Even after being two goals to the good, only the most diehard Montreal fan would claim his side didn’t ride their luck in squeezing a solitary point from this one.
After today and pummelling Cincinnati for 75 mins last week, Nashville must be wondering what they must do to take the lead in a game, never mind win.
Montreal’s rejuvenated striker Mason Toye scored a similar goal to the one he plundered last week against Toronto to put his side in front. Nashville central defender Walker Zimmerman won’t want to see it back; he appeared to turn his back on the shot. A good old fashioned English manager normally would go spare at such folly. I wonder what Gary Smith had to say.
Nashville had already gained a foothold by the time the game had entered the latter stages of the opening half, and it looked a matter of time before they would draw level. Montreal had to depend on good work by Diop and Miller to keep their lead in tact and Wil Nancy must have been feeling uncomfortable at how often the home side threatened from his right flank, Lovitz and Leal combining well.
But ironically it was Lovitz who slipped up just inside Montreal territory allowing Brault-Guillard to forage forward. The Montreal full-back kept going unchallenged and let fly from 25 yards, the ball taking a slight deflection of Romney and clipping the underside of the bar before coming to rest over the line. Willis in goal was rooted to the spot. 2-0 and Montreal were in some kind of dreamland. It was Brault-Guillard’s first-ever goal for the club.
As expected a second-half onslaught ensued by the home side, but not before Quioto, through one to one on Willis from Mihailovic’s perfectly weighted pass, should have increased the margin to three.
His attempted finish slipped past the wrong side of the post as the Montreal collective wondered if this might be the turning point.
Nine minutes in to the second half those fears edged closer towards realization when Cadiz got a run on Miller, momentum outmuscling the Montreal man as he met a delightful left-wing cross to head in from close range with Diop flat-footed on his line.
A few minutes later from a similar Lovitz cross the same player should have had Nashville level but couldn’t keep his header down.
The home side, style reminiscent of an old English first division side - there actually was football before the Premier League - continued to exert more pressure, their intensity pushing Montreal ever deeper.
In the 77th minute yet another cross came over, this time from the right flank, substitute Sapong rose highest at the far post and the dropping ball allowed Mukhtar to get away from Wanyama and rifle past Diop’s outstretched leg from 16 yards.
It was no more than Nashville deserved; the second time they’d managed to dig themselves out of a two-goal deficit in as many weeks. Nothing wrong with their character, but they must stop giving away two-goal starts. A 2-point haul from home games against Cincinnati and Montreal is probably less than they had budgeted for.
Just before the equalizer, Hurtado and Mihailovic had engineered a decent chance but Willis didn’t allow Montreal’s #8 much of a target as he bore in on goal. The former Chicago man’s shot was well struck, but straight down the ‘keepers throat.
After the equalizer, Leal forced a spectacular saved from Diop with a powerful 25-yard effort and Romney’s header rebounded from the outside of an upright.
Nashville will be happy with the result after being two goals down while Montreal will consider the result a better one ultimately than their overall performance.
But we always said this Montreal work-in-progress would take a while to ferment. Unbeaten and four points from the first pair of fixtures, CFM fans will probably be happy enough with their lot at this stage.
Nashville SC: Willis - Johnston, Romney, Zimmerman, Lovitz - McCarty (Nealis, 90+2), Godoy (Anunga, 78) - Handwalla (Muyl, 46), Mukhtar (Haakenson 90+2), Leal - Cadiz (Sapong, 71).
Bench (not used): Meredith, Anibaba, Maher, Washington.
Montreal: Diop - Brault-Guillard, Struna, Camacho, Miller, Kizza (Bassong, 84) - Wanyama, Piette (Sejdic, 84), Mihailovic - Toye (Hurtado, 60), Quioto (Johnsen, 74).
Bench (not used): Pantemis, Waterman, Maciel, Bayiha, Torres.
Match Officials -
Referee - Fotis Bazakos
Asst Refs - Peter Manikowski, Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Brooke Mayo
VAR: Daniel Radford
Asst VAR: Craig Lowry
Check out the latest, The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 26). Recorded Wednesday evening (21 April), the TBIR team discusses the Nashville SC v CFM clash (with special guest Wes Boling of Nashville SC Radio and Club & County podcast), looks back on the #TORONTO WIN!!!! ... and addresses The Super League Fiasco - Greed, Greed, Greed...
They talk the Montreal football issues of the week and cover all the usual favourite features... including, Eve’s Time Machine Social Media & CHOICES... Don’t miss it!
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