CF Montreal became the latest team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs with a 2-2 draw at home to the Columbus Crew on Friday night.
After finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference and failing to make the post-season in 2021, few could have predicted Montreal's rise this time around.
However, Wilfried Nancy has overseen a 16-9-5 record so far. That's enough to see Montreal climb to second in the East and third in the overall standings on 53 points, seven adrift of Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC and the Philadelphia Union - the only two other teams secure on the Playoffs so far.
Montreal sealed their spot in the most dramatic fashion on Friday, with 89th and 94th-minute goals from Victor Wanyama and Zachary Brault-Guillard overturning a 2-0 deficit and snatching a point.
“I like to say sometimes that you have to live the moment, you have to live the story. The fans here, they lived it. They lived it,” Nancy said after the match. “Again, 96 minutes, my guys, they didn’t stop. They kept going, and I don’t know – we had the feeling it was possible to do it. So I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but there is a positive energy in this group, a chemistry in this group.”
Though Montreal are one of the more modest spenders in MLS, they still have plenty of individual talent. Victor Wanyama has been among the most consistent midfielders in the league this season, while Romell Quioto's 15-goal return has him on the fringes of the Golden Boot race.
However, it's all about the team ethic for Nancy. Every single player, from star striker to back-up goalkeeper, all pulling toward the same goal.
“My players don’t play with their teammates, they play for their teammates,” he said. “For me, this is a good point, and because this is the way they are, they want to fight for their teammates. This is what they did … so this is something that I’m really, really proud of.”
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