It’s the team Montreal just can’t avoid losing to. Played three, lost three.
Bottom of the pile FC Cincinnati might be, as they have been for every meeting of the sides, but each time they’ve taken the points.
2021 is their third MLS season, they’ve recorded the modest total of 11 wins in that time and over 25% have been against Montreal.
They must love to see the Quebecers coming, down Cincy way.
It was a performance and result that was not good enough from a Montreal perspective. For most of a tepid first-half, Cincinnati defended too deeply for comfort, and showed few glimpses of danger at the other end. Montreal upped the tempo in the ten minutes leading to half-time and should have taken the lead.
In fact how they did not will confound logic for many a year. Actually make that ‘decade’. Romell Quioto’s howler (howler barely does it justice) might be the greatest miss in Montreal soccer history. It’ll take something to surpass it.
Open goal, perfectly executed pass, no need to adjust the body, five yards out and inexplicably... INEXPLICABLY... the Honduran striker put the ball wide. It was probably harder to do this than score.
Minutes previously Montreal had a carved out a couple of opportunities: Wanyama’s powerful header straight at Vermeer from 14 yards, and a great, last-ditch challenge to thwart a more lively looking Quioto.
But there was a warning in between those attacks when Acosta’s shot troubled Diop and Brenner, in an offside position, netted.
Just one topic of conversation during the interval, a miss so glaring it’s probably still haunting the culprit as the reader peruses this report.
The referee was not having his best afternoon, although not one to influence the game adversely on either team. An unwarranted yellow card for Quioto on 53 was the first notable event of the second-half. Cameron for his reaction was probably more deserving, but a card brandished was not required for either man. Non-event, Something and nothing.
The game only had another two minutes to wait for the deadlock to be broken, and the villain of the piece was central to the goal’s construction. Quioto took Mihailovic’s pass and threaded it across the box where the instigator of the move swept home at the near post, Mihailovic’s second goal of the season.
Over the next ten minutes, Montreal had chances to put the result beyond doubt. Wanyama headed over when he should have done better and both Hurtado and Mihailovic each had scoring efforts ruled out for offside. Mihailovic in particular should have checked his run rather than stray beyond the last man.
Then the game changed, Montreal switched the ‘off’ button. It was as though they felt ‘job done’ and downed tools.
Inevitably Cincinnati came more into the game won a corner on 70 mins and with Montreal’s defence looking like pillars of salt, Locadia the substitute headed almost effortlessly passed Diop. 1-1.
Then Cruz lobbed a ball which cleared the bar, put off by Diop’s swift dash from goal, before the same Cincinnati player was repelled in unorthodox but effective fashion by Diop’s feet.
It was all Cincinnati at this stage, a remarkable turnaround, as for three-quarters of this game the visitors looked a poor side sliding inevitably to a fourth defeat in succession. But by the time Vallecilla headed home from Matarrita’s bending free-kick you felt such a final twist was on the cards.
The 86th minute winner had a hint of offside, but who would deny long-suffering Cincinnati it’s first victory of the season? Limited, the Orange and Blue hung in, dug deep, had a decent twenty minute spell at the game’s conclusion, and left with the points.
Conversely those last 20 minutes were nightmarish for Wilfried Nancy. His team crumbled, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It was a spectacular collapse.
The French coach has worked admirably to create a positive and brotherly environment within his new squad, but his test after this simply has to be one of harsher confrontation. Too many of his troops were ‘out to lunch’ during the business end of the game.
It’s to be hoped the outcome affected most of them as it did Djordje Mihailovic, who handled the post-match video-conference with difficulty, looking decidedly angry and disgusted.
It was not a good day for CF Montreal.
CFM - Diop - Struna, Camacho, Waterman (Ibrahim, 78) - Brault-Guillard (Bayiha, 85), Wanyama, Mihailovic, Hamdy (Torres, 73), Lappalainen (Bassong, 46) - Quioto (Johnsen, 84), Hurtado.
Bench (not used) - Pantemis, Kizza, Piette, Sejdic
Coach: Wilfried Nancy
FCC - Vermeer - Gyau, Stanko (Medunjanin, 86), Cameron, Vallecilla, Matarrita - Kubo, Cruz (Vazquez, 86), Acosta - Barreal (Locadia, 59), Brenner
Bench (not used) - Tyton, Castillo, Hagglund, Mokotjo, Bailey, Atanga
Coach: Jaap Stam
Match Officials -
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Asst Refs: Peter Balciunas, Andrew Bigelow
4th Official: Marcos de Olivera
VAR: Robert Sibiga
Asst VAR: Kyle Longville
Check out the latest, The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 30). Recorded last Sunday evening, the TBIR team discussed the upcoming CFM v FC Cinncinati clash (with special guest Stephen Buckeridge of the You’re Not Lion podcast), and reviewed the Inter-Miami win and late heartbreaking loss to Atlanta....
They talked MLS player salaries, the Montreal football issues of the week and covered all the usual favourite features... including, Eve’s Time Machine, Sam’s Social Media & Hady’s CHOICES... Don’t miss it!
Every Week - The Ball Is Round... @TBIRMontreal - please follow us for regular, weekly CF Montreal, Canadian, MLS and international content in English!