‘No easy games’ as CF Montreal looks to carry momentum into Kansas City
MONTREAL — With two consecutive wins and cleans sheets under their belt, CF Montreal will be riding a wave of momentum and hoping to exact revenge against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening.
The last time Montreal (2-6-0) faced Kansas City away from home, they suffered their worst defeat in club history, falling 7-1 in 2019.
CF Montreal defender George Campbell says a little momentum can go a long way.
“It gives us a lot of confidence and I think we’ve been good in training and have a positive mindset going into this game,” said Campbell. “It’s MLS and anything can happen so a little run that we can get on is massive.”
Kansas City (0-6-3) boasts Major League Soccer’s worst attack — just three goals in nine MLS games — and holds the title of the league's only winless club this season.
Despite their early struggles in league play, Sporting KC is coming off Tuesday's 3-0 domination of Tulsa Athletic in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition.
Much like Montreal’s Canadian Championship win, Kansas City hopes the win over the National Premier Soccer League side will jump-start a stalled season.
“I don’t think they will play in a low block, they’re a team that presses a lot and has a lot of energy. They also have a lot of offensive quality and experience in all their lines,” said CF Montreal head coach Hernan Losada. “I think they deserve to have more points than they actually have and (MLS games) are always difficult, especially when you go on the road and especially when you go to the Western Conference.”
This will be Montreal’s first time visiting Kansas City since that 7-1 battering four years ago. Of the players on the roster for that game, only Rudy Camacho, Samuel Piette, Mathieu Choinière, and Zachary Brault-Guillard remain with the team.
This shot at revenge comes at a pivotal moment for Montreal, who have been gaining momentum and starting to acclimatize to Losada’s change of style and tactics. The Argentine manager has attempted to implement a more vertical style of possession, looking to accelerate play quickly and break lines. This is a sharp deviation from the slow, methodical approach to possession that former manager Wilfried Nancy sought from this team.
Montreal posted a 2-0 win over the visiting New York Red Bulls last Saturday. That result came one week after they blanked D.C. United 1-0 at Saputo Stadium.
“I knew it would take a bit of time. We have a lot of new players and not everyone got what the manager wanted to do, but now everybody seems to be on the same page, and everything is flowing,” said midfielder Victor Wanyama. “When you have depth in the team, everyone wants to start and compete, that way we can get the best out of ourselves and the best team to perform on the weekend.”
That increased competitiveness is due in large part to a significant number of returns from the injured list.
“It’s tough news, when I knew it was going to be several weeks, but it’s a long season. It sucks that that’s how I started my Montreal career, but I was confident that I would come back and be just as strong,” said Campbell, who is back in the lineup after a months-long recovery from an ankle injury. “I’m here and it happened, so I just have to earn a spot now.”
In addition to Campbell, who saw his first minutes with the club last week, the returns of Jojea Kwizera, Nathan Saliba, Ousmane Jabang, and highly touted attacking midfielder Matko Miljevic are welcomed sights at Montreal camp. That being said, Losada confirmed that none of the players except Campbell would be available on Saturday.
Long-term injured players such as Romell Quioto and Piette also made their return to the pitch, doing individual work with the trainers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2023,
Elias Grigoriadis, The Canadian Press