New York City Football Club were held to a scoreless draw in Montréal on Saturday night. The game presented few clear chances for either side, and that in the end would force a stalemate between two sides near the top of the Eastern Conference. This result would also confirm a seventh game unbeaten for NYCFC as well as Sean Johnson's twelfth clean sheet of the campaign.
New York City Football Club traveled north to the City of a Hundred Steeples on Saturday night looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven games.
Interim Head Coach Nick Cushing made three changes to the team that overcame Inter Miami CF 2-0 last time out, with Héber, Justin Haak, and Gabriel Pereira entering the lineup in place of Taty Castellanos, Alfredo Morales, and Nicolás Acevedo.
Meanwhile, Wilfried Nancy made two changes to the side that overcame D.C. United 2-1 last time out, with midfielder Samuel Piette and defender Kamal Miller replacing Ismael Kone and Gabriele Corbo.
The early exchanges saw few chances for either side as they both attempted to settle into a rhythm on the ball. Maxi Moralez, usually the team's playmaker, was seeking to control the tempo from a deeper role.
In the 33rd minute, a direct approach from NYCFC saw Pereira feed Malte Amundsen down the left. The Dane flashed a cross into the box but he was unable to connect his delivery with a teammate.
NYCFC were forced into a first-half substitution when Moralez pulled up with an injury in the 40th minute. Replacing him on the field was Thiago Andrade.
As the half drew to a close, Sean Johnson was called into action to keep the two sides level. The opportunity arrived after Djorde Mihalovic pounced on a loose ball and fired an effort at goal that required Johnson to save with his feet.
The second half began with an early opportunity from a corner kick. The whipped delivery from Santiago Rodríguez glanced off the head of Héber at the near post before narrowly missing the onrushing Alex Callens at the back post.
Montréal had their best opportunity of the evening so far in the 55th minute after a rapid breakaway allowed Romell Quioto a free run in behind. After driving towards Johnson's goal he squared it to Mason Toye, but he blazed his effort over the bar from close range.
On the hour mark, a well-worked freekick from NYCFC allowed Pereira to hook the ball back into the box from the byline and forced Montréal's goalkeeper to punch it clear. Eventually, the ball settled and Thiago Andrade fired a shot from distance.
In the wake of that chance, Cushing again turned to his bench for the second time and introduced Acevedo and Andres Jasson for Héber and Santiago Rodríguez. NYCFC were starting to engineer some dangerous openings on the break, but all that was missing was a decisive touch.
NYCFC were now riding a wave of Montréal pressure but defending resolutely. The visitors were squeezing up the pitch and that in turn opened up space in behind on the counter, but the Boys in Blue could not take advantage.
Next up for New York City Football Club is a meeting with Columbus Crew on Saturday, Aug. 6. Kickoff at Lower.com field is scheduled 7:30PM EST (YES Network/NYCFC.com/Radio).