Major Keys

Keys to the Match | Midweek With Montréal


New York City FC are in midweek action thanks to a meeting with CF Montréal.

Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…


Wilfried Nancy was appointed CF Montréal head coach in March, and tactically the 44-year-old has remained consistent with his use of a back three formation.

One of the major benefits this affords Montréal is that they can create overloads in wide areas. If you re-watch their most recent game against Inter Miami, the visitors create several good chances for their wingbacks by overloading one side of the field, including the game-winning goal scored by Mathieu Choinière.

Nancy has also implemented the use of two mobile forwards at the top of the pitch, with both players willing to run in the space between the full-back and center-back, or in the channels to drag center-backs out wide.

Ronny Deila has named both a back three or back four formation this season, and having that versatility is ideal for games like this. For that reason, he could choose to match Montréal's back three and utilize their own strength against them by exploiting the space in behind the wing-backs, or maintain the use of a back four and try to invite Montreal up the field.

Regardless, the presence of different tactical options is a blessing for NYCFC and should keep his opposite number guessing right up until the starting XIs are announced.

Need For Speed

It’s important we take any opportunity to remind ourselves of how brilliant Thiago Andrade’s game-winning goal against D.C. United was. His blend of speed, composure, and technique was one of the early highlights of the season, followed closely by his celebration with teammate Talles Magno.

Having that change of pace in a side can be hugely influential, as we saw against D.C. United. If there is one weakness we can identify with Montréal’s back line it is their lack of recovery speed.

It’s still very early for Thiago, but the forward has not just shown how fast he can run. His ability to time runs and identify where the danger is when planning his runs is ideal for this scenario, and could be a gamechanger for NYCFC.

Whip It In

When watching Montreal’s recent games an interesting pattern develops. Five of the club’s last six goals conceded have come via crosses.

As our recent game against D.C. United reinforced the Boys in Blue can be a set-piece threat. The game against FC Cincinnati early in the season saw all five goals come via set-plays, and we’ve talked previously about assistant coach Rob Vartughian and his hard work in that department.

In a game of fine margins, something Ronny Deila acknowledged in his pre-match press conference, NYCFC’s ability to be dangerous from corners and free-kicks could prove influential in securing them a big three points against Montreal.