Thursday, May 23, 2024

Nashville SC v CF Montreal: Smith knows strugglers must make home comforts count

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 May 2024

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Nashville SC coach Gary Smith knows his struggling side must make the most of their home games as they look to snap a five-match winless run against CF Montreal on Saturday.

Nashville sit a lowly 14th in the Eastern Conference standings with just eight points from nine matches, their only league victory of 2024 coming against Charlotte FC in mid-March.

They were pegged back in a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes last time out as the pressure on Smith intensified further, and he knows they are running out of time to turn things around.

“We’re all very appreciative and understanding of the fact the home games represent the very best opportunity to earn points,” Smith said.

“But I wouldn’t say that I feel any more pressure than I have done for any other home game or any other fixture.”

Montreal, meanwhile, have seen their preparations overshadowed by reports that star midfielder Mathieu Choiniere has requested a transfer after entering the last year of his contract.

While boss Laurent Courtois is none the wiser as to Choiniere’s intentions, he is keen to see the homegrown talent stay put.

“Everyone loves Mathieu, everyone wants him to be valued, everyone wants him to stay here,” Courtois said.

“Everyone wants him here to lift the club as high as possible, for as long as possible.

“There will be discussions between players and the club to improve their contractual situations everywhere, and it doesn’t always need to be in the public eye.

“I don’t know the accuracy of the rumour that came out. The club hasn’t told me anything.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar

Mukhtar scored with one of his six shots against San Jose last time out.

He has taken a total of 388 shots since joining MLS in 2020, 100 more than any other player in the league in that time.

CF Montreal – Bryce Duke

Montreal managed just eight shots in their scoreless draw with the Columbus Crew last time out. Only Austin FC (7.8) have averaged fewer shots per match than Montreal (9.6) in MLS this season.

Duke has created nine chances for team-mates this campaign, a tally only matched by Choiniere among Montreal players. If they are to improve their attacking output, he will have a key role to play.

MATCH PREDICTION – NASHVILLE SC

Nashville have only managed three wins in 21 MLS matches since the end of the Leagues Cup last August (10 draws, eight losses, including playoffs).

They are also winless in their last five, drawing two and losing three, but the visit of a Montreal team who do not travel well could be a boost for Smith’s men.

Montreal have gone four away games without a victory, failing to score in any of their last three and conceding 10 goals throughout that run. This game may just come at a good time for the hosts.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Nashville SC – 49.4%

CF Montreal – 23%

Draw – 27.6%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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