MONTREAL — Regardless of the sport, squad depth is one of the key elements that differentiates good teams from successful ones and two distinct stretches of games this season have shown that for CF Montreal.
At the beginning of the season, injuries and a hectic travel schedule took their toll as the club played eight games in a little more than a month, winning only once.
The club has handled a recent run of seven games in a month much better — winning four, losing two and drawing one.
“They’re much more used to it. The players now know that to have success in this league you need to handle those moments better,” said head coach Wilfried Nancy. “At the beginning of the year, we had the opportunity to win a couple of games. We struggled for maybe ten minutes in three of those games and that cost us.”
The final game of a congested eight-game stretch comes against FC Cincinnati on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. Following that, the club will have two weeks off for an international break.
The last time the two teams faced off, Montreal secured their first win of the MLS season following a chaotic four-goal first half. However, Cincinnati has recovered from a slow start and is keeping pace with the top clubs in an incredibly competitive Eastern Conference that has just five points separating first and sixth place.
Montreal (6-5-2) sits in fifth place with 20 points, just one point up on sixth-place Cincinnati (6-6-1).
“We’ve always had a tough time against Cincinnati, and they’ll be very motivated to come into our stadium and take the points we took from them,” said captain Samuel Piette. “They’ve always had great parts in their squad and if they start to click together then they can really hurt us in different aspects.”
Following a controversial rebrand from the Montreal Impact to CF Montreal that divided fans and led to mass protests as well as the resignation of president and CEO Kevin Gilmore, the team unveiled new logo Friday — 16 months after the announcement of the club’s change in direction.
The logo includes many classic elements from Montreal's soccer past such as the iconic royal blue that was synonymous with the Impact and a shield sporting a fleur-de-lis.
“It’s a return to the colours of the past and I really like it. There are elements that pay tribute to the club and the province’s history as well and I think it more closely resembles the club,” said Piette. “Some of the players have lived through two names and three logos, but this one is a lot more like the one I knew growing up. and those elements are really important for the whole community.”
Kickoff at Stade Saputo is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2022.
Elias Grigoriadis, The Canadian Press