It has been five years since CF Montreal, in its original incarnation as the Montreal Impact, has won the first two games of an MLS season.
Standing in the way of that happening again is a Nashville SC squad striving for victory No. 1. in 2021.
Montreal will look to build on an impressive opening performance when it visits Nashville on Saturday.
Mason Toye and Romell Quioto scored in the first half, and Victor Wanyama and Djordjie Mihailovic added second-half goals in Montreal’s 4-2 win over rival Toronto FC in Florida last weekend.
It was a rather surprising breakout, offensive effort for Montreal, which matched its best offensive output of last season. First-year coach Wilfried Nancy could see it coming.
“I’m not surprised with what we did because this is the way we’ve been working for a long time,” Nancy said. “I’m happy. But this is only the first game, so we have to keep moving forward.”
Montreal last started 2-0 in 2016, and Nancy knows his club will be in for another, potentially serious, challenge against Nashville.
Nashville SC won 1-0 in these teams’ only other meeting in October 2020. They were one of the top defensive teams in MLS during their debut season in 2020, allowing 22 regular-season goals — just nine conceded over 11 home contests.
However, in stunning fashion last weekend, Nashville yielded two goals in the first 12 minutes to offensively challenged FC Cincinnati. The good news for Nashville, though, was that they rallied back on goals from Jhonder Cadiz and Randall Leal to salvage one point with a 2-2 draw.
“I can safely say we got caught cold. There can be reasons for that,” said coach Gary Smith, whose team attempted a franchise-record 32 shots last weekend.
“Lots of lessons learned as always, and we move on.”
Leal recorded the lone tally against Montreal in 2020. He had four goals and four assists in 24 appearances last season.
Also dating back to last season, Montreal’s Quioto has a goal in his last three contests overall. Including playoffs, the Honduran national team player has 10 goals and six assists in 22 career appearances with CF Montreal.
–Field Level Media
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