Major League Soccer

CF Montreal-New York City FC Preview

Ronny Deila is happy with New York City FC's level of performance but also knows there is room for improvement ahead of Wednesday's game against CF Montreal.

NYCFC are just above the playoff line in seventh in the Eastern Conference.

But Deila's side have lost their past two games 2-1 to Montreal and the Columbus Crew.

They at least have the opportunity to avenge the Montreal defeat as they host the same team this week with a point to prove.

"Montreal are a good team. I think it was a very even game last time," City coach Deila said.

"We did a lot of good things in the game and there are things we need to do better as well. For them as well, they know what they need to do better.

"It's about getting our performance to be 10, 15 per cent better than it was down there.

"I think the level at the weekend was really good and we're playing at home, so it's going to be a good game for us, an important game, to get three points and bounce back again."

He added: "I think when you are like we are now in the season so far, if you look at the stats, we have been the best team in 90 per cent of games.

"We haven't been good enough in the two boxes - that's the main thing. What we can focus on is to keep on performing good, and then we can improve the things inside.

"That is a mental thing as well. We need to create even more energy and determination in the games to get it right."

Montreal were not short of cutting edge in their most recent match, beating FC Cincinnati 5-4 in an epic at the weekend.

Coach Wilfried Nancy said of thrilling their supporters: "Obviously we won't do that for most games because it will be difficult. But that's our line of work, that's football."

New York City FC - Luis Barraza

With Sean Johnson on Gold Cup duty, Barraza has been drafted in in goal. Two games have brought two defeats so far and he would have been disappointed not to save Lucas Zelarayan's free-kick for Columbus last time out. NYCFC need their back-up to be better.

FC Montreal - Ahmed Hamdi

Hamdi lost his place at the end of last month and Montreal have enjoyed an impressive run without him in the XI. But two late goals - his first in MLS - to maintain that form against Cincy should ensure Hamdi gets a look-in again.

- CF Montreal's 2-1 win at New York City FC on July 7 ended a nine-match winless run for Montreal against NYCFC (D4 L5). It was only Montreal's second win over New York City, with the other coming in August 2015 (D4 L7).

- New York City FC have lost consecutive regular season matches for the first time since losing four straight games to start the 2020 season. That four-match losing streak is the only time NYCFC have lost more than two regular season games in a row since the end of the 2015 season.

- CF Montreal came from two goals behind twice to beat FC Cincinnati 5-4 on Saturday. It was the 18th MLS match to see at least nine goals scored and the second for Montreal (also 6-3 defeat to Colorado in August 2019).

- New York City FC have faced an MLS-low 8.5 shots per match this season, though 14.7 per cent of those shots have been converted into goals; only Toronto FC (18.5 per cent) have allowed a higher percentage of shots faced to be scored this season.

- CF Montreal's 5-4 win over FC Cincinnati on Saturday marked just the 11th time in MLS history that a team have won a match when conceding four goals and the first since DC United beat Real Salt Lake 6-4 in August 2015.

Updated July 20, 2021

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