Orlando City

Rapid Reactions: Orlando gets 10th straight result on opening day

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1. Orlando City secured a 0-0 draw in its first MLS match of 2024. It was the team's 10th straight result on opening day, going all the way back to 2015 with its first MLS match against NYCFC. It's also the team's fifth straight result under Head Coach Oscar Pareja, where they've secured three draws and two wins in his tenure with the Lions. 

2. It was a struggle for the Lions tonight on both sides of the ball tonight. Too many costly turnovers in the first half led to many of Montréal's chances, while missed passes on runs into the box left Orlando lacking on the offensive end. With it being their second game in four days, it was evident that Orlando wasn't on the top of their game.

3. David Brekalo made his Lions debut, playing a very good 77 minutes. He was arguably the Lions' best player in the time he spent on the pitch, leading the team in interceptions (4), tackles (2) and clearances (2). He even got a chance on goal right before the first half ended — a header off a cross from Cesar Araujo. His performance is a promising sign from a player who has only had a few weeks of preseason with the Lions after signing back on Feb. 8.

4. That game four days prior in Victoria, British Columbia, may not have taken the wind from the Lions' sails, but the travel looked like it did. Landing on Thursday afternoon after a six-hour flight, only to train early the next morning and then play another match just over 24 hours later is very taxing.

5. Nico Lodeiro also got his first start in purple, logging 77 minutes. After playing just over half an hour as a sub against Cavalry FC on Wednesday, Lodeiro had some moments offensively, leading the team in completed passes in the final third with 26. In the first half, he was situated as a typical number 10, but in the second half, he dropped into the defensive midfield, filling in for the substituted Wilder Cartagena.

6. Throughout the first half, there were multiple moments that Facundo Torres and Ivan Angulo switched positions on the pitch. To start the match, both players were situated so they could cut in on their preferred foot and create plays that way, but as the half went on, they switched so they could try to push down the sideline and cross balls into the box. They were able to make adjustments in the second half that opened up the game a bit more for both, but the defensive shell by Montréal was not broken easily.

7. The Lions had some tough luck throughout the match, having a goal called back due to offside, as well as a stoppage-time penalty call, pulled back due to yet another offside flag. Close calls that, unfortunately, didn't go Orlando's way.

8. Ever since joining the team in 2020, goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has had some memorable opening-day performances. In his five matches played, he has still yet to allow a goal from the visitors. Getting a big late-game save in the 92nd minute was one of the five stops he had in the match. It's an impressive stat and a big reason why the Lions have gotten some of these early-season results over the years.

9. The first half was a slow start for the Lions. For the first 20 minutes, Orlando suffered a bit trying to play against a very high line from Montreal, something that seemed to catch the home side by surprise. It took until the second half for them to adjust, but eventually, they were able to start creating more going from only four shots in the first half to 11 in the second.

10. Three days between the Lions' first Concacaf Champions Cup match and tonight's match. It's a very quick turnaround considering the Wednesday match was 3,000 miles away in Canada. Now heading into the second leg of the CCC on Tuesday, Orlando will have the same turnaround, sans the travel. With a 3-0 aggregate lead in goals, the team is in good position to advance to the next round.