The surprise that could change the game between New York City FC and CF Montreal

NYCFC host CF Montréal at Citi Field in search of three crucial points in the tight Eastern Conference
CF Montreal v New York City Football Club
CF Montreal v New York City Football Club / Stephen Nadler/ISI Photos/GettyImages

New York City FC are preparing to host CF Montreal at Citi Field, and spirits are high. With the Eastern Conference becoming increasingly tight, every point is crucial and City know it. After a convincing 4-2 win over Orlando City, Nick Cushing's side go into the game with confidence high, ready to start the month with three points before facing a challenging run of fixtures.

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It's clear that CF Montreal are not easy opponents, especially under Laurent Courtois, who took over at the start of the year. Courtois, with his experience at Columbus Crew 2, has shaped Montréal's defense in a robust way, using a system with three defenders that can turn into a line of five, making life difficult for the opposition's attackers. NYCFC, with their potent attack, will have to find the necessary gaps in the final third of the pitch to overcome this defensive wall.

Montreal's away campaign began with six consecutive games on the road, quite a challenge. With two wins, a draw and three defeats, the team is still struggling to find consistency. In their last ten away games, they've won just two, which gives them an even tougher task in the clash against NYCFC. Their last three defeats on the road have been painful, with thirteen goals conceded and only three scored. However, underestimating their opponents would be a fatal mistake. Nick Cushing and his team are well aware of the dangers Montreal can present, and their preparation has been meticulous, analyzing every detail to ensure a flawless performance.

Cushing stressed the importance of preparation and detailed analysis of the opponent. "We've been watching Montreal for the last day and a half," he said. "Laurent has done a great job of putting together a difficult team to play against, especially in the first part of the season with a lot of away games. It will be a very difficult game for us, but we're ready for the challenge." The confidence in his team is palpable, and rightly so. NYCFC has shown a solid performance at home, with a 7-3-1 record at Citi Field. The recent win against Orlando City only strengthens that confidence.

CF Montreal, on the other hand, arrive in New York with an unfavorable record against NYCFC. With an overall record of 2-11-5 against this opponent, the Canadian team has a long way to go. Montréal's last point in New York came in April 2019, during a goalless draw at Yankee Stadium. However, hope is reborn with the recent win over the Philadelphia Union, where Bryce Duke stood out with a goal and an assist. Montréal's inspired performance last Saturday will be added motivation to try and break their away winless streak.

NYCFC, despite a difficult start to the season, have been recovering and climbing the table. Now fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with 32 points, Nick Cushing's side are determined to consolidate their position and secure a place in the playoffs. Montreal's defense, despite its difficulties, will be an interesting test for City's dynamic attack.

The match at Citi Field promises to be an intense duel. NYCFC, with their home advantage and recent form, go in as favorites. However, Montreal, under the strategic leadership of Courtois and with players like Bryce Duke inspired, could spring a surprise. Soccer, after all, is a game of surprises and twists. And it is precisely this unpredictability that keeps the fans anxious and the players focused.