CF Montreal boss Wilfried Nancy admits he is relishing the chance to take his side to Pennsylvania and face off against the conference-topping Philadelphia Union when the pair meet this week in MLS.
The Canadian outfit look to have turned the corner in recent weeks and are moving into the thick of the battle to secure a postseason spot now, as the new campaign continues to hot up.
But the test presented by the Union is the biggest yet for the club, and Nancy says he cannot wait to watch his side test themselves against the ladder leaders.
“I like playing against teams that in form. It’s a great way to see where we’re at as a club,” he said. “(Philadelphia) has been playing together for four-five years and they’re really comfortable with the philosophy.
“Now, they can play their games with their eyes closed, the secret to their success is that consistency.”
Philly boss Jim Curtin meanwhile warned his side of the threat Montreal will possess when they come to town, and admits he expects a fierce contest.
“They have a good understanding of trying to keep the ball,” he added. “It is no secret whether they are up a goal, down a goal, they try to make offer goal kicks and pass the ball through you.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Philadelphia – Daniel Gazdag
The Union man has shown some breathless economy so far this term. From just 13 shots, he’s had 11 on-target, and four goals to match, making him one of the sharpest finishers in MLS this season.
Montreal – Kamal Miller
A cornerstone of the Canadian outfit’s defensive efforts so far this term, Miller has completed more overall passes and forward passes than any other player at the club. It will be his get-up-and-go that helps them get downfield this weekend.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Union are unbeaten in five straight matches against CF Montréal (W3 D2), including a 2-1 away win on March 5. Philadelphia has won consecutive games against Montreal only once in MLS, however, winning both meetings in the 2020 season.
– Philadelphia’s club-record five match winning streak ended with a 2-1 loss at Toronto on Sunday. The Union return home where they’ve won three straight matches and lost only one of their last 19 regular season home matches dating back to May 2021 (W14 D4).
– After one win in its previous 10 matches dating back to last season (D4 L5), CF Montréal has won three straight matches, including its last two on the road. Montreal has never recorded three consecutive away wins in the club’s MLS history.
– The Union are last in MLS in possession, keeping just 37.6 percent of the ball, four percent less than any other team in the league (Cincinnati – 41.6%). A league-high 37.6% of the Union’s passes have been in the attacking third, while their 24.9 touches in the box per match are eighth-most in the league.
– Romell Quioto has scored in three consecutive matches for the fifth time in his MLS career and the third with Montreal. The last Montreal player to score in four or more consecutive matches was Ignacio Piatti, who did so in five straight games in August 2017.