Bernardeschi scores three goals as rampant Toronto FC thumps CF Montreal 5-1

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — After a 5-1 thumping of an injury-ravaged CF Montreal on Saturday, Toronto FC’s Italian duo of Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne had the honour of leading the Viking Clap, banging the drum in front of the fervent fans in the south stands at BMO Field.

There was plenty to celebrate.

Bernardeschi had a hat trick, boosting his goal total to seven in his last four games after being blanked for 19 outings. Insigne, captaining the side in his first start since March 23, had a pair of assists.

And most importantly, a lopsided win over rival Montreal,

“For us, it was very important tonight — for the city for the fans, for the team,” Bernardeschi said in English.

And with the win, Toronto (7-6-1) matched its entire points total of last season — when it finished last in Major League Soccer at 4-20-10 — with 20 games remaining.

“They put a hell of a shift in,” said Toronto coach John Herdman.

The same cannot be said for Montreal, which trailed 3-0 after 19 minutes and didn’t score until it was down by five.

The stylish Bernardeschi, sporting new bleached cornrows, scored in the 12th, 58th and 60th minutes on a night Montreal fans will want to forget. Matty Longstaff and Prince Owusu also scored for Toronto (7-6-1) before a jubilant announced crowd of 28,261.

Down 5-0, Sunusi Ibrahim pulled one back for Montreal (3-7-3).

Montreal’s lengthy injury list included Matias Coccaro, Raheem Edwards, Ousman Jabang, Lassi Lappalainen, Josef Martinez, Mahala Opoku, Nathan Saliba and Mason Toye.

Those who were healthy opened the game in a much slower gear than Toronto.

Coming off a mid-week 3-1 defeat at the hands of visiting Columbus, Montreal has now lost four straight in league play and won just one of its last 11 outings (1-7-3) in all competitions.

And Montreal has now conceded 31 goals in 13 games — and 15 in its last four league outings.

Montreal’s Joel Waterman did not mince words after the lopsided defeat, wondering what went wrong.

“I don’t know why the humility left. I don’t know why the desire left and the compete level left. … For some reason it’s gone away and we need to get back to it,” said the Canadian centre back.

“But if it doesn’t come from inside the locker-room and with the players, it doesn’t come from anywhere,” he added.

Waterman defended first-year coach Laurent Courtois.

“It’s not his fault,” he said. “It’s not up to him to motivate us. It’s up to him to coach us and he’s been doing a hell of a job of doing that. … I still trust in his…

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