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Sports Lack of communication haunts CF Montréal in loss to New York City FC

19:18  22 july  2021
19:18  22 july  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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In many ways it seemed inevitable. Even through this unbeaten streak, CF Montréal had seemingly been teetering on the precipice .

a group of people playing football on a field: CF Montreal defender Zachary Brault-Guillard (15) controls the ball as New York City defender Malte Amundsen (12) defends during the second half at Red Bull Arena July 21, 2021. © Provided by The Gazette CF Montreal defender Zachary Brault-Guillard (15) controls the ball as New York City defender Malte Amundsen (12) defends during the second half at Red Bull Arena July 21, 2021.

Playing from behind and with too many individual errors — combined with the absence of key defenders such as Kamal Miller and veteran Kiki Struna — finally caught up to CFM, which dropped a 1-0 verdict Wednesday night to New York City FC before 2,873 spectators at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

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CF Montréal had won three consecutive games and would have established a franchise record had it stretched its unbeaten streak to seven. Instead, it must now prepare for a Sunday road game against the first-place New England Revolution — no small task.

“The way we defended was not so weak,” manager Wilfried Nancy said on a video call. “New York City, this is a quality team with good players. We had difficulties at some moments but we didn’t quit. They scored only one goal. It was one mistake. For an away game, this isn’t so weak defensively for me.”

The glass-half-full manager was undoubtedly pleased that, after surrendering four goals in a 5-4 offensive slugfest victory over FC Cincinnati last Saturday, the team was tighter defensively.

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But the glass-half-empty Nancy will rue the squandered opportunities and the fact his side failed to score a goal for the fifth time in 14 contests. One doesn’t require a degree in mathematics to realize that’s simply not good enough.

“I think we created a lot of chances in the first half,” said striker Bjørn Johnsen, who received a rare start with the team in the midst of playing three games in nine days. “We had less chances in the second half because we couldn’t get through their last line.

“We feel like we should have at least tied the game. Every game you’re not going to score five goals. I don’t think anybody should expect that from us.”

Johnsen, who scored a brace this season against Inter Miami CF, hit the crossbar in the ninth minute and was denied the equalizer early in the second half on a play ruled offside.

“We had chances,” Johnsen said. “Maybe we should have put away my chance off the bar? We feel like we should have at least tied the game.

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“Everyone’s been talking down on us at the start of the season until now,” he added. “We’re showing we’re a team to be reckoned with. They scored a fluke goal. They got away with it. Everyone shouldn’t be so critical about it. They scored a weird goal. We’re a little bit bummed out, but that’s it.”

There was certainly a lack of communication between Canadian defender Zorhan Bassong and goalkeeper James Pantemis on the match’s only goal, scored by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi in the 29th minute. Bassong struggled, as did fellow Canadian defender Joel Waterman, leaving French veteran Rudy Camacho, dependable once again, to pick up the pieces and hold the back-line together.

Waterman was forced to take a caution card late in the first half after one of several turnovers. So exasperated was Nancy, he fell to his knees, banging his fists in a rare public display of emotion.

“I was a bit severe with the players,” Nancy admitted. “For sure it was a soft goal. For that I’m going to have a discussion with the players. After that Joel, yeah, he had a yellow card. He could have done better on that one.”

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Waterman said he didn’t notice Nancy’s display so wouldn’t comment on the events. Waterman felt it was a necessary booking, since it prevented a counter-attack, while overlooking his blunder in the process.

“It’s a shame that we gave away that goal and that it was the decider,” he said. “Obviously we don’t want to concede that way. As a back-line, especially, that was just a communication error. It’s s shame we let that goal in.”

Playing its second game in five days, it’s not surprising Nancy made five changes to his starting personnel. What was surprising, however, was the poor effort, lack of chemistry and cohesion. Despite an edge in possession (56.3 per cent), the visitors were outshot, 17-7, with just one on target. Pantemis, conversely, made four stops.

“We had a good game,” Nancy said. “We were good with the ball. We missed the finish.”

hzurkowsky@postmedia.com

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