CF Montreal ties Orlando City SC in Laurent Courtois’ head-coaching debut

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Jonathan Sirois made four saves as CF Montreal earned a 0-0 draw with host Orlando City SC in Laurent Courtois’ head-coaching debut on Saturday night. Pedro Gallese made five saves for the Lions, who overcame a slow start to finish with a 16-8 edge in shot attempts and a 9-1 advantage in corners. CF Montreal, which finished two points below the Eastern Conference playoff line in 10th place last season, dominated the start of the game, forcing Gallese to make four saves in the first five minutes. Gallese, who had 10 clean sheets in the regular season in 2023 and two more in the playoffs, came up with a big double-save in the fifth minute on Ariel Lassiter’s right-footed shot from outside the box and then a left-footed rebound shot by Matias Coccaro from the left side of the six-yard box. Sirois, coming off a club record 11 clean sheets in his rookie season, didn’t make his first save until the 45th minute when he stopped a David Brekalo header in the center of the box off a curling pass from Cesar Araujo. But Orlando City, which secured a 3-0 road victory on Wednesday in Canada over Cavalry FC in the CONCACAF Champions League, took control in the second half. Duncan McGuire nearly put the Lions ahead in the 66th minute but his header in the middle of the box off a Rafael Santos cross sailed over the top of the crossbar. Dagur Thorhallsson bounced another try from the right side of the box off the top of the crossbar eight minutes later. Orlando City, coming off a second-place finish in the East with a club-record 18 wins and 63 points, appeared to score in the 80th minute when Felipe knocked in a rebound by the goal line of a Ramiro Enrique shot that caromed off the crossbar. But the score was waived off for Felipe being offside. Gallese then kept it scoreless in the second minute of stoppage time when he denied Kwadwo Opoku’s left-footed try from the middle of the box on a breakaway.