Photo courtesy FC Cincinnati
When FC Montreal hit its highs, the level of talent within the squad was evident, but for a second consecutive season a slow start that was marked by the side’s inexperience meant a playoff berth was too far out of reach when the club finally hit its stride.
The season did include the landmarks of the first two players to make the move from the team to the Montreal Impact, with solid midfielder David Choiniere and exciting forward Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla both being signed to Homegrown Player contracts, while others coming through the system show great promise for the future.
Record: 7-21-2, 23pts
Place: 14th in the Eastern Conference
Goals For: 35
Goals Against: 57
USL Cup Playoffs: N/A
2016 leaders: Anthony Jackson-Hamel (9 goals), Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla (5 assists), Maxime Crepeau (67 saves)
Montreal was consistently bright going forward, particularly after the return from injury of Anthony Jackson-Hamel, who finished the season with nine goals in 15 appearances and earned a call-up to the Canadian National Team. Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla also impressed in his first professional season, and the side also notched a pair of impressive wins against playoff side the Charleston Battery.
Montreal was competitive in almost all of its games, but it was punished harshly for the defensive mistakes that were too commonplace in the first half of the season. One-goal losses on the road against the likes of the Rochester Rhinos, FC Cincinnati and Charlotte Independence – all top-five finishers in the East – saw the side compete strongly, but also have opportunities fall by the wayside through missed assignments or poor decision-making.
Jimmy-Shammar Sanon’s blast to give Montreal a 2-1 victory against the Charleston Battery not only gave his side a memorable win; it also earned the USL Goal of the Month award for September.
Anthony Jackson-Hamel’s tally in a 3-2 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders exemplified Montreal at its best. Quick passing, and Jackson-Hamel’s ability to find a pocket of space to fire home was a classic finish.
Homegrown signing Maxime Crepeau manned the net most of the season for FC Montreal, and made his fair share of good stops over the season. This diving effort against the New York Red Bulls II was no exception.
Crepeau, who earned his first call-up to the Canadian National Team in early 2016, showed his bravery against Toronto FC II in this save, as he closed down quickly to deny a shot after play had broken down in the penalty area.
“The number one lesson is that it takes time, it takes patience and it takes tolerance. We must believe in the project, as the club side and the side of the players. This is the number one lesson because we had many examples throughout this season that proved that the time had its effect, and a nice effect.” – FC Montreal Head Coach Philippe Eullaffroy