It’s Matchday 21, and New York City FC are back at Stade Saputo for the first time since last season’s dramatic Eastern Conference Semifinal victory over CF Montréal. Here’s your NYCFC vs. Montréal preview and Game Day Hub.
Game Day Essentials
- Matchday 21: NYCFC at CF Montréal
- Date and Time: Saturday, July 1, 7:30 pm ET
- Kickoff Time: 7:39 pm ET
- Venue: Stade Saputo
- Bruce Arena Forecast: Thunderstorms likely, Canadian wildfire smoke also in the mix, 80˚ F/26˚ C
- Watch: Apple TV, no subscription needed
- Apple TV Broadcast Team: Callum Williams and Greg Sutton
- Listen: English and Spanish broadcasts on NYCFC Radio
- Officiating Crew: Victor Rivas (referee), Felisha Mariscal and Claudiu Badea (assistant referees), Renzo Villanueva (fourth official), Kevin Stott (VAR), Jozef Batko (assistant VAR)
NYCFC vs Montréal preview
Both NYCFC and Montréal experienced major roster turnover after their 2022 MLS seasons ended. Montréal have bid adieu to five players that featured in their Eastern Semi-final Starting XI, a nearly identical number to NYCFC, who lost six of their starters from that playoff match.
Montréal have found more success with their retooled 2023 squad than NYCFC, as the Quebecois club sits in 8th place in the Eastern table and have been on a record-setting defensive run while playing at home. Meanwhile, NYCFC are winless since April 22, a streak that spans 12 total matches, and are languishing outside the playoff zone, way down in 13th place.
NYCFC vs CF Montréal H2H
History is on New York City’s side: They have dominated the meetings between these two clubs. Last year, NYCC defeated Montréal in the Bronx 4-1 for their first win of the season, then drew 0-0 in Montréal in July. New York City went on to beat the odds and defeat Montréal in Stade Saputo in the 2021 MLS Cup Eastern Conference semifinal by the score of 3-1.
Montréal have lost at home only once since then.
- Player Availability: Defender Thiago Martins will be out until late August after undergoing knee surgery. James Sands is with the USMNT. Gabriel Pereira left the Portland Timbers game last week at halftime because of a lower-body issue, and is questionable for today’s game.
- Braian Cufré, Tayvon Gray, and Santiago Rodríguez are all one yellow card away from serving a one-match suspension.
- Will Matt Freese start in goal for the second straight week? He made six saves last week against Portland, and had a better game than Aljaz Ivacic, his counterpart on the other side of the field. Note that Freese was the player featured in this week’s pre-match press conference.
- New York City have scored in their last three games: They found the back of the net once against Columbus, twice against Atlanta, and once against Portland. The team has 21 goals this season, which isn’t that impressive (FC Cincinnati have 30, New England Revolution 33, Philadelphia Union 34, and so on), but it is one more than Montréal’s 20.
- The question remains, can NYCFC score against Montréal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois? (See below.)
- Player Availability: Striker Romell Quioto is out with a hamstring injury, and midfielder Samuel Piette is out with a groin injury. Midfielder Mathieu Choinière, who is having a breakout year, is questionable.
- Montreal are an imperious 7-0-1 at home, taking 21 out of a possible 24 points at Stade Saputo. Their one and only home loss was way back on April 15 to DC United.
- Even more impressive: Montréal haven’t allowed a goal at home since facing DC United. That’s a six-game streak in MLS league matches, and an eight-game streak in all competitions.
- Give much of the credit for that streak to goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois. The 22-year-old entered the season as a backup but has become one of the best keepers in MLS, logging eight clean sheets in 17 starts.