CF Montreal defender Kamal Miller has admitted a feeling of ‘disrespect’ helped motivate his side to victory over Canadian Classique rivals Toronto FC.
Despite Montreal sitting second in the Eastern Conference heading into Sunday’s clash, most of the pre-match focus was on TFC and their star-studded attack of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi.
Indeed, both Italians had found the net within seven minutes, while Insigne completed his brace at the end, but only after Montreal had roared back to take a 4-2 lead.
Montreal outbattled TFC in most departments, winning 54% of their overall duels, taking a 58% share of possession, and generating 2.35 xG to their hosts’ 1.75.
Safe to say that for Montreal, Sunday’s game was personal.
“We felt pretty disrespected that going into this game, all of the questions from media were asking how we were going to cope with TFC when they should have been asking how TFC is going to cope with us,” said Miller.
“We just wanted to come out here and make a statement and prove that no matter what they did in the transfer window, we are still a strong team. We just wanted to fight for that respect tonight and we did that.”
The victory was made even sweeter by the fact that it gave Montreal a clean sweep over TFC for the first time ever in this fixture. CFM have now lost just one of the last seven fixtures against their closest rivals, while they remain second in the East – eight places and 18 points ahead of Toronto.
“It’s one of those [games] that you’re going to remember all your career. It’s a season-defining game,” Montreal wing-back Alistair Johnston said. “I think a lot of groups when you go down two-nil to a team that has such firepower, it can easily get out of hand. We dug in and said it wasn’t going to happen.
“To get another result on the road, a result in Toronto to do the double over them in the MLS is really special. It’s something we don’t take for granted. It just shows what this group is all about.”
With their return to the MLS Cup Playoffs all but confirmed, Montreal face the Columbus Crew at home on Friday in their next match.
Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.