From Impact to CF Montreal 30 defining moments in club

From Impact to CF Montreal: 30 defining moments in club history

CF Montreal has had a difficult start to the season, but they are celebrating their 30th anniversary this season and a book recounting around thirty moments in the club’s history will put some balm in the hearts of fans.

The analyst Vincent Destouches came up with this idea. From Impact to CF hits bookstores this week and the book is full of anecdotes.

The idea germinated during the team’s 25th anniversary but caught on after the impersonation that divided fans in 2021.

“It was a bombshell that was experienced very well by some and much less well by others. I felt a split with a certain edge from supporters, there was a rupture,” Destouches says during a phone call.

“I had a preliminary list of thirty moments, but it has evolved a lot over time. When I spoke to some people, I heard stories worth telling.”

In his mind, it was important to write this book for the duty to remember it represents, but also to remind that we never would have gotten around to it.

“The club went bankrupt in the early 2000s. It’s important to remember that this club almost disappeared just over twenty years ago.”

Lots of speakers

To build his work, Destouches brought together around forty people who have shaped the history of the club.

In particular, he spoke to Davy Arnaud, Patrice Bernier, Mauro Biello, Nick De Santis, Marco Di Vaio, Valerio Gazzolla, Matt Jordan, Frank Klopas, Jesse Marsch, Djordje Mihailovic, Ignacio Piatti, Nevio Pizzolitto, Cameron Porter, Eduardo Sebrango, David Testo and Didier Drogba.

Drogba spent just over a season with the club in 2015 and 2016 but he was particularly touched by the welcome he received at Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau International Airport on arrival in Montreal.

“Didier told me he didn’t need a lot of attention as people believed he just wanted to feel a connection. The greeting at the airport gave him that connection and he then promised himself to give it to the supporters.

He had scored 11 goals in as many games in 2015, including a hat-trick in his first start at Stade Saputo.


No biography

Vincent Destouches preferred to isolate events that have shaped the history of the club rather than to take stock of those thirty years in chronological order.

“It is extremely difficult to condense thirty years into thirty stories. I didn’t take a biographical perspective.

“You can also choose thirty independent moments without having to tell a whole story. There are some years when there are many stories to tell and others when it is less rich.

The structure of the book ensures that the reader can approach it as he pleases.

“There are several young people who have thrown themselves into the team’s bathroom in recent years. I wanted a book with thirty independent chapters that could be read in any order.

Vincent Destouches, journalist and analyst.

Photo courtesy of François Couture

Vincent Destouches, journalist and analyst.

The unlikely goal

Not surprisingly, Vincent Destouches devotes a chapter to Cameron Porter, the author of a goal that still has Montreal fans dreaming to this day. In the dying moments of the second leg against Pachuca in the 2015 CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals, the young American chest-controlled a long pass from Calum Mallace and then footed a goal that propelled his team through to the semi-finals. The then Impact then reached the final against Club América.

“Porter’s fate is unlikely and so is the destination,” says Destouches. He wasn’t supposed to go to the MLS evaluation camp, he wasn’t invited. He was at the airport on his way home when he received a phone call inviting her. He changed his flight and left [et Montréal l’a repêché en 3e ronde en 2015, ndlr].

“In the training camp he gets cut by Frank Klopas. He spends the evening on the phone with his agent, speaking to the Red Bulls. The next morning, Klopas informs him that Karl W. Ouimette has been freed to make room for him. It all leads to the club’s most memorable and perhaps most important goal.”

And that’s the only goal Porter will score for the bleu-blanc-noir.

Difficult for Testo

Another story touched Vincent Destouches, that of David Testo, who wore the colors of Impact in the second division between 2007 and 2011. The American was the first North American professional athlete to reveal his homosexuality.

“I had a hard time getting hold of him and when I did, I had a hard time convincing him. As I spoke to him, I realized how difficult it was for him. We have no idea how difficult it is for a gay player.

“Above all, he received the title of player par excellence, everyone was present at the gala with their half, he would have liked to have had his wife with him, but it was not possible.”

Testo also told him he had heard from teammates at the airport who insisted they weren’t his roommate because they knew of his sexual orientation.