SEATTLE — After bouncing back from two consecutive losses, CF Montreal are heading west to take on one of the better Major League Soccer sides.
While only sitting seventh in the Western Conference standings, the CONCACAF Champions League winner Seattle Sounders FC are by no means an easy game for Montreal as they square off Wednesday (10 p.m. ET) at Lumen Field.
Despite the slow start to the season, the Sounders have gone unbeaten in their last four games while outscoring opponents 10-2. Seattle sports a 7-6-2 record and needs one win to move into fourth place.
“It's going to be a super challenge and I love it,” said Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy. “These are teams we don’t see often or haven’t seen in a while and I’m super excited. It’ll be tough with the three-hour time difference and a six-hour flight, but we’re approaching it like any other big game.”
Besides a crucial 2-1 win against Charlotte FC on Saturday, Montreal had more good news that evening as forward and fan favourite Mason Toye saw his first minutes in nearly 10 months. That along with the announcement that defender Kamal Miller will be travelling with the team means that the club’s injury list is the shortest it has been all season.
“Just thinking about all the work I’ve put in over the last 10 months and I’m super grateful that I was able to get involved,” said Toye, who was also inches away from scoring on Saturday.
“I didn’t know if I was going to play or not, but I was just happy to be back with the team. I got a little bit emotional (when I found out I was coming on) and then I went straight to focusing about what’s on the pitch.”
Following Saturday's win, Montreal once again finds themselves fighting for top spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting only three points behind leaders Philadelphia, who have 29 points from a 7-1-8 record. Montreal has an 8-6-2 record.
Montreal's game in Seattle is the first of a two-stop road trip. They will move on to Los Angeles and play the Galaxy on Independence Day. The road games could make or break their shot at finishing in first place.
“Teams from the East always have a tougher time going West than the other way around,” said Nancy. “We’re playing much later in those games but when they visit us it’s like an afternoon game for them. That still won’t stop us from trying to get maximum points from these games."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022
Elias Grigoriadis, The Canadian Press