Sour Start To The 401 Derby

FC Montreal Drops Inaugural Game Against TFCII

Photo Hussein Abdallah

Montreal has a new reason to hate Toronto. Toronto FCII and FC Montreal, minor affiliates for their respective Major League Soccer clubs Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact, are new clubs that play in the United Soccer League. Both teams were going head to head in their all-new rivalry, known as the 401 derby. However for FC Montreal, it was Toronto FCII who earned a victory in their first encounter, winning 2-0 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

The visitors took an early lead after a goal from Marcos Nunez, as he redirected a free kick from his captain, Mo Babouli. TFCII added their second goal in the second half through an own goal that went off FC Montreal defender John Dinkota.

FC Montreal saw most of their quality offensive chances go through midfielder Yacine Ait-Slimane. He used his speed down the right flank and gave a great over the top pass to forward Victor Ndiaye, who, unfortunately, hit the post in the first half.

“My ball control was good, my shot was good, maybe if I put enough power it would have changed something,” Ndiaye said. “When I think about it, I’m disappointed. On the rush I told myself it was okay, that we’re in the game, but now post-game I tell myself that it could have changed something.”

Defending set pieces were also issues for the new Montreal squad.

“Obviously yes, especially the bad decisions in the box,” stated head coach Philippe Eullaffroy. “Even if we’re working on it, it’s a decision that the players have to make as fast as possible and [against Toronto FC II] we reacted too slowly.”

Meanwhile, it was Babouli from TFCII who stood out in front of the hundreds who showed up at the Olympic Stadium.

His Zinedine Zidane-esque spin to fool defenders ignited Toronto soccer fans on Twitter. Later in the first half, his free kick landed in Montreal’s penalty area, and onto the foot of Nunez, leading to TFCII’s first goal of the game.

FC Montreal’s issues in the penalty area did not stop in the second half. At the 71st minute, winger Raheem Edwards rushed down the left flank and crossed a ball that was kicked in by FC Montreal defender John Dinkota for an own goal.

“I couldn’t really do anything,” said Dinkota. “Post-game, I feel a lot of frustration and disappointment, but it was unlucky.”

Following the match, Ndiaye felt his team needed to develop an appetite for scoring goals.

“To make a difference we need to be hungry,” explained Ndiaye. “When we come into the box, we have to feel the need to score in the last 6 meters. We need to cut in front of players and believe.

“This was a problem we also had last year when we played in the [Premier Development League]. We only need to change our mindset.”

A familiar face on Montreal’s side was young midfielder Louis Béland-Goyette, who was on the Impact’s MLS roster until he was told two days ago that he would spend the 2015 season with FC Montreal.

Starting from the bench, Béland-Goyette brought up his team’s play when he was called upon at the 63rd minute. He created chances and was very active on FC Montreal’s attacks. Despite this, the 19 year-old was critical on some parts of his game:

“Personally, I could have lost a lot less balls, ball control is very important. It’s a stat that I look at a lot,” explained Béland-Goyette. “In terms of creating chances though, I don’t think I did badly in the 20-25 minutes I played.”

Béland-Goyette also felt there was a comparable difference between the levels of USL and MLS.

“Physically, technically, from the match I played in New England [against the Revolution] there was a big, big difference,” he said.

“When you play at a higher level, of course the play will be quicker. We have to tell ourselves that we’re playing 11 men against 11 other men,” said Ndiaye. “We have to stop saying that the level is higher and that the play is quicker, it’s okay now. I’m not a fan of that argument.”

FC Montreal’s next game is on Saturday April 11th, where they will welcome the Rochester Rhinos at Saputo Stadium.