Know Thy Enemy: Revolution vs Basement Aged Montreal Maple Syrup
CF Montreal has struggled mightily on the road so far in 2023, an opportunity for three points the Revolution should capitalize on.
The New England Revolution have not faced much disappointment in 2023 so far, a blowout loss at LAFC and a late equalizer vs NYCFC being the only blemishes on their campaign so far. Against CF Montreal today at Gillette Stadium at 7:30 pm on AppleTV the Revs look to rebound from last week’s draw and continue to stay near the top of the East.
CF Montreal however is another story, with injuries, offseason departures, a new head coach, and a brutal schedule to start the year leaving them with just a solitary result so far - an absolute theft in their only home game against the Union in which they equalized late and scored the winner deep into stoppage time with Philly down to 10 men.
The Revs have done a little thievery of their own with late wins against D.C. and Charlotte, and hopefully will not rue the night they let two points slip against NYC last week. The Revs have been opportunistic so far this year when it comes to getting results and today presents another solid opportunity for three points.
Bruce Arena and the team however are very cautious about Montreal’s current basement status in the East though - they know this is a team that always plays them tough. The Revs head coach highlighted stars Romell Quioto and Victor Wanyama as dangerous and DeJuan Jones and Carles Gil also spoke about the difficult matchup.
New England and Montreal’s seasons are at the moment about differences in opportunities - Montreal has not had a lot of home games to stabilize their season while the Revs continue a long April homestand in which they look to build on their strong early season start.
Today brings up another different opportunity for New England, one mostly about kicking Eastern Conference opponents when they are down. The Revs did not accomplish this last week as NYC against a Pigeons squad that is still capable certainly needs a strong summer window to help them out.
The Revs letting two points slip away with a less than full-strength midfield is not the end of the world. In fact, the Revs getting four points in two games where homegrown Jack Panayotou started is certainly a fairly positive development for the Revs overall. The Revs having to tap into their depth early and still being able to get results, even late road thefts, is never a bad thing.
It is not unfair to say that anything other than three points against the artists formally known as the Impact Foot Clan would be a disappointment. With an improved defense and young players stepping up early on, the Revs are in a great position so far in 2023 but dropping home points to a team that is yet to score on the road this year let alone get any kind of result away from Stade Saputo, would be a fairly significant blemish against the Revs.
Our friend Saul Garcia formerly of Mount Royal Soccer recommended today’s freelancing guest, Elias Laradi of VAVEL and Northern Tribune soccer fame and other sporting bylines including a 2023 IIHF Women’s Worlds hockey preview. Elias was kind enough to answer my questions on late notice about CF Montreal’s offseason and start to 2023. No questions for me this week which is for the best.
1) Who was the bigger offseason departure for Montreal - head coach Wilfried Nancy or midfielder Djordje Mihailovic?
1: I would have to say Wilfred Nancy because last year despite the slow start they bought into his system but due to the debacle with ownership packed his bags and left for Columbus, Djordje Mihailovic was a key player but one player doesn't make a team.
2) CF Montreal has played four of their five games on the road, and have lost all of them without scoring a goal. Is there a main reason for their road struggles this year?
2: CF Montreal has been dealing with a lot of injuries and the main difference between this year and last year is that they had major depth with the likes of Ismael Kone and Kei Kamara who left in the offseason, it doesn't feel as if the team has bought into Hernan Losada system and the media has been on him to see if he will make changes in the formation but he is adamant he won't.
3) After the Revs game MTL plays four of their next five at home, can this team rebound from their slow start and get back into the playoff race? How many points or wins in that stretch of games would they need for fans to be more comfortable with the season trajectory?
3: I honestly don't know, the issue is CF Montreal has integrated too many rookies into their lineup who have zero experience not even playing in the junior league before making the jump. They trained at the academy and what we call in Quebec the PLSQ which is a major gap in level, Sean Rea and Jonathan Sirois are fine because they spent two years in the CPL or Canadian Premier League but the others haven't
Sirois, Herrera, Corbo, Miller, Waterman, Choiniere, Wanyama, Zouhir, Rea, Toye, Offor
Samuel Piette is out for 4-6 weeks, Pantemis out 6 weeks, Camacho suspended, Miljevic 6 months
Score prediction New England Revolution 3 - CF Montreal 0