With much of the Montreal Impact off-season buzz surrounding the potential departure(s) of Justin Mapp and Dilly Duka, the deal to bring back Argentine defender Victor Cabrera is quietly flying under the radar. With Cabrera's loan deal set to expire at the end of 2015 the Impact and player have both expressed interest in prolonging the deal.
On Loan from River Plate:
In early January 2015 Victor Cabrera was signed by the Montreal Impact on a loan deal from Argentine powerhouse River Plate. After a horrible 2014 MLS campaign and the departures of Matteo Ferrari, Heath Pearce, and Karl Ouimette the Impact were in a position in which they had to rebuild a significant part of their back four. With the 2015 CONCACAF Champions League looming the Impact had to work quickly to retool the backline, and that is exactly what they did. The club brought in the likes of Donny Toia, Bakary Soumaré, Victor Cabrera, and of course, Belgian International Laurent Ciman. The former River Plate player did not take long to make his mark with the Impact scoring in the Champions League semifinal home leg against L.D. Alajuelense.
Consistency at the Back:
With injuries hampering the backline since the Impact joined MLS, having a player like Cabrera that was relatively healthy during 2015 made a huge difference. Cabrera played in 21 games and started all three MLS playoff games for the Impact. In some ways Cabrera has become the player the Impact were hoping that injury plagued Adrian Lopez would become when they signed him in 2013 from Wigan Athletic. Lopez was brought in at the same time as Hernan Bernardello but after suffering a series of serious injuries he never really factored into the Impact first team. Not wanting to get locked into another deal like they did with Lopez, the Impact elected to proceed with a loan.
Whats the Next Step?
With Cabrera's deal set to expire at the end of the month, the Impact are working hard to bring Cabrera back. The question becomes whether it will be on another loan deal, or a permanent transfer deal. The most recent example of an Impact player on loan before a transfer and permanent deal was completed was Andres Romero. Romero was on loan for two seasons with the Impact before a transfer deal was completed with his Brazilian club Tombense FC. With player transfers involving MLS clubs not as common as in Europe it will be interesting to see how the Impact, Cabrera and River Plate progress with the deal.
A big part of the failings of the 2014 started and ended with the poor backline. The club were not able to strengthen the defence over the off-season and when they tried to patch things with Heath Pearce and Krzysztof Krol it was too little too late. Quality defending is not given much airtime in MLS, however the Impact have found a great duo in Laurent Ciman and Victor Cabrera. A duo that must be reunited in 2016.