Soccer: CF Montreal makes a flash comeback against DC United



At the heart of a very difficult series of matches, it was quite normal to see the CF Montreal players running out of gas in the tank. Head coach Hernan Losada, however, had more than one trick up his sleeve.

Upon his return to Washington, Losada had a lucky hand with his substitutions and the Montrealers snatched a 2-2 draw from DC United on Wednesday night at Audi Field.

Trailing 2-0 on the hour mark, the Bleu-blanc-noir looked set to suffer an eighth loss in nine road games this season. Losada could have prepared his team’s next game, Saturday night in Philadelphia, but he decided to play all his cards instead.

And the head coach of CF Montreal (6-8-1) was right. His three changes in the 61st minute paid off, especially striker Sunusi Ibrahim, who had a say in both of his own goals.

In 71 seconds, Ibrahim scored his first goal in MLS since October 2021 and then served a perfect pass to Ariel Lassiter to earn the Montrealers a winning point.

« These changes brought energy, » Losada said. We were very tired at times, especially at the end of the first half, and I had already planned the changes before we conceded the second goal. But the changes today have made the difference. I had the feeling that we could even have won at the end of the game. »

« We came to change the game, » said defender Zachary Brault-Guillard, who also entered in the 61st minute. It’s not easy to enter the game when we had just allowed a second goal. From the first minutes we had a good chance. We continued to push and it can only be positive to have collected this point abroad. »

For Losada, this clash was a little more significant than usual. Hired as head coach of DC United in January 2021, the Argentinian was fired in April 2022, in rather stormy circumstances.

Earlier this week, he had made no secret that this return to Washington was going to be special. We don’t know if Losada offered a heartfelt speech to his players before the meeting, but one thing is certain, they showed a lot of character and they never stopped believing in it.

« It’s a very tight-knit group. A group that works well and remains positive. It’s easy to be the head coach of this team, in good and bad times, Losada said. We start believing in it even more, giving support to the players next to us when there is a mistake. The other team may have thought this game was over, but it will never be over with CF Montreal. »

Donovan Pines and Theodore Ku-Dipietro hit the mark for DC United (5-6-5), who were looking to regroup after suffering a loss at the hands of Toronto FC in their previous outing.

The Washington squad missed the opportunity to sweep the seasonal series against the Bleu-blanc-noir for the first time since 2015. They had triumphed 1-0 in Montreal on April 15.

CF Montreal defender Rudy Camacho left the game on a stretcher in the second half after being the victim of a violent contact with forward Christian Benteke. Losada mentioned that the Frenchman suffered an abdominal injury but everything was fine.

An unexpected point

Both teams studied each other like boxers early in the first half, but they were slow to be threatening.

CF Montreal managed to build up a few attacks, but most of their long balls didn’t find takers. Lassiter had an opening, but he made a poor control and the counterattack was nipped in the bud.

DC United quietly picked up the pace and ventured into the visitors’ penalty area in the final quarter of the first half. Pedro Santos, Derrick Williams and Mateusz Klich knocked on the door, but without success.

However, Wayne Rooney’s troupe got their way before returning to the locker room. On a short corner kick, Klich served a fine cross into the penalty area and Pines jumped higher than George Campbell to redirect the ball with a header past goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois.

The Montrealers wanted to tie the game, but instead got caught defensively in the 59th minute.

DC United skillfully built up their attack in the final third. Victor Palsson placed a cross in the penalty area and the ball touched Joel Waterman before arriving at the feet of Ku-Dipietro. The latter pushed him with his right foot to thwart Sirois.

While we thought the game was settled, the Bleu-blanc-noir showed up offensively. In the 80th minute, Lassiter found Ibrahim’s header to close the gap. Less than two minutes later, it was Ibrahim who set the table for Lassiter, who brought the two teams back to square one.

DC United came close to regaining the lead in the final minutes of the game, but the Montreal defense held on.


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