From the sidelines, Piette didn’t see a sense of urgency in the second half
MONTREAL — After three weeks of being away from their fans and the enclosure they say they want to make a fortress, CF Montreal players did not earn the pass mark Saturday night against Austin FC.
Either, important elements were missing in Djordje Mihailovic and Kamal Miller, in particular, as well as Lassi Lappalainen, who had not been able to train because he was in the COVID protocol, from which he left on Friday.
Then players like Romell Quioto and Alistair Johnston, who were returning from stints with their respective national teams, started the game on the sidelines.
However, since the time we have been told that CF Montreal (7-6-2 – 23 points) has depth, it was difficult to perceive on Saturday with the result being a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat on a Maximiliano Urruti’s goal scored in the 67th minute, as the visitors had been playing 10 against 11 since the start of the second half.
Secondary statistics indicate a clear advantage for CF Montreal in terms of possession of the ball (62.5% vs. 37.5%) and shots attempted (11 vs. five).
But of these 11 shots attempted, only two hit the target, those from very short distance from Kei Kamara on which goalkeeper Brad Stuver was brilliant, especially on the second about 15 minutes before the only net of the match.
Replaced by Ismaël Koné at the start of the second half, midfielder Samuel Piette admitted that it was the kind of match the Montreal team could not lose.
« At home, one, you have to win your games, even more so when you’re playing against a team from the West. It’s the second time we’ve lost big points against a Western team,” Piette noted, referring to the 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on May 22.
« And besides, with an extra man for a full half, you can’t lose those points. »
In his analysis of the encounter, Piette opined that his team-mates lacked cohesion in the final third of the pitch and “killer instinct, a bit”.
He also pointed to a lack of sense of urgency to push play forward and get the ball into the opposition’s penalty area.
“Yeah, we wanted to keep the ball, play side to side and get them moving. When you enjoy 45 minutes with an extra man and the score is 0-0, you want to be patient, you don’t want to rush your moves and turn the game into a series of counterattacks because that’s what they want, » said Piette.
“Towards the end of the game, especially when you are facing a deficit, you have to get the ball more into the box, take a little more risk, play, maybe a little more directly. I didn’t feel that’s what we did. We feel frustration, but I think it’s a frustration related more to our management of the match, especially during the last minutes.
Saturday’s loss is all the more frustrating as it was already the third time in 2022 that CF Montreal had a numerical superiority following a red card. In 88 minutes of play in similar circumstances (not counting stoppage time), Wilfried Nancy’s men have yet to score a goal and have conceded three.
Of those three games (vs. Philadelphia on March 5, at Atlanta on March 19, and against Austin FC on Saturday), they added just one point in the standings.
While Nancy and Mathieu Choinière, after Saturday’s meeting, were talking about a different mental attitude in a team deprived of a player, Piette advanced more on the tactical side in such a context.
“When you play with one less man like Austin, you have a bit lower defensive block, so you’re closer to your goal. The spaces are a little tighter because you know you have one less player. So you try to stick a little more with your teammates. I think we have a hard time breaking that block.”
Saturday’s loss also hurts in the context where the Montreal team will have to play four games in less than two weeks, including a duel against Toronto FC on Wednesday in the Canadian Championship.
However, she risks playing them without the services of Mihailovic, who injured his knee on Wednesday during a training session.
“It is sure that the absence of Djordje hurts. He has been our best player since the start of the season. On the other hand, I think that we have the elements to do good things”, estimated Piette.
“It’s going to be a complicated calendar, and it would have been nice to start it all with three points for sure. It will be up to the players to take care of them, because there will be rotations. We’re going to need everyone. »