CF Montreal didn’t choose the best time to experience their worst streak in three months, but they can make amends before the Coupe des Ligues.
There are still several weeks left in the MLS season, but the Bleu-blanc-noir had the opportunity to send a clear message to its direct rivals in the Eastern Conference.
After earning only one point in their last four games, suffering a shutout in each of them, the Montrealers return to Stade Saputo to host Charlotte FC (6-8-8) on Saturday night.
They will play one last game in MLS before starting the League Cup next week, a new tournament featuring the MLS and Liga MX teams in Mexico.
The setbacks of CF Montreal (8-12-2) began in North Carolina on June 24. By then, Hernan Losada’s men had enjoyed a good first half, but they had to resist a dominance in the second half to snatch a 0-0 draw.
Then suffered two home defeats, both 1-0 against New York City FC and Atlanta Unitedthe Montreal squad just suffered an embarrassing 3-0 loss at the hands of the Fire in Chicago on Wednesday night.
For Losada, the important thing is not necessarily to repeat what they did well in Charlotte three weeks ago, but to repeat what they managed to show before engulfing themselves in defeats.
“We’re not really going to talk about Charlotte FC, we’re going to talk about us and our game. It’s time to analyze our game, what we are doing to improve and to score. We have to see how to be more solid to keep the zero because it was the basis of our success. We will talk about the good things achieved in the games before this streak,” expressed the head coach.
Out of the portrait of the series
In the blink of an eye, CF Montreal not only missed an opportunity to climb the standings, but are currently out of the playoff picture. The club is involved in a battle with five other teams for the last two places giving access to the tournament at the end of the season.
Almost intractable at the Saputo stadium, the Bleu-blanc-noir even started dropping precious points in front of his fans. Not least because of his inability to score when he conceded the first goal.
The Montrealers have allowed the first goal in 13 games this season and only had one point when it happened, in a 2-2 draw against DC United at the end of may.
The lack of finish has been lacking lately and the supporters had also seen it against Charlotte FC. During the match, Sunusi Ibrahim appeared alone in front of goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina, but he failed to outsmart him despite all the space in front of him.
Against the Fire, Ariel Lassiter hit the post in a penalty awarded in the 36e minute. Fresh off the Gold Cup, where he played four games with Guatemala, Aaron Herrera saw some interesting things in the second half.
“We have to take more risks and try our luck a little more to score goals. What you saw in the second half against Chicago, the freedom we play with, that’s what we need. We weren’t afraid to make mistakes. We talked about it among ourselves after the game. We have seen that we have to be braver and that is what will pay off,” he observed.
Charlotte FC are winless in their last seven games (0-2-5) and they might look like a beating opponent on Saturday. But as Losada has mentioned so often since the start of the campaign, easy games don’t exist in MLS.
Pointing to 12e level with the same number of points as the Montrealers, Charlotte FC still threaded the needle 10 times during their winless streak.
“It’s a dangerous team that has quality in attack. She plays with a lot of intensity and it will be up to us to match that intensity,” said Herrera, who will face his good friend Justin Meram.
CF Montreal will put their immaculate 2-0-1 record into play in three games against Charlotte FC since joining MLS in 2022. For the occasion, midfielder Mathieu Choinière could get minutes, after accompanying his teammates on the bench in Chicago.