Wednesday, July 24, 2024

New York City v CF Montreal: Courtois prioritising off-the-ball improvements

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Jul 2024

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Laurent Courtois knows CF Montreal must improve defensively if they are to find any kind of consistency ahead of Wednesday’s MLS visit to New York City.

Montreal sit 10th in the Eastern Conference, two points outside the wild-card playoff spots, after snapping a four-match winless run last time out.

They twice came from behind to beat the Philadelphia Union 4-2, and while Courtois was not pleased with their defensive display, he believes their attack can take them far.

“There are a lot of aspects on the ball and defensively where we need to grow, but that’s the beauty of this group,” said Courtois.

“The idea was not to play central too early and create those angles from width first, but that’s something we were not able to do in the first half.

“We talked about how we wanted to change the direction of the match at half-time, so we made the necessary adjustments and were clinical. There is definitely some relief.”

NYCFC also won a six-goal thriller last weekend, beating Orlando City 4-2 to maintain their pressure on the top four sides in the East.

Much like Courtois, head coach Nick Cushing is delighted to see his team taking the game to opponents but wants them to cut out the mistakes at the back.

“My initial thoughts are I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” Cushing said. “MLS is super difficult, you’re never out of a game. Comebacks happen in our league, crazy results happen.

“We’ll look at that and find the areas where we need to develop. The positive things for us were, number one, the first half was one of the best we’ve played this season.

“Then number two, we closed it out. It shows the mentality of the team is to attack and not suffer and absorb pressure.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New York City – Santiago Rodriguez

Rodriguez has totalled 15 goal contributions in his first 20 matches this season (eight goals, seven assists).

He is the sixth player in team history to reach that mark 20 or fewer appearances into a season, joining David Villa, Frank Lampard, Maximiliano Moralez, Heber and Valentín Castellanos.

CF Montreal – Bryce Duke

Duke scored just his second goal in MLS this season last time out, getting Montreal’s second equaliser as they fought back to beat Philadelphia.

He has been his team’s chief creator this term, his 29 chances created putting him 10 clear of his closest team-mate (Ruan with 10).

MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK CITY WIN

New York have lost just two of their 19 all-time meetings with Montreal (12 wins, five draws, including playoffs) including winning five of the last six meetings.

They could be set for more joy here, having won six of their last eight matches on home turf (two defeats). Only Los Angeles FC (seven) have won more home games in MLS since the start of April.

Montreal, meanwhile, have won just three of their last 17 regular-season games. They enter this match as outsiders.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

New York City – 54.9%

CF Montreal – 21.9%

Draw – 23.2%

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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