PREVIEW: Orlando City Face Montreal Impact in Round of 16 Matchup

MLS Soccer Sports The Americas

Lions begin Knockout Stage of MLS is Back Tournament on Saturday

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City SC (2-1-2, 8 points / 2-0-1, 7 points) will begin play in the MLS is Back Tournament Knockout Stage presented by Audi on Saturday, July 25 with a matchup against the Montreal Impact (2-2-1, 7 points / 1-2-0, 3 points) in the Round of 16. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports.

The match will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, while being transmitted on 96.9 The Game in English and Acción 97.9FM, 810AM in Spanish. For a match preview, fans can tune into the Orlando City Roundtable presented by Heineken ahead of Saturday’s match, streaming on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the LionNation App at 7 p.m. ET.

“Montreal is a team who has a lot of variety in their models. We understand their game as a team who likes to hold and create sequences with the ball. I think it’s going to be a battle in terms of who wants it. We want the ball and our players have been training to do that,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of Saturday’s match. “We played against NYCFC with the same idea to try to have the ball from the beginning of the game. We don’t want to go chase it, we want the opponent to work to do that and Montreal plays with the same idea. I think it’s going to be a beautiful game. It’s a team who has an idea of possession too and we’re going to fight for the ball for sure.”

The Lions clinched the top spot in Group A on Monday night by earning a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union. Ilsinho opened the scoring in the 68th minute, but City answered just two minutes later off the head of Mauricio Pereyra, the first finish for the Uruguayan since joining the Club in 2019.

Chris Mueller leads the Lions with four finishes in 2020, three of those coming at the MLS is Back Tournament, while Nani leads the team in assists with two to his credit.

Montreal earned a spot in the knockouts by defeating D.C. United on Tuesday night in Group C play. Saphir Taïder scored the eventual game-winner in the 31st minute, his strike taking a deflection straight into the back of the net for the finish. The Impact finished third in Group C behind Toronto FC and the New England Revolution.

Taïder sits tied for the team lead for the Impact with three goals in 2020, all of which have come since the restart of play following the suspension of the season. Maximiliano Urruti has netted three goals this year as well, all coming before the March 12 suspension.

The winner of Saturday’s match will advance to the Quarterfinals to face the winner of Seattle vs. LAFC (July 27, 11 p.m. ET) on Friday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET.