Chance sometimes makes all things right and CF Montreal certainly wouldn’t say no if lightning struck twice in the same place.
A little over a month ago, the Montrealers were on the sidelines after winning just one of their first seven games of the season. Then the arrival of the Canadian Championship brought a spark to the club.
Vaughan Azzurri’s move to Stade Saputo began a six-game winning streak, including four by shutout, for the Bleu Blanc Noir in MLS. He even jumped at the opportunity to beat Toronto FC and continue his quest for a 12th place finishe Voyageurs Cup.
Recently, however, another twist has come. Hernán Losada’s side returned to earth last week after suffering two defeats and conceding five goals.
It remains to be seen whether Forge FC’s visit to CF Montreal’s home ground in Wednesday night’s Canadian Championship semi-finals will have the same catalytic effect for the upcoming MLS games.
“It’s a good game that inspires us, but it’s also the next step to win this tournament.” By the time we got out of our bad patch, we had changed our work ethic. “It was about being more competitive and wanting a little more victory,” Losada explained Tuesday ahead of CF Montreal’s training session at the Center Nutrilait.
“I think you could see that we worked harder than our opponents during our winning streak. We’ll try again tomorrow,” said defender Aaron Herrera.
This will be the third Canadian Championship meeting between the two teams in the past three years. In the previous two games, CF Montreal emerged victorious and advanced to the next round.
As with the game against the Vaughan Azzurri, it would be easy to largely favor the Montrealers since they play at a higher level. However, Forge FC, which plays in a lower circle than MLS, is not the latest addition.
The Hamilton-based side have appeared in all four finals in Canadian Soccer Premier League (CPL) history and have been crowned champions three times. She also made life difficult for Toronto FC in the 2020 Canadian Championship Finals, which the “Reds” won in a shootout.
“Le Forge is a very interesting and experienced team. It is no coincidence that they are the champions [dans la PLC]. “I have a lot of respect for their head coach because he developed their game identity,” Losada said. We’re in the semifinals of the Canadian Championship. So when you get to that point in the tournament, you have a good team. »
“It is a team that is well known in the PLC. She likes to play ball and offers a lot offensively. “We’re expecting a very good opponent on Wednesday,” added midfielder Mathieu Choinière.
Choinière has had the opportunity to watch Forge FC several times in recent years. David, his brother, who has already played five MLS games for CF Montreal between 2016 and 2018, has worn the colors of the Ontario team since 2019.
David even scored the winning goal for Forge FC in a 2-0 win over Atlético d’Ottawa in the PLC final last October. The table seems set for a third Choinière derby in a row.
“It’s true it’s happened three times in three years and it seems like it’s becoming normal, but it’s always fun. “It’s a special event and I’m really looking forward to playing against my brother tomorrow,” emphasized Mathieu Choinière. We talked about it when we were younger and it’s fun now that it’s happening. All the family will be there and we’re expecting a good game so I can’t wait. »
Mathieu Choinière is one of the few CF Montreal players to have scored all of his side’s starting XIs in five games in May. Losada has had to diversify his formation and give minutes to several different players, but his troubles are not over yet.
The Bleu-Blanc-Noir are facing their third straight week of playing two games and if they manage to beat Forge FC the total would increase to five.
Despite everything, the Montreal club’s head coach intends to prioritize the Canadian championship over the MLS.
“It’s always a new opportunity to use players who have had fewer minutes, but you have to know that it’s a more important game than in MLS. Le Forge said it was his most important game of the year, but so are we. There will be many other games where players will be given these chances, so it will happen,” he said.
In addition, Losada confirmed midfielder Samuel Piette and forward Mason Toye have at least two to four weeks before they return. He also pointed out that striker Romell Quioto, who was injured in training, will have to undergo an imaging test on Tuesday to find out the severity of his injury.
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