MONTREAL — CF Montreal allowed two valuable points to slip late against Inter Miami on Saturday, settling for a 2-2 Major League Soccer draw at Stade Saputo.
Romell Quioto scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season for Montreal (12-8-4), while Gonzalo Higuain continued his excellent form for Miami (9-10-6) with Emerson Rodriguez providing a dramatic late equalizer.
Quioto became only the fourth player in the club’s history to score at least 10 goals in a season, joining the likes of club legends such as Ignacio Piatti, Marco Di Vaio and Didier Drogba.
“I’m incredibly proud and honoured (to be in that kind of company),” said Quioto. “When I came here, I was ready to work, and I wasn’t going to let the club or the supporters down. I want to keep doing what’s best for the club.”
Montreal dominated possession in the opening minutes, probing at Miami’s back line until a beautiful ball from Samuel Piette — that has become his specialty — found Quioto at the back post, opening the scoring.
Before the stadium announcer was done calling the goal, Miami struck back. A beautiful through ball from Alejandro Pozuelo found a streaking Higuain who made no mistake.
Montreal — seemingly unfazed by Miami’s immediate response — continued to dominate possession, pinning the visitors in their own third. It took another deadly ball from Piette just before the 20th minute to open them up, finding Mason Toye’s head at the back post.
“The first time I played (that kind of ball) it was close and the second time as well, but now it’s starting to get perfected,” said Piette. “Teams are starting to adapt to it and are changing their shape so we can’t get the ball in as often, but that now opens up other angles and we can explore different plays.”
This time, the shot deflected off Christopher McVey’s arm resulting in a penalty awarded by VAR that Quioto calmly dispatched.
Montreal continued to dominate the ball well into the second half but couldn’t find the final ball or touch to put the game out of reach.
“Sometimes you think a little too collectively or you overthink certain scenarios, but at the end of the day you just have to finish the chance,” said head coach Wilfried Nancy. “We had all the opportunities, we just had to stick the final nail in.”
The best chance of the lot came when Djordje Mihailovic played a perfect ball into space for a cutting Lassi Lappalainen, whose heavy touch saw the chance disappear.
This would come back to haunt them with 10 minutes left as a Miami counter and ensuing scramble saw Rodriguez sneak home a late equalizer.
While losses for both Philadelphia United and New York City FC mean that Montreal could have closed the gap on the top two even more, they aren’t seeing it as a missed opportunity.
“You can think a lot of things when you focus on the ‘what ifs’ but this is a draw,” said Nancy. “We could have won the game, but we didn’t so now we have Houston to focus on.”
Both teams are back in action on Aug. 13 as Montreal heads to PNC Stadium to play the Houston Dynamo, while Miami hosts NYCFC at home.