Now that the visitors’ locker room at BC Place has quieted down, hard work can carry on for Montreal.
While Marco Schällibaum, the man, enjoyed winning the Impact’s eighth Voyageurs Cup as much as any Montrealer, Marco Schällibaum, the coach, knows that the direct result of this victory is at least four more games on the schedule.
Effort, Schällibaum reckons, is the foundation of his team’s Amway Canadian Championship triumph. And if Montreal are to better their previous CONCACAF Champions League run, when they reached the quarterfinals, some more of that will be needed.
Match report: Impact qualifies for CONCACAF Champions League
“We’re going step by step,” Schällibaum told reporters after the game on Wednesday. “We’re doing well in the league, we did well in the cup – especially with this win. We must not look too far ahead; football can change quickly. We deserve what we earned, but we have to keep both feet on the ground.”
But it’s not all work and no play for Montreal. While Hassoun Camara was celebrating Schällibaum’s work in preparing the team for their eventual 2-2 away goals win, the Swiss coach was keen to return the favor.
Yes, Montreal were “a bit timid” in the first minutes, and they paid the price with a beautiful Camilo opener. Yes, they did seem unsure of themselves in the attacking third. Yes, their usual “rage” looked gone. But they rallied in the second half and twice came from behind, yet again proving Schällibaum right when he speaks of his team’s resiliency and character.
“I think we once again showed that we’re a very, very good and deserving team,” Schällibaum said. “It all starts with Joey [Saputo, club owner], Nick [De Santis, sporting director] and Matt Jordan [director of soccer operations], but there’s also the staff and – very, very importantly – the players.
“We got lucky from time to time, but we deserve it. We believed until the very end. That’s what I like about this team. They never stop. They deserve this.”