NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson snatches the ball in front of Mason Toye. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

The post Taty Castellanos era didn’t start very well for New York City FC.

In fact, it began on rather down and dour note as City could not find the net in a scoreless draw at CF Montreal in Montreal on Saturday. In fact, the Cityzens (12-4-6, 42 points) managed only two shots, a franchise low while suffering its third 0-0 tie of the MLS season.

True, NYCFC secured a road point, but its attack looked lackluster for most of the match at Stade Saputo.

“The nature of this league and the competitiveness and the consistency of teams means that sometimes you’re going to have to suffer,” interim head coach Nick Cushing said. “We had [two shots] today and we took a point. Maybe in the past, we’ve had three, four or five shots away from home and lost the game. Of course, it’s not what we want.

“We’re missing some big players in this squad at the moment. It’s about when you get those difficult periods to make sure that you can pick up points on the road and move on to the next one.

“I’m really happy to come here and take away a point. It’s just an incredibly difficult place to come. They are really good team and at home they play really good football. We expected that.

“So of course we want to have more of the ball and of course we want to play more but within within this league, you have to show both sides of yourself over over the 34 games and today, I thought we showed real character and real grit to come away all the way over here to Canada and taking a point.”

Added center back Alex Callens: “We’re just happy to get this point in a difficult environment.”

At least on paper you would think this would have been a high-scoring affair because the foes were one-two in the MLS Eastern Conference in goal-scoring entering the affair. NYCFC has 41 goals and Montreal (11-8-3, 36), 36.

On the pitch, however, it was a different matter.

Montreal out shot City, 13-2, placing only one shot on net.

The reigning MLS Cup champions played without the 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner for the first time since the Argentine striker was loaned to Girona in Spain’s La Liga.

His replacement, Heber could not find the net and was replaced in the 62nd minute. Another attacking option, Talles Magno, did not make much of an impression.

On the bright side, goalkeeper Sean Johnson earned a clean sheet, as he continued to his career-best total of 12 while extending his shutout streak to 373 minutes. He was called on to make one save.

Montreal had the best opportunity on a counterattack as Toye rushed in on a 2-on-1 break, but he placed his shot over the crossbar.