With Orlando City chasing a top four finish to the MLS regular season, midfield maestro Mauricio Pereyra returned and Daryl Dike continued his torrid scoring form as the Lions secured a 1-0 victory on the road against the Montreal Impact on Sunday at Red Bull Arena.
“It was a game that it was probably missing some precision in the boxes offensively, but in the very moment, Mauricio came and put that beautiful ball to Daryl and then we find the goal,” head coach Oscar Pareja said after the game.
“Another thing that I liked, we learned how to win these types of games,” added Pareja. “We were obviously closer to scoring more goals in the second half, but they have one chance as well and kept us in the game. overall, I like it. Discipline was there. I think we were great today and then we had today personalities to get the three points that we needed.”
Pereyra, who missed Orlando’s last five matches because of a hamstring injury, set up Dike’s seventh goal of the season — threading a ball through the Montreal defense, finding the rookie forward in an open pocket of space to slip the ball past Clement Diop in the 39th minute.
It was the third consecutive game that Dike has scored for the Lions, doing so in what was Orlando’s first regular-season shutout win of 2020.
Orlando (10-3-8, 38 points — fourth place) saw a slew of chances in the second half, including a play in the 75th minute when substitute Junior Urso picked out Tesho Akindele in transition, only to get his shot blocked by Diop moments later.
In the 80th minute, Sebastian Mendez led a counter attack finding Urso, who then slipped the ball to Ruan, but the fullback couldn’t get the finishing touch to potentially double the lead for the Lions.
In the second minute of stoppage time, Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese made a match-saving diving one-armed save to deny Montreal forward Bojan from distance that was aimed to go on target.
That save in stoppage time proved to be the most crucial, as the final whistle blew just minutes later to secure all three points for Orlando in their final road match of the regular season.
Orlando City captain Nani and winger Chris Mueller did no travel with the team on Sunday due to load management, according to a team representative.
The victory for the Lions edges them closer to solidifying a top four finish in the Eastern Conference, which could earn Oscar Pareja’s side a home playoff match later this month.
Currently No. 4 in the East, Orlando returns to Exploria Stadium on Wednesday as it hosts the No. 3 Columbus Crew at 7:30 p.m. The match will televise locally on FOX 35 Plus.
39′ – Daryl Dike, assisted by Mauricio Pereyra (ORL)
Here’s how the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Pedro Gallese; Kamal Miller (Ruan, 57′), Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Kyle Smith; Sebastian Mendez, Andres Perea, Benji Michel (Joey DeZart, 84′), Mauricio Pereyra — c (Junior Urso, 57′); Tesho Akindele (Alexander Alvarado, 76′), Daryl Dike (Matheus Aias, 84′)
Substitutes: Brian Rowe, Alex De John, Rodrigo Schlegel, Robinho
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