Four days before the final of the Canadian Championship, Hernán Losada has decided not to do a general before the evening he has been waiting for a while. The duel against the Philadelphia Union was more of an audition.
It’s sometimes an overused expression, but it was truly with a B team that CF Montreal showed up at the cutthroat Subaru Park. Ultimately, this young formation made up of substitutes went down 3-0 on Saturday night.
Only three players who were in the starting XI against DC United on Wednesday have started against Jim Curtin’s men. Some executives like Jonathan Sirois, Mathieu Choinière and Victor Wanyama have simply not been in uniform. A rest that Losada will hope will be beneficial for the clash against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the cup final.
Union is one of the powerhouses on the home circuit. After this other win, she has won 17 of her last 20 outings in front of her fans. So, it was definitely a complex moment to try to hold your own against a team as powerful as the Union.
“It’s always hard to play with guys who don’t walk the court often, especially against a team like Philadelphia. I think some did a great job though,” noted forward Mason Toye, who got his first minutes since undergoing left knee surgery in early April.
Players who do not often tread the field and who had a chance against the Union, there are many. Many. Ahmed Hamdi, Nathan Saliba, Zachary Brault-Guillard, Sunusi Ibrahim, James Pantemis, Ilias Iliadis and Róbert Thorkelsson have all featured on the starting lineup despite being mostly labeled as substitutes at this stage of the season.
The entries of Ousman Jabang, Matko Miljevic, Sean Rea and Mason Toye were in the same vein: that of giving chances to those who have fewer.
It was also a bit of Losada’s objective for this meeting.
The Argentine driver, however, warned that opportunities like this will be harder to come by as the Montrealers come to the end of their crazy streak of 11 games in 36 days.
“We gave many, many minutes to a lot of players. Not just 5 or 10 minute appearances, but many starts. We’ll see after the series of matches who is the best XI to start,” said Losada.
Once the rhythm is more normal, the eleven should remain intact. An occasion like Saturday was unique. It’s a safe bet that there will be no more games that the CFM will knowingly sacrifice.
However, the game showcased some players, including Jabang, who earned his first minutes in MLS when he came on in the 81st minute.
“Ousman stood out, in my opinion,” Toye noted. He’s a guy who showed what he could do. He did not have the chance to play in the Canadian Championship, but still persevered to make his place. He deserved this chance and he played very well. »
In the first half, the Impact was interesting, however, it missed some good chances. Lassi Lappalainen secured a one-on-one duel with Andre Blake, but was unsuccessful. It was in this half that some Montrealers had a card to play, including Hamdi, Ibrahim and Brault-Guillard. Players who will want to do more than play supporting roles for the future.
However, the second half saw the home side really come through and demonstrate why they are the team of the hour in MLS. The changes made by Losada, which have normally been winners in recent weeks, have instead seen CFM cower and not be as threatening as they were in the first half.
It is not a defeat that will be mentioned for long. On the other hand, the final of the Canadian Championship, which will be played on Wednesday, yes. Particularly given Losada’s talk about the importance of the cup, but also, because he put all his eggs in that basket.
He will wish that a trophy and a place in the Champions League could make this unmemorable match forget.
The Egyptian was the spark plug for all of the Impact’s good deeds in the first half. He mostly stood out by going for deep accurate runs and put-ins for his teammates. However, when he went from the position of attacking midfielder to midfielder in the second half, he was less impactful. Overall an interesting match for number 7.
The duel against the Union was not easy for Pantemis. He gave some feedback – notably on the second goal – and resigned himself to parrying the ball on certain occasions when he could have swallowed it. On the other hand, it was to be expected since he was not entitled to the Canadian Championship to revive after his shoulder injury. It was his first start with the first team since his injury in the first game of the season. He only had one start with the reserve team in Ligue 1 Quebec to get back into the swing of things.
The average age of the eleven leaving the CFM for the meeting. It was very young.