CF Montreal-Red Bulls Preview

National Sports

Gerhard Struber has told his New York Red Bulls players to put their defeat to D.C. United behind them ahead of Saturday’s huge Eastern Conference showdown with CF Montreal.

The Red Bulls’ eight-match unbeaten run, which included four victories in a row, came to a halt with a 1-0 defeat to United on Wednesday.

That loss leaves Struber’s side a point behind United in the final MLS Cup Playoffs place in the East, but they have a game in hand over the final week of the season.

A quick turnaround in matches sees the Red Bulls host Montreal at Red Bull Arena, with the sides level on points in what could be a decisive game in the battle for a postseason spot.

“We forget the last game. We forget that result,” Struber said.

Those views were echoed by skipper Sean Davis, who added: “Everybody is desperate for points right now and every game is so important.

“We have turn around and put ourselves in the best way for Montreal. We have to turn the page and move on quickly.”

Montreal have drawn their last three MLS games and were also held by Forge in their midweek Canadian Cup semi-final, before prevailing 8-7 in the penalty shoot-out.

Wilfried Nancy rotated his side with an eye on the Red Bulls clash, with the MLS Cup Playoffs taking priority.

“We will not beat around the bush: we want the three points to give us a chance to go to the playoffs,” said Joel Waterman, who played a full part against Forge.

“This is our goal. We’ve made it difficult for ourselves to draw our last three games, but we’re confident we can get the job done.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New York Red Bulls – Carlos Coronel

Coronel has kept back-to-back clean sheets for the Red Bulls on home soil and has conceded just two goals in five matches overall in October. That defensive form, and no doubt some big saves from Coronel, will be key to holding off Montreal and potentially climbing back into the top seven.

CF Montreal – Sunusi Ibrahim

Nigerian forward Ibrahim opened the scoring for Montreal against Toronto FC last time out in the league to make it two goals in his last three matches. That follows a run of just two goals in his first 20 games for the Canadian side, the first of those coming against Saturday’s opponents NYRB on August 14.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Montreal have won seven of their last ten meetings between the sides (L3) dating back to the 2016 playoffs. Prior to that lone postseason meeting, Montreal had just three wins in 13 all-time meetings (D2 L8).

– The Red Bulls have not scored or conceded more than one goal in any of their last eight home matches (W3 D4 L1), including winning the last two games 1-0. The Red Bulls are the third team in MLS history to play eight straight home matches without either team reaching two goals and the first since the Crew in September 2005-July 2006 (10 straight).

– Montreal have drawn their last three matches, with two of those featuring 95th-minute equalizers. Ibrahim scored at 90+5 to earn Montreal a 2-2 draw with Philadelphia on October 16, while Jozy Altidore scored in the 95th minute for Toronto against Montreal for a 1-1 draw on October 23.

– With three matches left in the season, Patryk Klimala leads the Red Bulls with eight goals. Excluding the shortened 2020 campaign, the last time the Red Bulls did not have a double-digit goal scorer in a single regular season was 2006 when Amado Guevara led the way with eight goals.

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