May 25th, 2024

Montreal surrenders late goal, settles for 2-2 draw with Orlando City

By Elias Grigoriadis, The Canadian Press on April 20, 2024.

CF Montreal's Mason Toye, left, gets by Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to score during first half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Saturday, April 20, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – Ariel Lassiter scored in the 88th minute to give CF Montreal a 2-1 lead over visiting Orlando City, but the victory party was spoiled when Ivan Angulo scored two minutes into stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 Major League Soccer draw at Stade Saputo on Saturday evening.

Mason Toye also scored for Montreal (3-3-2) while Facundo Torres found the back of the net for Orlando (2-3-3) in what has become a hotly contested rivalry in recent years.

“We’ve worked on things in training and were able to do them (last week against Cincinnati) with confidence, but we couldn’t do that tonight. We just have to accelerate things a little more,” said Montreal head coach Laurent Courtois.

“As long as the guys go out on the pitch, with the best intentions, create chances, take risks, and try to dominate as much as possible, then I’ll won’t have much to criticize.”

After a hesitant start from both sides, Montreal began to grow into the game and control possession. After establishing control, they got a breakthrough strike at the 15-minute mark.

Samuel Piette spotted Toye’s run in behind and played a ball through the heart of the Orlando defence. Toye had timed his run perfectly, leaving him alone with the keeper who he sidestepped before opening the scoring.

“I’ve don’t (this run) a lot in training, they know my profile and that I like to get in behind when guys have time and space on the ball. We just locked eyes, I spun, and he was able to get the ball off in time,” said Toye, who scored his first goal of the MLS season.

“It was great, I’ve been working very hard to get myself back into the team. It was a difficult beginning of the season for myself but “¦ that’s kind of just the way things go. I’m just grateful I got the opportunity.”

It would take Orlando just five minutes to respond, however. After being played through on goal, Luis Muriel was brought down in the penalty area by Jonathan Sirois, winning a penalty for the visitors. Torres stepped up and made no mistake, sending the ball into the top left corner.

Orlando would use the equalizing goal to generate momentum as the match headed toward halftime, controlling more possession, and creating several chances.

Montreal appeared to regain its composure after the intermission break, beginning the second half on the front foot, forcing a crucial low hand save from Pedro Gallese just five minutes in.

“It was almost like a four against two at some points in the first half, so we were a bit outnumbered and that gave them more possession and more options, but there wasn’t much that was being created from Orlando,” said Piette. “We adjusted in the second half and got a lot more aggressive both with and without the ball which let us impose our game a lot more.”

Despite the pressure, Montreal struggled to find a way through until just two minutes from time. On the counterattack, substitute Sunusi Ibrahim fired a powerful shot which forced a save from Gallese that rebounded right into Lassiter’s path, giving him a wide-open net and his second goal in as many matches.

With eight minutes of added time, Orlando went to work at finding an equalizer and immediately hit pay dirt. A low cross from Martin Ojeda found Angulo at the back post, bringing the game level again.

“We thought we got through the worst of it, so this feels like a bit of a lesson in humility,” said Courtois. “It’s also a lesson for me. When we get into this kind of situation, what can I do differently so that this doesn’t happen again because this is very frustrating, and it hurts for the guys.”

UP NEXT

Both teams are back in action next Saturday (April 27) as Montreal travels to Columbus to face former head coach Wilfried Nancy and the Crew, while Orlando returns home to host Toronto FC.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2024.

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