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E is not for Expansion : Different Challenges for the Montreal Impact

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Not since May 5th 2012 have the Montreal Impact been able to win 2 consecutive games in Major League Soccer. Consecutive victories against the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City were top-notch for Montreal. But the biggest challenge for the club was the capacity to take advantage of a winning momentum more than once.

Another string of good results was the trashing of the Houston Dynamo and the Seattle Sounders at Stade Saputo in the month of June. Both wins were separated by a mid-week loss to Chivas USA, a game among many that slipped away. It was a period in which the Impact arguably produced it's best soccer and that was before Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro joined the club.

Some might talk about the hardship of a naive, young and in-experienced expansion team. In the Montreal Impact's vocabulary, the letter E was not brought to you by '' Expansion ''. What would that letter E be? Exasperation, Elation, Epiphany? You could easily take a few relative contrary adjectives and they could all apply, in such a turbulent but exciting season.


In a difficult playoff race, the Montreal Impact is still in it and alongside the New England Revolution and the Philadelphia Union is playing the party crasher. Maybe late to the party, Montreal has gone (and still) going through growing pains in MLS. If harnessed correctly, growing pains come with lessons to be learned, betterment and improvement: Evolution.

Part of the evolution process for the organisation is divided into what is happening on the field and what is happening around the field.

The Marsch Process, or is it?

Jesse Marsch mentions the word '' process '' a lot and I dubbed (and many others also did) the 2012 MLS season for the club : The Marsch Process. A process usually comprises of an input going through a set of activities/tasks to then give an output. What is the exact mechanism/algorithm that Jesse Marsch is using? I cannot speculate on what the man thinks but his actions and words are loud and clear.

Character, discipline, the ''right-fit'' , passion are all part of Marsch's vocabulary that has been heard from players and staff alike. Outside the typical tensions and disagreements within a club, the company line is being followed by everyone in an almost natural way. The world is not made of marshmallows and candies but for a re-birth in MLS with a 20-year history for the Montreal Impact, cohesion is important.

We are bringing ourselves along -- Jesse Marsch

A very general and generic quote that comes back every time also describes the mindset around the team. A mindset that always seems to be part of iterative, recursive process to learn, get better and learn some more. At a higher level, In a bigger picture, we can talk about a canvas or even a framework.

The framework that Jesse Marsch is helping to build is extremely important in a professional soccer league in a North American setting. He is a rookie in the head coach position but is fully experienced in living these hard moments as part of an expansion team, in Major League Soccer.

Maybe we shouldn't talk about a Marsch Process but more of a Marsch framework.

Evolution Up Top

The Montreal Impact as an organisation has also learned some lessons and taught some also in the ongoing 2012 MLS season.

The capacity to admit faults and correct them as quickly as possible is a sign of evolution in a mentality, or mind-set for e.g. Re-structuring some ticket prices to attract more fans at Stade Saputo was a sign of the club admitting Mea Culpa : making changes when changes were needed.

One of the lessons taught by the organisation would be the attractiveness of a organisation with financial means for international talent with a competitive edge. Getting Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Nesta on board might have seemed easy but it's credit to a management team able to sell a project. Having money helps but with only Di Vaio as a Designated Player when you are able to field Ferrari, Rivas , Felipe and Nesta (with non-extravagant salaries) is what we can call creative thinking.

Take it away Beatles!!!

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world