GK: Sean Johnson
RCB: Sebastien Ibeagha
It isn’t easy to start in place of arguably the best player on the team. But Ibeagha really asserted himself in this one and had a damn good performance while replacing the injured James Sands in a three-back defensive shape. Not much to complain about here.
CB: Maxime Chanot
City’s longest tenured center back had himself quite the game in the middle spot and was pesky on the back line all afternoon. Chanot has been been a bit hot-and-cold this season, but this game is a big step in the right direction for the Luxembourg defender.
LCB: Alexander Callens
Callen’s good performance rounds out what was a great day for the back three. Callens was atypical in his prowess with the ball at his feet and won more aerial duels than he lost. More of this, please!
RM: Anton Tinnerholm
The Swedish wing back put in some serious work on the right flank, and had good numbers on both sides of the ball. Though Tinnerholm may always be looked at primarily as a right back, it’s no secret that NYCFC works best when he can get involved in the attack.
LM: Ben Sweat
Unlike past seasons, Sweat has struggled to find his groove for most of 2019. But his performance against Montreal was a serious step in the right direction. Though not particularly eye-catching, the American full back did well enough on both sides of the ball and committed few mistakes.
RCM: Alexander Ring
The Ringmaster did what he does best: control the midfield. From the opening minutes, NYCFC’s captain was a nuisance for the Impact and was effective in getting stuck in, as well as cutting off passing lanes.
LCM: Ebenezer Ofori
Ebe’s silent brilliance has been one of the most important ingredients to NYCFC’s unbeaten streak these past few weeks. Initially, fans probably looked at Ofori as no more than a placeholder until either Keaton Parks or Juan Pablo Torres were declared match fit. However, performances like that on Saturday are proof positive that the Ghanaian can ball and probably has earned his starting place.
RW: Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
Shroddy Doddy was by far the best player on pitch against Montreal. If it wasn’t his absolute banger of a goal early on in the second half, it was his immaculate work on and off the ball that solidified Tajouri-Shradi’s man of the match performance. While it is no secret that the Pigeons are currently pretty deep at the attacking positions, it might be hard to displace Izzy moving forward.
LW: Maxi Moralez
While I — and possibly many others — will always see the diminutive playmaker as a traditional No. 10, Maxi hasn’t been too shabby as an inside forward on the left wing in the absence of Alexandru Mitrita. Moralez found the score sheet for the first time this season on Saturday, and for that he deserves high marks.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the Starting XI had a brilliant performance. For the first time since putting on the Etihad shirt last month, Héber — City’s newest forward — struggled to make a difference in this one. Odds are this performance is the exception, not the rule. And it wasn’t like things were falling apart around him. However, this performance might cost him a start.