Can Montreal End Canada's Five-Year Wait for an MLS Champion?

With the new soccer season kicking off, it would be interesting to see if Montreal can End Canada's Five-Year Wait for an MLS Champion.

Staff Reporter
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Can Montreal End Canada's Five-Year Wait for an MLS Champion? | Sportz Point

Not for the first time in recent years, Montreal have been left carrying the flag for Canadian soccer in the MLS.

Toronto's wretched start to the 2022 campaign has all but ended their hopes of bringing the MLS Cup north of the border – despite the marquee signings of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi – while the Vancouver Whitecaps have an outside chance at best of gatecrashing the play-offs.

But Montreal look mathematically assured in their quest for a playoff berth, and that would represent a major step forward under head coach Wilfried Nancy given that Le CFMTL have only reached the postseason extravaganza in the MLS once in the past five seasons.

In 2017, Toronto ended Canada's long wait for an MLS Cup victory, and since then it has been disappointment after disappointment for soccer fans north of the border.

So can Montreal bring an end to their – and Canada's – lengthy hoodoo in North America's premier competition?

All Hail Djordje

Montreal's roster is made up of quality operators from overseas (Victor Wanyama, Rudy Camacho, Lassi Lappalainen), gnarled MLS veterans (Romell Quioto, Kei Kamara) and impressive Canadians that have stepped up through the ranks like Alistair Johnson and Joel Waterman.

But it's a player that doesn't fit into any of those categories that has perhaps advanced Montreal more than any other this term. Djordje Mihailovic has scored seven goals and assisted three more in an already stellar campaign in midfield, and the fact that Montreal have been able to prevent clubs in Europe from snapping him up – so far, at least – ensures their hopes of challenging for the MLS Cup remain intact.

A call-up to the US national team seems a formality – perhaps, who knows, in time for the World Cup in November and December, and that is a goal that will surely push Mihailovic to new heights in the remaining weeks of the season.

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California Dreaming

When you look at the teams at the head of the MLS Supporters Shield table, there isn't a great deal for Montreal to fear in the likes of Austin, New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas. New York City have lost the prolific Valentin 'Taty' Castellanos to Girona in Spain – he had scored 32 goals in his last 49 appearances in the Big Apple, and in truth is bordering on the irreplaceable - which is a huge blow.

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Therefore, there is a growing case for Montreal to upset the odds, especially as those looking to enjoy the best online betting in Canada can back Montreal at +2000 to win the MLS Cup, which could be good value. However, Philadelphia are also commanding plenty of interest at +700 given that they won five games out of six in July, including 6-0 and 7-0 victories in amongst that fine collection.

And then there's Los Angeles FC, who topped the Supporters Shield table before Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini had even stepped foot on the Banc of California pitch. Those new signings are monumental for their new employer but for the MLS as a whole – Bale remains a world-class talent while Chiellini won the European Championships with Italy barely a year ago.

It fortified LAFC's hopes for a maiden MLS crown, and they will surely take some stopping from here. But one thing's for sure… Montreal won't relent in their pursuit of a first major victory either.

Mls Gareth Bale