Utah’s thin air in the end smiled more kindly on the Whitecaps than through the Snowflakes...
And goals change games. One that Montreal should’ve scored, and didn’t. One that Vancouver’s Cristian Dajome scored from the penalty spot, and most certainly did. Therein is the story of the match.
In a first half best forgotten the only opportunity of note fell to Bjorn Johnsen, and what a gilt-edged chance it was. Not the result of any slick footballing move, more a product of Montreal’s press, forcing error from Nerwinski, the first nervy moment of an uncomfortable afternoon for the defender.
Quioto could hardly have done any more, teeing the Norwegian up perfectly, and although Crepeau deserves credit for his anticipation, the finish was poor and not befitting an international striker.
Not so long ago, 2018, Johnsen was second-top scorer in the Eredivisie, the top division of Dutch football with unfashionable Den Haag, but this attempt didn’t carry the hallmark of a natural finisher.
Still, it’s early, beanpole strikers often look awkward and his opportunities have been limited. Perhaps there’s still time. It’s not for nothing he has a collection of Norwegian caps.
But for a flurry of yellow set off by Mihailovic’s scything tackle on Dajome, and the fact that Montreal began to assert control in the quarter hour leading up to the break, there’s wasn’t much more to write home about prior to the interval.
It was a similar story after the restart, until the penalty. Dajome was clever, stuttering his advance towards the ball, Miller rash, and the spot kick provided Vancouver with its first shot on goal. 57 mins had elapsed.
Diop guessed right, but Dajome’s expert execution was unreachable.
As Wilfried Nancy said, “I wasn’t so worried about conceding the first goal, since it came early enough for us to comeback. The problem was the second came too quickly.”
If the correctly awarded penalty was the turning point, then the poorly defended second goal was the final nail in Montreal’s coffin.
Again Miller should have done better. Again outfoxed by Dajome the game’s most influential player, the Montreal vice-captain struggled to pick up the forward effectively and the Colombian’s head done the rest. As with the first goal, Diop was faultless, left without a prayer.
It was an unfortunate twelve minute period for Canadian international, Miller, who’s been solid in the first three games and in the opening half of this one.
Montreal tried in vain to regain a foothold, but after various substitutions, relied mainly on individual contributions, with the shape of the team inevitably suffering imbalance.
Indeed it could have been worse, Cavallini blasting at Diop, who saved, when an unselfish slipped ball to the better-placed Dajome would undoubtedly have increased the margin to three and provided the latter with an early season hat-trick.
Montreal looked like a side in pre-season. While cohesion in their first match of the campaign, and first-half of the second surprised us, all things considered, since then diminished understanding between midfield and front-line has been a feature.
It’s understandable, it will take time and perhaps a false dawn over the opening pair of MLS fixtures raised expectancy prematurely.
For the second week in succession the feeling was that Montreal had before them an opponent there for the taking. For the second week in succession, they failed to turn the screw returning only one point from a possible six, and that feeling, yesterday, disappeared after the first Vancouver goal.
Post-match, Erik Hurtado, a second-half sub for Montreal, didn’t yet consider the lack of a goal in the last 5 halves of football, a drought.
That’s probably fair comment on his part, but more concerning is the Wilfried Nancy assertion: “We’re still creating chances.”
The Montreal head coach has decried his strikers’ lack of composure in front of goal. But the creation of chances of quality have been very few and far between. True there’s been half-chances and quarter-chances, but very little set on a plate for his strikers.
Perhaps that’s why the composure is missing... ?
VWFC: Crepeau - Nerwinski, Veselinovic, Rose, Gutierrez - Caicedo (Raposo, 74), Bikel, Caio Alexandre (Owusu, 80), Teibert - Dajome (Cornelius, 90+1), Cavallini
Bench not used: Hasal, Gaspar, Bair, Habibullah, Metcalfe, Ricketts
Coach: Marc Dos Santos
CFM: Diop - Bayiha (Choiniere, 58), Struna (Hamdy, 67), Camacho, Miller, Kizza - Wanyama, Sejdic, Mihailovic (Torres, 73) - Johnsen (Lappalainen, 58), Quioto (Hurtado, 58)
Bench not used: Pantemis, Waterman, Piette, Maciel
Coach: Wilfried Nancy
Match Officials -
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Asst Refs: Mike Rottersman, Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Ramy Touchan
VAR: Alan Kelly
Asst VAR: TJ Zablocki
Check out the latest, The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 28). Recorded last Wednesday evening, the TBIR team discusses the upcoming Vancouver Whitecaps v CFM clash (with special guest Michael McColl of AFTN podcast), looks back on the 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew... and features the CONCACAF Futsal Championship & The Old Trafford Break-in.
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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