Orlando City is only one point shy of being above the red line and as they make their playoff push they first need to take on the Montreal Impact for the second time this season. As both teams battle for all three points these are the three things you should watch for during the match:
Blerim Dzemaili & Ignacio Piatti
Last time Orlando City and Montreal faced one another this attack-minded pair played a starring role in the 3-3 draw, combining for all three of their team’s goals and each adding one assist. This duo caused a headache for Orlando City after exploiting the Lions midfield and defense in the counter attack. Expect them to take a similar approach this weekend. Piatti is the Impacts chief playmaker and is a master at weaseling his way down the middle of the pitch and into the box.
The match against Orlando City was only one of five games the duo has played together this season due to Piatti getting an injury to the adductors at the beginning of the summer. Prior to his injury the duo became a dangerous 1-2 tandem. In the five matches that Dzemaili and Piatti have played together they have linked up for seven goals and four assists and Montreal has gone 2-1-2. With Piatti set to return to the starting XI on Saturday, it could be time for the Impact to make their push above the playoff line.
Dom Dwyer: Montréal’s worst nightmare.
In last weeks matchup against Atlanta Dom Dwyer didn’t take a shot on goal only completing five of his 10 passes, but before that statistic worries you, know that he only had two days to train with his new team. Coming off the MLS All-Star game where he scored the equalizer against Real Madrid, Dom looks to return back with the Lions as they look to take care of business. And if the earlier stat made you nervous, know that in Dwyer’s last three matches against Montreal he has scored a brace. Let’s hope that history repeats itself on Saturday.
The MLS has entered a new era: VAR is officially installed into MLS matches and will be part of the rest of the season from here on out, including playoffs and the MLS Cup.
As explained by Major League Soccer, VAR adds a fifth referee to the crew who has access to all the camera angled and replays that viewers can see on TV. The VAR will be able to see these replays and alert the head official in four situations: goals, penalty kicks, cases of mistaken identity and straight red cards.
While some are still hesitant that VAR will change the flow of the game, MLS is assuring viewers that the point of having a fifth VAR referee is to reduce clear errors not to referee the match; minimum interference with maximum benefits.
If you would like to learn more about VAR check out this FAQ presented by MLS click here.