielder cut a cross back for winger Orji Okwonkwo, who finished to the far post for his first goal in MLS.
The 1-0 lead doubled immediately after the ensuing kick off, as Orlando center back Shane O’Neill mis-hit a back pass into the path of Maximiliano Urruti. He was fouled as he rounded Lions’ goalkeeper Brian Rowe, only for Piatti to smash into the open net.
Piatti then made it 3-0 in the 80th minute, as Harry Novillo played Piatti in after another Orlando turnover. The Argentine made no mistake after some patience in the 18-yard box.
Despite the first-half sucker punch, Orlando had its chances and could have found a result if not for some wayward finishing from Dom Dwyer. The veteran striker hit over in the 7th minute after some creativity from Nani; he headed right into Evan Bush’s hands in the 35th minute; and blasted a breakaway over the net in the 58th minute.
Dwyer finally found his breakthrough in the 91st minute, as he tapped into an open net after some inventive play from rookie forward Santiago Patino. It was too little too late, though.
Montreal center back Zakaria Diallo was shown a straight red card in the 96th minute. The French center back put his hands to the face of Dwyer, and head referee Timothy Ford wasted no time in making his decision.
The scoreline could have been more lopsided if not for Rowe's play in goal. He made a career-high eight saves.
- 14' – MTL – Orji Okwonkwo | WATCH
- 15' – MTL – Ignacio Piatti | WATCH
- 80' – MTL – Ignacio Piatti | WATCH
- 91' – ORL – Dom Dwyer | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: With his two strikes, Ignacio Piatti now has 10 goals and one assist through 10 career games vs. Orlando. The result also gives Montreal its second away win in three matches before an early bye week. As for Orlando, self-inflicted errors were the name of the game as they allowed multiple goals at home for the second straight match.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Allowing an early goal at home is tough enough, but the manner in which Orlando conceded the second was an absolute gut punch. Shane O’Neill botched his back pass, and Ignacio Piatti made no mistake on the second opportunity. The goal was, in a word, deflating.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: While Piatti bagged a brace, Orji Okwonkwo, on loan from Serie A club Bologna, was extremely influential until being subbed out in the 74th minute. The Nigerian winger’s goal served as the game-winner and he attempted a team-high seven shots. His direct play also led to some heated moments with Lions’ left back Danilo Acosta.