After the best season in its history, CF MTL can get down to business
Simon Servant, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — After a season during which several records were broken, CF Montreal can now get down to business.
In 2021, the Montreal troupe had experienced the disappointment of missing the playoffs by only a few points. Less than 12 months later, she has not only qualified for the first time since 2016, but is among the favorites to lift the MLS Cup.
During the season, the Bleu-blanc-noir set several team records, notably in terms of wins (20), points (65), goals scored (63) and consecutive games without a loss (eight). In winning 3-1 against Inter Miami CF on Sunday afternoon, he also set two MLS records for most points on the road (35) and most consecutive wins against opposing pitches (seven).
The Montrealers seemed to progress from week to week this season and they always kept the same humility towards their opponents.
The game concepts that head coach Wilfried Nancy had in place in 2021 carried over into 2022 and the arrivals of striker Kei Kamara and defender Alistair Johnston solidified the team to rise to the second in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s a question of stability and the reinforcements we’ve had. There were the additions of Kamara, Johnston and we can also talk about Ismaël Koné, who was part of the team last year, but who has improved a lot this season. We had created a good foundation last year and we kept the same coaching staff and almost the same core of players. It’s the continuation of what we built last year,” said midfielder Samuel Piette.
Very few observers would have dared to place CF Montreal in second place in the East before the start of the campaign. If from the outside they surprised many, from the inside, the players followed the plan established by their coaching staff to the letter.
“There was a click when we started the first weeks of training. I saw that the group was ahead of the concepts and the things that we had put in place from the start. I told my staff that we will continue to challenge players and push them out of their comfort zone. The guys accepted the challenge and we are proud of that, mentioned Nancy.
« In Montreal, we can now say that we have a style of play and that we are recognized across MLS for that. »
The Bleu-blanc-noir will now have Orlando City SC in their path, who took seventh place thanks to a dramatic 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew. The confrontation will take place Sunday evening, at the Saputo stadium.
Despite all their success this season, the Montrealers don’t want to fall into the trap of entering the playoffs with overconfidence. They know that anything can happen and that they should not neglect their preparation.
“The playoffs are another championship. We move on or we stop. The perspective is not the same, insisted Nancy. We’re ready because we’ve had a great season and we’ve been consistent all year. The objective is to continue to prepare the players well and to maintain what they have been doing throughout the season. We’re going one game at a time. »
However, there is a way to dream. Now that it has posted the third-best record in MLS in 2022, the Montreal team is expected to have a good playoff run.
Until the MLS Cup final? Some players believe in it, even if they don’t want to project themselves too far back in time.
“I remember my first interview here. I said I wanted to win the MLS Cup. It’s not something fake, it’s something real. This season we have shown that we are one of the best teams in the league. We have to understand that what we have achieved in the season no longer means anything. We have to look at what we can do to get the best out of ourselves in the next game,” said midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, who will leave for the top league in the Netherlands at the end of the season.
CF Montreal have posted a record of one win and one loss against Orlando City SC this season.