On Saturday September 22nd, NYCFC will travel North to face the Montreal Impact. Winless in their last five, and with only one win in their last eight matches, City need to turn the tides before things really get out of hand. With a combined 83 shots in their last three matches and only two goals, the boys in blue will have to be more clinical. Embarking on three games in seven days, results, and not just “good performances”, will be paramount and an indicator of City’s post-October prospects.
With a full selection of players at his disposal, Domè will have many decisions to make. While the shape of the XI will be fluid for much of the match, I believe NYCFC will line up in their usual 4-3-3 to start. Jo Inge Berget should regain his starting spot, and will spend some time wide left, but most of the match at centre-forward next to David Villa. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi should start on the wing if the 4-3-3 is decided upon. The midfield will finally get back to normal, with Alex Ring, Ebenezer Ofori, and Maxi Moralez playing their normal roles. The back four will likely be comprised of Ben Sweat, Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens, and Anton Tinnerholm, but do not be surprised for Sebastien Ibeagha to hold his place. If Domè decides on the 4-4-2 diamond, expect Tajouri-Shradi to see the bench for a more defensive-minded option.
To put it plainly, City have not been good enough in recent matches. The months of August and September have been brutal with a record of 1-3-3, totaling only six points.
Montreal Impact: DDWLW
The Impact are on the complete other side of the spectrum. Montreal has lost only one of their last six, including a 3-0 victory over the Red Bulls and a 4-1 win away in Philadelphia last Saturday. A team focused on putting away chances on the counter-attack, Montreal will be an incredibly tough opponent.
Impact Player Spotlight: Ignacio Piatti
Who else could it be? Ignacio Piatti has had another spectacular season in MLS, with 13 goals and 12 assists thus far. Of his 13 goals, 11 have come at home. He ranks ninth in the league in expected goals plus assists, leads Montreal in shots on target, key passes, and fouls suffered, and leads MLS with five game winning assists. Quite possibly the most fun player to watch in MLS, Piatti is as important to Montreal as any player to any team.
Jonathan Lewis Loan Update
Fan favorite and one of the best young talents at the club, Jonathan Lewis has been loaned to Louisville City FC for the remainder of the USL season, concluding on October 13th. Lewis will be back in New York for the final two matches of the MLS regular season and the playoffs. Earlier this season, James Sands was also sent on loan to Louisville, and was incredibly effective in all three appearances. This move initially sent City supporters in an uproar, but in actuality, Lewis will miss only three matches due to an almost month-long break in matches from September 29th to October 21st.
UPDATE: On Wednesday night, Lewis made his debut and contributed an assist in 62 minutes on the pitch in an all-around great performance.
New York City FC:
Goals: Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (11), David Villa (11), Maxi Moralez (8)
Assists: Maxi Moralez (13), Jesus Medina (7), David Villa and Anton Tinnerholm (5)
Away Goals: Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (7)
Goals: Ignacio Piatti (13), Saphir Taider (6), Alejandro Silva (4)
Assists: Ignacio Piatti (12), Alejandro Silva (10), Saphir Taider (6)
Home Goals: Ignacio Piatti (11)
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Watch NYCFC v Montreal Impact on YES Network at 7:30 ET or Listen on WNYE 91.5 FM NY