After defeating New York Red Bulls last evening in the final regular season fixture, Impact coach Wilmer Cabrera said his future at the club was not his decision and therefore out of his control.
“What I cannot control, I do not waste energy on.”
“But if it’s me or someone else, the club continues again. We are tools, for the players, for the club. I don’t have any regrets. Within two months to have the possibility to celebrate a title and to put the Montreal Impact again at the international level after a few years when the club hasn’t won a trophy, it is good.”
The feeling throughout the likeable Colombian’s short tenure was of Cabrera being in Montreal as a stop-gap, as unfortunate and harsh as that sounds. You always had the impression that barring success in the Canadian Championship coupled with reaching the MLS Play-offs, he would not be here for long.
The Play-offs were effectively out of reach with two games to play. The new Sporting Director’s arrival was imminent and it will be a surprise to most if Olivier Renard doesn’t already have a coach in mind to lead his Impact revival.
The manner of Cabrera’s appointment had ‘temporary’ written all over it. He arrived swiftly and immediately, because he was available, precisely at the time Kevin Gilmore decided Remi Garde’s time was up, the Frenchman exiting the revolving (or should that be ‘spinning’?) door.
But Wilmer feels he’s been succeeding after a period in which he needed time to get his ideas over to the players.
“I have to tell you that the way we played the last five games, is the way I wanted to play, but it took a little bit of time for us, which is normal.
“If we could have played all the games like the last five games, and by that I mean the two games against Toronto, and the games against LA Galaxy, Atlanta and against the Red Bulls today ....
“We were growing as a team. We were understanding what we wanted to do, and the ideas I wanted to propose to them and they were grasping those ideas.
“We came up short, but we were growing. We came up short with the players, but we won. And it wasn’t just because we were lucky. We won a championship because we were a solid team.”
He also praised the playing staff for their approach, professionalism, and willingness to adapt to his ideas, and spoke of his disappointment at some poor home form in the visits by DC United and particularly FC Cincinnati, a defeat that Cabrera says, ‘still hurts a lot.’
“But it was good today at the end of the season in the locker-room to be able to shake hands and hug them individually. I tried to enjoy every time I came to practise and we had fun and today we can say good-bye in a good way.”
Wilmer Cabrera’s fate now seems certain to be sealed by Olivier Renard. The Colombian never really won the fans over in Montreal, then again he hasn’t been here long enough. And should he depart this fall and not return, Montreal fans will remember his human side and appreciate the near impossible task he was challenged to perform.