TORONTO – Neither losing 2-1 to their dearest rivals Toronto FC as part of Heineken Rivalry Week, nor dropping below the playoff line, were on the list of things that Wilmer Cabrera wanted to experience in his first match at the helm of the Montreal Impact, but in defeat he saw plenty to work with going forward.
“We have very positive things from throughout the game, that we need to grab, we need to take, for what is coming,” said Cabrera post-match. “We were aggressive, but we have to continue being aggressive. When we were, when we moved the ball quick, we created options, we were good, we dominated. Can we translate that into more attacking?”
Having taken over from Remi Garde on Wednesday, the new coach had just days before the Rivalry Week clash with Canadian foes and Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs race opponents, TFC. Already, he has pressed his message.
“He wanted to change the mentality of the players a little bit,” said midfielder Ken Krolicki. “Wanted us to push a little bit higher and be confident. We only had two training days with him, so to absorb everything he wanted us to do is a little hard, but we did a good job for the majority of the game.”
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“It’s difficult to play in this environment, away against Toronto FC – it’s not an easy game,” added Krolicki. “We did well for the majority, just the last part of the game we missed.”
The match also saw another first for Montreal, as Bojan Krkic played his first complete match for the club and scored his first goal, ripping a shot past Quentin Westberg to give his side the lead come the 49th minute.
Cabrera liked what he saw of the FC Barcelona product: “Really talented player: The personality, the quality when he receives the ball.”
“His movement, he’s still trying to get the rhythm, but today, first time he played 90 minutes in five months, shows his quality, shows how important he is going to be for the team moving forward,” continued the coach. “When we needed him, he’s been showing up, which is important for the mentality of the team.”
Scoring never gets old, and Bojan’s face said it all.
“I play football because it is my life. It makes me happy and when I score, even more,” said Bojan. “Today, we lost, for me the most important is to score goals, to try to win, to help the team. I’m happy because I scored, but, in general, I’m not happy because we lost.”
With five of their six remaining matches at Stade Saputo, Cabrera intends to use what he learned from this match to urge his side forward to the postseason.
“I had a better idea about the players today, about the qualities, capacities, and ideas being there,” explained the coach. “I don’t see anything that I dislike in any aspect, it was a good effort, good disposition, mentally and physically to work.
“Two days of practice and they responded well,” he added. “We need to improve, need to be better offensively in the second half. We have to create more options and take more risks. That’s the goal. Now, at home, we need to be sure we take more risks because we have to get points.”