(Montreal) After several weeks of gray hairs regarding his starting XI, CF Montreal head coach Hernan Losada is about to face another puzzle.
The difference is that the Argentine is likely to welcome this new problem positively.
Against all odds, and through numerous injuries, CF Montreal struggled to hold on in the Eastern Conference in the early weeks of the season. A string of good results has brought some confidence back to the team and the return of some familiar faces is starting to give a glimmer of hope for the future.
For a second week in a row, attacking midfielder Matko Miljevic took part in a full training session with his teammates at Center Nutrilait on Tuesday. Forwards Romell Quioto, Jules-Anthony Vilsaint and Jojea Kwizera, midfielder Lassi Lappalainen and goalkeeper James Pantemis also accompanied him during the drills.
This means that apart from Quebecer Samuel Piette, who trained alone, and forward Mason Toye, who has a long-term injury, all the regular players who were present during training camp are or will be available. to play the next matches.
“As coaches, we’re very happy to see that,” assistant coach Sebastian Setti said happily. The good thing is that we see the improvement in injured players. »
Injured during training camp, Miljevic has missed every game this season and in his absence, CF Montreal vice-president and chief athletic officer Olivier Renard added some offensive punch by acquiring midfielder Bryce Duke and forward Ariel Lassiter from Inter Miami CF.
Great striker Chinonso Offor has done a good job of setting himself up as a target in Quioto’s absence and goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois has shown his qualities in net since the start of the campaign. Not to mention the work of Mathieu Choinière in the middle of the field, while the Quebecer has just been named to the team of the week in MLS for a second consecutive time.
It is therefore not necessarily surprising to see that the Bleu-blanc-noir has just signed three 2-0 wins in a row, including two in MLS.
While the infirmary was overflowing, the level of competition in the team was raised and some players were able to gain the confidence of Losada in certain positions. Now, the level of competition will go up a notch because these positions will be up for grabs.
“It’s a nice problem for the coach. There is also this possibility that players can interchange. It makes everyone better, Duke said. If a player is not having a good week in training or if he is not having a good game, there is another one who is ready to perform. You have to make sure you play well and that’s good for the team. »
In the first weeks of the season, Losada often said that the development of young players was important, but that the many injuries had accelerated the process. Midfielders Nathan Saliba and Rida Zouhir notably had a few good minutes.
Now that the regular players are slowly returning, the development plan can go back to what was originally planned. Zouhir was loaned to San Antonio FC in the USL, and Saliba remained with the Montreal squad.
However, the current situation does not discourage him.
“It increases the competition and that’s what we like as players. It’s for the good of the team. As long as everything is going well and we keep improving day by day, that’s all that matters,” insisted Saliba.
At the end of training, 11 CF Montreal players took part in a small mock match against players from the Academy, which for the occasion included Pantemis and midfielder Ilias Iliadis.
Patrice Bernier will become the fifth former CF Montreal player to be honored on the team’s Wall of Fame.
A special ceremony is scheduled at Saputo Stadium on Saturday evening, as part of the game between CF Montreal and Orlando City SC.
In six seasons in MLS (2012-2017) and three seasons in the A-League (2000-2002), Bernier played 224 regular season games with CF Montreal and ranks third in this chapter in the history of the team.
In MLS, Bernier had 15 goals and 25 assists in the regular season. He was invited to the MLS All-Star Game in 2013. Captain from 2014 to 2017, he notably helped the team win the Canadian Championship in 2013 and 2014, reached the final of the Concacaf Champions League in 2015, and the Eastern Conference Final of the MLS Cup Qualifiers against Toronto in 2016.
Defenders Gabriel Gervais and Nevio Pizzolitto were inducted into the Wall of Fame on March 17, 2018, followed by goalkeeper Greg Sutton receiving the honor on July 6, 2019. Mauro Biello’s name was added to the Wall on July 16 last.
Players are selected according to specific criteria. They must have played a minimum of 100 games with the club, retired from professional soccer for at least five years, won an individual or collective honor and played their first game with the team at least 15 years ago .