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CF Montreal Draws with Real Salt Lake in MLS Stalemate

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CF Montreal welcomed back four key players from injury as they played to a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Stade Saputo.

This was Montreal’s (4-7-6) fourth 0-0 draw this season while Western Conference leaders Salt Lake City (9-2-7) extended their MLS undefeated streak to 14 games.

Both teams began the match timidly, not pressing too high and leaving as little space to be exploited as possible. It took 15 minutes for the first shot on target to finally be registered, after which the game’s pace increased significantly.

Montreal had the best chance of the half as Dominic Iankov got on the end of a dangerous cross but could only put the point-blank shot into the waiting hands of Salt Lake City keeper Zac MacMath.

Real’s pace and aggression caused problems for Montreal which continued to attempt playing out from the back. They routinely won the ball high up the pitch and — while unable to convert the possession into a dangerous chance — forced the hosts into several uncomfortable defensive situations.

It took Montreal roughly half an hour to grow into the game fully and successfully break Salt Lake City’s high press, leading to a much more open game despite no breakthrough in the opening 45 minutes.

The game continued at this pace during the second half as both teams pushed for the game’s first goal. Diego Luna thought he had found a breakthrough just after the hour mark but was denied by the post.

With their defensive struggles this season Montreal managed to eliminate the majority of the threat from Real’s high-powered attack. By marking MVP front-runner Cristian (Chicho) Arango out of the game, they kept the second-best offense in MLS off the scoresheet for the first time since April 13 and just the third time all season.

The second half also saw the return of four key players in Matias Coccaro, Mason Toye, Mahala Opoku, and Lassi Lappalainen who had all missed significant time through injury. Their inclusion brought the injection of pace that had been missing before, as Montreal enjoyed the lion’s share of the chances and the offense, although it was not enough to secure the three points.

Both teams are back in action Wednesday as CF Montreal hosts New York Red Bull, while Real Salt Lake visits Sporting Kansas City.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2024.

Rachel Adams

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