FC Cincinnati and CF Montreal meet once again and if this match goes anything like their previous encounters, it’ll be an entertaining afternoon in TQL Stadium. In five previous matches between The Garys and the Impact, FC has won 3, Montreal has won 1, and they’ve drawn 1. In those 5 matches there’s been a total of 16 goals. So win, lose, or draw this ought to be a good match. 

Montreal has just one point on the season and is in 13th in the Eastern Conference, while the Orange and Blue find themselves in 9th. Before the season, opinions were very well split on Montreal’s outlook. A few commentators had them as a top 5 team, others had them as wooden spoon competitors. One thing that has tripped them up early in the season had been their CONCACAF Champions League run which was ended by Mexican giants Cruz Azul back on March 16th.

Players to keep an eye on would be three midfielders: Ismaël Koné, Djordje Mihailovic, and Victor Wanyama. Mihailovic is a fine USMNT midfielder who has been deadly in seasons past. Wanyama is a name your euro-snob friend will have heard of. And Koné is set to become their breakout star. His recent performances have seen him break into the Canadian national team late into the cycle. And breaking into the Canadian national team is an actual achievement these days. 

Enough Canada talk, here’s your three question preview for today’s match. 

Three Question Preview

Is Brenner an effective starter on this team?

To get a yes out of this question, two things need to happen: Brenner needs to start and then he needs to be effective. As even the most notorious Brenner hater on the internet admitted to on the PostCast this week, Brenner needs to start. Either you think Brenner is a lost cause and he just needs to be put in a shop window so an unsuspecting South American team decides to sign him. Or, as Grayson Chalmers continues to point out, Brenner’s underlying stats this year suggest he’d be really really effective starting along side Brandon Vazquez. Either way, this match will tell us if Dom Badji really has earned a starting job over Brenner. 

Will Alec Kann record his first FC clean sheet?

Anyone else have a vague memory of clean sheets? Here’s a really weird stat, in every single MLS FC Cincinnati has had exactly 3 clean sheets. Maybe, just maybe, this afternoon will be the first time in 2022 we start making some progressing towards getting, four clean sheets in a season? Then again, FC will be opposite former club legend Kei Kamara today. 

Who are the backup center backs? 

With Gustavo Vallecilla having been shipped out to Colorado, the center back depth in Cincinnati is… not deep. Ian Murphy becomes the first available sub, then after that it’s anyone’s guess. That’s the same Ian Murphy who was last seen in Orlando getting absolutely torched trying to fill in at left back. Maybe Haris Medunjanin or Alvis Powell are the next up to play centerback? It’s not a pretty picture behind the starters, and hopefully this is a question that remains unanswered for a match or two. Or at least until a new signing is made. Because as it stands right now if anything goes wrong on the backline, the replacements look rough. 

Expected Lineup

Here’s how I see things lining up. 

Prediction

4-2 win for the Orange and Blue with Brenner bagging two, Vazquez getting one, and Acosta getting one.