On Thursday afternoon, Wilfried Nancy felt his team could hope to make the MLS Eastern Conference playoffs with six points in their last three games. These six points are still accessible, but there are only two games left at CF Montreal to obtain them. This leaves a non-existent room for maneuver.
In a meeting of paramount importance for both clubs, CF Montreal suffered another heartbreaking loss at the very end of the game, 1-0 against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena, in New Jersey.
After resisting several assaults from their opponents in the second half, CF Montreal faltered in the first minute of stoppage time when Fabio beat Sebastian Breza with a header, following a pass from Caden Clark.
“We knew they were going to put a lot more pressure (in the second half)”, analyzed the head coach of CF Montreal, who said he had nothing to reproach his players, with regard to their state of mind.
“We expected that. We were three minutes, I want to tell you, from the end of the match and a draw, ”added Nancy, referring to the time that had been added after the conclusion of the regulatory 90 minutes of play.
Following another stab in the heart, CF Montreal (11-11-10) remains at 43 points and ninth in the East Association standings. He could even slip up a notch tonight if the Columbus Crew defeat DC United.
For their part, the Red Bulls (13-12-7) temporarily rose to sixth with 46 points.
The undeniable fact is that CF Montreal’s chances of making the playoffs, although still alive, have just diminished.
Nancy realized it very well after another hard-to-swallow defeat.
“We have two games at home. We have to win these two games to hope to make the playoffs, ”he admitted.
“We did not play for the draw tonight in the sense that the context meant that towards the end, we were cornered. “
Starting not necessarily expected, although he had delivered an excellent performance against Forge FC in the semifinals of the Canadian Championship on Wednesday, Breza blocked four shots including three in the first half.
“I felt, not especially after the game against Forge, that I had to make a change from the goalkeeper to have a different momentum and a different dynamic,” Nancy replied when invited to explain his decision to call on Breza rather than James Pantemis.
CF Montreal was limited to a single shot on target at Carlos Coronel. A shot that came in the eighth minute of play.
CF Montreal once again had to make do without the services of Romell Quioto, their top scorer, still not recovered from a right leg injury that dates back to the October 2 game against Atlanta United.
Meanwhile, midfielder Victor Wanyama was back in uniform but was not part of the starting 11. He ultimately did not play.
Saturday’s game also marked Djordje Mihailovic’s 30th start, making him the 10th player in Montreal team history to reach that plateau in an MLS season.
This match was CF Montreal’s last away game this season. On Wednesday evening, CF Montreal will face the Houston Dynamo. Four days later, on the last day of the calendar, Orlando City SC will be at Saputo Stadium.
An incredible opportunity
CF Montreal had a fairly vigorous start to the game.
Even if the first shot came from the locals in the second minute, to which Breza reacted well, the Montrealers quickly took control of the ball.
Also, they almost took the lead following a spectacular play from Sunusi Ibrahim.
After two skilful feints, Ibrahim came alone in front of Coronel in the penalty area and attempted a shot towards the center of the net which the New York goalkeeper blocked with his feet, as he had dropped to his right. .
However, it was CF Montreal’s only shot on target during the first 45 minutes of play, in five attempts.
The Red Bulls got two more, including one from Patryk Klimala, their top scorer, which Breza stopped with aplomb, just before the first half hour of play was completed.
The locals made the best team in the first half hour of the second half.
During this time, the Red Bulls directed six balls towards the Montreal net, including one which required a save from Breza and another, from Christian Casseres Jr., which gave on the vertical rod to the right of the goalkeeper.
A third rolled just past a deserted net when Breza strayed a little too far from his net.
From then on, the two rivals seemed to be heading for a 0-0 draw. But as it happened so often in 2021, the opponent of CF Montreal had a very bad surprise in store for him at the very end of the game …