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Austin FC chasing road success vs. shorthanded CF Montreal

Apr 30, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Austin FC forward Diego Fagundez (14) in action during the match against the Houston Dynamo FC at PNC Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

CF Montreal is expected to be without several key pieces when they to play host Austin FC in the first-ever matchup between the two sides on Saturday.

Attacking midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, whose seven goals lead the club and are tied for fourth in MLS, sustained a lower-body injury in Montreal’s final game before the international break on May 28, leaving in the first half of a 4-3 win against FC Cincinnati.

“We’ll take it slowly with him, we’re taking a bit of precaution,” Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy said.

The starting left side for Montreal (7-5-2, 23 points) has also taken a hit. Defender Kamal Miller was injured at the end of Canada’s match against Honduras on Monday, while midfielder Lassi Lappalainen is in COVID-19 protocols and not available Saturday.

“I’m comfortable with the group,” Nancy said. “I’m never looking for pity when it comes to injuries. That’s part of life, that’s part of our business. … The players who will play, I have full confidence in them.”

Romell Quioto is second on the team with five goals. He has 21 tallies since joining Montreal in 2020, which leads the club during that span.

Austin FC (7-4-3, 24 points) heads to Canada for just the second time since entering MLS last season, hoping a solid road effort can help get the club back on the winning track.

The second-year side is 1-3-1 in its past five MLS matches, allowing 10 goals during that stretch after conceding just one time in their first nine contests. Their lone win in May, a 2-1 victory against Los Angeles FC, came on the road where they are 3-3-1 this season. They play five of their next seven away from Austin.

“The next eight games are also quite challenging,” coach Josh Wolff said. “It’s not an easy league and there’s a lot of unpredictability and a lot of opportunities in home and away games. Our main focus right now is going against Montreal, going there and trying to get points against one of the better teams in the East.”

Austin FC Midfielder Diego Fagundez has two goals and four assists in eight road matches this season and has factored into each game-winning goal on the road. A longtime member of the New England Revolution, Fagundez has six goals and six assists in his career against Montreal.

–Field Level Media