The Frank Klopas era has been shrouded in a cloud of negativity and defeat. With only one win to show for in 2014, fans have expressed anger, discontent and a thirst for heads to roll. The Montreal Impact's self-proclaimed biggest fan, Joey Saputo , did not think twice when he expressed his dissatisfaction, following the 3-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, in his own house, Stade Saputo.
Nos supporters méritent mieux. Il y aura des changements, je vous le garantis. Our fans deserve better. Changes will be coming, guaranteed.— Joey Saputo (@JoeySaputo) May 10, 2014
As I said many times here and on Soccer Sans Frontières, the MLS version of the Impact was built on short-term objectives, at least on the pitch.
The club is reaping the short-term rewards of a vague sporting project that includes building the club with an European culture and an European style of play, that seems to include a technical game.
Like I said, vague.
Going back to Joey Saputo's promise of guaranteed changes, the club's options are not infinite and some of them will just not happen. Knowing the passion of the club's president, changes are coming.
Some of them were already planned and the president is using the latest results to give more power to his upcoming decisions. Other changes are still in the process of being dissected and evaluated.
A ship is only as good as its captain and Frank Klopas has not been be able to steer the team away from rough seas. Nine games into the season, the new coach still seems to be juggling around with his lineup. But was Klopas handed bad cards from the beginning?
A recurring theme during the 2014 preseason was the Impact's lack of an Impactful transfer market. The signing of Santiago Gonzalez and Nelson Rivas has neither added depth on the bench nor given significant minutes on the field.
How much time does Frank Klopas needs to built the team to his image? It all depends on how influent he is as the Director of Player Personnel or as I like to call it: The Schallibaum Clause.
Barely into the first year of his 3-year contract, Klopas is going nowhere. As much as Joey Saputo made it clear that he can make it rain and pay as many coaches as needed (still paying for Jesse Marsch and Marco Schallibaum), I doubt that the club will pull the trigger and get rid of another philosopher.
Nick De Santis is the architect of the club and has been under fire. Blamed by the Ultras Montreal for the Impact's problems, his track record has not been the best. He gets credit for bringing in important players like Marco Di Vaio, Hassoun Camara and Matteo Ferrari but has not shown the ability to get new blood on a yearly basis.
Though the trade for Jack McInerney was seen as a good move, it will take time to see JackMac's impact on the pitch.
With a squad that is lacking depth and a purpose on the pitch, the Impact's bad start of the season was predicted by many. This crisis should not be a surprise but it is still shocking to observe how bad is the team performing.
Sources close to the situation have confirmed to MRS that Alessandro Nesta was even considered to come in and join the technical staff. Was it to replace De Santis or work alongside him?
If you remember, during the first annual Members General Assembly, the club did announce that it is considering to create a VP of Soccer Operations position.
#FireDeSantis is doubtful to happen but is Joey Saputo considering to move him within the organization and leave room for others ?
The most likely solution, trading/releasing/signing players is the best tool the club has. It's time for the club to shed itself of bad contracts and under-performing players that cannot evolve within the framework of the club.
The squad is on the older side but some '' younger'' players just don't display enough intensity on the pitch. It's all about the right fit.
This is the best time for the Impact to ask itself the following question: Who do I want on my team when the 2015 season starts?
Expect the club to shed some dead weight and free up some space to be more flexible within the salary cap. Rumors have already suggested that Ignacio Piatti will join the Impact by June-July 2014. An addition of a true offensive midfielder is key to the club.
But the Impact still needs to create a real sporting project beyond just winning games and making the playoffs.
Winning is the result of a plan, not the plan itself.