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#GameDayEve FC Montreal Edition

by Marissa Blackman

As the 2015 USL regular season draws a week closer to its end, Wilmington Hammeheads FC faces FC Montreal for the second time.

The teams last met on a Thursday back in June when the Hammerheads managed a 2-1 victory over the Canadian club. The tables have turned since then. At that time, Montreal seemed to be glued to the bottom of the table, but the team has made a resurgence in recent weeks. Now the Hammerheads are in twelfth place while FC Montreal sits in ninth. Since beating Montreal, the Hammerheads have lost every game, except for a 0-0 draw against St. Louis FC and a 4-2 victory over New York Red Bulls II.

Wilmington and Montreal are similar in that the most common result for both clubs is defeat. Both teams have been scored against over thirty times throughout the season. FC Montreal far exceeds the Hammerheads in goals scored. While the Hammerheads have yet to pass the twenty goals mark, FC Montreal is just two goals shy of thirty.

Montreal, a very interesting club, went from loosing almost every match to having two nonconsecutive three game winning streaks. I compared the teams starting lineups to attempt to determine what changed with the club. By the sixth game, the club's first win, Montreal had only scored a season total of six goals. Prior to the fifteenth game, the beginning of FC Montreal's first three match winning streak, the club had tallied eight goals.

In my lineup comparisons, I have not seen any obvious differences. While some of Montreal victorious matches, did include newcomers to the lineup, those players usually did not have a big impact, and they became regular starters, at least for a few games, subsequently. It did become clear that some players are integral to the squad. Zachary Sukunda, a defender, has appeared in every winning match, and made starting lineup appearances in fourteen total matches this year. Defender Janouk Charbonneau, Forward Alessandro Riggi, and midfielder Ramirez-Dominguez have all played in all but one victorious match and made between twelve and fifteen starting lineup appearance. The leading goal scorer, Alessandro Riggi also had one of the highest numbers of starting lineup appearances.

Why did Montreal abruptly become a goal scoring machine? It's certainly not because of any savior of a player that suddenly entered the squad. Maybe the strategies the team was already implementing became comfortable and finally started working.

The last game for the Hammerheads was a defeat at the hands of the Rochester Rhinos. Montreal most recently achieved a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC II.

Wilmington Hammerheads FC and FC Montreal have scored four goals in one game recently. As the season has shown, the two clubs are capable of anything. Who will prevail tomorrow?

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