CF Montreal hopes to extend last season's surge into the playoffs

CF Montreal hopes to extend last season’s surge into the playoffs

With a six-game unbeaten run and eight wins from their last 10 games, CF Montreal could not advance to their first Major League Soccer playoff since 2016.

The late season run put a cap on a historic season for CF Montreal, which broke a dozen franchise records including most wins (20), points (65) and goals (63). Montreal’s 35 points away from home was also an MLS record in a non-shootout era.

“(This team) has built something since last year and we’ve built on that every day by working, learning and competing,” head coach Wilfred Nancy said. “The numbers speak for themselves, but I am very interested in the substance of our game and that is what we have presented all season. All I can say is victory.”

Montreal’s first post-season test is Sunday evening against Orlando City SC at Saputo Stadium.

Thanks to its late season surge, Montreal (20-5-9) managed to finish second in the Eastern Conference – finishing two points behind the Philadelphia Union (19-10-5) – which is the club’s home field. saved advantage until the end of the conference, provided they make it that far.

In contrast, Orlando (14-14-6) did not enjoy a late season finish. The Florida club looked to be headed for a playoff spot and then dropped four of five games.

Just making the playoffs required a 2-1 comeback win over Columbus City last Sunday, the final day of the season.

“We are already in October and we are looking for a good (match) after the qualifying achievement with this group.” Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja said in a statement. “I think it’s very important to think about progress and that’s where we are now. This group is very optimistic and very confident going into Montreal and fighting for our ticket to the next round.

Orlando has conceded seven goals, and scored just four goals in their last three games, but Nancy is not resting on its opponent’s recent struggles.

“Every year you get surprises at the end of the season and in the playoffs,” Nancy added. “We are now starting a completely new competition and anything can happen. We can win the whole game and they can score in the last minute or vice versa, but all we can do is prepare the best we can. All we can do is focus on this game.

There will be an added element of drama in this game, with Orlando responsible for eliminating Montreal from last season’s playoff contention on the day of the decision.

“I think it doesn’t really matter who we play. Orlando is a good team but every game we are the favorite so it doesn’t change anything. “It was a long time ago. Of course, it was a shock, but if we come here and fight, we will definitely win.”

However, there are others that have a special ax to grind. Kamal Miller was traded from Orlando to Montreal in 2020 and didn’t shy away from the fact that this game would be personal, leaving Florida with a few bitter memories.

The last time the two teams met in Saputo in May, Montreal cruised to a 4-1 victory and limited Orlando to a single shot on goal.

That being said, late home form has been a big question mark for Montreal, who have struggled with teams dropping deep to counter their possession-heavy style and capitalize on their mistakes.

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