In a game interrupted for more than two hours due to the threat of thunderstorms and a real deluge in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday night, CF Montreal rose to the top of the MLS Eastern Conference standings thanks to a 2-0 victory over Inter Miami CF.
Bjørn Johnsen scored his first two goals in the Montreal uniform, before the first half hour of play against goalkeeper John McCarthy. Johnsen’s first goal interrupted CF Montreal’s 242-minute scoreless streak.
Goalkeeper James Pantemis made his first start in 2021 in front of CF Montreal’s net. He only had to block one shot for his second career victory, both against Florida. It is also his first shutout in MLS.
The Montreal team won this match without the services of Mason Toye and Zachary Brault-Guillard, injured, but also in the absence of midfielder Victor Wanyama and fullback Mustafa Kizza. In addition, Djordje Mihailovic was injured in the right calf area and gave way to Amar Sejdič at 37e minute of play.
Midfielder Samuel Piette made a comeback in the starting role after two games where he had been inactive. Lassi Lappalainen got a first start, as did Ahmed Hamdi in midfield.
CF Montreal (2-1-2) will complete their grueling three-game eight-day streak by visiting Atlanta United on Saturday night.
A quality start
Since the start of the season, CF Montreal has had an excellent start to matches on many occasions. The one on Wednesday night was perhaps the best of all.
After the first third of the clash, Wilfried Nancy’s men already had six shots attempted towards John McCarthy, two of which were on target… and both in the opposing net, courtesy of Johnsen.
Four days after having a goal stolen by goaltender Maxime Crépeau at an important point in Saturday’s game against Vancouver, Johnsen recovered brilliantly.
The great Norwegian striker struck in the 14e minute on a left-footed shot from the penalty area.
At the 25e Johnsen did it again, skillfully deflecting a pass from Romell Quioto with his right foot, which almost touched the baseline when he made his throw to the net.
A minute earlier, Pantemis had made a beautiful save on a powerful shot from Brek Shea, the one who scored Miami’s only goal against the Quebec goalkeeper in the game between the two teams last year.
The Montreal team held off Miami’s attack for the remainder of the first half.
The match was interrupted at the 47e minute due to the threat of thunderstorms, and it was not until 11:05 p.m. that it resumed. Coming back from the break, Hamdi immediately tested McCarthy who made a good save by diving to his left.
After this missed opportunity, CF Montreal became less incisive and Inter Miami gradually established their presence in opposing territory, but their efforts produced few dangerous scoring opportunities.
With about a quarter of an hour to go, Nancy brought in fresh forces, including Erik Hurtado in attack and Emanuel Maciel in midfield. The two players threatened the fortress of Miami and in turn missed good chances to score.