MONTREAL – No point is free in MLS, let alone where CF Montreal will play its next match.
After showing character to earn a big point in the standings on Wednesday night, in a 2-2 draw against DC United, the Bleu-blanc-noir continues its journey by visiting the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.
The Montrealers have experienced several difficulties on the road this season, signing only one victory in their nine games in such a situation (1-7-1). Two goals in 71 seconds in Washington, late in the second half, however, seem to have instilled a bit of confidence in the group.
Nevertheless, to end this week on the road in MLS, CF Montreal (6-8-1) would probably have preferred to compete against a team that is sailing on a less good sequence.
The Union (8-4-3) has not lost in its last eight games in MLS (6-0-2), since April 8 against FC Cincinnati, and he is known to be a tough opponent and almost unbeatable at home.
The Philadelphia squad have not lost in front of their fans since March 25 (3-0-2) and it was their first loss at Subaru Park in their last 30 outings (22-1-7). To add to it, the Union have suffered only seven home defeats since the start of the 2019 season and in two of the last four campaigns, in 2020 (9-0-0) and in 2022 (12-0-5 ), he did not experience failure on his field.
“They are a very good team, which have recently found their rhythm. They have good players up front and we will have to watch them. Also, Philadelphia is a tough place to play. We have been playing well for some time and the objective does not change. We have to get a good result,” defender Joel Waterman said.
The Union is a difficult club to beat, but the Bleu-blanc-noir can boast of having achieved the feat earlier this season.
Like their duel against DC United, CF Montreal came from behind late against the Union at the Olympic Stadium on March 18. This time, he was able to win 3-2 thanks to a goal from Romell Quioto in stoppage time in the second half.
Injured in the hamstring, Quioto will have to let his teammates work their magic this time. What’s more, according to head coach Hernan Losada, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since this clash.
“It will be a completely different game, against a completely different team and under completely different circumstances. The Union are a solid team and there is a lot of continuity there. You can see the same formation every week. It means that the players know each other well and that they know their head coach well. Every team that is going to play in Philadelphia can expect a tough game,” Losada insisted.
One thing is certain, to make the task easier, CF Montreal will have to experience better first halves abroad.
On several occasions since the start of the season, Losada has managed to make good half-time adjustments and his men generally respond well. Now all they have to do is convert their scoring opportunities into goals.
“I was a bit frustrated with our first half (Wednesday) because there were some good moments in possession, but the decision-making wasn’t there in the final third. In the second half, we start attacking the goal in front of us. Players come in and give us energy. Our second half is always better than our first, but I would like us to score more goals in the first half,” explained the head coach.
At the heart of a streak of 11 games in 36 days, CF Montreal has had to draw on its resources in recent weeks. Several players have taken double bites and will still have to do so until the international break in mid-June.
“I’m tired, but that’s the nature of the league. I still prefer to play in the final of the Canadian Championship next week, in Vancouver, than not to be there. We want to end this MLS trip on a high note and get some rest to get the trophy in Vancouver. Fatigue will not be an excuse for us,” Waterman said.
Injured in the abdomen during the duel against DC United, defender Rudy Camacho should be in uniform and available against the Union.