Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Fredy Montero battles for control of the ball with CF Montreal defender Rudy Camacho during first half MLS soccer action in Vancouver, B.C., Sept. 16, 2020.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

After tying the club’s franchise record for consecutive road wins at two, CF Montreal is hoping to carry that good form back to Saputo Stadium for Saturday’s match against the struggling Vancouver Whitecaps.

Vancouver has collected just three points in their last four games, but Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini says the slow start hasn’t dampened his resolve.

Many teams have taken advantage of Montreal on the counterattack and Sartini says the Whitecaps will look to exploit that as well.

“They’re a good team, when they have the ball, they have quality. But they’re also so expansive when defending that they’re easy to beat,” said Sartini. “We have to stay compact and have a good aggressive defensive game. If we limit their chances, we will have chances to score.”

Finishing on those chances has been a difficulty for the Whitecaps, who have only scored five goals in their first six MLS games. A strong press and limiting Montreal’s comfort with the ball appear to be the biggest priorities.

“Getting off to a good start is the most important part especially on the road,” added Sartini. “If we are too shy in the beginning, it invites more pressure. We need to be extremely aggressive defensively and meet them as far away from our goal [as possible].”

On Montreal’s side, head coach Wilfried Nancy is enjoying the gradual return of many key figures to the lineup that have been unavailable for large parts of the season. That could mean Nancy will be tinkering with the lineup in the coming weeks.

“The group is starting to grow which is always good news and makes the squad more competitive,” said Nancy. “More competition in the squad increases the concentration and players’ standards which can only increase the level. More players also means creating a starting lineup is a bit of a puzzle, but I like puzzles like this.”

Added depth and fresher legs in Montreal’s case will also allow them to be better prepared for both competitions ahead of them, something that they were sorely lacking during their Champions League run at the beginning of the season.

“It was a complicated beginning to the season with a lot of travelling and not seeing our loved ones,” said Montreal midfielder Matko Miljevic. “But that’s all behind us now, we can focus on MLS and the Canadian Championship and push to win everything.”

Montreal always plays the first few home games of the season at Olympic Stadium while they wait for the snow to clear from the grass of Saputo Stadium, giving the club a unique feeling of two home openers.

“It’s really nice to finally be back, the pitch is in much better shape than it was this time last year,” said Nancy. “We’re all excited and looking forward to a big crowd on Saturday.”

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe