Bryce Duke was signing autographs on jerseys at Saputo Stadium on Wednesday when he received a call from his mother. “You have Opoku!” “, she launched to him.
Opoku, full name Kwadwo “Mahala” Opoku, is the striker acquired on Wednesday from Los Angeles FC for $1.65M Allocation Amount (GAM) in 2023 and $100,000 in GAM in 2024.
Duke, also an LAFC alumnus, knows him well. Visibly enthusiastic about the arrival of his friend in Montreal, the young American did not skimp on the compliments about the Ghanaian, Thursday morning, before training in the oppressive heat at the Nutrilait Center.
“He’s just a great guy,” he hinted. He is very humble, everyone can get along well with him. I think he is a good addition on the pitch, but also off the pitch. »
Let’s focus on what the 21-year-old – soon to be 22 – will bring to the pitch. After all, we can guess that this is why Olivier Renard had been trying to acquire it for several months already.
In Opoku, the Montreal team obtains a player with a “slightly different” profile, according to Hernán Losada. Asked about his expectations of his new player, the head coach went on with a simple enumeration:
“Goals, assists, one-on-one action, speed, running behind the defense… Those are all things he’s done before with Los Angeles. »
That sums it up.
Duke, on the other hand, was not afraid of words; he believes Opoku will bring “that missing spark” to the Montreal offense. “He’s a different player to the ones we have right now and he’s come from a quality team,” the attacking midfielder said.
Note that Losada did not know, Thursday morning, when his new player would arrive in the metropolis. And in the event that he is available for Saturday’s game, there is no guarantee that he will be used.
The acquisition of a striker on the first day of the summer transfer window came as no surprise to anyone on Wednesday, given the team’s difficulty in creating scoring chances. According to specialist site FBref, only Inter Miami have generated fewer expected goals than CFM this season.
This addition kind of sent a message to the players that the team will keep pushing “for a playoff berth, that the season is just beginning and anything can happen,” Bryce Duke believes.
“It shows that we can be a better team than how we perform. It adds to the depth of the group. Now everyone is going to have competition. Players are interchangeable, and all that. A competition in the team makes everyone better. »
The arrival of Opoku could also mean that there will eventually be departures, even if Losada denied this link of correlation. During the mid-season review, Renard spoke of the possibility of players leaving the club on loan.
Asked what position he would like to see a player added to, Losada declined to answer.
“Understand that if I start talking about the other positions, what are the players who are here now going to say? I’m not talking about that. »
“Besides, yeah, I’m happy with the group I have,” he added seconds later.
That is clear.
Hernán Losada has confirmed that Samuel Piette will be back for the visit of Atlanta United on Saturday night at Saputo Stadium. However, he will not be in the starting lineup. Recall that the captain played only two games at the start of the season, before being injured after 10 minutes of play in his third meeting, on April 1. As for Mathieu Choinière, he was back in training on Thursday, but Losada still didn’t know if he would be able to play on Saturday.