MLS

CF Montreal v Nashville SC: Munthali aiming to get Coyotes back on track

By Sports Desk May 24, 2024

Nashville SC interim head coach Rumbani Munthali aims to get a more recognizable look about the team as he prepares for his second game in charge against CF Montreal.

Gary Smith, who led Nashville for seven years, made a shock exit following their 2-0 win over Toronto FC on May 16, with Munthali stepping up from player development coach to take his place.

Nashville’s first game under him ended in a 1-1 draw with Atalanta United on Saturday, leaving them 11th in the Eastern Conference.

With little time to put his stamp on the team, Munthali believes being able to welcome back injured players will help to get them back on track.

"I think as you see players come back into the team [from injury], you see that we're starting to be a little more recognizable as a team that went on a 10-game undefeated streak last season," Munthali said. 

"What I would hope is you get a team that represents what the club is: hard-working, forward-thinking and positive, and I hope that's a team we can put onto the field that will compete from start to finish.

"I think those are the cornerstones of who we are as a club."

Montreal are on a four-game losing streak that started with a 4-1 defeat to Nashville, and head coach Laurent Courtois accepts they need to do more to get back to winning ways.

"Doing my 'job' is not enough. We have to be ready to offer a little 'extra' and help each other out. For the moment, in fits and starts, I have the impression that we are just doing our job.

"Now, we are doing our mea culpa, we are coming back to things that we thought we had figured out."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Montreal – Sunusi Ibrahim

In the absence of top-scorer Matias Coccaro, Ibrahim netted Montreal’s lone goal in their defeat to Toronto last week. Montreal have scored in all four games during their current losing run, with the Nigerian extending that run.

Nashville – Hany Mukhtar

Mukhtar attempted five shots, including scoring Nashville’s lone goal from the penalty spot, against Atlanta United on Saturday, taking him to 404 career shot attempts in regular-season MLS play. No other player has attempted 300 shots since Mukhtar joined the league in 2020.

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

Montreal’s lone win in eight all-time meetings with Nashville SC came in their last home match against them, a 1-0 win in June 2023. Nashville has won five of the other seven meetings (D2), including a 4-1 victory on May 4.

However, Nashville have won only one of their last 15 MLS away matches (D5 L9 incl. playoffs) dating back to early June 2023. Nashville scored three goals in the lone win in that time (3-0 at Kansas City) but have totaled just five goals in the other 14 matches.

Meanwhile, Montreal have lost four straight matches within a single regular season for the first time since September 2020. They haven’t lost five in a row in a single regular season since a five-match losing run to end the 2017 campaign.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Montreal – 39%

Draw – 27.8%

Nashville – 33.2%

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