Didier Drogba's name strikes fear in the heart of MLS defenders. However, realistically, at this point in his career, it's as much a psychological weapon as a physical one. His actual contribution on the pitch have been inconsistent although he compensates for it through is indomitable spirit and leadership.
But le Roi Didier won't be back next season and the Blerim Dzemaili saga could well take another turn and keep him in Europe and not have him join the IMFC in 2017 as many have speculated. So, how should the Impact's front office approach the next season ... one that will be marked by the arrival of two new teams in the league (Atlanta and Minnesota)?
Here are four areas where I think the IMFC should focus their attention in their efforts to improve on the field ... and some might be surprising to many:
- an upgrade in goal ... Bush is a good shot-stopper ... but he remains somewhat more uncertain in his decision making on set pieces and lacks a bit of "élan" in launching play forward ... Can a better choice come from within in Crépeau? Or should they go the international route to snare a top GK?
- a true box-to-box midfielder ... someone adept on both sides of the ball ... Honest players like Bekker and Mallace do their best but can't carry the team when battles are fought in the middle ... Donadel and Bernadello offer good defensive coverage but they won't push forward at the top of the other team's box and pose a threat ... Again, the transfer route appears likely ... unless Dzemaili does land in Montreal ... problem solved in that case ...
- a rangy, speedy ... full-blooded crosser of the ball fullback ... Oyongo, Toia and Dia are respectable MLS players but the team could use a boost on the outside of defense ... in the end, the Impact needs better service in the box from the run of play ... Think Alvas Powell or Ronald Matarrita. Expect to see players move during draft season ... maybe the IMFC could land another fullback.
- Finally, the Impact need cover at the centre back position ... any long-term injury to Ciman or Cabrera would be disastrous in the current set up of the squad. An experienced MLS player coming in could offer some resilience at that critical position.