NYCFC Advance to Conference Finals in 3-1 Win Over CF Montréal

New York City FC Midfielder Justin Haak as He Played in Two Games, Including One Time Where He Made the Eastern Conference Finals

MONTREAL, QC – With an early goal from Maxi Moralez, a halftime goal from Héber, a second-half penalty from Talles Magno, and a last-minute consolation goal from Djordje Mihailovic, NYCFC managed a 3-1 win over CF Montréal in Sunday’s Eastern Conference Semifinals to continue the clubs MLS Cup title defense.

NYCFC Advance to Conference Finals at Saputo Stadium

Sean Johnson Carries NYCFC into the Next Round

Despite three goals from NYCFC, it was the defensive backline that stood out most and in particular, Sean Johnson hanging tough and battling with some fantastic saves to keep NYCFC above water. The USMNT veteran produced seven saves with several key blocks on a barrage of shots from the Montréal opposition only letting up the single late goal which disappointingly cost the away side a clean sheet.

 

Grabbing an early lead for the Pigeons was crucial to their win but Johnson coming up with a couple of big saves in the early going and continuing to secure it for the second half made all the difference for NYCFC who was able to find confidence in front of him. While not as heavily tested in the squad’s first-round matchup with Miami, Johnson is now finding his form against Montréal as NYCFC look to continue their MLS Cup run bodes well on the field and against a strong attacking Philadelphia side in the next round.

Montréal Struggle to Find their End Product

From the stat lines, it seems obvious who led the way on the attack for the majority of this matchup as CFMTL managed 64 percent of the possession and almost doubled NYCFC with 18 total shots putting eight on the net. However, Mihailovic’s late goal was all the home club could muster as some big tactical decisions from head coach Nick Cushing – such as the addition of Keaton Parks and Justin Haak following injuries – stumped Montréal after a historic season.

Sean Johnson certainly played a big role in stopping Montréal as mentioned but on a day where the team really possessed the ball well and dictated the flow of the game, you would have expected more both in front of goal and on the defensive end.

Injuries Can’t Stop this NYCFC Attack from Rolling

Heading into the 2022 playoffs, it looked as though NYCFC would be without a few key players who picked up injuries in the final match of the MLS Season. However, without Tayvon Gray, Alfredo Morales, and Talles Magno all out for the first round of playoffs, NYCFC was able to keep the attack rolling dropping three goals on the Herons.

Against a higher seeded Montréal, NYCFC was once again able to keep the attack rolling notching three goals behind the return of the Brazillian forward Magno who was able to sub on in the 58-minute and contributed a penalty just minutes later.

Gray continues to be questionable on the injury report while Morales was listed as out prior to the game but no doubt having a key attacker back in Magno makes a huge difference for Cushing’s lineup heading into the Conference Finals as this attack looks to stay hot in front of goal.

Last Word: NYCFC Advance to Eastern Conference Finals vs Philadelphia

A well-fought but ultimately unproductive matchup from Montréal will see NYCFC move on into the Eastern Conference Finals for a battle with the top seed on the East Coast in the Philadelphia Union. The Union advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals as they won 1-0 over FC Cincinnati. In a rematch of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, the two clubs are set to meet on Sunday, Oct. 30 with the winner booking their ticket to the MLS Cup Finals with a matchup against the winner of LAFC vs Austin FC in the Western Conference Final.

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