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NYCFC tries to crack strong Montreal defense


The Montreal Impact’s seemingly impenetrable defense will be tested when the club hosts the renewed attack of New York City FC on Saturday.

The Impact have recorded shutouts in five of their last six matches, and have yet to allow a goal in five matches on their home pitch this season (including three friendlies). This streak includes a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire last Sunday.

“Now it’s two wins at home in two games, two clean sheets as well,” midfielder Samuel Piette said. “It just proved that we’re really solid defensively and when we have a chance, we convert them.”

Despite eight road dates in their first 10 matches, plus the extended absence of designated player Ignacio Piatti, the Impact (5-3-2, 17 points) could leave the weekend in first place in the Eastern Conference.

In their first meeting of the season, NYCFC and Montreal played to a 0-0 draw on April 6 in New York. That was one of three shutouts New York City endured in its first five matches, though since facing the Impact, NYCFC has recorded seven goals in four games.

The emergence of Brazilian striker Heber has been a major factor in this offensive surge. Heber has two goals and two assists in three games as a member of the starting XI.

“He is able to keep the ball, assist, score the goals,” NYCFC head coach Domenec Torrent said. “It is good news for us because the whole feeling right now is that we signed the right player. Heber has improved our team a lot when we have the ball, but everybody is much better than a month ago.”

New York has only lost once (2-1-6, 12 points) in nine games, though a lot of points have been left on the table due to a league-high six draws.

Piatti will be out of Montreal’s lineup for the seventh straight match, while defender Bacary Sagna could be questionable due to a tight hamstring. For New York City, defender James Sands (abductor) isn’t likely to play on Saturday.

Saturday’s match begins a four-game road trip for NYCFC, who aren’t back at Yankee Stadium until June 6.

New York City FC is 5-1-4 all-time against Montreal.

REUTERS/Field Level Media

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