Who is Chinonso Offor? The sample being sufficient, the question then becomes legitimate at this point in the season. Is he the striker adored by Hernán Losada or rather the one with the clumsy ball touches?
The answer lies somewhere on this spectrum.
On the one hand, Losada frequently praises Offor’s qualities, including the fact that he works hard. The CF Montreal pilot has also rewarded the 6’3″ colossus by selecting him in the starting lineup in the last five meetings.
“Chino is always available,” said the CFM head coach. When we are in difficulty, we know that we can play on him and that he can keep the ball. He is an important player to jump the lines especially against a team that puts pressure on our central defenders.
It’s hard to overlook the Chicago Fire alum’s involvement. Offor is in the elite of the circuit for all the statistics concerning the number of duels – he wins many and loses almost as many -, touches and tackles in the offensive zone. His contribution and his presence do not go unnoticed.
Recently, he has also stood out tactically. In the last game against Kansas City Sporting, his runs into the back of defense benefited his teammates who were able to exploit a stretched defensive block to score both goals.
So would he be Montreal’s Olivier Giroud? Not so much. If he wants to become one, he still has scabs to eat – not to grow, but rather to improve his technique.
On the other hand, Offor is in the low end for a few categories. It’s not necessarily a surprise considering his profile and his role, but there are still aspects that need to be refined, to say the least.
When asked what the Nigerian striker could do better, former Bleu-blanc-noir forward and assistant coach Eduardo Sebrango pointed to a few things that need to be perfected.
The numbers support what our eyes see. Ball at the foot, it is quite complex for Offor. Of all players in the league who have played the equivalent of a game, the CFM forward ranks last in average missed checks per 90 minutes.
It is essentially the same observation when he is in possession of the ball. In the distribution register, it is very modest and when he tries to project himself forward too. This is why Losada often tries to use him with quite technical attacking midfielders who can compensate for Offor’s weaknesses.
In front of the net, it’s not much better. The most optimistic will say that he is one of the strikers with the most chances per game. It’s factual, but he’s also one of those with the worst average when it comes to shooting. With only one goal to his name so far, it would be possible to expect more production, or at least his shots to disturb the opposing goalkeeper.
With Romell Quioto getting dangerously close to a return to action, it will be interesting to see who will be favored in the offensive line for CFM. Quioto has been the club’s top scorer for the past three seasons and newcomer Bryce Duke has been all fired up since his arrival in Montreal, so there are just one spot left for Offor, Sunusi Ibrahim, Sean Rea, Matko Miljevic and Jules-Anthony Vilsaint.
If Quioto and Offor show some compatibility, it would be surprising if Losada left one of his favorites too far out of the action.
A 6’3″ Nigerian forward striker
Born on May 27, 2000, the 22-year-old is under contract with CF Montreal until December 2024. The club could activate the option in his contract to extend it until the end of 2026.
CF Montreal acquired Offor last August from the Chicago Fire for $325,000 in general allocation money in 2023. $275,000 could also head to Chicago depending on Offor’s performance.
A few weeks after acquiring Offor, CF Montreal sent him on loan to SV Zulte Waregem in the Belgian first division. Zulte had the option to buy Offor at the end of January, but did not exercise it.
The 2023 season is Offor’s first with the club.