CF Montreal’s roster remains in a state of flux to start the third week of training camp thanks to a tumultuous off-season.
While Major League Soccer clubs usually try to sort their business before the start of camp, Montreal’s attack could look extremely different with both arrivals and departures potentially affecting the club’s front line.
A big source of the uncertainty comes from the Kei Kamara trade speculation, which has not stopped since the striker’s public request to be moved two weeks ago.
Kamara was not present at training Monday.
“He’s already lost a week of work because he reported to camp late,” said head coach Hernan Losada of Kamara. “Everything that happened before my arrival is between him and the club, but now that I’m here as coach, I’m quite frankly disappointed.”
Kamara may not be the only attacker on his way out. In recent weeks, reports linking Joaquin Torres to Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia Union have picked up steam, coming to a head when the Argentine winger did not train with the club despite being fit.
Those potential departures – along with Mason Toye’s history of injuries – means more of the offensive load could be placed on the shoulders of Romell Quioto, who has led the team in scoring each of the past three years.
“I haven’t had the chance to speak [with Losada] yet, but he knows my quality and what I bring to the team and whatever role he sees me in, I’ll do to the best of my ability,” said Quioto who scored 15 goals last season. “I’m not focused on any new addition the team might be considering, but if we bring in attackers, they will have to be able to bring improvements where needed.”
Despite these concerns off the field, Losada began the third week with a clear message that fitness will be the priority for the next few sessions. A series of shuttle run competitions were set up as the fittest players looked to establish themselves.
One of those members was new midfield signing Ilias Iliadis, who joined the team after terminating his contract with Greek side Panathinaikos FC.
Having grown up on Toronto and represented Greece at the youth level, the dynamic midfielder has no expectations other than proving his worth.
“Especially for a young player like myself, it’s a great platform for me to show what I can do on a football pitch,” said Iliadis. “MLS is taking great strides in the last few years and is growing as a league.”
Iliadis is another central midfielder in an already packed midfield core that will be competing for two or three starting spots – depending on Losada’s lineup – but said development will be his focus for the season rather than minutes.
The squad will get its first taste of action during two inter-squad scrimmages with the club’s Under-23 team on the next two Saturdays. There will then be four pre-season matches against the likes of Houston Dynamo and Inter Miami whilst training in Florida.