CF Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy was delighted by the way his side sealed their MLS Playoff spot against the Columbus Crew last time out and has hailed their spirit ahead of a clash with the Chicago Fire.
Montreal staged an incredible recovery to claim a 2-2 draw against the Crew last time out, and now boast an insurmountable 15-point gap to the chasing pack.
Nancy was pleased with the togetherness they showed in that draw, recalling: “I like to say sometimes that you have to live the moment, you have to live the story. The fans here, they lived it.
“Again, 96 minutes, my guys, they didn’t stop. They kept going, and I don’t know – we had the feeling it was possible to do it.
“I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but there is a positive energy in this group, a chemistry in this group.
“My players don’t play with their teammates, they play for their team-mates. This is what they did, so this is something that I’m really, really proud of.”
The Chicago Fire, meanwhile, are 12th in the Eastern Conference, six points short of the final post-season spot, and coach Ezra Hendrickson is refusing to give up hope of qualification.
The Fire are now unbeaten in three league games, but Hendrickson knows they will need maximum points to extend their campaign.
“Coming into this game, there were 15 points out there to be had,” Hendrickson said after a win over Inter Miami. “We knew if we could get all 15, we put ourselves in a good position.
“We knew we couldn’t get all 15 tonight, but we wanted to make sure we got all three. Getting through tonight was a must, keeping some momentum, keeping some confidence going forward to the next four.
“And we just told them to play freely, play without fear, don’t worry about anything, just go out and play a game.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
CF Montreal – Kei Kamara
Kamara has scored 11 regular-season goals against the Fire, tied for his most against any opponent (also Montreal and New England Revolution). Only Jeff Cunningham (20) and Taylor Twellman (12) have scored more against the Fire in the regular season.
Chicago Fire – Jhon Duran
Duran scored twice in the Fire’s 3-1 win over Inter Miami on Saturday, his second brace of the season. Along with Kacper Przybylko’s two braces in 2022, The Fire have four multi-goal games by players this season, equaling their total from the last two seasons combined.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– CF Montreal have won each of their last three matches against the Fire, keeping clean sheets in all three, including a 2-0 win on August 27.
– This is the only time in the club’s MLS history that Montreal have recorded three straight shutout wins over a single opponent.
– CF Montreal overcame a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 with the Columbus Crew on Friday, scoring in the 89th and 94th minutes. Montreal became the 12th team in MLS history to earn a point in a match in which they trailed by multiple goals entering the 89th minute and the first since Real Salt Lake against Portland Timbers in August 2020.
– The Fire have lost only one of their last five road games (W2 D2), including playing out scoreless draws in each of their last two away from home.
– Chicago could keep three consecutive away clean sheets for the first time since they did so between April and May 2008.