Year 3 is an important crossroad to the Montreal Impact as an organization and as a sporting club. Back with an untouched core of players, the Impact will start the 2014 season with yet another coach. Frank Klopas will face the challenge to take a veteran team to another level of performance and consistency.
After three weeks in Montreal, the club flew to Orlando to defend its 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic title. But outside the symbolic trophy, getting match fitness and chemistry will be primordial. As much as it sounds obvious, Klopas will want to implement his brand of football while utilizing the strengths of the team and fully understands its limits.
The spine of the team is untouched from Troy Perkins to Di Vaio, built around a strong offensive-minded central midfield. Defensively, major tweaks are needed and Kounenakis' addition to the coaching staff is no coincidence.
Montreal Impact Pre-Season Games Schedule
|Feb 16th 2014||4:30 pm||Friendly||Orlando City SC|
|Feb 19th 2014||8:00 pm||Disney PSC||U23 Fluminense FC|
|Feb 22nd 2014||6:00 pm||Disney PSC||New York Red Bulls|
|Feb 26th 2014||8:00 pm||Disney PSC||Sporting Kansas City|
|Feb 26th 2014||5:00 pm||Simulated Game||Sporting Kansas City|
2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic Roster
Goalkeepers: Evan Bush , Troy Perkins, Maxime Crepeau , Jason Beaulieu (Academy)
Defenders: Jeb Brovsky, Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Wandrille Lefevre,Amine Meftouh, Eric Miller, Karl W Ouimette, Nelson Rivas, Maxim Tissot.
Midfielders: Hernan Bernardello, Patrice Bernier, Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé (Academy),
George Malki, Calum Mallace, Justin Mapp, Zakaria Messoudi, Blake Smith, Collen Warner, Andres Romero
Forwards: Marco Di Vaio, Victor Ndiaye (Academy) , Sanna Nyassi, Andrew Wenger, Santiago Gonzalez
Talking Points in Orlando
With the late addition of Santiago Gonzalez, Klopas has more offensive tools available to him. Since Di Vaio will miss the first 3 games due to suspension, having options will be key. This applies beyond Di Vaio's period of absence and this will only make the Impact less predictable and more dangerous.
The arrival of Gonzalez also add more options as per formations choices for Klopas. If not formations, called them different looks, as the new manager can now rely on a bigger list of striker/forwards than any other Impact manager ever had.
Different looks means variety, versatility and being less predictable. If the Impact will not be able to create the same surprise as it did ,during the Spring of 2013, it can definitely be more dangerous with more weapons at its disposal.
But let's not forget, the Impact ranked 2nd in Goals Scored in the Eastern Conference, only behind the New York Red Bulls. It's getting scored on that is the Impact's main problem in this simple mathematical function. (49 Goals against with a few blowouts).
This need for a better defensive mindset is not solely relying on the back line but on the whole squad on the pitch. From the pressing of the forwards to the aggressiveness of the midfield, the unit that Klopas wants to built needs to be strong in all aspects of its defensive game.
The Disney Pro Soccer Classic will offer a sampling of things to come in the Spring, at best. But after two years together, the Impact players know that the pressure is on their shoulders to prove that the positives of 2013 were not a fluck.