Hudson River Blue looked at what’s going on with CF Montréal, New York City FC‘s opponent in tomorrow’s matchday. We learned more about how this lean, low-budget team that looks nothing like the squad that NYCFC defeated last year in the Eastern Conference Semifinals recently posted shutout wins over Nashville SC and Minnesota United, and are once again in the playoff picture on the back of an enviable home record of seven wins, zero draws, and one loss: Here is your NYCFC vs Montréal preview.
1. Head coach Hernán Losada is making it work
Pundits were surprised when DC United fired Hernán Losada last April. The young, highly-regarded coach was in charge of DC for just a little over a year, but the front office decided to pull the plug on the 41-year-old. United hired Wayne Rooney in July, but then CF Montréal snatched up Losada just 15 days after Wilfried Nancy left to take over Columbus Crew. The Argentine is off to a surprising start in Montréal, and getting strong performances from a team that lost many of their better players in the offseason. Montréal, which have the smallest payroll in MLS, now sit in eighth place — one spot above Rooney’s DC United.
Losadaball is opportunistic: Solid defense, an attack that creates chances. No need to sweat possession or stringing together beautiful passes as long as you get the job the done.
2. A breakout year for goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois
It helps that in Jonathan Sirois this team has one of the best goalkeepers in MLS. The 22-year-old emerging talent has eight clean sheets in 17 starts, and enters this game riding a three-match scoreless streak: Sirois last allowed a goal in MLS league play on June 3, when Montréal faced Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park. Not bad for a 22-year-old backup who didn’t start a First Team match until this year, and will make $89,780 in guaranteed compensation.
3. Stade Saputo is a citadel
As we mention above, Montréal are a stunning 7-0-1 at home, taking 21 out of a possible 24 points at Stade Saputo. (It’s a different story on the road, when the team are 1-2-8, taking five out of a possible 30 points.) Montréal’s only home loss came against Rooney’s DC United, way back on April 15.
4. Mathieu Choinière and Victor Wanyama run the midfield
Most will be familiar with Victor Wanyama, the 32-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur star who joined the club in 2020 and who continues to perform well in MLS. Not as many will know Mathieu Choinière, a local boy who was developed by the Montréal academy and has quietly become one of the best midfielders in the league. He has two goals and three assists, which means he’s been involved with 25% of Montréal’s 20 goals — the team doesn’t score much tbh. But more than that, his high workrate both on and off the ball keeps Montréal in the game.
5. The fleur-de-lis is back
Two years ago, Montréal rebranded itself, throwing out the awesomely MLS 1.0 “Montréal Impact” in favor of the trying-too-hard Club de Foot Montréal. The club also introduced a new badge with a stylized snowflake that looked more like a corporate logo than the symbol of a
soccer club de foot team. The change was unpopular, and this season the organization walked back the badge by introducing a new crest that incorporates the colors and the fleur-de-lis of the original. It’s a good look.
The club is sticking with CF Montréal, but it will always be the Impact to us.