The season get’s ever closer... thankfully...
Not that we’re glad to see the back of CFM’s training troupe on familiar ground, simply that everyone’s just had about enough of lockdown, off-season and watching other teams to satisfy their footy fix.
The Montreal players had their final ‘home’ training session under the supervision of head coach Wilfried Nancy this morning at Centre Nutrilait, followed by lunch, before jetting off this afternoon for sunnier climes. Their flight was due to depart Dorval this afternoon at 1415 hrs.
They’ll arrive in Florida around 1715, where they’ll meet up with the rest of the squad who’ve been on international duty.
There will be a strange dynamic. Some will be happy to resume contact with their mates, others will continue with their re-integration with the group and some will be meeting new team-mates for the first time.
The latter will be true of Djordje Mihailovic, who’s only ever been to Montreal as an opponent, Kiki Struna, Joaquin Torres and Ahmed Hamdy. The likes of Bjorn Johnson and those who’ve been away representing Canada, will be meeting some for the first time too as not all players had yet emerged from isolation in Montreal, before the internationalists departed to join up with their national teams
Luis Binks was back in mainstream training this morning, and David Choiniere also joined in, the first time I’ve seen Choiniere participate with the main group this pre-season.
Contrastingly Lassi Lappalainen remained working solo or with a coach on the sidelines on his rehabilitation, although he did join in with the younger players for something slightly more intense towards the end of the session.
Goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois and midfielder Sean Rea each were present as news seeped out of their loan move. Both are going to Valour FC, the CanPL club, James Pantemis played 7 times for at the Island Games last season.
The last piece of significant news emerging from today’s get together was confirmation of the rumoured loan move of 6ft 5in goalkeeper Sebastian Breza from Bologna to CF Montreal. Breza (23) was understudy to Pantemis at the recent Olympic qualifying tournament with Canada’s u23’s.
It seems a strange move unless there is about to be some other movement around the goalkeeper position in coming days. Sirois’ loan deal is such that he can be recalled from Valour FC at any time.
On Thursday April 8 at 11am CF Montreal will play its first-ever organized game in Orlando. USL League One side Tormenta FC (or to give their full name, South Georgia Tormenta FC) will provide the opposition.
A stiffer test awaits CFM a few days later (Sunday 11 April - 6pm) against USL Championship club Tampa Bay Rowdies, one of the iconic names of Seventies NASL soccer. The Rowdies are a familiar pre-season foe, and defeated the Impact in 2-1 in February 2020 with two goals from captain and top-scorer, Sebastien Guenzatti.
Romell Quioto replied for Montreal in the 90th minute, which in last year’s latest instalment of the series was too little, too late.