MONTREAL – “There are no easy games in MLS,” warned CF Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy before the Vancouver Whitecaps came to town this week. His players assimilated the lesson to the best of their ability in their first game of the season at Stade Saputo.
Three points but a good scare.
It took the video replay official to intervene in second-half injury time for the Montreal team to happily open their local season with a 2-1 win that slipped through their fingers.
Tosaint Ricketts appeared to have leveled the game in the 92nd minute but the Whitecaps veteran was found to have been flagged for offside just before being tackled from a cross in the penalty area.
“There’s a lot of discussion about video playback, but when it comes to offside it’s pretty clear. In this case they were offside and the right decision was made. We can say we were a bit lucky, but that’s part of the game,” said defender Alistair Johnston after the game.
Saving those crucial few centimeters, CF Montreal (3-3-1) finally celebrated their third win in a row. He has now picked up a point in four games in a row.
“I’ll save the win,” Nancy said in a tone tinged with regret. But the players know it and we know it, we weren’t bad. Also in the first half. Of course we started well. We had good times, we managed to pick up speed, we unbalanced them as expected. But then we lacked control in the game.
“In the second half, from the 20thand Minute I didn’t like it. But hey, we will remember the win. »
Djordje Mihailovic and Romell Quioto were the scorers for the winners in the opening moments of each period.
Mihailovic opened the scoring in the second minute after a failed counterattack landed on Johnston’s foot. With well-disguised delicacy, Canada international Mihailovic led past the crowded area. His squadron was expertly received in no time and ended their journey at the back of the gate.
For only the second time this season, CF Montreal became the first team to turn on the scoreboard.
Mihailovic equaled his goal tally from last season with his fourth goal in his last four games. Johnston, meanwhile, racked up an assist for the second game in a row.
Montreal would muster six more shots at young goalkeeper Thomas Hasal before the end of the period, but his lack of cohesion near the opponent’s goal prevented him from running for cover. Just before the break, Quioto and Ismaël Koné misinterpret each other’s intentions after entering the surface. Lassi Lappalainen then missed a big chance from Mihailovic.
“I won’t say it annoys me but we could have scored more goals today if we had been cleaner and more determined in the last gesture or penultimate. Especially in the first half,” said Nancy.
Quioto offered some solace to the locals by scoring his third goal of the season at 47and Minute. The goal came from a clean shot by Mihailovic in the center circle. After serving Sunusi Ibrahim on his right, the American got the ball and immediately redirected it to his partner on the other side. Quioto looked in disbelief at how easily he could complete the choreography.
Around the hour mark things got complicated for CF Montreal. When Lucas Cavallini entered the game after returning from the dressing room, he initially thought he had hit Sebastian Breza before the linesman raised his flag to signal an offside. But a few minutes later, Brian White hit the bullseye, perfectly legal, and installed an all-too-familiar nervousness in the Montreal defense.
But for the third straight season, the Montrealers can boast that they withstood the latest onslaught and defended their lead. Some see it as luck, others as a sign of progress.
“I don’t smile much, but it’s still the third win in a row. That’s not bad,” Nancy comforted.
CF Montreal play their next game next Saturday in Philadelphia against the best team in the Eastern Conference.