September 30, 2016 - 3:16 PM
MONTREAL - Orlando City has been enough trouble for the Montreal Impact this season, but facing Brazilian star Kaka and his crew down three defenders will be a serious test.
The Impact learned Friday that defender Hassoun Camara has been suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for a messy tackle on San Jose's Alberto Quintero. Centreback Victor Cabrera will also sit out a game for picking up a fifth yellow card in the 3-1 win over the Earthquakes on Wednesday night, while fullback Donny Toia has an injury.
Coach Mauro Biello will need to piece together a back line when Montreal (10-10-11) plays in Orlando (7-10-14) on Sunday afternoon.
A likely combination would have Laurent Ciman and Wandrille Lefevre in the middle with Ambroise Oyongo and rookie Kyle Fisher on the outside.
Camara had Quintero writhing in pain when he stomped on his ankle just outside the penalty area in the 80th minute.
The French right back tweeted that he was disappointed to miss a game due to the "accidental" but late tackle on "my friend Quintero" but called the suspension fair punishment.
The Impact were on a high after their nervy win over San Jose, when they nearly blew a 2-0 first half lead and needed an Evan Bush save on Chris Wondolowski's penalty kick in the 87th minute to prevent the Earthquakes from making it a 2-2 game. Johan Venegas scored his first of the season to make it 3-1 in added time.
Biello and the Impact were each fined undisclosed amounts for the players' mass confrontation of the referee after the penalty call.
The victory ended a four-game winless run and solidified Montreal's hold on a playoff spot with three games left to play. They can clinch a spot with a win in Orlando if both Columbus and New England do no better than draw this weekend.
"We have a lot of confidence coming off three points," Bush said this week. "Orlando's in a position where they need three points, so it's a bit of a chess match.
"I'm sure we'll sit a bit and try to counter. A lot of times, that's what we're good at. We're excited to go down there to a place that's tough to play in. They have a great fan base, a great stadium and they're a good team."
Orlando hasn't been good of late, allowing 12 goals in three straight defeats before a 0-0 draw in Toronto on Wednesday.
But they have beaten Montreal in both of their meetings this season — 2-1 in Orlando on May 21 on a brace from Canadian striker Cyle Larin and 4-1 in Montreal on Sept. 7, when Kaka scored twice. Didier Drogba opened the scoring in the second minute of that encounter only to see Brek Shea strike back two minutes later.
This time, Shea is serving a suspension.
Since Orlando's Camping World Stadium has artificial turf, it is unlikely that Drogba will start. The 38-year-old started on the bench on Wednesday as Matteo Mancosu began the game at striker and set up two goals. Dominic Oduro also got a rare start and scored his first since May 7.
"I tried something and it worked," said Biello. "Matteo did very well and Didier came in and he also did well.
"It's a big game for both teams. We have six points on them. We need to not give up (goals). We need the same approach on the road that we've had before."
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016