CF Montreal’s Alistair Johnston had nothing but praise for teammate Djordje Mihailovic, whose goal and assist lifted Montreal past the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Saturday afternoon.
“If you just watch the game and you’re a fan of the game, you understand that he’s playing at a different level.”
The victory extended Montreal’s (3-3-1) win streak to three matches and undefeated streak to four.
It also served as CF Montreal’s second home opener with it their first game of the season at the outdoor Stade Saputo.
Montreal’s goal scorers were Mihailovic and Romell Quioto while Brian White scored the lone goal for Vancouver (1-5-1).
Montreal wasted no time, scoring shortly after the opening whistle.
Just after the one-minute mark, a perfectly weighed ball over the defence from Johnston found Mihailovic, who scored from point-blank range.
“We’re too shy. Away (from home), we’re always waiting for them to play, and then we play,” said Vancouver head coach Vanni Sartini. “We weren’t up to the challenge for the first 30 minutes. Even if they didn’t have great chances they were deserving to be up.”
Montreal began the second half the same way they started the first, pinning Vancouver back. That pressure yielded the same result as Mihailovic played Quioto in, who doubled their lead.
It appeared as though Vancouver had pulled one back just past the hour-mark through Lucas Cavallini, but the goal was called back when the Canadian was called offside.
The Whitecaps got their goal only minutes later when White pounced on a loose ball in the box, bringing the score to 2-1.
“We slept for the first 15-20 minutes and conceded immediately,” said Sartini. “We cannot afford to give chunks of a game and fall asleep, and we cannot be the team that continues to chase.”
Vancouver continued to press, looking for an equalizer and forcing mistakes from a visibly tired Montreal defence.
“It’s tough not to sit back a little bit once you go two-nil up and that’s something that, with our style of play, can be a little dangerous,” said Johnston. “We like to take risks and play out from the back by keeping teams on edge and if we stop doing that we can get pinned in.”
In the 93rd minute, it seemed as though the Whitecaps had snatched a late equalizer with a Tosaint Ricketts header, but the goal was once again reversed due to offside.
“After the 20th minute of the second half, I didn’t like it at all,” said Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy. “But we’ll take the win.”
Montreal will now head back on the road to face off against Philadelphia Union on Apr. 23 while Vancouver visits Austin at Q2 Stadium.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2022.