There weren’t too many who batted their eyelids in Quebec when Montreal Impact announced the signing of Romell Quioto from Houston Dynamo last November. Argentinian defender Victor Cabrera went in the opposite direction, and the Impact was all of a sudden $100,000 better off in allocation money.
It was exactly the type of business Olivier Renard was on-boarded to conduct. I’m unsure just how much the Belgian’s influence came to bear as it was soon after his arrival in Montreal, but if Quioto goes down as Renard’s first significant piece of business, then events so far in 2020 signify a positive start for the Sporting Director.
Things had become difficult for Quioto in Houston with events on and off the pitch catching up with him to the extent the Dynamo were keen to offload.
The fresh beginning in Montreal, despite the stop-start 2020 season, looks like rejuvenating the Honduran international’s career. It may also resolve Montreal Impact’s inherent goalscoring problem. On Tuesday night Quioto claimed his fourth goal of the season, including 3 in just 5 MLS starts.
He might however one day regret letting slip to the media men of his one-time Polish employers, Wisla Krakow, that his team-mates nicknamed him ‘Romantic’, but if he keeps on converting chances in Blue/Blanc/Noir, his love affair with Montreal could get really serious.
After another starring performance Tuesday night in which his thunderous header unlocked the Vancouver defence, Impact coach Thierry Henry was not reluctant to deliver praise and describe his #30’s versatility across the front-line...
“Listen, Romell Quioto can play wherever he wants, on the left, on the right, in the middle. He will give you something. He works hard in the game as you saw. And right now he’s loving the fact that he’s scoring goals.
“Once you taste that, when you have that taste in your mouth, you don’t want to lose it. And he’s starting to enjoy scoring goals.
“But when you look at him he’s a pain in the neck when you play against him. He’s in your face, he’s going to put pressure, he’s going to have a go at you, obviously in the right way and score goals for us.
“I don’t know obviously what happened in his old club. I saw him so many times, playing on the left usually, coming back and trying to shoot, but with his power, with his speed, with his tenacity and obviously now he’s adding goals into it, and obviously he’s being a guy that nobody expected him to do what he did especially as a 9. And he’s doing it, so we are only happy with that.”
Luckily the Impact knew what they were getting in Quioto from a playing perspective. The front man is widely experienced: 47 Honduran caps and 8 goals, including winners against Canada and Mexico and his country’s goal in a 1-1 tie against the US.
Before even coming Montreal he had amassed more appearances (15) in the CONCACAF Champions League than any Impact player in history, scoring four goals, a tally extended when on target for his new club in Saprissa last February.
He’s been a winner too, with top Honduran outfit CD Olimpia, collecting the Clausura Championship in consecutive season 2014, 2015 and 2016. National cup success is also on his CV, with Olimpia in 2015 and with the Houston Dynamo in 2018.
As well as all of that he makes dreams come true. After signing for Houston in 2017 he finally achieved a goal set by himself eight years earlier, the year he earned his first pro-contract, to build his mother a house.
A big-hearted ‘Romantic’ then... if Romell keeps banging in the goals at Stade Saputo it won’t be long before Montreal falls in love too.