There are no words to describe the topsy-turvy end of the game between CF Montreal and the Philadelphia Union.
“Superb,” summed up Montreal pilot Hernán Losada after his team’s 3-2 victory in extremis on Saturday night at Olympic Stadium.
“Clownesque” replies its Philadelphia counterpart.
The betting seemed to be done. CFM trailed the defending MLS runners-up 2-1 with just over 20 minutes to go. An expulsion on the side of the visitors gave hope to the CFM which was not really dangerous before stoppage time. But he did not need more.
The Bleu-blanc-noir found its fans for the first time after suffering three consecutive losses on the road to start the campaign. The fans had the chance to celebrate Montreal’s first goal in 273 minutes of play this season, courtesy of Romell Quioto, in the third minute of play. However, two quick goals from the visitors sawed the Montrealers’ legs, at least until Julián Carranza’s second yellow card.
Then, a succession of events, each more incredible than the next, made everyone experience a roller coaster of emotions. An episode that defies all logic and which would probably have remained in the embryonic stage if it had been proposed during a production meeting.
Chinonso Offor allowed CFM to ward off bad luck when he rattled the ropes in the 90th minute. Supporters are jubilant. The club are on track to get their first point of the season.
The referee is asked to consult the video replay for a possible offside on the sequence. A few tens of seconds later, he decides: no goal.
Then Victor Wanyama – captain given the absence of Samuel Piette – receives orders from the bench. On the video replay, a trade unionist player escapes the frame. The Kenyan asks the fourth official and the main referee to go back to see the sequence. What theyre doing.
As the spectators all chanted the word “goal”, a new verdict fell: Offor was not in an offside position and the net counted.
Let’s recap. First, there is purpose. Then said goal is disallowed. And then, finally, the goal is good. The game resumes with the score 2-2 and a handful of minutes to go.
A few moments later, Quioto, alone in the box, redirected the ball with his head into the net and that’s how the Montreal team escaped with their first victory of the campaign. In collective euphoria and total confusion.
CFM goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois says it was an “indescribable” feeling before saying he will “remember this game for the rest of my life”.
Union head coach Jim Curtin will also remember this encounter for the rest of his life. But he points out that such a meaningless streak like the one that led to the equalizing goal is ridiculous.
Long-time CF Montreal and CONCACAF fans will probably agree that this is not a first. And probably not the last time.
Hernán Losada’s first victory as head coach of the CFM is no coincidence. With ten minutes left in the game, he made four changes at once, mostly offensive, in the hope of extracting a result.
Among the four players who made his entrance, there is Offor, the possible scorer. What Losada is most proud of in their game management is that the players never gave up to go for the equalizer. In fact, he specifies.
The CFM will continue on its way having already overcome many of its demons. He scored his first goal of the season, got his first points and even his first victory. The Montreal club therefore begins the international break with a smile and three points in the bank.