CS Saint-Laurent against Toronto FC | “It will be a great moment”

Rocco Placentino admits, he has hardly slept since last Thursday evening.

The CS Saint-Laurent sports director initially floated on a cloud of exaltation after seeing his team win against the Halifax Wanderers in the preliminary phase of the Canadian Soccer Championship. It was the first time that a Quebec semi-pro club won against a professional team in this tournament.

However, reality quickly caught up with him. Because thanks to this victory, CS Saint-Laurent, which plays in Ligue1 Quebec, now has an appointment with Toronto FC for the quarter-finals. The first of two duels against the MLS team will take place Wednesday evening at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex. It was therefore necessary to tackle the organization of the event without delay.

Preparing the ground, security, displaying sponsors… The list of tasks is long. “We arrived on Friday, and straight away we started planning for Wednesday’s game. It’s a lot of work. It’s stress, but good stress,” summed up Placentino in an interview with The Press Monday.

One thing is certain, the match promises to be a success at the ticket office. In less than three days, nearly 3,000 seats had already been taken. Placentino expects a crowd of 4,000 to 6,000 spectators in the end.

“The atmosphere will be hot,” he predicts.

Pressure on Toronto

If we gave CS Saint-Laurent the epithet of underdog for their match against Halifax, it goes without saying that it will be even more true when the team finds itself in front of Toronto FC on the field.

But don’t see this as a source of stress for the players. Quite the contrary, in fact: according to them, it is rather the Torontonians who will have everything to prove during this confrontation.

“We really had good preparation. We played friendly matches against pros. It was difficult, but we learned a lot. The pressure is much more on Toronto. They have to win,” said midfielder and captain of CS Saint-Laurent, Wesley Wandje.

“We must not approach the match by telling ourselves that we are going to lose,” he adds. Anything can happen in 90 minutes. And it’s not being big-headed or arrogant to say that. »


CS Saint-Laurent players in training last week

Placentino sees it as an opportunity for his flock to showcase their skills in front of the soccer world. And, in doing so, to prove to fans and an entire generation of players that we can still aspire to the highest heights.

“For them, it will be a great moment. The message is: let young people dream. One day you might play against an MLS team, or turn pro yourself,” he says.

Talent to spare

Seeing Mamadou Kane score the shootout goal that gave CS Saint-Laurent the victory over Halifax, Placentino couldn’t help but think back to how far his organization has come to achieve this historic triumph.

“For a minute, I was frozen, like in shock,” he says. In my head, I was thinking back to where we were when we started in 2012. It’s night and day compared to today. There have been so many changes in terms of structure and talent. »

Placentino also sees in the success of his team further proof that Quebec and Canadian soccer is increasingly full of talent.

“I have been saying for years that there is talent in Quebec. Having just one professional team in Quebec –– CF Montreal – is not enough,” he laments.

The sports director has also been campaigning for a long time to convince the Canadian Premier League (CPL) to establish a team in the province. “It’s not easy, but I’m tough-minded!” “, he says, laughing.

Captain Wandje agrees. He recalls that just last year, at these same Canadian Championships, another semi-pro team, TSS Rovers, defeated a CPL club, Valor FC.

“Soccer is evolving in Canada. There is really quality. The CPL should draw more from Canadian players. There is good talent and it can still evolve,” he argues.

Perhaps very soon, CS Saint-Laurent will mark a new milestone in this great evolution.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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