‘No easy games’ as CF Montreal looks to carry momentum into Kansas City

MONTREAL – With back-to-back wins and clean standings, CF Montreal will be riding a wave of momentum and hope to retaliate against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.

MONTREAL – With back-to-back wins and clean standings, CF Montreal will be riding a wave of momentum and hope to retaliate against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.

The last time Montreal (2-6-0) played Kansas City away, they suffered their worst defeat in club history, losing 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 we’re going into this game with a positive attitude,” Campbell said. “It’s MLS and anything can happen, so a small run we can do is huge.”

Kansas City (0-6-3) has the worst attacking game in Major League Soccer – just three goals in nine MLS games – and holds the title of the league’s only winless club this season.

Despite initial troubles in the league, Sporting KC emerged victorious in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Tulsa Athletic in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup competition.

Much like Montreal’s win of the Canadian championship, Kansas City hopes that defeating the National Premier Soccer League side will kick start a stalled season.

“I don’t think they’re going to play in a low block, they’re a team that pushes a lot and has a lot of energy. They also have a lot of offensive quality and experience on 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 to the streets and especially when you go to the Western Conference.”

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This is Montreal’s first visit to Kansas City since winning 7-1 four years ago. Of the players on the list for this game, only Rudy Camacho, Samuel Piette, Mathieu Choinière and Zachary Brault-Guillard remain in the team.

This shot at revenge comes at a pivotal moment for Montreal, who have picked up momentum and gradually adjusted to Losada’s shift in style and tactics. The Argentina coach has tried to introduce a more vertical possession style to quickly accelerate play and break lines. This is a sharp departure from the slow, methodical approach to possession that former coach Wilfried Nancy sought from that side.

Montreal scored a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls last Saturday. This result came a week after the 1-0 win over DC United at Saputo Stadium.

“I knew it would take a while. We have a lot of new players and not all have achieved what the coach wanted, but now everyone seems to be on the same page and everything is going well,” said midfielder Victor Wanyama. “When you have depth in the team, everyone wants to start and compete, so we can bring out the best in us and deliver the best team over the weekend.”

This increased competitiveness is in large part due to a significant number of returnees from the injured list.

“It’s tough news, even though I knew it would be several weeks, but it’s a long season. It’s a shame I started my career that way in Montreal, but I was confident that I would come back and be just as strong,” said Campbell, who is back in the line-up after months of recovering from an ankle injury. “I’m here and it happened, so now all I have to do is earn a spot.”

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As well as Campbell, who enjoyed his first minutes with the club last week, the returnes of Jojea Kwizera, Nathan Saliba, Ousmane Jabang and highly acclaimed attacking midfielder Matko Miljevic are welcome sights in the Montreal camp. That being said, Losada confirmed none of the players other than Campbell would be available on Saturday.

Long-term injured players like Romell Quioto and Piette also returned to the pitch and did individual work with the coaches.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 28, 2023.

Elias Grigoriadis, The Canadian Press

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