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Oppo Research: 5 Things about CF Montréal

Elias Grigoriadis of The Ball is Round Montreal tells us about defensive struggles, Josef Martínez's return, and why Montréal's midfield depth will be the X-factor.

The goal is that way | © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In this edition of Oppo Research, Hudson River Blue spoke with Elias Grigoriadis of The Ball is Round Montreal to learn more about CF Montréal, New York City FC's opponent in Queens on Wednesday night. Here is your NYCFC vs Montréal preview.

CF Montréal at a Glance

• League Form: W-L-D-D-D
• Record: 5W, 7D, 8L | 22 points, 10th place
• Scoring Leader: Sunusi Ibrahim, 6 goals
• Assist Leader: Ariel Lassiter, 4 assists

1. Montréal Fans: Still going strong

Hudson River Blue: Montréal’s roster has changed significantly in the past few seasons since the team finished second in the Eastern Conference in 2022. Montréal is in 10th place this season and has one win in their last five games. What’s the vibe like in the seats at Stade Saputo?

Elias Grigoriadis: I still think that Montreal has one of the best pound-for-pound supporters sections in MLS. Behind both nets, there are noise and chants no matter what phase of play. They let their feelings be known but always stand by their club. The stadium is relatively small, so the other sections often get in on the fun as well. 

2. Injuries, new tactics have led to defensive struggles

HRB: Montréal allowed 43 goals this season, the most in the Eastern Conference and the third-most in MLS. What’s the explanation for the struggles defensively?

EG: It’s a mix of the new manager’s open-flowing and offensive-minded tactics that are a sharp contrast to last season mixed with a fairly serious injury crisis the club has only recently gotten out of. These injuries have created a lack of continuity and forced several players to play out of position as well. 

3. Josef Martínez is always a threat

HRB: Josef Martínez, a man who needs no introduction, is the team’s striker but only scored three goals in 10 games. Why hasn’t he played more, and what’s holding him back from scoring?

EG: Martinez is coming back off of a serious knee injury that has kept him out for three months, but he’s already made important contributions in the last few games. He’s currently playing in more of a supportive role, but has shown his ability to still create chances. 

4. The X-Factor: The Midfield

HRB: What’s the X-factor that could decide this game?

EG: The middle of the park will absolutely decide this game. With Mathieu Choinière, Samuel Piette, and Joel Waterman all on international duty with Canada at Copa America, the spine of the 3-4-2-1 formation has been completely replaced and there are still some growing pains.

5. Predicted score, Starting XI

HRB: Prediction time: Starting XI? Final score?

EG: NYCFC has seemed to have Montréal’s number over the last few years so I’m predicting a 3-1 win for the home team.