CF Montreal beat FC Cincinnati for first home win of 2024

CF Montreal picked up three much-needed points at home against FC Cincinnati to claim their first home win of the 2024 Major League Soccer season.

The Canadian side returned to their home ground of Stade Saputo after beginning the season with a six-game road that included two wins, three defeats and one draw. Montreal were forced into playing their first six games of 2024 on the road because of the lingering winter conditions at.

Montreal would’ve instead played at the nearby Olympic Stadium but were forced to start on the road due to renovations at the indoor venue.

Montreal’s 2024 campaign started off in bright fashion under first-year head coach Laurent Courtois. The team managed a goalless draw against Orlando City before pulling off two wins against FC Dallas and a Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami.

However, with three straight defeats against Chicago Fire, DC United and Seattle Sounders following the victory at Chase Stadium on March 10, Montreal needed to get back on track. There was no better way to do that than in front of their supporters, but they faced stiff competition coming up against reigning Supporters’ Shield champions and reigning league MVP Lucho Acosta.

Former Atlanta United and Miami striker Josef Martinez added his second goal of the season to put the hosts up just before the halftime whistle. Yuya Kubo pulled on back for the Orange and Blue just before the 60th minute mark, but it was Ariel Lassiter who restored the lead just a few minutes later.

Courtois’s side on for the three points in their first home win of the campaign and first victory overall in over a month, climbing back into the MLS Cup playoffs picture in the Eastern Conference after seven games played.

“I’m very happy with the three points tonight for the fans and the guys too after the last three games. I’m proud of the content tonight because that’s how we want to be recognized,” Courtois said after the victory. “We kept our composure even after Cincinnati equalized. I was nervous we wouldn’t be able to replicate the energy of the fans. But that was exactly what we had in mind.”

Montreal have looked a much better side than the inconsistent 2023 team that just missed out on postseason action under Hernan Losada, who was let go after the regular season. Even though the results started to tail off for a few weeks, Courtois hopes that the triumph over a top side will give the team confidence to go on another unbeaten run.

“Playing a home game is certainly a factor, but we know what we do during the week and what we want to deliver on the pitch. The whole thing is a puzzle that we piece together gradually. When one part doesn’t fit, it’s easy to call everything into question. Tonight, the whole group was up to standard. Everything was in its place. The final product is what we expected,” he said.

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