Simon Servant, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — CF Montreal barely had time to savor their spectacular victory on Wednesday when they must immediately face another opponent they want to keep at bay in the Eastern Conference.
Only three days after stopping the Columbus Crew, which had not lost since May 21, CF Montreal will host at Saputo Stadium an Inter Miami CF with renewed confidence for a few games and looking to gain some ranks in ballast.
Having suffered only one loss in its last four games (2-1-1), Inter Miami CF joined Charlotte FC in the seventh and final echelon giving access to the playoffs, with 29 points. This push coincides with the offensive awakening of Argentinian Gonzalo Higuaín as well as the arrival of a player well known to Montrealers, former Toronto FC Alejandro Pozuelo, acquired on July 7.
Author of a hat trick against FC Cincinnati last Saturday, Higuaín has scored four goals in his last four games, half the attack of Inter Miami CF (8-10-5) during this sequence.
CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy, however, is well aware that the recent successes of the Florida team do not rest solely on the Argentine and he considers his opponents much better than they showed earlier this season.
“It’s a team that is totally different now. It has young players who run a lot more and who have quality. I’m not surprised they’re starting to get some interesting results,” Nancy said. They are a team that has nothing to do with the past and they can play in different ways. Their attackers are interesting, of course, but they have players and midfielders who have the quality of speed and technique. It will be a good match for us.”
In the case of Pozuelo, the MLS MVP of 2020, he’s got just one assist in four appearances with his new side, but he seems to be finding his ease with Inter Miami more and more. CF.
“He is a pure player. We all know that, Nancy said. He arrived in a new environment so he has been trying harder since the last games and he is running a lot more. He is a very good player who is able to make good passes so we will have to find solutions to prevent him from playing well.
If we must recognize the confidence of Inter Miami CF in recent games, we must not ignore that displayed by CF Montreal (12-8-3) for a month, both at home and away. ‘foreign.
Installed in third place in the East, the Bleu-blanc-noir finds himself 10 points behind seventh position and he did what was necessary to keep the Crew at bay by winning in dramatic fashion on the road thanks to two late goals. The formation of Columbus remained in the sixth echelon with 30 points.
Carried by goals from Kei Kamara in the 88th minute and Joel Waterman in stoppage time, CF Montreal scored their first victory after trailing beyond the 87th minute since entering MLS in 2012.
The men of Nancy, who have not suffered defeat in their last four outings (3-0-1), want to continue this momentum while keeping a cool head after winning a match full of emotions.
“We felt it from the first minute (against the Crew) that we had good attacks and there wasn’t much missing. We believed in it, explained midfielder Mathieu Choinière. Now we are trying to recover as quickly as possible for tomorrow’s game. We know it comes fast, but we just got a win so it’s always easier.
The visit of Inter Miami CF also comes at the right time for CF Montreal, who took advantage of the support of two consecutive sold-out houses at the Saputo stadium to offer virtually flawless performances against eternal rivals Toronto FC and New York City. FC, who is just ahead of him in second place in the East.
“Since last season, we haven’t been afraid of anyone, whether at home or away. It’s up to us and our game, observed defenseman Rudy Camacho. If we stay focused and put our all into it, we don’t fear anyone.”
Separately, Nancy said defender Zachary Brault-Guillard would not be available for the duel against Inter Miami CF, but that his ankle injury was “not too serious”.
Also, Montreal players attended the funeral of former team assistant coach Jason Di Tullio, who died of brain cancer last Friday.