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Impact-Orlando City Preview
After disappointment followed a promising opener, the Montreal Impact are anxious to bounce back in a series in which they've dominated recently.
The Impact hope to get back on track while extending a five-game unbeaten streak against Orlando City SC on Saturday afternoon at Orlando City Stadium.
After an exciting 2-1 win at San Jose on March 2, Montreal stood on the verge of picking up points in its second straight match before Mauro Manotas redirected a cross in the 86th minute to give Houston a 2-1 win last Saturday at BBVA Stadium.
The Impact have since turned their focus on rebounding from the frustrating defeat as they embark on the third of six straight road matches before finally playing their home opener at Stade Saputo on April 13.
"We were unable to finish our chances, and at the end we conceded a goal," Montreal center back Zakaria Diallo told the team's official website. "We need to continue working hard and keep our foot on the gas pedal. The best thing we could do is bounce back on Saturday."
Three-time All-Star Ignacio Piatti and fellow midfielder Saphir Taider hope to spark a Montreal attack that managed little after Taider's second goal in as many matches gave the Impact a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute.
Piatti, who scored his 69th goal in six seasons with Montreal in the opener, has been outstanding against Orlando with six goals in the past four meetings. Goalkeeper Evan Bush has consecutive shutouts in the series, and the Impact have outscored the Lions 7-1 during a three-game win streak while going 4-0-1 in the past five matchups.
Orlando is seeking its first victory of the season after enduring a difficult finish of its own Saturday at Chicago. Dom Dwyer's goal in the 47th minute looked like a winner before C.J. Sapong scored off a cross in the 95th minute to help the short-handed Fire steal a point in their home opener.
"It's just very annoying for all of us," said coach James O'Connor, whose club has only won twice in its last 27 matches (2-20-5) dating to last season. "And I'm really disappointed for the players, because they've worked exceptionally hard and yet we've been caught by a couple of bad decisions on our half and we end up losing two points."
Nani has been sharp while becoming the 12th Orlando player to serve as captain during MLS play. The newcomer is the first in club history to have an assist in each of the first two matches and leads the league with 1.65 assists per 90 minutes among those who have played at least 20 minutes.
No Lions player has ever started a season with an assist in three straight games.
Updated March 15, 2019