FC Cincinnati will travel to Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard to take on FC Montreal on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. FC Montreal (2W-16L-1D) sit in last place on the Eastern Conference table with 7 points, while FC Cincinnati (11W-4L-5D) sit in the third spot. Check out our 7 Things to Know before Wednesday afternoon’s match and leave us feedback below in the comments section!
7 Things to Know:
Young Squad – The FC Montreal roster has an average age of approx 20.4 years old between the 15 players that have logged 10+ matches for the MLS2 squad. 21 year old right back/center back Janouk Charbonneau leads the Blues in minutes (1619) this season and is the only player to feature in all 19 matches. Their oldest regular starter is midfielder Alessandro Riggi, who at 22 year and 8 months has only logged just over 40 games as a professional.
Improving Side – If you look at their last ten matches (1-8-1) you would find it hard to reason that they are an improving side. After this weekend’s match vs. Charlotte, head coach Philippe Eullaffroy had some words of encouragement for his squad. “Maybe for the first time this season we were better than the opposition but it didn’t translate to the final score,” said Eullaffroy. “On the last two games it’s very encouraging and it’s clear that by playing like we did, we will get wins.” Eullaffroy has highlighted the groups two consecutive off weeks as a chance to work on their transition game, but without a true goalscorer, FC Montreal has still struggled in the offensive third.
No Strikers – With player movement within the Montreal Impact FO, FC Montreal has been left without a true striker for most of the season. Badreddine Boulajoul (19 years old), their only “listed” striker has logged only 32, 7 and 18 minutes in his 3 appearances for the club. The Moroccan-Canadian joined FC Montreal last month from the Impact U-18 squad, scoring 14 goals in 21 games in the developmental team.
Who to Watch – This could be a tricky question. Montreal Impact face A.S. Roma in a friendly Wednesday night which caused the this match to be moved to 2 p.m. Goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau and attacking midfielder Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla are the most notable players on FC Montreal’s roster, but their availability could be in question. Tabla at only 17 years old has been praised for his work as FC Montreal’s play-maker, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him rewarded with a call-up to the senior squad. Crépeau has been a part of the Impact’s first-team several times this season and even though he has started a majority of the USL sides matches (14), a call-up could be in order for him as well.
Newer Faces to FC Cincinnati Squad – With the evolution of coach John Harkes’ formations, comes changes to the FC Cincinnati match day 18. Francisco Narbon has seen an increase in time with the change to the 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 system and could start a match in the short term. Narbon made some great runs this weekend vs. Charleston but his teammates let him down on occasions. It is expected that back up Evan Lee will get his first USL start of the season with the suspension of Harrison Delbridge (yellow card accumulation). This is a good opportunity for Lee considering the lack of attack and a sparse home crowd in Montreal.
Start August on the Right Foot – With 4 of 5 matches in the month of August on the road, FC Cincinnati needs to grab all three points in Montreal. Road matches in Richmond, New York and Charlotte should prove more difficult and any points dropped here will be a large disappointment. FC Cincinnati is within 4 points of first and 3 points of second and will look to close that gap before the end of September.
Layoff Good for Injuries – Following Wednesday’s match, FC Cincinnati will have a 9 day break between matches, followed by a 10 day break between the Richmond and Rochester. This will be a great time for FC Cincinnati to regain their fitness before the final push in September. The added space between matches should allow plenty of time for Paul Nicholson and Kenney Walker to get back on the field. This will also allow players coming off injuries like Berry, Narbon and Cummings to regain even more fitness.
Die Innenstadt – Rhinehaus OTR – 119 E 12th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202 – OPENS AT 1:45 p.m.
The Pride – Molly Malones – 112 E 4th St, Covington, KY 41011
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Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for staff analysis on this Wednesday’s match.