PREVIEW| FC Cincinnati visit CF Montréal looking to get back into winning form


FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan was looking for a response from his squad after a disappointing result in their last match with New York Red Bulls. A 2-1 defeat that had the head coach disappointed with all aspects of the team performance, Noonan wanted everyone (himself included) to take responsibility and work towards improvement.

What he saw in training this week met his expectations.

“That was probably one of our better discussions of postgame analysis,” Noonan said Thursday in his pre match press conference. “Like I said after the game, I wasn't pleased with how we went about the game. We're gonna lose games. The discussion revolves around what it looks like in the process of not getting a result. And that just felt different. It didn't look like a good version of our team.

“I liked the way we talked through the moments of the game that didn't go our way and why the result happened, so the training – in the aftermath of it – maybe there's guys that are still thinking about that video and some of the tough conversations that we had.”

FC Cincinnati now takes on CF Montréal, visiting the Canadian club on their home opener after six road matches to start the season. The trip to French-Canada now provides an opportunity to reset and get back to those principles FCC holds themselves too.

Montreal though provides a new challenge. With a new manager and a revamped roster, CF Montreal has been inconsistent in their results, but has shown flashes of brilliance along the way. But after a 5-0 loss last week, The Bleu-blanc-noir is looking to get right and battle hard.

“I think they certainly have courage with the ball. You can see different ideas of how they like to set up teams to bring pressure and attack,” Noonan said of his opponent this weekend. “I'm sure they're gonna look forward to being in front of their home fans.

“I think (CFM head coach Laurent Coutrois) has done a really good job with the early stages of being with that group. It's always tough when you have a new coach, new ideas and to analyze and try and figure things out…So (there are) some challenges that we've looked at that we'll face just based on some of their build ideas and how to try to pressure.”

FC Cincinnati captain Luciano Acosta also felt the response in training was high quality, particularly the energy around the pitch. What stood out most to him though from the weekend review was the need for The Orange and Blue to stick their principles.

“The biggest thing from that game was that we didn't play our game,” Acosta said. “We got caught playing their game, played a lot of long balls. Got caught into the pressure. I think that that was sort of the biggest thing for that game.

“We didn't give up a lot of chances, New York didn't have a lot of chances but at the end of the day, that was key for us. We need to be able to do our thing and to play our way.”

Entering Saturday’s match FCC sits in a four way tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points. The match Saturday starts a stretch of matches that have FCC playing four of their next five matches on the road

FC CINCINNATI at CF Montréal – Saturday, April 13, 2024 – 7:30 p.m. ET – Stade Saputo

Stream:MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
TV Talent (English): Joe Tolleson (PXP) & Greg Sutton (Analysis)
TV Talent (Spanish):Moises Linares (PXP) & Pablo Marino (Analysis)
TV Talent (French): Frederic Lord (PXP) & Vincent Destouches (Analysis)

Radio: ESPN 1530

Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (PXP), Omar Cummings (Analyst)

Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the game.

All-time versus CF Montreal

Matches between FC Cincinnati and CF Montreal have always been raucous affairs, with a combined 35 goals scored in 9 games between the two clubs. 

Last season, FCC and CFM played one of the more docile affairs of the series in The Orange and Blue's trip to Montréal, but late drama made the game memorable as FCC earned a 97-minute penalty kick that Luciano Acosta delivered to earn an equalizer. The latest in club history and an important point in the club's eventual clinching of the Supporters Shield just weeks later.

While the matches between the two clubs have regularly been explosive, they've always been close. Eight of nine competitions between the two have been a draw or decided by one goal, with the lone exception being a 3-0 at TQL Stadium for FCC last season.


La Belle Provence – Saturday night is CF Montréal’s home opener, making their season debut in Quebec after six road matches to start the season. Trips to Stade Saputo have regularly been kind to FC Cincinnati, holding a 2-2-1 when visiting CFM.

Le Moteur – Luciano Acosta has been an offensive engine for FC Cincinnati, registering 25 key passes, the most in MLS this season. Key Passes - or Total Attacking Assists - track all passes that directly lead to a shot. If the shot results in a goal, that is an assist.

The 2023 MLS MVP has finished in the top three league-wide in key passes in each of the last two seasons.

Road Warriors – FC Cincinnati is one of five MLS clubs who remain undefeated on the road through seven MLS games this season. With a 2-0-1 record and having earned seven road points this season, FCC also leads MLS in road points.

I am Iron Man – DeAndre Yedlin leads all MLS players in minutes played this season, registering 663 minutes with FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami CF. Yedlin outpaces 32 other players who have not been subbed off in 2024 but has the benefit of matches played as Inter Miami CF is the only club with eight games played.

SCOUTING CF Montréal (2-3-1, 7 points, 11th in Eastern Conference, L-L-L-W-W)

CF Montréal has had a tough start to the 2024 season that has caught up to them of late. They opened the season with six road games before hosting FC Cincinnati for their home opener at Stade Saputo at the famed Olympic Park. After opening the season with a draw and two victories, The Bleu-blanc-noir has dropped three straight matches to Chicago Fire, D.C. United, and Seattle Sounders.

After a disappointing 2023, French-Canada's club shook up its leadership core and hired noted French manager Laurent Courtois to lead the club in December. Courtois, who as a player played in the Premier League, Ligue 1 and then four years in MLS for Chivas USA and LA Galaxy before going behind the bench to coach, comes from the Columbus Crew system, where he served as an Academy coach before taking over the MLS NEXT Pro side Columbus Crew 2 and led them to a title in their first season.

Montréal made a notable addition to its forward group to help Courtois group in his first season, signing MLS icon Josef Martinez on a free agent deal this offseason. The Venezuelan striker is one of just 13 players in league history to score 100 goals and was an instant superstar when he joined Atlanta United in 2017, winning the 2018 MLS Cup, MLS MVP and Golden Boot. While he's primarily been used as a substitute off the bench in 2024, Martinez has scored once in six appearances and started the last two matches.

Few teams have been as punished as Montréal this season by the scheduling. On top of the grueling six-game round stand to start the campaign, The Bleu-blanc-noir had six key contributors absent for that stretch as they represented their countries, including four Canadians, a Costa Rican and a USA U-23 selection.

While all six are back now, their absence was felt. Starting goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois was called in for Canada, along with Joel Waterman, Ariel Mattieu Choinière and Samuel Piette. Forward Ariel Lassiter of Costa Rica was also absent, making five regular starters and five of the top six minutes leaders away from the club during that period.

Offensively, Matías Cóccaro has been the engine for The Bleu-blanc-noir; his three goals lead the club in his debut MLS season. A Uruguayan forward, Cóccaro came to Montréal after a lengthy loan with Argentine club 'Huracán' of the Primera División.

Another key offseason addition comes in the form of a Canadian midfielder. Dominik Yannik was brought over from the famed Bulgarian side and a regular entrant in the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues, PFC Ludogorets Razgrad. Yannik, 23, was born in Toronto but was capped early by his parents' home nation of Bulgaria and has made 17 appearances for The Trikolyorite.

The aforementioned Sirois stands as the man in the net for CF Montréal in his second season as the club's first-choice goalkeeper. A native of Quebec and an academy product of the club, Sirois gained seasoning in 2021 and 2022 on loan with Canadian Premier League side Valor FC, where he was named 2021 CPL Goalkeeper of the Year at just 19 years old.

Formation-wise, FC Cincinnati fans may see something similar to their opponents compared to what Noonan rolls out for The Orange and Blue. CF Montréal under Courtois has utilized a familiar 5-2-1-2 or 3-4-1-2 shape that FC Cincinnati has excelled with, deploying two wing backs and a three-man center-back group to complement a play-making number ten and two strikers further up the field. Though in their last match with Seattle Sounders (which resulted in a 5-0 loss), The Bleu-blanc-noir appeared to push their wings further up the field and drop a midfielder deeper (in this case, it was defensive specialist Samuel Petite) further back to support the back line with six players more oriented forward.