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Canadian MLS update: Playoff blow for Montreal

There are just six weeks left of the MLS regular season with sides jostling for position ahead of the postseason. Of the three Canadian sides in the league, two are currently in the frame for a top-nine finish.

Vancouver are looking good for a top-seven finish, which would take them straight into Round One of the postseason. However, Montreal are struggling in the Eastern Conference after their latest result, which was a major setback in their push to climb into the top seven.

Dent in Montreal’s stellar home record

Montreal were beaten 4-2 at home to Columbus Crew in their most recent match, sending them into the international break five points shy of seventh. To make matters worse, they hold a slender three-point lead over 10th-placed Chicago Fire. They’re at risk of missing out on the postseason entirely. 

Not only are Montreal in the middle of a tight battle for places, but the manner of that defeat puts a dent in a fantastic record at home. Of their 35 points this season, 27 have come from home victories.

Montreal had conceded just five goals at home this term before that loss to Colombus. That defeat almost doubled the number of times they’ve been breached at their own ground in 2023.

They’re on course to host the Wild Card game against DC United for the final place in the playoffs. Home advantage was a huge factor for Montreal heading into that clash, but this latest setback suggests their place in the postseason is far from guaranteed. 

Montreal have time to put things right, with four of their final seven games at home. However, heading into the run-in following back-to-back defeats isn’t great for the Eastern Conference side, so they have plenty of work left to do.

Next up for them is another home clash, meeting Chicago Fire. That game could be make or break for their hopes of extending their season, with Montreal currently a -110 favourite for the win.

Whitecaps on great away run

In the Western Conference, the Vancouver Whitecaps are in the middle of a seven-game away trip. Their last home game in MLS was on August 21st, with their next one not until October. 

Despite that long run and a poor away record, the Whitecaps are unbeaten through the first three games of the trip. They drew 1-1 away to New York City in their last game, leaving them sixth in the West.

The Whitecaps will hope to stay safely inside the top seven through this string of away games, before playing three of their final four matches of the regular season at home.

Before that draw in New York, the Whitecaps won 3-2 against Portland Timbers and 1-0 at Chicago Fire. Having won just once on their travels before this run started, a return of seven points from three is fantastic.

Once again, they were reliant on their main men in attack, with Ryan Gauld notching another goal. He and Brian White have scored 10 goals apiece this term. Before this run, the pair had scored a combined three times on the road. Gauld now has three across this three-game run, with White scoring in each of the first two games.

With that kind of attacking talent in their favour, the Whitecaps should be hopeful of a strong finish to the campaign and a strong showing in the postseason.

Little progress for Toronto

Toronto FC haven’t played since August, when they claimed a 3-1 win over Philadelphia Union. It was encouraging that both Lorenzo Insigne and Jonathan Osorio found the net in that win, while it came days after the club announced their new manager.

The club have poached John Herdman from the national side, after he led Canada to the 2022 World Cup. However, he’s still in his national role for the rest of this month, taking charge at BMO Field on October 1st. 

Given that Toronto will have just four games remaining when he assumes control, it looks like Canada’s only MLS Cup winner is turning its focus towards 2024 already. 

In the short term, they host the Vancouver Whitecaps next, before heading to two fellow bottom four sides in the East - Inter Miami and New York City. 

Given Vancouver’s great recent away run, they look good value for a win at +150

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