CF Montréal continues to win, but loses Romell Quioto in the process

The Honduran striker set up Djordje Mihailovic for the opening goal in the 45th minute, but then suffered a shoulder injury in the 2-0 victory over Charlotte FC.

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Victories by CF Montréal are starting to become academic. But this latest one might have come at a cost.

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Honduran international striker Romell Quioto left just before halftime with an injury to his shoulder or pectoral muscle – but not before setting up Djordje Mihailovic for the opening goal in the 45th minute – as CFM defeated expansion Charlotte FC 2-0 Saturday night before 33,323 spectators at Bank of America Stadium.

Alistair Johnston added an insurance goal in the 67th for the visitors, who improved to 6-3-2. CFM stretched its undefeated streak to a franchise-record eight games and has not lost in a full two months.

Eleven games in, goalkeeper Sebastian Breza finally produced his first clean sheet of the season while making three saves.

Charlotte had won four consecutive matches at the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, while conceding only one goal, but proved no match for one of the hottest MLS sides. CFM has now scored 20 goals over its eight-game streak. Charlotte’s record dropped to 4-7-1.

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CFM was without suspended Canadian defender Joel Waterman because of an accumulation of yellow cards. He was replaced by seldom-used Italian Gabriele Corbo. Despite Corbo’s lack of activity, he played a sound match, blocking a pair of attempts.

Only four minutes in, Breza went down after being clipped to the face by the boot of Karol Swiderski. He was checked for a possible concussion by a physician, but was allowed to continue.

The visitors had the better scoring opportunities in the first half. In the 15th, Quioto was alone after being fed by Victor Wanyama. His low shot, from just inside the box, was stopped by ‘keeper Kristijan Kahlina. But Quioto undoubtedly would have preferred getting more power behind the strike.

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Johnston’s low left-footer in the 21st was wide. That occurred a minute before Joaquin Torres struck the side of the net with his left-footed attempt.

In the 26th, Johnston delivered a cross for Quioto, but the ball was intercepted by Kahlina. About 11 minutes later, Torres ripped a left-footer from distance over the crossbar.

Moments later, the home side nearly opened the scoring. Andre Shinyashki, who produced the only goal in Charlotte’s 1-0 victory over Inter Miami last weekend, delivered a shot from just inside the box that struck the post to the left of a diving Breza.

Quioto was hobbling with an injury to his lower right leg in the 41st and had to temporarily go to the sideline. Although he returned and set up Mihailovic’s goal, he immediately slumped to the turf with what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury.

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It was Mihailovic’s team-leading sixth goal this season – and one of his easiest – having simply to tap home Quioto’s cross. Quioto was replaced by veteran Kei Kamara.

Early in the second half, hard-luck Finnish midfielder Lassi Lappalainen could not finish – again. He had a glorious opportunity from the left flank, only to shoot side of the far post.

But it mattered little when Johnston put the game away with barely more than 20 minutes remaining in regulation time. His low right-footed strike from just inside the box deflected off the far post and beyond Kahlina. It was his first goal this season and the second of his MLS career.

The match was the first of three CFM will play over a nine-day period. The team plays at Nashville on Wednesday night.

hzurkowsky@postmedia.com

twitter.com/HerbZurkowsky1

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