There’s plenty of optimism heading into the MLS season. At seasons end, the Impact finished at an abysmal 9th place in the Eastern Conference. However, the Impact turned a new leaf by completing numerous minesweeping moves on the field and in the Impact’s brass. Montreal is in a prime position to have a strong showing next season under the tutelage of Remi Garde.
Mauro Biello’s team is now, a thing of the past. The former Olympique Lyon and Aston Villa manager have done everything possible to put his everlasting stamp on the team. The blockbuster trade involving Laurent Ciman that sent shockwaves across the MLS was only the start of Remi Garde’s productive takeover.
The flurry of transactions in the January transfer window was a resounding success for Garde. Remi Garde secured the services of former Inter Milan midfielder, Saphir Taider, as well as Jeisson Vargas, Michael Petrasso, and Zakaria Diallo. He also acquired Jukka Raitala, Raheem Edwards, and Clement Diop before the transfer window. Remi Garde transformed his team by inducing speed, versatility, and experience in his lineup.
However, the main concern heading into the campaign is the Impact’s woeful defense. Last season, the Impact’s defense was mediocre. Remi Garde will need to find solutions to improve the Impact’s ability to defend considering that they’ve conceded the 5th most goals in the MLS the seasons prior. The consistent lapses of defensive concentration ultimately sunk the Impact’s hope of making the playoffs.
Zakaria Diallo and Jukka Raitala will certainly aid the defensive situation. The French native is incredibly strong on aerial duels (a major weakness that has plagued the Impact the past few seasons) and has decent distribution/control of the ball. Jukka Raitala is dependable defensively, he generally plays crosses and long balls. He will help to fill the current void at the left back position.
The Impact has room for another designated player. It’s conceivable that the Impact will fill that extra slot during the Summer transfer window. The options are tantalizing.
The Montreal Impact undoubtedly have a good chance to contend for a playoff spot this season. They have dependable star midfielders in Saphir Taider and Nacho Piatti, young hopefuls in Jeisson Vargas, Raheem Edwards, Michael Petrasso, Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Louis Beland-Goyette among others who can compete for a starting-11 role. There’s a lot to like about this year’s impact squad. If Remi Garde can get the offense and defense firing on all cylinders, this team will be lethal on all facets of the game.
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