With six matches remaining in the 2023 MLS season, FC Cincinnati (17-4-8) headed north of the border. Awaiting them was a new look CF Montreal (11-14-4) hoping to secure a playoff spot in their remaining matches. After a performance that wasn’t their best, the Orange and Blue found a way to steal a point on the road in a 1-1 draw.
Pat Noonan’s opening comments of the post-match press conference painted the picture of the night well.
“It was a hard-earned point,” Noonan said. “Wasn’t pretty, certainly a slow first half, I think just in terms of chance creation, and either team really gaining control the game. But I thought on our end, that’s okay on the road to, you know, to be able to get to halftime level. And again, we showed some good character in coming back in the second half. I thought we created some good looks to be able to find a couple more goals. But in the end, we get a good point.”
The match started off with FCC on their back heels. CF Montreal was able to disrupt the midfield and really challenge FCC to maintain possession. It was apparent that Montreal had seen something on tap that made them favor the right side of the FCC formation.
To their credit, FCC was able to contain any counter-attacking threat throughout the first half. The first half saw very few goal-scoring opportunities for FCC. A seventh-minute chance saw Luciano Acosta try to connect with Aaron Boupendza in the box. A whistle sounded but no stoppage in play occurred. The whistle may have come
from the crowd, but it is difficult to tell if it had any impact on the goal chance as Boupendza was well-marked.
In the 14th minute, Junior Moreno just missed the top right corner with a great shot from outside of the box. Apart from those two
opportunities, the first half didn’t see much threat.
In the second half, CF Montreal was able to get off to an early start. Forward Kwadwo Opoku was able to win possession at the midfield line and drive the ball forward through open space in the 53rd minute. After a failed tackle by Obinna Nwobodo, Opoku fired a screaming shot from outside of the box. The rangy shot caught the diving Roman Celentano off guard and went into the net for the match’s opening
The remainder of the second half saw few opportunities for FCC to score a tying goal. But as stoppage time started, frustrations started coming to a head. In the 90th minute, Matt Miazga picked up a yellow card for running into the Montreal keeper Jonathan Sirois. The contact was light but Miazga did make unnecessary contact into Sirois’s legs. An unfortunate yellow as Miazga will miss the next match due to yellow card accumulation.
Moments later, Montreal forward Chinonso Offor shoveled Santiago Arias to the ground. Arias sprung up and returned the favor in a heated exchange. Both players were issued a yellow card for it.
The break FC Cincinnati needed came in the dying moments of the match. Sirois came off his line in an attempt to punch out the ball at the top of the box. Dominique Badji had beat Sirois to the spot and was violently taken out of the air. A yellow card was issued to Sirois and the official correctly assessed that the foul occurred within the penalty box. Acosta then stepped to the spot and buried a shot past
Sirois to equalize the match in the final seconds of stoppage.
CIN: Roman Celentano, Álvaro Barreal, Ian Murphy, Matt Miazga, Nick Hagglund (Bret Halsey 80’), Santiago Arias, Junior Moreno (Sergio Santos 85’), Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (C), Aaron Boupendza (Dominique Badji 66’), Brandon Vazquez (Yuya Kubo 67’)
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Alvas Powell, Marco Angulo, Malik Pinto, Ray Gaddis
MTL: Jonathan Sirois, Joel Waterman, George Campbell, Gabriele Corbo, Victor Wanyama (C) (Samuel Piette 83’), Bryce Duke (Lassi Lappalainen 46’), Nathan-Dylan Saliba, Mathieu Choinière, Kwadwo Opoku (Romell Quioto 78’), Ariel Lassiter (Ahmed Hamdi 65’), Mason Toye (Chinonso Offor 66’)
Substitutes not used: James Pantemis, Fernando Alvarez, Sunusi Ibrahim, Ousman Jabang
MTL – Victor Wanyama (Yellow Card) 34’
CIN – Matt Miazga (Yellow Card) 90’
MTL – Chinonso Offor (Yellow Card) 90’+2
CIN – Santiago Arias (Yellow Card) 90’+2
MTL – Jonathan Sirois (Yellow Card) 90’+5
NEXT MATCH: Charlotte FC (H) Saturday, September 23rd; 7:30 p.m. on Apple TV+