Before the start of the campaign, there were a few question marks in the CF Montreal camp. The questions ranged from “who is going to score the goals?” to “Are young people ready to reach the next level?” or even “How will the transition between the game proposed by Wilfried Nancy and that of Hernán Losada go?” “, For example.
But one aspect that has not generated the slightest hassle is the defense. The starting goalkeeper, the three central defenders and one of the two full-backs were back. Not to mention the two defensive midfielders in Samuel Piette and Victor Wanyama, also present.
And if the offense has been particularly flat in the first seven meetings, the same could be said for the defense. Before going any further, of course, there were injuries, suspensions, newcomers and even a transaction, but the results were not there. The Impact allowed the most goals in the league (17) and sits at the top for expected goals conceded (15.6). Disturbing performance.
At least until recently.
For two consecutive games, the Bleu-blanc-noir managed to preserve a shutout. The most disenchanted will say that they were obtained against a semi-professional club (Vaughan Azzurri) and a team that had run out of steam offensively (New York Red Bulls). TRUE. However, the defense limited the chances, which they have struggled to do since the start of the campaign.
There is no correlation between the departure of Kamal Miller and the defensive results of the team, but since the trade, the defense has started to find its bearings. There is now a competition within the group for the positions of central defenders, those who were acquired before.
Rudy Camacho kept his position at the center of the center hinge, however the other pieces moved. Joel Waterman, who has so far played on the right, moved to the left as Gabriele Corbo was inserted on the right. But nothing is cast in stone yet, confirmed CFM head coach Hernán Losada. “We’re going to go with the players who are going to give us the best chance of winning,” he said last week.
Among those who want to shake up the hierarchy is George Campbell. The 21-year-old American, acquired from Atlanta United in the off-season, believes he has his place in the starting XI now that he is back from a nasty ankle injury.
Another who has something to play for is Róbert Thorkelsson, the only left-hander who can play in central defense. For now, Waterman is taking that role. A responsibility that comes with its share of challenges, but a touch of familiarity for the 27-year-old Canadian.
“I’m starting to find my game, but it’s difficult to adjust to this left side, he admitted Thursday, before training. It will take me some time to create games and open the game on this side. […] But defensively it’s the same thing. I have to win heads, duels and position myself well. On that side, it’s the same. »
Olivier Renard, sporting director and vice-president of the club, explained that it is a bit like that, his plan. To develop young players like Corbo, Campbell and Thorkelsson around veterans. He is finally in motion.
The defense will have another opportunity to gain confidence. On Saturday, she will cross swords with Sporting Kansas City, the worst offense in the Garber circuit.
A few players returned to the Center Nutrilait lawn this week, including captain Samuel Piette and star scorer Romell Quioto. If the two were satisfied with a few touches of the balls and several laps of the field, it is a gradual return for the executives of the team.
The situation is similar on the side of the side Lassi Lappalainen, except that his individual training is more sustained in terms of rhythm. For their part, midfielders Matko Miljevic Jojea Kwizera and goalkeeper James Pantemis have been training with the group, but like all the players mentioned above, they will not be in Saturday’s duel against Sporting, Losada claimed on Thursday.