Between an epic Champions League run that ended on a sour note, a roller-coaster ride during the MLS and the DrogBuzz, one would think that 2016 could never match the same level of excitement. But the drama did not stop during the off-season as the Chelsea-Impact-Drogba saga was lived with as much intensity as watching the movie Crimson Tide.
Since, everything seems to have settled in as preseason has started for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir, currently in phase I of its Floridan camp in Orlando.
Club's identity: 100% Montreal
The spine of the club is 100% Montreal. From the president to the fitness coach, the Impact's staff seems to be solely composed of Montreal-based people . Whether this staff member or that staff member is actually from Montreal is secondary. The fact that so many people from inside the club are getting promoted from within is such a huge story, as long as they are competent obviously.
The Academy's fitness coach , Yannick Girard, is now the pro team's fitness coach. The U18 ( Jason Di Tullio) and U16 (Wilfrred Nancy) academy coaches are now working with Mauro Biello and help steer the team towards a new horizon in MLS.
A bit of old, a bit of new but always blue
Didier Drogba is back, some veterans have left other are staying and new recruits have come in to bolster the squad. Whether it's Lucas Ontivero or Pedro Jeanine, new additions are always looked upon with a bit more excitement especially for the Argentinean winger who seems to possess the skills to wreck havoc and replace Justin Mapp and Dilly Duka (can he replace both?)
A couple of stories are happening during the Impact's pre-season camps including
- A bottleneck in the middle of the pitch (again!!). With the departure of Nigel Reo-Coker, there are a good half-dozen players that will fight for 3 positions, right Nicolas?
- Which "young" academy/FC Montreal will make the team to start off the 2016 MLS season? With Riggi and Gagnon-Laparé being very close as they try to make the pro squad, will the staff give a chance to local "homegrown" players?
- Can Didier Drogba produce the way he did? or at least still surprise MLS teams to lead the Impact closer to the MLS throne?