CF Montréal have had a rough start to the 2023 Major League Soccer season.
After a 2-0 opening-day loss to Inter Miami, CFM failed to pick up a point, or even score a goal, once again last Saturday falling 1-0 to Austin FC.
But Montréal received a major boost ahead of their third game against Nashville SC, with defender Joel Waterman set to make his return from injury.
Coach Hernán Losada updated media on Thursday about the availability of the Canadian international, who has yet to feature in 2023 after suffering an injury in pre-season.
“He is a very important starting player for our team,” Losada told CBC Radio-Canada. “He gives a lot with and without the ball, he can give several instructions to the defence.
“I think he could have played the game in Austin, but we didn’t want to take any risks because it’s the start of the season. We gave him one more weekend to make sure he was 100 per cent.”
Not wanting to take risks with the 27-year-old is understandable given that Waterman was a core component in the Montréal defence last season. The former Cavalry FC defender missed just four of CF Montréal’s 36 regular-season and post-season games in 2022 and his spirited campaign led to a spot on Canada’s FIFA World Cup team in Qatar. The former Canadian Premier League star’s return will be a big boost to Losada’s backline.
However, the injury gods give with one hand and taketh away with the other.
While Waterman’s return has been confirmed, Losada revealed that Samuel Piette is likely out for the Nashville game with a groin injury. The club hasn’t determined a timeline for Piette’s return yet, but he will be a huge miss for the CFM midfield, who have been relying on him for years now.
CFM can’t seem to catch a break, after goalkeeper James Pantemis was ruled out for six weeks following an opening-day injury. Winger Matko Miljevic is also out for two to three months, while winter defensive acquisition George Campbell is yet to return from a pre-season injury.
The club also endured a messy offseason, which included key players leaving, former coach Wilfried Nancy departing, and the lack (so far, anyway) of a new home kit.
Fans, just like veteran Rudy Camacho, may be hoping that the front office can splash the cash to bring in reinforcements to salvage this slow start.