CF Montreal | A morning at the Marie-Victorin complex

There is something almost surreal about seeing Victor Wanyama, European Champions League finalist with Tottenham, and Josef Martínez, one of the most prolific scorers in MLS history, arrive at a Montreal CEGEP- North in very cold weather.

However, this scene was indeed real on Thursday morning, as well as since the start of the CF Montreal season. Despite a few sessions at his usual Nutrilait Center in recent weeks, Laurent Courtois’ men are once again forced to train at the Marie-Victorin sports complex due to the winter conditions of this early spring in the metropolis and, above all, , of an Olympic Stadium unavailable.

We arrive just as the players are leaving the bus, entering through a door leading directly onto the synthetic pitch of the enclosure. In the stands, a few onlookers who came to watch the scene, a handful of journalists, and carefree passers-by, some enjoying one of the excellent pastries produced by the café installed right next to the playing surface.

Yes, we allow ourselves a positive review of this chocolatine, enjoyed with gusto at the same time when we saw Matías Cóccaro bothered by a small physical problem in one of his legs. He will spend the entire session jogging around the field, without participating in his teammates’ exercises. Luckily, the Uruguayan striker, who scored two penalty goals in the 4-3 defeat in Chicago, still has a week and a half to recover.


Matías Cóccaro was injured during the 4-3 defeat in Chicago on March 16.

CF Montreal has this weekend off, unlike several other teams in the league, as five of its players left to join their national teams. Samuel Piette, Mathieu Choinière, Jonathan Sirois and Joel Waterman, summoned by Canada, have an appointment with Trinidad and Tobago for a crucial match this Saturday. Ariel Lassiter was recalled by Costa Rica to play an important Central American rivalry duel against Honduras in the Nations League.

So, these pillars of the team are missing this week. Which probably explains why assistant coach Laurent Ciman, still visibly in great shape at 38, took part in a few exercises with the group of players. We even saw the venerable Eduardo Sebrango, at almost 51 years old, put on a bib and exchange the ball with his flock during sequences of offensive play.

We talk about it as a good-natured, no-pressure workout, but that’s not quite the case. Because Mason Toye feels pressure. The American is one of, if not the lowest ranked attacker on Laurent Courtois’ chessboard currently. In front of him, Jules-Anthony Vilsaint, Sunusi Ibrahim, Josef Martínez and Matías Cóccaro are raking in every minute. It seems like every missed shot in practice pushes Toye out of the lineup. He also seems to have this impression: he let out some very audible curses, almost tearing his jersey, at the end of one of the game sequences.

Meanwhile, Lassi Lappalainen ended his session prematurely, finishing it sitting aside with a fitness trainer, doing some fitness exercises on the floor. The story does not say, for the moment, if he has just walked away from a return to the game again, having not played since last October.

Time is moving forward, it’s almost noon. A group of noisy young teenagers come and sit to the right of the journalists. They call out to one of the CFM staff members on the ground, who ignores them.

Midday strikes. The end of training is whistled, even though the players had just started a new sequence of play. An amateur soccer player is on the surface. Then another. We understand that the period of rental of Marie-Victorin by the CFM has ended. The only professional club in Montreal driven from the only field available to it.

The teenagers take their turn jumping onto the playing surface. They too have their half of the field rented. So that was why they were disturbing the CFM while he was playing, a few minutes earlier.

“No need to change”

We quickly organized the press point at the edge of the surface. Gabriele Corbo arrives, accompanied by physiotherapist Alessandro Marconato so that he can translate the Italian’s words.

The few days off since the heartbreaking defeat against Chicago “felt good,” he said, after emphasizing his disappointment at “not being able to come back with the three points.” He cites the same reasons listed by his head coach on Saturday evening, namely “the first goal being offside”, and the referee who “didn’t really help them”.

Are there now tactical adjustments to be made, or is the end of the match in Chicago not representative of the work as a whole?


Gabriele Corbo

We don’t need to change. We are developing a good style of play, and we are improving every day.

Gabriele Corbo

After Corbo, Nathan Saliba sits in front of the microphones. The two players agree on this in particular: the group can learn much more from this defeat than from the victory which slipped through their fingers.

“We know we weren’t lucky, we know we have to bounce back very quickly,” submits the Quebec midfielder. There’s no point in focusing on losing. We look at the pros and cons of the match. (…) There are several small technical things that we must improve on our side for the end of the match, especially when we have the advantage. »

The short media availability ends abruptly: the CF Montréal bus is ready to resume the approximately 30-minute route leading to the Nutrilait Center.

Winter-weary citizens, have no fear, you are not the only ones impatiently awaiting the return of warm weather.


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