Now would be a good time for CF Montreal to avenge their playoff loss to New York City FC, but that already seems a long way behind.
The Bleu-blanc-noir will try to continue their good run at home by hosting the New Yorkers at Stade Saputo on Saturday night, but their eyes are not on what happened last October.
While all hopes of an MLS Cup were allowed for the Montrealers, following a record season, New York City FC (4-7-9) came to break their hearts in the second round and put an end to their beautiful journey.
It would be easy to bring this setback to the fore and talk of a petty rivalry between the two sides, but head coach Hernan Losada is struggling to connect the dots. The Argentine reckons the current squad is quite different from 2022, and he’s not wrong.
“I don’t know if there’s really a sense of revenge. Some players may remember this loss, but looking at our formation, very few players were in uniform for this match. It might just be Rudy (Camacho), Joel (Waterman) and Victor (Wanyama). I don’t think we can use that, insisted Losada.
“To keep winning at home and putting on a good show for our fans, that’s enough motivation. »
And the show at Stade Saputo has been very interesting since the start of the campaign. With a record of 7-1-0 at home, including the victory at Olympic Stadium in the opener, CF Montreal (8-9-2) is one of the best teams in MLS in this regard.
Even better on the side of the Bleu-blanc-noir, he has just signed six consecutive shutouts on his field in addition to scoring 12 goals during this sequence. No opponent has managed to deceive the vigilance of Jonathan Sirois at home since April 15.
“We have this record at home because whoever is on the court with us, we will find a way to get points. This is our mentality. When you stick shutouts like that, that energy is perceptible through the whole team. We want to keep shutting down our opponents and getting records,” forward Ariel Lassiter said.
At first glance, Saturday’s opponent could fall into the category of those who should not cause surprise abroad.
New York City FC are yet to win in 11 games on home soil since the start of the season (0-5-6). He can at least console himself by telling himself that he has gone for at least one point in his last four outings abroad and that is what makes Losada think.
“They are a team with a lot of technical qualities and players who are very good in small spaces. They may be missing a real top striker, a reference in the penalty area. They still managed to collect points in difficult places that required long trips. We take this game very seriously,” he said.
With a few players missing, Losada will once again have to juggle his formation. Right-backs Aaron Herrera (Guatemala) and Zachary Brault-Guillard (Canada) have been selected to participate in the Gold Cup while Mathieu Choinière and Lassi Lappalainen, who could have played in this position, are injured and should not participate in the match of Saturday.
The head coach of the Montreal squad has had a bit of bad luck since the start of the season and he has not found the stability to concoct a regular starting 11. When it wasn’t the injuries, it was the two-game streak a week that got in the way.
“That’s how MLS is, isn’t it? There’s the Gold Cup, international breaks, injuries. I hope I can get Samuel (Piette) back as soon as possible, but he still has work to do. It is certain that the Romell (Quioto), Aaron, Mathieu and Lassi are important players. We are going to look for solutions because that is what we have been doing since the start of the season,” Losada stressed.
Choinière suffered a sprained ankle when he made a big tackle in the penalty area. His state of health is reassessed daily and the team remains cautious with their player, who has just been selected for the MLS All-Star Game.