After earning a valuable point on the road on Saturday night, FC Cincinnati will quickly turn around again for a midweek showdown and head north to Quebec, Canada for a match against CF Montréal.
The two clubs are in similar circumstances with key distinctions. Both clubs are fighting for position in the Eastern Conference, with FC Cincinnati looking to secure their top spot and claim the Supporters’ Shield while CF Montréal fight for playoff position. With 36 points, Montreal occupies eighth place, but is three points away from being completely out of the playoffs.
With the games increasing in importance with each passing day and match, FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan expects from his opponents an atmosphere and intensity similar to that of any team at the top of the table.
“I think the game will look like what we saw in Philadelphia and (against) Orlando, teams are competing for spots. They’re trying to move up the ranks,” Noonan said at Monday’s pregame press conference. “Every game from now on will have that intensity, in my opinion, because there are nine playoff spots and everyone we play in is competing for something.”
Montréal has been known this season for its good play at home. With nine home wins this season, they are tied for fifth in home wins in all of MLS. Noonan attributes his success to his relentlessness and consistency.
“I think they’re looking to make things uncomfortable for their opponents, regardless of who they’re playing,” the FCC head coach said. “The different ideas they have for breaking down opponents and attacking the goal have allowed them to be successful.”
With six games left in the regular season, FC Cincinnati looks to achieve its goal of winning trophies this season, but also make sure it enters the postseason the right way. Playing their best football as the season comes to a close.
“This is when you want to be at your best,” Noonan said. “The reality is that we are trying to maintain first position. So we will have to give our best in these circumstances.”
FC CINCINNATI at CF Montréal – WEDNESDAY, September 20, 2023 – 7:30 pm ET – Stade Saputo
Stream: Free in MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
TV Talent (English): Ed Cohen (PXP) and Greg Sutton (Analysis)
TV Talent (Spanish): Moisés Linares (PXP) and Pable Marino (Analysis)
TV Talent (Spanish): Frederic Lord (PXP) and Vincent Desuches (Analysis)
Radio talent: Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play), Jeff Larentowicz (analyst)
FC Cincinnati broke the deadlock between The Orange and Blue and Le CFM in their meeting at TQL Stadium earlier this season, earning a 3-0 victory on May 17 and improving their record against the French-Canadian club to 4- 3-1. Montreal is one of three clubs that FCC has an all-time winning record against when playing that team three or more times.
In the first game of the season, FCC took an early lead with an own goal in the second minute of the game after a free kick by Álvaro Barreal. Luciano Acosta and Brandon Vázquez also scored goals to secure the 3-0 victory.
A lost – Wednesday will be the 19th midweek game for FCC under coach Pat Noonan. During that span, The Orange and Blue are an impressive 11-1-6 when playing on a Tuesday or Wednesday in all competitions. In MLS, FCC is 6-0-4 midweek.
quick hits In MLS, FCC has scored 29 goals in the first 15 minutes of the game. Seven of the 29 goals came against CF Montréal in the eight all-time meetings between the clubs.
A solid second half. FC Cincinnati has dominated the second half of games this season, conceding just nine goals in 28 regular season games. No other club has conceded fewer than 14 goals out of the last 45 this season.
Out of action – FC Cincinnati will be without defender Yerson Mosquera due to a red card suspension after receiving two yellow cards in Saturday’s game against Philadelphia.
Looking for a “Balayage” – With a win, FC Cincinnati would earn its third series sweep of the season. The club has never swept three teams in a season and has swept five clubs in its MLS history.
The Captaincy is back – After serving his one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation, FCC captain Luciano Acosta will be available for selection again for Los Naranjas y Azules. FCC earned its first point without the captain on Saturday night against Philadelphia Union in a 2-2 draw.
Acosta is a leading candidate for the MLS Audi MVP award, scoring 13 goals and registering 11 assists in the league this season.
SCOUTING Montréal (11-14-3, 46 PTS., 8TH EASTERN CONFERENCE)
In the midst of a battle for one of the last spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs, CF Montréal is in eighth place with 36 points, but has a three-point difference between eighth and in, or tenth and out .
Without winning in its last three games, CF Montréal is coming off a 0-0 draw with the Chicago Fire. Le CFM owns one of the best home records in the league with a 9-4-1 record at Stade Saputo, but in its last five home games, Montréal has a 2-2-1 record.
Coach Hernán Losada took the reins of the club in early 2023 after Wilfried Nancy left the Columbus Crew position. Prior to his move to French Canada, Losada was the head coach of DC United and Belgian second division club K Beerschot VA. All-time, the Argentine coach has a record of 32-35-8.
CF Montréal has one of the most balanced attacks in MLS this season, with 14 players scoring goals. Quebec native and CF Montréal academy product midfielder Mathieu Choinière leads the club with four finishes this season and has four assists. Super substitute Chinonso Offer has played 27 games and has been substituted 14 times, scoring four goals.
Forward Romell Quioto returned to the court after missing more than four months of play due to a hamstring injury suffered on May 25. The Honduran attacker came on as a substitute for 13 minutes in the draw against Chicago Fire FC on Saturday night. Despite minimal playing time this season, he has scored three goals, the third most on the club.
Goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois is tied for the lead in clean sheets this season with 11, most recently blanking the Chicago Fire in a 0-0 draw. With 76 saves this season, the Canadian ranks eighth in MLS, tied with FCC’s Roman Celentano.