MLS: CF Montreal knocks on the door, but is satisfied with a null verdict against the Crew



Draws can follow, but are not always the same. CF Montreal players can attest to this.

After wasting a two-goal lead last week, CF Montreal has let slip a multitude of great opportunities to add to its offensive production since the start of the season and they settled for a draw of 0- 0 against the Columbus Crew on Saturday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale.

Wilfried Nancy’s men were shut out for the first time since November 1, despite 20 shots attempted in the direction of the opposing net, 10 in each half. Only three, however, required saves from goaltender Eloy Room.

Despite this lack of opportunism, the CF Montreal head coach did not speak like a man dejected and frustrated by the outcome of the match.

“This is football! Last week, we could have led 3-0, and finally we came back to 2-2. Today, yes, we have to win the match and in the end, we only go 0-0. But I’m especially happy with the performance of the guys in relation to what they wanted to put in place, what we had decided. It was only missing the goal and again, that’s how it is. But very happy, very proud of the guys anyway. « 

In return, the Montrealers signed a first shutout since September 1, 2020 in Toronto. This feat was made possible by the fact that goalkeeper Clément Diop did not have to block a single ball on the Crew’s three shots in his direction.

The Crew’s first attempt at a shot did not come until the 70th minute of play on a Lucas Zelarayan free kick that flew over the cross rod.

However, that shutout almost did not come true when Bradley Wright-Phillips lodged the ball in a wide open net in the 86th minute following a reckless exit from Diop. The linesman let go of the streak before signaling an offside.

For CF Montreal (1-0-2), this is the first game to end with a 0-0 score since May 18, 2019, against the New England Revolution at Saputo Stadium.

It is also the first time since the 2013 season that the Montreal team has started the MLS season without suffering defeat in its first three games.

CF Montreal picked up this point in the standings in the absence of Mason Toye, the team’s top scorer with two goals this season, due to a strained muscle in his left thigh.

“Mason hurt himself in training. So far, we don’t have too much news on how long it’s going to take. The only thing we know is that it’s not that bad. It could have been much more serious. It should be fine in terms of length, but I’m not sure. Tomorrow (Sunday), we will have a little more details on that, ”said Nancy.

Then, in the 55th minute, Zachary Brault-Guillard, the club’s other offensive star so far in 2021, left the game after injuring a leg. He was replaced by Clément Bayiha.

After the game, Nancy was unable to comment on the severity of Brault-Guillard’s injury.

Meanwhile, Nancy brought in Amar Sejdic in a starting midfield role for the first time this season, leaving Samuel Piette on the sidelines.

Nancy, among other things, explained that Piette was not at the best of her ability. He also invoked a tactical reason.

“(Samuel) had been hit in the game against Toronto and he was in a bit of pain. This week I also wanted to see something different and I knew it was going to be hot. I wanted to have a player who was more attacking than defensive. « 

CF Montreal will make their next outing next Saturday when they face the Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, near Salt Lake City, where the Whitecaps play their home games during this first phase of the regular schedule.

No shooting

It is not clear if this is linked to a longer inactivity – the Crew had faced FC Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions League on Wednesday – but we saw a CF Montreal more vigorous than its rival during the first half of the match.

The first real chances belonged to CF Montreal. In fact, the only chances to score in the first half came from the Montreal camp, which attempted 10 shots towards Room’s net against none by the Crew.

Of those 10 shots, only two were on target, however, and at times the Montreal troops seemed to lack synchronism in their actions in attacking territory.

CF Montreal continued to dominate possession and territory in the second half, especially following the arrival in the match in the 64th minute of 23-year-old Ahmed Hamdi and the Finn. Lassi Lappalainen, on his first outing of the season.

But the long-awaited goal never came.


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