MONTREAL – Enough with the excuses.
That was Montreal defender Hassoun Camara’s message to the media on Saturday after the Impact dropped their sixth-straight match, falling 2-0 to archrivals Toronto FC in a lackluster performance at Stade Saputo. Saturday’s 401 Derby loss to TFC came just days after Nick de Santis was relieved from his position as Impact sporting director.
“We have everything to succeed,” Camara told reporters postgame. “A great project, a president that invests, a staff that helps us every day and works hard to show us the way. But we come in with that attitude on the field, and it’s not possible. It’s up to us players to own up, to look in the mirror for once, because in high-level sport, we tend to look at coaches, front offices and presidents easily, like it’s the case now.
“We have the quality,” Camara continued. “We showed during a large part of last year that we could be a dangerous team. It’s pretty much the same team, even reinforced, than last year. We have to stop lying to ourselves, not owning up to our status. We, players, have to own up to our status and stop talking about – and even journalists should – coaches, the changes, Nick De Santis, [club president] Joey Saputo. It’s up to us players to look at ourselves and own up to what we’re in this city for.”
Toronto FC, meanwhile, came into enemy territory like conquerors, taking the game on and blasting a first goal 11 minutes in – and the way things were going, it could have been their second already.
According to Camara, despite having what was needed to raise to the challenge, the Montreal players weren’t up to the task.
“They wanted it more than us in the first half,” Camara said. “They came in with a lot of desire, which we didn’t have. That’s what we have to realize, and we absolutely have to question ourselves. Not the staff, not the front office, not the president. The players. If we’re here, it’s thanks of them, and today, we’re not owning up our role.”
That Saturday’s flat performance came against Canadian rival Toronto just drives the dagger even deeper.
“Everyone who’s been here for a while know how important games against TFC are,” added team captain Patrice Bernier. “We just started out flat. … Unfortunately, even after the goal, we didn’t respond despite having some kind of renewed vigor. It’s tough. It’s cliché, but we have to move on to Tuesday [in the CONCACAF Champions League].”