MONTREAL — Three points are all CF Montreal need to break the club record for most points in a season, and the Major League Soccer club can set a new mark with a win over the visiting New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.
After starting off the season in very form, Montreal has transformed itself into a contender in the Eastern Conference. The club sits second at 49 points (15-8-4) with seven games left and is trying to increase its unbeaten run to nine games — breaking the club record they set earlier this season.
“What’s important for us is to live in the present moment,” said head coach Wilfried Nancy. “We want to go as far as we can with a lot of humility because we know that a lot of the games are difficult. The present moment is good, and we want to embrace that, but this is not done."
Much like Montreal, New York’s remaining games are all against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoff race. The Red Bulls (12-8-8, fourth in the East) will be feeling pressure, as the slightest slip-up could see them miss out on home field advantage for the first round.
On the other hand, Montreal’s road form has taken the eyes off a dip in their performances at home. Despite the club’s current unbeaten run, they have only won a single game in their last four at Stade Saputo.
"We’re still looking upwards so we just need to get consistent and get our wins at home,” said defender Alistair Johnston. "Sometimes on the road we play very free because the onus is on the home team to come out and impose themselves. At home though there’s been a couple results where we feel like we’ve games him slip away.”
Draws against New York City FC and Inter Miami along with a shock loss against basement-dwelling Sporting Kansas have all come in that run. Those missed points could prove crucial should Montreal not get a first-round bye or even miss out on hosting their first playoff game since 2016.
Montreal striker Romell Quioto enters the match as one of the most dangerous players in MLS. The Honduran is on a four-match scoring streak, with six goals over that span.
The two sides have played only played once this season where two goals in the final 20 minutes saw Montreal pick up three points at Red Bull Arena in a 2-1 win on May 8.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2022.
Elias Grigoriadis, The Canadian Press