NYCFC VS MONTREAL | Key points ahead of a return to The Bronx

The situation around NYCFC has been far from ideal recently. Aside from Maxi’s return and the recent new arrivals, everything else remains the same. Unable to win and still trying to find the formula to put the ball in the back of the net, they return to the Bronx to have yet another try to break the streak. The team is 90 minutes away from a season-defining result, so as always, here are my pointers ahead of a crucial game against Montreal.

Birk Risa and Ilenic must continue to build momentum- Both defenders showcased excellent performances against Minnesota despite the results. Risa needs time to adapt like any new player, but his vision to place long passes across the field will prove to be lethal to the opposition if things run smoothly. Ilenic, however, more than momentum, needs consistency again. In my opinion, has to start in the wing again. He provides another attacking outlet for the team, so the more the better, if you ask me. Especially if you’re looking to score goals, and honestly speaking, I still don’t understand why Tayvon Gray took over that spot because rotation was not behind his disappearance from the starting XI. In addition, I would like to see Matt Freeze at goal, he hasn’t been given many minutes, so the midweek match is perfect to see him in action.

The midfield – It’s no secret that Keaton Parks has had an outstanding season, but Maxi’s return increased the midfield strength considerably. This, of course, leaves little room for players like Ledezma, Pellegrini, and Santiago Rodriguez. But for this match in particular, I would like to see Parks, Ledezma, and Santi in midfield, with Maxi coming from the bench. But then again, Maxi’s vision and connection with the attacking third would suggest that he takes a spot in the starting XI especially if Cufre and Ilenic take the right-back and left-back positions, respectively. Their integration in the attack, combined with Maxi’s vision, can be the game changer against Montreal.

The attacking duo –  Is the only part of the field that has left more questions than answers this season. Bakrar is slowly finding his rhythm but still lacks the support to display his best version up front. While it could be a tactical decision, the fact that we haven’t seen much of Talles and Bakrar together on the field really makes you question things. Talles needed a 9 to pick up his best version from last season, but things remain the same.

Instead of seeing them together, they take each other’s place on the field. If you ask me, it’s contradicting, but I hope to see them both build a partnership in the coming games. Magno’s flare can complement Bakrar’s movement in the final third, but again, sadly, it’s not up to me to decide who plays or not.

The fans – Things have not been ideal for the fanbase this season, to say the least. Many are more than willing to be vocal about their frustration, from defeats to questionable performances, they want to see a change within the team. It’s no secret that Yankee Stadium is a fortress for NYCFC, and returning after almost two months away would be nice to see the fanbase show up in numbers.

One last dance? – With rumors spreading quickly, a new departure could be in the works. One of the leaders in the squad is rumored to be on the verge of signing a new contract overseas. Again, these are rumors, but if Wednesday is in fact, Chanot’s final game with the club, it would be great to send him off with a win. After all, he has been one of the longest-active players since the club’s foundation in 2015. But only time will tell, and I probably won’t believe it until Fabrizio Romano announces it.

Whatever happens, it’s clear that this is a decisive week for NYCFC. If changes take place, one hopes that they are positive.