CF Montreal: the real battle has only just begun for the players
MONTREAL – It would have been easy, and perhaps even normal, for Wilfried Nancy and the CF Montreal players to say they were satisfied to have added a point to the standings on Saturday night in the suburbs of Philadelphia, in the context of a third game in eight nights, against a good team, abroad, and deprived of important elements.
However, Nancy, Samuel Piette and Victor Wanyama did not necessarily see it that way after the 1-1 draw against the Union, the result of another late goal, this one by the young Quinn Sullivan, only 17, at the 87th minute of play.
« I would have liked us to manage a little better this weak time that we had to leave with the victory, » lamented Nancy after the match.
If the disappointment of Nancy and her players remains legitimate following this other heartbreaking end of the game, Saturday’s result will still have allowed the Montreal team to place themselves in a relatively advantageous position in their fight for ‘qualifying for the playoffs.
Now sixth in the Eastern Conference with 28 points in 21 games, CF Montreal (7-7-7) will complete the second third of their schedule by hosting Toronto FC on Friday night.
Last in the East Association standings, Toronto FC (3-12-6) is experiencing a real rout. Despite a change of coach, the Toronto team have not won since July 24 (0-4-2 since) and lost the services of Jozy Altidore, operated on one foot, for a period of six weeks.
This will be a great opportunity for Nancy and her players to add three points to the standings before entering the last third of the calendar, which promises to be difficult even if the team will spend more time at home than on the road.
Between September 11 and November 7, the date of the end of the season, CF Montreal will play six of its 12 games against teams currently better ranked than in the East.
To this will be added the passage in Montreal, on October 2, of Atlanta United (6-6-9), a formation in rebirth, which is only one point behind the Montreal troops.
Since their 2-2 draw at Saputo Stadium on August 4, Atlanta United have won four in a row and are set to start a five-of-six home streak with the first four ahead of their fans.
For its part, CF Montreal will play five MLS matches from September 11 to 29, including a visit to Orlando, an inconvenient location. That streak will end with the visit of the New England Revolution, which flies over MLS in 2021 with 49 points and just three losses in 22 outings.
In addition, a sixth game should be added, most likely on September 22, against Wanderers HFX, a Canadian Premier League club based in Halifax, in the quarterfinals of the Canadian Championship.
October will be just as busy, with five MLS games and possibly another at the Canadian Championship. The CF Montreal season will end with two home games on November 3 and 7.
If the last five full seasons of MLS – excluding 2020 – provide a true portrait of the task ahead, the Montreal team will need 44 to 48 points to finish seventh, the last giving access to the playoffs.
In short, the fight promises to be fierce, and it has only just begun.