Once again, the roof of the Olympic Stadium is acting up.
Updated yesterday at 6:39 p.m.
The return match of CF Montreal against Santos Laguna in the Champions League, which was to take place Tuesday evening at 8 p.m., has been postponed to Wednesday at the same time.
The weather forecast calls for heavy snow and sleet precipitation by Tuesday evening.
However, the management protocol for the main enclosure of the stadium stipulates in particular that events can take place there only if “no precipitation of snow greater than 3 cm or freezing rain greater than 3 mm is forecast during the duration of the event “.
With the game scheduled to be played on Tuesday evening, head coach Wilfried Nancy as well as Joel Waterman and Joaquín Torres met the media on Monday afternoon. Here’s what came out of it.
“We want to write our own story”
Yes, current CF Montreal players are aware of the history between the club and Santos Laguna. No, they don’t want to be swayed by this one.
Montreal receives the Mexican club at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday, as part of the return match in the round of 16 of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Wilfried Nancy’s men conceded a late goal last week in Torreón and lost 1-0. They will have to turn things around at home by scoring at least one goal, which would trigger a penalty shootout after regulation time. If Santos Laguna were to register on the mark abroad, Montreal would have to win the game by two goals.
But it is not the motivation that is lacking.
The coaching staff spoke with the players “what it means to the club,” defender Joel Waterman said Monday via videoconference.
“They showed us some footage and sat down with us so we could all be on the same page when facing a team like Santos Laguna. »
“We want to write our own story, assured the one who played the 90 minutes of the first leg. We understand the importance of this game for former players and fans. But for us, it’s just about getting a good performance and winning. »
Despite the delay of a goal, everything is still to be played in this home and away series. And CF Montreal has several advantages that it should take advantage of.
Starting with the local factor. According to the rules set out by Public Health, performance halls and sports arenas can accommodate up to 50% of their capacity.
“It’s a big motivation for us to play in front of our fans and have them behind us,” commented Waterman. Mexico is a tough place to play, but we’re back in our backyard. This is an advantage for us. »
Wilfried Nancy reckons his side haven’t been able to establish their game properly in Torreón, but that returning home will allow them to take their ease.
“We would have liked to put more pressure at certain times during the game, but we weren’t able to do so, analyzed the head coach on Monday. We want to play our way, we want to be a proactive team defensively. »
“We have to score, and we know it. I love that. It is to score goals that we practice this sport. »
It’s a good thing for CF Montreal: Santos Laguna is not the strongest team defensively. She allowed 13 goals in 5 games since the start of her “closing season” (Clausura) in Mexico. And it languishes at the very bottom of the Liga MX standings.
“We keep an eye on the opponent, but we have to stay focused on ourselves,” believes winger Joaquín Torres, his words translated from Spanish by an interpreter. “You still have to take advantage of their bad times and punish them.
“I think we have everything it takes to hurt them. »
Kamara “wants to help the team”
An additional weapon has just been added to Wilfried Nancy’s arsenal: veteran striker Kei Kamara. But it is still too early to know if he will actually be able to “hurt” Santos Laguna.
” I still [mardi] to make a decision, commented the technician. This is his second training with us. We’ll see where it is. »
Kamara played three African Cup of Nations games for Sierra Leone in January. He may therefore not be far from being in good shape to play matches. Will we see him in Wilfried Nancy’s 18 on Wednesday?
We wouldn’t do business with Han Solo by betting the Millennium Falcon on such a bet, like the venerable – but bad racegoer – Lando Calrissian.
“We’re taking it slow,” added Nancy. I like to talk about concrete things. For now, I need more time to see where he is. »
Still, the simple presence of the attacker within the team has its advantages. As for a young attacking player like Joaquín Torres.
“I can learn a lot from him,” said the Argentinian. He is a player with a lot of experience, and I intend to take advantage of that by training and playing alongside him. »
“He’s happy to be here,” said Wilfried Nancy. He wants to help the team, to adapt to what we do, to play. […] The players felt that he has experience, and charisma too. »
CF Montreal will nevertheless be able to count on a defensive body bailed out by the availability of Alistair Johnston. The Canadian international defender was inconvenienced by COVID-19 last week, but eventually came out of MLS protocol.
On the other hand, it is the status quo for Samuel Piette and Ahmed Hamdi. Still absent for various reasons, these names are still alongside those of Sunusi Ibrahim, Bjørn Johnsen and Mason Toye on the club’s injured list.