CF Montreal-Fire Preview
Raphael Wicky never had any doubt over Djordje Mihaliovic's quality, but the Chicago Fire coach has no regrets over trading the midfielder to CF Montreal.
Mihaliovic has scored twice for Montreal, though the Fire would overtake Wilfried Nancy's team in the Western Conference should the win on Saturday.
Asked if he regretted allowing the USA international join Montreal, Wicky said: "Look, there was never a doubt in Djordje's qualities. We never doubted that."
Wicky even suggested it was Mihaliovic's wish to move away from his hometown team.
"I think (sporting director) Georg (Heitz) has said that the club made him an offer. We wanted to keep Djordje here but I don't really need to go deep into that now. At the end of the day, I think both parties decided that it's time to part ways and to go," he added.
"But we have never doubted in Djordje's quality. Djordje has always shown his qualities here. He's a good player. He has offensive talent and he shows that here and he shows it again in Montreal. I am not surprised about that. But we all made the decision together and we stick to that decision. There's no regrets. That's football."
Montreal, meanwhile, head into the contest having extended Nancy's contract through 2022, with the Canadian club having looked impressive at the start of the season, although they have lost three of their last four games.
"I'm making this decision now because I see the work he puts in every day, the playing philosophy during games, as well as the relationship between the players and the coaching staff, which has been very positive since day one," sporting director Olivier Renard said. "I am confident for the future."
Chicago Fire - Luka Stojanovic
Luka Stojanovic has scored the Fire's last three MLS goals. The last player other than Stojanovic to score for the Fire was Robert Beric, who netted five minutes into the season.
CF Montreal - Djordje Mihaliovic
Whatever the reasons behind his departure, Mihaliovic - a key figure in Nancy's preferred 3-5-2 system - will be determined to turn on the style against his former club.
- An MLS-high seven different players have recorded at least one primary assist for Montreal this season.
- Rommel Quioto (three) is the only Montreal player with more than one primary assist having made the last pass for the club's last two MLS goals.
- Montreal have won only one of its last six games (D2 L3) after opening the season with a win, though that victory came on the road, a 2-0 victory at Inter Miami on May 12.
- The Fire ended an 11-match winless run with a 1-0 victory over Inter Miami on Saturday. Chicago have never gone 12 matches without a win in the club's MLS history.
- The Fire have lost only one of their nine home matches against Montreal (W5 D3) in MLS play, including winning the last two meetings in Chicago. Montreal have kept just one clean sheet in those nine visits, a scoreless draw in 2014.
Updated May 28, 2021