CF Montreal is poised to clinch its first playoff spot since 2016 in a record-setting season

CF Montreal is poised to clinch its first playoff spot since 2016 in a record-setting season

MONTREAL – On Sunday evening, CF Montreal staged a stunning first-half comeback to a 4-3 victory over Toronto FC in the Canadian Classic.

In addition to severely hurting their champions’ playoff chances, Montreal also set a franchise record for most points in a regular season.

“That’s what we’ve done all season, we just didn’t stop fighting, even at halftime they wanted to keep pushing and I obviously support that,” Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy said. “We had the heart to show what kind of team we are. A team that enjoys playing and a team that plays with passion.

The Nancy club is second in the MLS Eastern Conference on 52 points with five games still to play. Philadelphia leads the East with 60 points.

Montreal (16-9-4) now turns its attention to securing a playoff spot for the first time since 2016. The team can do that Friday when they host the Columbus Crew (9-6-13).

Columbus has lost just one game in their last 16 — and that happened a month ago at home against Montreal. The Crew are back in the playoffs and could even face Montreal in the first round.

“Usually we’re the ones fighting for a play-off spot and playing teams that can knock us out so it’s a really good feeling to have the boot on the other foot,” captain Samuel Payet said. “So if we face them in the games, we want to show them that we are dangerous on the road as well as at home.”

Cucho Hernandez and Lucas Zelarayán have emerged as MLS’ premier attacking duo since Hernandez’s arrival from Watford in June, driving Columbus’ offense and combining for 12 goals and six assists.

During their last meeting, Montreal managed to keep Hernandez off the scoresheet – one of only four teams to do so.

While Montreal have dominated away from home, their last game against the Stade Saputo crowd was less than impressive.

Four of the team’s last five losses have come at home, with the offense constantly imposing itself. That should prove even more challenging as the postseason approaches and the intensity of the games increases.

“We’ve been in this situation before and this experience is very important,” Nancy said. “The games we lost last year and at the beginning of this year hurt and losing is necessary for us to learn and improve.”

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