The first team to qualify for the knockout stage of the MLS is Back Tournament is now the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Thanks to a 60th-minute goal from Tesho Akindele, Orlando City sailed past the Montreal Impact, 1-0, on Saturday night in the opening game of the Round of 16.
The Lions will now await the winner of Seattle-LAFC on Monday night (11 p.m. ET, FS1).
Orlando City dominated play early on, claiming nearly 70 percent of possession throughout the opening 25 minutes of the match. The Lions ran around Montreal’s press with quick, one-touch passing all across the field, creating opportunities throughout the first half — the score could have easily been 3-0 heading into halftime had the Lions capitalized some key chances.
One of those moments came shortly before halftime, when Sebas Mednez played a ball into Tesho Akindele, who tapped back to Mendez, leading to a goal that was called back for Akindele being offside — by, if anything, an inch or two.
But the duo found their moment later on in the second half. Mauricio Pereyra played the ball into Nani, who flicked the ball onto Mednez, who was making an inside run from the left wing. As Mendez came into contact with the defender, the ball bounced off the foot of the centerback Rod Fanni, slipping past the emerged goalkeeper Clement Diop, falling into the lap of Akindele, who finished the ball into the open net for his second of the tournament.
As Orlando sat back to preserve their lead late in the game, Montreal pressured with a handful of chances, but couldn’t find an equalizer.
This game also marked the MLS debut for both of the Lions rookie draft picks, Daryl Dike and Joey Dezart.
Orlando’s quarterfinal game will be against the winner of Seattle-LAFC on Friday, July 31st at 7:30 p.m.
60′ – Tesho Akindele (Orlando City)
How the Lions lined up
Starting XI: Pedro Gallese; Ruan (Kyle Smith, 87′), Antonio Carlos, Robin Jansson, Joao Moutinho; Uri Rosell, Sebas Mendez (Joey Dezart, 83′); Chris Mueller (Rodrigo Schlegel, 83′), Mauricio Pereyra (Andrés Perea, 75′), Nani; Tesho Akindele (Daryl Dike, 75′)
Orlando bench: Brian Rowe, Alex De John, Kamal Miller, Robinho, David Loera, Santiago Patiño.