While Orlando City SC have been one of the surprises of the MLS is Back Tournament, they won't be sneaking up on anyone in the Knockout Stage.
Orlando topped Group A with seven points, setting up a Round of 16 matchup with the Montreal Impact (Saturday, 8 pm ET | ESPN2, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN, TVAS in Canada). Their increased defensive structure and stability in possession under Oscar Pareja has made them a formidable foe, and their quality in the attack has ensured they turned strong performances into wins.
“Their front three is one of the best in the tournament," Impact defender Luis Binks told reporters on a video conference call on Friday. "Beating Orlando is going to be hard, they’ve got a lot of good players. (Like) Nani, Dom Dwyer and more."
Nani has a goal and two assists over three group stage games while Chris Mueller has scored three goals. Dwyer hasn't gotten on the scoresheet but has picked up an assist, while No. 10 Mauricio Pereyra has helped the attack run smoothly.
That doesn't mean Binks and his teammates think Orlando are unbeatable at the moment.
"We showed the other night we can defend, we can keep a clean sheet," Binks said. "… There’s no reason as to why we can’t create chances and go on, get a few goals and get the win.”
Montreal advanced to the Knockout Stage after a defensively sound 1-0 win over D.C. United, stifling D.C.'s attack. If they're to continue their run at the MLS is Back Tournament, they'll need more of the same against Orlando.