The Montreal Impact is not going through a crisis. As it continues to stay winless in 2014, losing 4-0 to Sporting Kansas City is more indicative of the huge gap between both clubs. There is no need to compare two clubs that are at opposite ends. Though the Impact has existed one year longer than KC in North American professional soccer ; but the NASL is not Major League Soccer.
On the one hand, Kansas City is reaping the rewards of a long term sporting project that expresses itself on the pitch quite remarkably. On the other hand, Montreal is feeling the growing pains of a club still looking for an identity on and off the pitch.
One can only talk about crisis at the club if the bad start to the season was not foreseen, fully or partially. It's as if the Impact forgot the free fall of 2013 and only choose to remember the perfect first-half of the previous season.
As it continues to establish short term objectives, the club will only get short term results. Macro decisions are amalgamated with a need to win right away, at all cost. Unable to keep one head coach for more than one full season, the blame seems to fall on Frank Klopas.
The ex-Chicago Fire technical director/coach would have hoped to enjoy a more mature and energetic squad as his predecessor, Marco Schallibaum, did. His decisions are being scrutinized by fans and media alike, which was expected.
But some questionable decisions have put a doubt on Klopas' grasp of his squad. From benching Patrice Bernier earlier in the season to starting an inexperienced back-line against the 2013 MLS Cup Champions, questions are naturally raised.
But focusing on Klopas alone is a mistake to avoid. With so little time to see a '' Klopas effect'' so early in the season, the Impact's lack of recruiting is catching up quickly. I will not go back on the decisions to re-sign Nelson Rivas or why Santiago Gonzalez has not really played much.
But the club had gaps in key positions and needed to reinforce itself earlier in the offseason, something that management should have seen.
It's as if the Impact is more in a reactive mode than planning ahead for a season that many predicted to be very difficult. The trade for Jack McInerney would have given a bigger boost in January than in March, for example.
Though the key pieces on the field are of high-quality , it is just not enough to survive in a 34-game MLS season. The Perkins-Mapp-Bernier-DiVaio spine was the only thing holding the team together. Depending on Di Vaio was normal but having to win games with high scores is not a viable solution.
It never was, it never will.
As soon as the Impact does not reach a 100% efficiency rate, we witness a 4-0 route. It almost seems that the players were demoralized, at half-time, when Di Vaio missed two golden opportunities to give the lead against a strong KC defence.
But this loss is more than just inexperienced players, tired legs and bad defending. It might just be the wake-up call the club needs to realize that it needs to steer the ship away from stormy waters and think of the future right now.
Whether that means that Klopas will need to leave, a change at the management level or a '' rebuilding'' phase to prepare the next 2-3 years, it's time for the Impact to establish a sporting project. That project has to go beyond ''making the playoffs'', '' playing a technical passing game'' or other soccer/football idioms.
There is no need to share the plan publicly. The pitch will speak for you and show the results of a long-term plan that will give fruits along the way.
This is not a crisis. This is a blessing in disguise.