By Official Florida FC
Orlando City will compete in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second straight season following Sunday’s 2-0 road win over CF Montreal.
The Lions (13-9-12, 51 points) needed a result at Stade Saputo to secure their berth. They did so courtesy of a 55th minute golazo from Sebastian Mendez. The midfielder’s first goal for the club will not soon be forgotten for its timeliness and quality.
Daryl Dike continued his purple patch by scoring in his fourth straight game in the 86th minute to put the game away. The forward was on the receiving end of a nasty challenge from Montreal’s Rudy Camacho in the 79th minute.
MLSSoccer.com reports Montreal had a 1.8 – 0.6 expected goals advantage. The hosts had two goals disallowed for being offsides. None of that matters now. Not only did Orlando City set a club record for points in a season, Sunday’s win was the Lions’ MLS-best 13th regular season win.
Once again it was a very difficult match with urgencies today,” Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja said afterward. “There was no tomorrow, it must be done today here in Montreal after what happened against Nashville at home that was very difficult to absorb, but the players showed a lot of character. I liked our game, I thought we were very smart today in trying to neutralize them and just taking our special moments to define the game. We are very pleased, very happy for the Club and now we will get ready for Nashville.”
Orlando City finished the regular season with the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Lions will travel to face Nashville in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Nashville (12-4-18, 54 points) conceded just 33 goals this year, which tied with the New York Red Bulls for the best defensive record in MLS this year.