Whether it’s the passing of Jason Di Tullio or the euphoria of a surprise win over the Columbus Crew, CF Montreal has had a hectic week. Saturday will conclude his grueling streak of three games in eight days against Inter Miami CF.
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Wilfried Nancy held a final training session on Friday before welcoming the Florida team to Stade Saputo. The beautiful sunny day at Center Nutrilait contrasted with Di Tullio’s funeral that morning, which several players attended.
Mathieu Choinière was one of the great beneficiaries of the teachings of the assistant coach, who sadly died of cancer on July 29th. The Quebecer learned from “La Grinta” from the former defender, and the whole team showed it on Wednesday in Ohio.
“He did everything with passion, with desire and love. […] That’s what he meant to me, Jason,” Choinière explained at a press conference before the field exercise.
CF Montreal showed these qualities to beat the men in yellow 2-1. They signed the first victory in their history in Major League Soccer by trailing in the 87th minute.
“The victory against Columbus is the victory of a whole group. […] I use the whole group and I want us to stay with this mentality for the whole season, “said Nancy, very happy to see her men evolve with confidence and humility, her two watchwords.
The ship’s pilot effectively rotated his complement to keep his legs fresh. Against Miami, however, he will be without the side Zachary Brault-Guillard, who is injured in the ankle, but who does not suffer from “nothing too serious”.
Nancy also kept the identity of the goalkeeper who will be sent in front of the net a secret. Sebastian Breza found the cage against the Crew after having left it for three meetings with James Pantemis.
“We try to recover as quickly as possible, we know that it comes back quickly, supported Choinière. We have just finished with a victory, it is always easier than to finish with a defeat. Morale is very good.”
A territory to protect
The Bleu-Blanc-Noir has the best road performance in its history, with a record of 6-4-2. It’s similar to his home record, which is 6-4-1. The next duel will be important in order to make it clear to the other clubs that Stade Saputo is an impregnable fortress.
“There are no easy matches. All games are difficult, especially at Stade Saputo. Now the team has set high standards, so people expect us to win every game. I hope we will all win them, but it will be difficult all the same,” admitted Wilfried Nancy.
“It was important to put them at nine points [de nous]. It is a direct competitor for the playoffs. Now, we must not rest on that, we must use it to go and win on Saturday against a good Miami team, and the same, leave them behind us and earn as many points as possible, ”summarized French defender Rudy Camacho, who is hoping for a third consecutive full house at Stade Saputo.
The opponent in points
Results after humiliation
Things are looking up for Inter Miami CF, who won their last match by a score of 1-0 over the San Jose Earthquakes and snatched a dramatic draw from FC Cincinnati.
Last month, however, he won just one of his seven matches, including a friendly against none other than FC Barcelona on July 19. The Spanish giants won 6-0. It wasn’t very good for confidence, let’s say, and Miami then lost a shutout to New York City FC.
Montreal has yet to meet Miami this season, except in preseason games. Their last official duel therefore dates from July 31, 2021, when the Floridians won 2 to 1 at Lockhart Stadium. The club are looking much better this season, however.
“This is a team that has nothing to do with the past, which has done a lot of recruiting, warned Friday the head coach of the Bleu-Blanc-Noir, Wilfried Nancy. They have attackers who are super interesting and they have midfielders with speed and technical qualities.
an old enemy
Voted MLS’s best player of 2020, Alejandro Pozuelo did some damage against CF Montreal while playing for Toronto FC. The Spaniard will be on his toes again with Miami.
Pozuelo has been more discreet in the past two seasons, but Wilfried Nancy sees a more involved player since his move to Florida.
“He comes in a new environment, so he tries harder,” the coach said with a smirk. He runs a lot more, I feel him more involved. In Toronto, he decided to leave. He did what he had to do there.”
A lack of goals
It’s surprising to see Miami ranked eighth in the Eastern Conference, with as many points as Charlotte FC and Cincinnati, as the team has the second-worst differential in the division. Former England defender Phil Neville’s squad have scored just 27 goals and conceded 37.
Of those nets, 15 were scored by Leonardo Campana and Gonzalo Higuain. The latter also scored a hat trick against Cincinnati a week ago.
Precisely, Campana and Higuain could not be duel in Montreal due to injuries. The first, hit in the leg, came off in the 22nd minute against the Earthquakes. The Argentine veteran, he was replaced in the 72nd to treat his jaw.
Neville had said Campana was ‘definitely probably on the sidelines’, while he had ‘major doubt’ over Higuain’s condition. The coach will have to be creative.