CF Montreal want to turn defense into victories, host Red Bulls

League: MLS

Posted on: 18 Jun, 2024 at 11:25 PM

Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Though unbeaten in four straight, CF Montreal know they need to take it to another level. They'll look to do that when they kick off the second half of their schedule with a visit from the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.

Montreal (4-7-6, 18 points) is 1-0-3 in its past four matches, most recently coming off a 0-0 draw against Western Conference-leading Real Salt Lake on Saturday. The lone win during the current run came against D.C. United on May 29, Montreal's only victory since April 13, going 1-4-5 in that span.

The club is 12th in the Eastern Conference table, two points behind ninth-place Nashville SC and the playoff line and only two points ahead of the last-place New England Revolution.

"On the one hand, we have to say that this is good compared to a month ago," goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois said. "But, moving forward, we also need to be realistic. We need more points, especially in the East with the current standings."

Outscored 15-5 during the four-game losing streak that preceded the current unbeaten run, Montreal has conceded only four goals in the past four matches, including a pair of shutouts.

Sirois earned his fourth clean sheet of the season Saturday. His turning his game around has been key.

"We know how much of a deciding factor he can be for us," coach Laurent Courtois said.

With several key players already on international duty, Montreal will lose another in defender Joel Waterman, who was called up to represent Canada at Copa America.

The Red Bulls (8-4-6, 30 points) are coming off a 0-0 draw against Nashville on Saturday and have been shut out in their past two matches.

Despite the recent setbacks, the Red Bulls, second in the Eastern Conference with 29 goals scored, are hopeful after the chances they created against Nashville.

"It was important to see that we (took) a big step when you compare the game in New England (a 1-0 loss) and then our game against Nashville, our deep runs to create a lot of good moments," coach Sandro Schwarz said. "... This is what we have to continue."

Goalkeeper Ryan Meara recorded his second shutout of the season in his third start Saturday and has allowed just one goal in 270 minutes played. He has also won each of his two career appearances against Montreal.

New York could have star midfielder Emil Forsberg (foot) available against Montreal, though it wasn't certain as of Tuesday. Schwarz said if not Wednesday, Forsberg could be back Saturday against Toronto FC. The Swede was injured on June 8 in a friendly with his national team.

--Field Level Media