Time for a first assessment – TVA Sports


MLS began its three-week hiatus a few days ago and it’s time to take a look back at what CF Montreal presented to us in their first eight games of the season.

This team had a new coach and many new faces in the squad and we have, at this point, a little bit of concrete on which to base our assessment.

Montreal is therefore eleven points in eight games and a fifth place in the standings in the Eastern Conference. We can see that the coach, Wilfried Nancy, has presented his philosophy well and that the players adhere to the plan. We have also seen the vast majority of players get at least a few minutes of play, with the exception of Ballou Tabla, who is injured, and a few of the youngsters from the academy who recently signed their first contracts. So there are very few players who can say that they haven’t had an opportunity to demonstrate their qualities: Nancy has kept everyone concerned by the progress and the results of the team.

Moreover, considering the quality of the coach’s work so far, the response from Olivier Renard, the sports director, was not long in coming: Nancy saw her option year for 2022 confirmed last week. . It is a sign of confidence in him, and a message to the players, fans and the club that we believe in the process, that we are happy with what we are currently seeing and that we want to demonstrate stability.

I look at this and I remember the 2013 season, when we had a good start to the campaign and a certain Marco Schällibaum had a similar option to his contract. Knowing how his time in Montreal ended, would it have been better to stabilize his project quickly as we just did with Nancy?

Still expatriates

The results, after eight games, are positive, therefore, but a challenge remains: we still do not know if CF Montreal will have the opportunity to return to the country and really play at home this season, while there are still 26 left. matches to be played. It’s been two months already and Miami is certainly not a bad place to relocate, but in the end, will not playing (and living) in Montreal end up having a negative impact?

Beyond the financial consequences, not to mention the fans who miss their club and the impact on the lives of the players, the team never really plays at home. When you watch Atlanta United play in front of 40,000 people, or Nashville, which also plays in front of its home crowd, you can see that this has an influence on performance. Most of the other teams in the league will eventually get their 12th player. That can, in the end, add a few points to them in the ranking!

But this question is in the hands of Justin Trudeau and Health Canada. We can see that Quebec, for its part, is ready to welcome its team, but Canada is not yet ready to open its borders. Let’s take a look at what will happen in the third round of the NHL playoffs, when a Canadian team will inevitably face an American formation. We may have an idea of ​​how CF Montreal’s return home will go.

Nice impression for Miller

To come back to the balance sheet, we must also underline the good work of certain players, especially in defense. Rudy Camacho and Zachary Brault-Guillard, in particular, got off to a good start, but there is one that we knew very little about as the season approached: Ontarian Kamal Miller, acquired last December in a transaction with Austin.

He made a very good impression on me. His hip injury, which will keep him away for a few more weeks, is also a great pity.

Its overall performance nevertheless led me to wonder which CF Montreal players could bring a return on the investment made in them. Because not only does Miller not cost much in terms of salary, but he’s also a popular type of player: left-handed center-backs are a rarity in the world of soccer. His case reminds me a little of Mark McKenzie, another left-handed center-back with a good build, who left the Philadelphia Union for Belgium in the offseason in return for $ six million.

I’m not saying Kamal Miller is going to leave, but his profile may generate interest elsewhere in the league … or in Europe. Players like him are wanted. In addition, he is a Canadian international. We still do not know if he will be able to participate in the Gold Cup this summer, but if he keeps this trajectory, I see good potential for resale in the future. He could also have a great career as a backbone of defense in Montreal, though.

The Samuel Piette case

Quebec midfielder Samuel Piette is not always on the starting XI selected by Wilfried Nancy this season, and that makes a lot of people react, both on the side of the media and the fans.

But Piette himself indicated, in a press briefing, that Nancy had mentioned to him, as well as to Victor Wanyama, that there is no guarantee as to the frequency of their tenure and that there was going to be of rotation.

Without looking too much at the statistics, what jumps out at me is that at the start of the season, the team presented a very aggressive face defensively. It caused the opponent to make several blunders and that tendency faded as the team began to play possession more. Piette is precisely the kind of player who loves to put pressure on and make mistakes. He is very good in defensive duels. When Piette and Wanyama are there the team are better at getting the ball back.

It will be interesting to see how Nancy continues to juggle this situation. When we are at home, we tend to want to play more possession, and therefore to have players with a more offensive profile on the field, but abroad, we suffer a little more and the presence of this duo is appropriate.

The fact remains that when Piette is on the pitch, aggression is more in the foreground. We used it wisely at the start of the campaign, it would be good not to lose this habit. This pressure, this commitment has given good results and we have seen them a little less recently.

Hi Remy!

Finally, a word about Rémy Vercoutre, our goalkeeper coach who has chosen to return to France in order to take up the same position with the prestigious Olympique Lyonnais.

You should know that he had already been tracked for some time. However, he wanted to continue his adventure in Montreal because he liked the project, the city and the club. But the house called and the reality of the pandemic and its impacts on her family life surely weighed in the balance.

Opportunities come and you can’t always turn them down.

It’s a shame, because I appreciated Rémy, the man and his work. He even gave the academy a helping hand by advancing a few goalkeepers, including Jordan Vézina, a 15-year-old boy who came to train with the professionals. Rémy was able to track talent very quickly among the young goalkeepers.

I can’t wait to see who takes his place now. Because goalie coaches are a scarce commodity and it’s not easy to squeeze one out of another organization.

So, have a good trip, Rémy, have a safe trip home and we’ll watch you from afar!


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