CF Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy believes his side's Decision Day defeat to Orlando City inspired their 1-0 Canadian Championship final victory over Toronto FC.
A 72nd-minute Romell Quioto strike was enough to decide Sunday's showpiece, delivering silverware and a return to the Concacaf Champions League for Montreal in the process. That they did it against Canadian Classique rivals Toronto will only make the success taste that much sweeter.
The mood at Saputo Stadium was far more jubilant than after the final whistle of their 2-0 loss to Orlando on the last day of the MLS regular season two weeks ago - a result that meant they missed out on the MLS Cup Playoffs,
“The players deserved to make the playoffs,” Nancy said of their Decision Day collapse. “We were close but a little bit far because we didn’t manage the moment of the game well [against Orlando] and we need to learn about that. Hopefully, next year is going to be better.”
But Nancy believes that "failure" was the key to Sunday's success, teaching his side some valuable lessons in game management and dealing with adversity.
“We need failures like this to improve,” he said (via MLSsoccer.com). “I’m pretty sure that we won this game because we also had the opportunity to play a game two weeks ago against Orlando and that’s why we managed the game a little bit better.”
Sunday's cup final success marked the end of what Nancy believes was a positive first season as Montreal head coach. The Frenchman was particularly "proud" of the way his side stuck to their principles and style of play throughout 2021, even as the window to the Playoffs continued to narrow.
“I’m really, really proud because I tried to instill a culture of growth but also with a desire to win,” Nancy added. “I know that it’s a process but today I am really happy because we won and we played the way I want to see my team play.”