We all are well aware of all of the playoff implications, so there’s no need to go into all of that again. Let’s get to four things to watch in the matchup with CF Montreal.
Each team had three members away on international duty during this latest FIFA window. Patrick Schulte and Aidan Morris with the U.S. Olympic Team, and Stepen Moreira with Cape Verde Islands. Montreal had midfielders Mathieu Choiniere and Samuel Piette joining the Canadian national team, while forward Romell Quioto appeared in two games for his native Honduras.
The only way I can see one of these players being affected by a call-up is if a lot of travel was involved. Moreira went to Algeria, Choiniere and Piette played in Japan just eight days ago. If Moreira tires, head coach Wilfried Nancy has options and can turn to Sean Zawadzki or even Yevhen Cheberko. Montreal will be in a real bind if Choiniere, who is second on the team with five goals, has to be replaced. They are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league and can’t afford to have him out of the lineup. I don’t really see any of this being a factor, but it might be something to keep an eye on.
Keep The Pedal To The Floor…Sort Of
If the Crew has a lead by the 70th minute or so, I don’t want to see them back off. Going into a defensive shell and counterpunching is something I don’t think they are comfortable doing. I don’t want to see them continue to play with a very high back line or take unnecessary chances, but I think they can still force the play and keep Montreal back on their heels. Don’t let Montreal have control of the pace down the stretch.
The Crew’s leading scorer had a hat trick when these two met back in early September. Expect Montreal to make some sort of adjustment in the way they mark him this time, because they can ill afford to let Cucho have a lot of space to work. Too much focus on Cucho and opportunities will open for others. A quandry for a team who is in the bottom third of the league in goals allowed.
Let’s Be Smart About This
If there is one thing I want from Wilfried Nancy, it is to be smart with his substitutions. I want him to be smart about who puts into the game and when. If it is close late in the match, please do not use players who have a history of not being situationally aware. Yes, I’m referring to Kevin Molino. He’s hurt the Crew twice in late-game situations and I dare say none of us want to see him out there again with the team trying to protect a lead.
Remember the change in start time. 6 PM and not the usual 7:30. It’s Fan Appreciation Night. Unfortunately, I’m not able to make it. Really want one of those scarves.