NYCFC set to go up against CF Montreal

New York City Football Club head north this weekend to face CF Montréal.

Here are your Keys to the Match, presented by Ford.

Decisions

The week began with the departure of Taty Castellanos to Girona FC on loan.

In his absence, Interim Head Coach Nick Cushing has an interesting tactical decision to make. Héber has been in starting form of late, netting a brace against FC Cincinnati alongside goals against FC Dallas and Inter Miami CF.

Alongside him is Talles Magno. The 20-year-old has managed five goals and eight assists this season – largely from the left wing – and has shown an aptitude to play as a line leading forward.

Both men share similarities, but also differences, in how they approach the role, with possible tactical changes allowing for the possibility of both men playing up top for NYCFC. Either way, the ability to keep the opponent guessing is a big plus, and should not be ignored.

The Magic Number

CF Montréal Head Coach Wilfried Nancy has guided his side to fourth in the Eastern Conference so far by utilizing a largely consistent tactical identity.

Nancy has almost exclusively deployed a back-three system. Of late, the tactical shift for Montréal has presented itself as switching between a starting front two, or a lone forward. Nick Cushing made a similar tactical shift during the team’s recent road trip to FC Dallas.

The benefit of such a system is that it stretched the field, and in theory, the opposition which creates greater space with which to create opportunities.

Go Again

A trip to Montréal presents a number of challenges to NYCFC.

That said, the team enters the game in good form. A six-game unbeaten run, with three straight clean sheets, provides a foundation of confidence that can be seen as a major positive. Both players and staff will know all too well, however, that without the same level of application and hard work their run is unlikely to continue.

With the race at the top of the Eastern Conference tight, every point matters. At the time of writing NYCFC have the best points per game average in the conference, and sit only four points behind the leaders in the Supporters’ Shield race, LAFC.

The goal is clear and evident, and games like this one at Montréal could in the end prove the difference in those fine margins. Time to go again.