A lot has happened in Quebec since July 26. Tennis stars – as well as rain – stormed the National Bank Open, Hydro-Quebec raised the possibility of reviving Gentilly-2, and Metallica set Olympic Stadium ablaze twice. But there is something that has not happened during this time. A CF Montreal game.

And yet the team is in the middle of its 2023 season. However, an early elimination in the Coupe des Ligues – this new summer tournament which should energize the season, and incidentally boost the arrival of Lionel Messi in MLS – placed it in such a scenario. But now, after 25 days of rest, the Impact will finally get back on track.

The challenge will be daunting. On Sunday, Hernán Losada’s men will visit Toronto to take on the historic rivals.

Make no mistake though, it’s not because Toronto FC looks like a threatening opponent. Far from there. Although they should be able to count on Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, the Torontonians will have to deal without their star goaltender Sean Johnson and with the departure of the team’s most successful player this season, Richie Laryea. In fact, Upper Canada ranks last in the league in points per game.

Also, in the two clashes between the clubs, Montreal emerged victorious. So without being a janitor, Samuel Piette already has the broom in his hands.

“It’s a trick game,” he conceded on Friday before the duel. But if we do what we have to do, we will be correct. »

The real challenge, in the circumstances, is to be at the top of your game from the start.

“From now on, every point matters,” Losada quipped during Friday’s media availability. Naturally, all points are crucial, but with 11 games to go on the schedule, the importance of results only increases exponentially.

Especially given the place of the Bleu-blanc-noir in the current ranking. The Montrealers are only one point behind on the ninth and last place giving access to the playoffs. However, they have this famous match in hand.

So before entering this final stretch, the break allowed the CFM to work on certain aspects of the game. Piette therefore made a detailed list.

First, “we worked a lot on the last third, since that is mainly what is causing us problems at the moment”, he remarked.

Then, “we also made sure to remain as reliable defensively. I think we’ve improved a lot in countering crosses and marking players in the penalty area.”

And finally ? “On our reaction, when we lose the ball. Sometimes we are a little too slow or hesitant when we lose it. We want to suffocate the opponent as soon as we lose the ball. »

We can therefore conclude that it was quite productive on the Montreal side in the last few days. An observation that the instructor shares, but in a somewhat shy way.

“It was a good break, but obviously we missed competitive games,” Losada said. We organized several 11 v 11 matches and even once we played against the U-23s. […] On the other hand, these are not real competitive matches and we do not want to be penalized for that. Obviously, Toronto is in the same situation as us.

“But even though it was a bit long, we took advantage of it. »

Torontonians just have to behave themselves.

This long healthy break will have allowed the players to rest and take care of their little sores. Romell Quioto is back in Montreal, but he still doesn’t train with his teammates. According to Losada, the Honduran striker had difficulty just running last week. A return to the game is therefore not in the cards for the next few weeks. In addition to the striker, Ariel Lassiter and Lassi Lappalainen are also struggling with some physical glitches given the more intense training intensity. All the other players are however available for the meeting, according to the head coach.