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Charlotte FC Matchday 20 - CF Montreal Preview

By Jacob Sokol

Jaylin Lindsey taking on Lassi Lappalainen of CF Montréal last season (Photo courtesy of Charlotte FC)


What We've Seen So Far  


CF Montréal will head to Bank of America Stadium this weekend with some extra confidence. On Wednesday night they managed to defeat Nashville SC, who sit second in the Supporter’s Shield standings. They not only beat them, but they outperformed them offensively, creating 6 shots on target and 15 shots overall. 


Before this win, Montréal had an opportunity to rest their legs, with an eleven-day break since soundly defeating Minnesota United FC 4-0. 


While it appears that Montréal is a serious threat based on these results, they also have their weaknesses. 1-1-3 was their record in the five games before their last two. They are a team that comes in streaks, either winning or losing several in a row throughout the season. The main thing to expect is three points for either Charlotte or Montréal on Saturday as Montréal has only tied once all season. They are a team that aims for wins and this either rewards or costs them. 


Injury Update  


OUT: Samuel Piette (adductor)

OUT: Romell Quioto (hamstring)


From MLSsoccer.com's Player Availability Report dated 6/20/23.


Players to Watch


Chinonso Offor - Offor is Montréal’s leading goal scorer, tied on 3 goals with the injured Romell Quioto. He doesn’t always get consistent playing time though, with 11 starts in the 17 games he has played. He isn’t likely to start against Charlotte, but expect an appearance off the bench where he can cause some problems for the Queen City Defenders. 


Bryce Duke - Duke has two goals and two assists on the season, including Wednesday night’s game-winner against Nashville SC. Montréal has slotted him into the attacking midfield role in a 3-4-1-2 lineup. He is only 22 years old but is already well-traveled in MLS, having played for LAFC and Inter Miami before landing at his current home. With 4 goal contributions, this has been his most successful season yet. 


Mathieu Choinière - Choinière is arguably Montréals most important player. He can play in central midfield or as an attacking mid, providing 2 goals and 3 assists this season to lead the team in goal contributions. Outside of those contributions he is also the leader for successful tackles on the team and one of the most accurate passers. Whether he is winning the ball back or creating with it, he is highly capable. 


CF Montreal's Starting XI 

Lineup photo courtesy of Major League Soccer via Google.


Lineup vs. Nashville SC on 6/21/23. We could see Lassi Lappalainen instead of Ariel Lassiter, but all others are most likely starters this weekend. 

Montréal holds a tight-knit formation through the center of the pitch, while their defenders often get out wide to start attacks off. Charlotte FC wingers need to play good defense at the start of Montréal's possession spells. (Graphic found at MLSsoccer.com)


Blue areas represent 55% or more possession for Montréal while red areas represent 55%+ possession for their opposition. (Graphic found at theanalyst.com)


Montréal isn’t a very possession-based team, as they barely control the ball in the opposing team’s half. They also allow other teams to control wide areas often, which Charlotte’s wingers could exploit, finding crosses to their target forward. 


Outlook for 2023 


Montréal is a team that can counter-attack and shows good form across multiple games at a time. They can also become overwhelmed by opposing teams' possession, which is an area Charlotte can take advantage of. With both Charlotte and Montréal on the edge of playoff qualification, obtaining 3 points for either side is vital. 


The key to Charlotte FC’s success this Saturday lies with their wingers. Whether it is shutting down Montréal’s quick counters, or using the space that Montréal often forfeits out wide, they can be the deciding factor in this game. 


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