ZBG’s constant progression

Montreal full-back looks set for breakout season

A few days before the Club took on Nashville SC, defender Zachary Brault-Guillard spoke to the media via Zoom to discuss the upcoming match. He was asked about his personal objectives this season, and whether one of them was to finally score a goal.

“I have lots of objectives, and I think it’s about time I scored a goal, especially with all the opportunities I’ve been able to create these past two seasons,” said Brault-Guillard. “Why not this year, I truly hope so. If I can be more dangerous in my actions when I move forward, it’s better for the team. But what’s most important is for me to be good defensively.”

A few days later, he did this.

The young full-back also recorded two assists in the opening game of the season, matching his tally from the two previous seasons after just 90 minutes of play. He now sits at the top of the league’s assists leaderboard and was named to the league’s Team of the Week after both of our games to start the season.

“I’ve adapted more and more to the league,” said Brault-Guillard. “I know more what my qualities are and I’m much more aware of what the role is about. I’m constantly thinking about where I should best position myself to be useful for my teammates, so that I can receive the ball and give it back. I defend a lot, but offensively, I have a lot of freedom.”

Fulfilling his potential

When Zachary Brault-Guillard first arrived from Lyon’s Academy before the start of the 2019 season, I remember being excited. Here was a defender that fit the modern full-back profile; solid defensively, but with the ability to contribute offensively regularly during a 90-minute contest. The potential was there for him to be a dominant starter in the years to come.

Fast-forward to the present day, and that’s exactly where Brault-Guillard is heading. After backing world class right-back Bacary Sagna during the 2019 season, Brault-Guillard started 19 games in 2020, becoming increasingly comfortable in a position that has become so important in modern-day football.

Two games into the 2021, ZBG has a firm grip on the position in Wilfried Nancy’s 11, but he knows more than anyone how quickly things can change in this sport. Homegrown defender Clément Bayiha is right behind him on the depth chart, eager for his opportunity to show his worth.

“Zach has competition this year and he needs to have that competition,” explained head coach Wilfried Nancy. “It stimulates players in the right way. He’s been showing us things we want to see more often. We’re very familiar with his quality. He needs to continue working like he has and to continue to stay focused for long periods of time. When he’s able to do that, he performs extremely well.”