CF Montreal have an opportunity to clinch their first MLS playoff berth since 2020 when they welcome the Columbus Crew to Saputo Stadium on Friday.
The home side can assure their place in the postseason with a victory, combined with an FC Cincinnati loss, while the Crew have a little more work to do, currently sixth in the Eastern Conference, two points above the playoff line.
Just days after they were shut down by the New York Red Bulls in a 1-0 defeat, Montreal looked to be headed towards a second straight loss this past weekend, trailing 2-0 to Toronto in the Canadian Classique after seven minutes.
Some intelligent build-up play, combined with an error from TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono, helped swing the momentum in favour of the Quebecers, and by half time, Montreal found themselves in front, becoming the first side in league history to erase a two-goal deficit to lead at the interval, eventually winning 4-3.
That was the third victory for them this year by a 4-3 score as they have now claimed 23 points this season after conceding the opening goal, while also setting a new club record for points in an MLS campaign (52), eclipsing the old mark from 2015 (51).
The Crew did virtually everything right last weekend except the most important thing, score, as they were stymied by the stellar goalkeeping of Gabriel Slonina, who stopped nine Columbus shots, helping the Chicago Fire to a 0-0 draw.
Since the end of May, Caleb Porter has seen a dramatic change in his team’s form, with the Crew suffering only one defeat in their previous 16 MLS affairs, with that lone loss coming at home, 2-1 versus Montreal.
Those points gained could very well make the difference between them making or missing the playoffs come October, although the same could be said about their inability to claim more points of late as Columbus have drawn four of their last five games, squandering four points from winning positions.
CF Montreal possible starting lineup:
Pantemis; Miller, Camacho, Waterman; Choiniere, Piette, Kone, Johnston; Mihailovic; Quioto, Kamara
Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Room; Moreira, Jonathan, Degenek, Sands; Artur; Nagbe; Diaz, Zelarayan, Etienne; Hernandez
CF Montreal vs Columbus Crew: prediction
We say: CF Montreal 2-0 Columbus Crew
You would think that Zelerayan is far too valuable to the Crew’s success to sit out of a match with so much at stake at this stage of the season.
CF Montreal vs Columbus Crew: where to watch?
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