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CF Montreal part ways with head coach Losada


MONTREAL — CF Montreal fired head coach Hernan Losada and assistant coach Sebastian Setti on Thursday, a few weeks after the Major League Soccer team finished two points short of the playoff cutline.

The search for a new head coach was underway, the club said Thursday in a release.

Montreal finished 10th in the Eastern Conference this past season with 41 points and a 12-17-5 record.

CF Montreal vice-president and chief sporting officer Olivier Renard was scheduled to hold a media availability later Thursday.

It's the second straight off-season that Montreal has had to look for a new head coach. Wilfried Nancy, a coach of the year finalist, left the club last December to join the Columbus Crew.

Losada, a 41-year-old from Argentina, took over later that month on a two-year contract with an option for a third. He previously served as head coach of D.C. United in 2021 and 2022.

His successor will be Montreal's 10th head coach since the team entered the league in 2012.

Losada’s side was eliminated from the playoffs after losing 2-1 to Nancy’s Crew and watching the New York Red Bulls beat Nashville SC 1-0 with a stoppage-time penalty on MLS Decision Day — the final day of the regular season.

The loss to Columbus capped a run of one win, three draws and five losses in Montreal’s last nine league matches, claiming just six of 27 available points.

Montreal struggled on the road all season, finishing the campaign with a 2-13-2 record. Only last-place Toronto FC was worse, going 0-13-4.

The club’s 36 goals this season also ranked tied for fourth-last in MLS, as last season’s top scorer Romell Quioto played just 13 games.

"I’ll be as honest as I can, even if we would’ve made the playoffs, my answer would still be that I’m not satisfied with what I saw on the field this season," sporting director Olivier Renard told reporters at an end-of-season media availability.

“There were some very good moments … but the problem is we only played half the season. Away from home, we were non-existent both in terms of personality and style of play."

Montreal began the season with three points in its first seven games — the worst start in the club’s MLS history.

Losada’s men then turned things around with seven wins, two draws and three losses in their ensuing 12 games to put themselves firmly in the playoff picture before steadily sliding down the standings in the latter half of the season.

Under Nancy in 2022, Montreal finished second in the East and set franchise records in wins (20) and points (65) before losing in the conference semifinals.

Nancy and team owner Joey Saputo were overheard having a verbal altercation after a loss to Sporting Kansas City in July 2022, leading Nancy to formally ask to leave the club. The team and coach agreed that he'd see out the rest of the year after the dispute.

Although Nancy had one year remaining on his contract, Montreal reached a financial agreement with Columbus during the off-season to allow his switch to the Crew.

Losada, meanwhile, took over a team that had already undergone sweeping changes in personnel before his first day on the job. Key players Djordje Mihailovic, Alistair Johnston and Ismael Koné all moved on to European clubs.

Some players, such as Canadian international midfielder Mathieu Choinière, broke out under Losada while others didn’t thrive in his system.

Designated player Victor Wanyama — a 32-year-old Kenyan with 154 English Premier League appearances — fell out of favour while the club struggled down the stretch. He started once and came on as a substitute twice in the final nine games.

Losada was the league’s youngest active head coach when he took over at D.C. at age 38.

D.C. missed the playoffs by one point in 2021 before starting the season with a 2-4-1 record in 2022, after which Losada was fired.

On top of being viewed as an up-and-comer in the coaching world, Losada also earned a reputation as one of the league’s strictest coaches during his time at United. He required players to do weigh-ins twice weekly.

Before moving to North America, Losada had been manager of the Belgian club Beerschot. He turned to coaching after a 16-year playing career as an attacking midfielder for clubs in Argentina, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Montreal is the 11th MLS team to change coaches this year.