New York City FC are back in action on Wednesday night against CF Montréal.
For this edition of 'The Away End' presented by Berkeley College & Rennert International, we spoke to Olivier Brett, a soccer analyst for Réseau des sports in Montréal.
Hi Olivier, thanks so much for speaking with us. What has been your favorite moment covering CF Montréal?
Without a doubt, Cameron Porter's goal in the quarter-final of the Champions League in 2015. The fact it was Cameron's only significant contribution for Montréal makes him and that goal iconic in the club's history.
Looking at the 2021 season so far for Montréal, the team are on a good run of form. Does it feel like Wilfried Nancy is starting to settle into his new role?
100%. The fact he never threw in the towel despite being down by two goals twice in the game against FC Cincinnati is a great testament to it. He kept asking his side to attack, and they responded. Tactically he is clear on what he wants, and his teaching skills come in handy with a group where many players still lack experience.
The last time the two teams met, Romell Quioto was a huge influence for Montréal. How do you anticipate the team adapting in his absence due to the Gold Cup?
Mason Toye will be both a target man and a threat behind the backline. The big question is, who plays up there with him? Joaquin Torres was outstanding at the weekend, but I wonder how he'll fair up against teams that control the ball better, meaning he needs to defend more. The coming weeks are really important for Bjørn Johnsen to take flight. He hasn't done so yet since signing last winter.
From a tactical standpoint, what strengths should Ronny Deila and his team be wary of heading into the game?
I'm sure Ronny will know the space for Djordje Mihailovic between the lines could be a big problem. His last pass has been top class in the last 5-6 games. If you give him time to turn and lift his head, you're in trouble.
Are there any weaknesses you think NYCFC can exploit?
I'm not sure it's one you can intentionally exploit, but Montréal were really poor on corners at the weekend. They had 13 throughout the game and made nothing of them. That aside, they might be slightly more vulnerable to a high press since Nancy had to change his backline due to absentees.
If you were to identify Montréal's danger-man, who would that be?
For reasons mentioned earlier, I'd generally go for Mihailovic. For Wednesday, however, I'd keep an eye out for Mason Toye. He's oozing with confidence after his brace on Saturday, and he chases everything down, hoping to pounce on a chance.
And finally, for any fans thinking of making the trip to Montréal in the future, are there any particular attractions you’d suggest they check out?
A walk in the Old Port and a visit up the Mont-Royal observatory for the stunning view are definitely in order.