CF Montreal ends its season by easily beating Inter Miami CF 3-1
Simon Servant, The Canadian Press
CF Montreal had practically nothing left to prove, but that didn’t prevent them from having a brilliant performance to conclude their season.
The Bleu-blanc-noir set the tone with two early goals and cruised to an easy 3-1 win over Inter Miami CF on Sunday afternoon at DRV PNK Stadium.
The Montreal team took advantage of its time in Florida to set two MLS records. She signed a seventh consecutive victory on the opposing courts and she set the record for the most points amassed on the road in a season (35).
CF Montreal (20-9-5) will enter the playoffs through the front door, having gone undefeated in their last six games (5-0-1). For head coach Wilfried Nancy, however, there was no question of sending a message for the fall tournament.
“We are not here to send messages. Good games and good results, we had already had them, argued Nancy. I remember some matches in which it was difficult. It’s a continuation of what we’ve been doing since the start of the season and last year. »
The Montrealers could still aim for first place in the Eastern Conference, but the Philadelphia Union did their job by correcting Toronto FC 4-0.
Installed in second position, the Montreal team will begin the playoffs next week, at Saputo Stadium. Their opponent will be Orlando City SC, who won a dramatic 2-1 win over Columbus Crew.
We still don’t know if the Bleu-blanc-noir’s top scorer, Romell Quioto, will be there. For his part, defender Rudy Camacho had not made the trip to Florida.
Nancy obviously didn’t have time to think about Orlando City SC, but he insisted he was happy not to see Inter Miami CF again in the first qualifying round.
“I’m relieved not to play again against Miami. It’s difficult for coaches to play back and forth games, he said. Every year there are surprises and this time it’s Columbus. »
In the rain and braving the heat, CF Montreal continued to apply pressure despite their 2-0 lead after just eight minutes of play. In the second half, they maintained possession and defended the net well from James Pantemis, until Joel Waterman scored an own goal.
“It was important to score the first goal and it was good for the confidence to have the second. We knew the playing conditions would be tough physically and mentally. We kept the same game plan and we were successful for most of the game. We cracked once or twice, but for the majority of the match, everyone played very well,” observed midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, who finished the match with a goal and an assist.
Lassi Lappalainen and Kei Kamara also threaded the needle for the Montrealers, who went 9-5-3 at home this season.
Inter Miami CF had won their last four outings to confirm their place in the playoffs. He had not lost in his stadium since July 13, his last six games.
Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain was cleared from the scoresheet for the first time in six games. He was replaced in the 58th minute after falling heavily on the pitch.
On the wheel caps
Inter Miami CF had big ambitions at the start of the game, but the visitors quickly silenced the crowd.
From the fifth minute of play, goalkeeper Drake Callender fumbled with the ball after being pressed by Ismaël Koné. Mihailovic came in support to recover the object and he opened the scoring in a completely abandoned net.
Only three minutes later, Mihailovic waltzed through the enemy defense and delivered a nice pass to his left. Lappalainen broke away from an opponent and easily put on the finishing touch to extend the lead to 2-0.
Pantemis had to show up a few times and his team gave him a three-goal cushion before the end of the first half.
Victor Wanyama spotted Kamara in the final third and the veteran passed easily between defenders Damion Lowe and Aimé Mabika. Kamara then appeared alone in front of Callender and he deceived his vigilance with a low shot.
CF Montreal controlled play in the second half and tried to protect Pantemis’ shutout. Waterman, however, redirected a cross from Harvey Neville into his own net in the 85th minute.