Real Salt Lake try to pick up where they left off at Montreal

League: MLS

Posted on: 14 Jun, 2024 at 09:27 PM

Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

After climbing to the top of the Western Conference table in the first half of the season, Real Salt Lake will try to maintain that momentum when they kick off the second half with a visit to CF Montreal on Saturday.

Real Salt Lake (9-2-6, 33 points) closed out the first half with a 5-1 win against Austin FC on June 1 and are firmly in the hunt for top spot in MLS, two points shy of Supporters' Shield leaders Inter Miami. They're unbeaten in 13 straight, going 8-0-5 in that stretch, and haven't tasted defeat since March 9.

"They've been sharp," coach Pablo Mastroeni said. "I think just talking about the discipline that we need now, knowing that we're going to get everyone's best game. What we did in the first part of season isn't going to be good enough."

Saturday marks the first of three matches in eight days for the club, the first two coming on the road. Salt Lake is 3-1-5 on opposing pitches but hasn't won as the visitors since April 27, playing to draws in each of their past three road matches.

Captain Cristian Arango notched a hat trick against Austin, moving to first place in the MLS Golden Boot race with 16 goals in 17 matches. The Colombian is also tied for fourth in MLS with nine assists.

Real Salt Lake will be without defender Justen Glad (ankle injury) and midfielder Matt Crooks (personal reasons) against Montreal.

Montreal (4-7-5, 17 points) will try to inch closer to -- or possibly above -- the playoff line. The club is 12th in the Eastern Conference, two points shy of Nashville, which holds the last spot. Montreal is also only four points up on last place in the East.

The Canadian side enters the match unbeaten in three straight (1-0-2) after playing to a 2-2 draw against the Philadelphia Union last time out on June 1, matching its longest run of success this season.

The good news is they'll have forwards Matias Coccaro, Josef Martinez, Mason Toye and Kwadwo Opoku available for Saturday's match after each missed time with injury. Toye has been out a month, Coccaro and Martinez missed two months and Opoku hasn't played since he was injured 11 minutes into the second match of the season on March 2.

"Having all the guys together brings a totally different dynamic," coach Laurent Courtois said.

Forward Sunusi Ibrahim, 21, has been used primarily as a substitute yet leads Montreal with a career-high five goals, including three in the past two matches.

--Field Level Media