The bike path that leads to Stade Saputo is hostile territory in itself, but certainly not as much as the arena where CF Montreal plays its games. Once again, the local team was intractable towards its adversaries who dared to venture onto the Sherbrooke Street lawn.
By beating Nashville SC 1-0 on Wednesday night, CF became only the second club in Major League Soccer history to win six straight home games by shutout, tying the mark previously set by the Kansas Wizards. City in April and May 2000.
What’s more, the Montrealers defeated Nashville for the first time since the men in yellow joined MLS in 2020. Nashville had won four of the six meetings between the two teams so far. The other two had resulted in null verdicts.
« There is a lot of pride associated with winning for the first time against a team that has so many qualities, » said head coach Hernán Losada. We controlled the game and created chances. We were able to always find solutions. »
It was Bryce Duke who scored the game’s only goal, his second since CF Montreal acquired Inter Miami in April. As he is now used to, the American midfielder was at the heart of several of his team’s attacking actions.
The No 10 reaped the rewards of a formidable individual effort from Sunusi Ibrahim, who first undid a hold that Kid Dynamite would not have denied before handing the ball to his team-mate, who had remained in withdrawal at the entrance to the surface. Duke then had no difficulty surprising Joe Willis by sending the ball to the right of the mustachioed Nashville goalkeeper.
CF, playing their first game after a well-deserved week off following a grueling run of 11 games in 36 days, had one of their best first halves of the season. From the first minute of play, Quebec midfielder Mathieu Choinière notably had a chance to score, but his left-footed shot missed the target.
The Montrealers also managed to leave no room for maneuver for Hany Mukhatr, top scorer in MLS with a harvest of 13 goals in 19 goals. Tonight, the German was limited to two shots, including one on target, but he nevertheless forced Gabriele Corbo and Victor Wanyama to receive yellow cards early in the game in the 13th minute and the 20th to counter it.
« Obviously we were well aware of what he’s capable of doing, » Wanyama said after the match. We made sure to cut off all passes in his direction. We were also constantly looking to minimize the space he could enjoy on the pitch. »
« We knew we had to watch him and especially prevent him from making plays, » added defender Joel Waterman. That said, he had a few chances, but we neutralized him. »
Wanyama did not only stand out in defense. In the 21st minute, he got rid of at least two opponents in the middle of the field before handing the ball to Ariel Lassiter, who however failed to get a shot on the opposing net afterwards. The Kenyan midfielder also got a shot on target for the third time since the start of the campaign.
« Nashville really gave us a lot of space and time to shoot, » Wanyama said. It is certain that I would have liked to score. I’m going to have to take my chances… »
Coming back from the break, Nashville showed they weren’t one of the best clubs in MLS for nothing by getting three scoring chances in five minutes. Of the lot, Jacob Shaffelburg had a goal at the end of the foot in the 47th minute, but he kicked the ball so hard that he would have gone to Langelier Boulevard if there had not been stands to brake his race.
A few moments later, Choinière turned the wind by performing a retreat over several meters which prevented Randall Leal from winning the title. The play certainly impressed Canadiens defenseman David Savard, who attended tonight’s game with Pierre-Luc Dubois.
CF Montreal got their best chance in the 69th minute, just after Chinonso Offor and Nathan Saliba came on the scene, but Wanyama’s header just lacked a bit of vigor.
Nashville desperately tried to tie the game late by storming Montreal territory, but Jonathan Sirois got in the way each time, including one in the 87th minute by boxing the ball in extremis as it floated in. the air and headed for the back of the net.
CF will return to action on Saturday night when they visit Charlotte FC. The next meeting at Stade Saputo will take place on July 1st. New York City FC will be in town at this time.