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Under 23’s - Back To The Future

In the wake of the recent announcement, takes a look at the last u23 League fixture undertaken by FC Montreal

An FC Montreal line-up from June 2015...

In 2015 and 2016, Montreal Impact operated its reserve side under the guise FC Montreal, which played in the USL Championship.

From an on-field results perspective neither year was encouraging, but six of the last team to represent the club at this level did see first-team action. Two, Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Jean Yves Ballou Tabla remain part of the current first-team, while Max Crepeau has established himself in MLS, at Vancouver Whitecaps.

Five other players have found their way in Can PL and Kyle Fisher is a regular starter with Birmingham Legion in USL.

In 2015 they finished the 12-team league season in tenth position above only Toronto FC II and Wilmington Hammerheads with a playing record of W8 D4 L16 GF32 - GA46 and 28 points.

Allesandro Riggi in action against Rochester Rhinos at Montreal’s Parc Olimpique in April 2015

A year later (14 teams) they finished rock bottom having W7 D2 L21 GF35 - GA57 and 23 points, two adrift of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Apart from New York Red Bulls II, Eastern Conference winners in FC Montreal’s final year, 2016, MLS reserve teams tended to struggle against the unattached clubs. Orlando finished 8th this year, with Philly and Toronto in 11th and 12th respectively.

That pattern has remained with the Red Bulls finishing best of the attached MLS clubs in 2019 in 6th (by now an 18-team league), while Atlanta United, Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas occupied three of the bottom five spots.

So let’s take a look at the line up for FC Montreal’s last ever league game (ages are current), a 1-3 defeat at home to Penn FC -

Maxime Crepeau (26)
Born Greenfield Park, Quebec. Arguably the most successful member of this line-up. Went on to make 3 MLS appearances for IMFC, 31 in USL for Ottawa Fury and has 30 appearances to date since Marc Dos Santos took him to Vancouver Whitecaps in 2019. He’s currently out of the Cap’s team having sustained a fractured thumb during the MLS-is-Back tournament.
Max is currently a key part of the Canadian MNT squad and has 5 caps to his credit, including three collected this year.

Aron Mkungilwa (24)
Born South Kiru, Zaire. Defender. After leaving the Impact, Aron played 4 league games for Ottawa Fury, before his trail goes cold. Probably no longer in the professional game.

Janouk Charbonneau (25)
Born Gatineau, Quebec. Also a defender and no real trace of any professional involvement in the game after leaving FC Montreal.

Kyle Fisher (26)
Born Easley, South Carolina, USA. Centre-back who suffered a tibial stress fracture just as he was beginning to establish himself in the Impact’s first team. Made 22 MLS appearances for the club, scoring one goal before moving to Ottawa Fury in 2018. He didn’t appear for the capital city side, and was taken to USL’s Birmingham Legion in 2019 by GM Jay Heaps. He was a regular last season with Legion making 25 appearances.

Thomas Meilleur-Giguere (22)
Born Repentigny, Quebec. The second-youngest member of FC Montreal’s last-ever squad and the scorer of the club’s 83rd min consolation goal in the 1-3 home defeat to Penn FC. Thomas joined Ottawa Fury making 58 league appearances and has been active this season in the CanPL’s Island Games appearing regularly for Pacific FC.

Thomas Meilleur-Giguere pictured alongside Francesco Totti in a rare first-team appearance for the Impact in the friendly against AS Roma.

Louis Beland-Goyette (24)
Born Montreal, Quebec. Went on to make 10 MLS appearances for the Impact first-team, before moving to Valour FC for whom he made 21 league appearances in CanPL last season. 2020 saw him move to HFX Wanderers for who he’s been playing in the Island Games.

Jean-Yves Ballou Tabla (21)
Born Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Was the subject of a high profile transfer from the Impact to Barcelona ‘B’, reputed to be worth around $1m to MLS club. The move however didn’t really work out and Tabla moved back to Montreal in 2019. In all he made 30 appearances for Barcelona ‘B’ plus 2 more substitute appearances after being loaned out to Albacete. Since returning to Montreal Impact he’s added 5 more MLS appearances those made before his departure.

He won 2 full Canadian caps in 2018.

Anthony Jackson-Hamel (27)
Born Quebec City, Quebec. Was top-scorer for the FC Montreal squad in its final season with 9 goals. Anthony has remained with the Impact making 58 appearances, many from the bench, for the first team since the folding of FC Montreal, scoring 14 goals. His all-time MLS first-team career stats stand at 76 appearances and 15 goals.

He has been capped by Canada 9 times, scoring 3 goals.

Alessandro Riggi (26)
Born Montreal, Quebec. After leaving Montreal Alessandro moved to Didier Drogba’s Phoenix Rising making 35 league appearances and coring 6 goals. He joined HFX Wanderers in 2020, where he renewed acquaintance with former FC Montreal team-mate Louis Beland-Goyette.

Masta Kacher (24)
Born Montreal, Quebec. Has had several clubs since leaving FC Montreal in 2016. Firstly Colorado Springs for whom he made 32 league appearances, before moving to Real Monarchs (Real Salt Lake’s reserve side) in 2018. There he appeared 38 times over a season and a half, before ending 2019 with 15 league appearances for St Louis.

He joined Valour FC of the CanPL in 2020.

David Choiniere (23)
Born St-Jean-sur-Richeleau, Quebec. Operated in the wide left role in the final game. Of course the brother of current first-teamer, Mathieu, david was the brother who made his first-team breakthrough at the Impact first, eventually appearing in 5 MLS games. Signed for Forge FC in 2019 and so far has 25 CanPL appearances to his credit.

Jimmy-Shammar Sanon (23)
Born Laval, Quebec. Another who was capped at international level after leaving FC Montreal, Jimmy-Shammar has 3 full caps for Haiti. His club football career loses trace after FC Montreal, but that didn’t stop him being named in Haiti’s provisional 40-man squad for the 2019 Gold Cup. He didn’t make the final 23.

Came on as a 58th min sub for Alessandro Riggi in the last match.

Jimmy-Shammar Sanon, who went on to win three full international caps with Haiti.

Heikel Jarras (24)
Born Montreal, Quebec. Appeared regularly as a sub in 2016, and indeed replaced Masta Kacher in the 78th minute of this final USL game. With no club attachment traceable since leaving FC Montreal, appears no longer to be pursuing a football career professionally.

Yacine Ait-Slimane (25)
Born St-Constant, Quebec. Made 19 appearances (8 as a starter) for FC Montreal in 2016. Came on in this final fixture agains Penn FC for Janouk Charnonneau in the 81st minute, along with Lincourt-Joseph, the last subs made by FC Montreal. Another who appears to have dropped out of the professional ranks after FC Montreal, going on to further his football with Concordia at college level in 2017.

Philippe Lincourt-Joseph (25)
Born Laval, Quebec. Part of the final substitution (replacing David Choiniere) made in FC Montreal history (see Yacine Ait-Slimane, above), Philippe, an attacking midfielder, found his way to Portugal’s third tier making 7 league appearances with Fatima in 2017/18. next stop was the CanPl where he appeared in 11 games last season for Edmonton FC, who announced they would not be renewing Lincourt-Joseph’s contract for 2020.

So that’s the story behind FC Montreal’s final squad.

In its two year existence the squad had a few winless runs, none worse than their nine-game losing streak which began with defeat at home to Penn FC (0-5) on the last day of the 2015 season, and ended with a 0-1 home defeat to New York Red Bulls II on 21 May 2016. Eight straight defeats to start the new season!!!

They later improved and went on a four-game winning streak (their best-ever) in August 2016, with a 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh Riverhounds and 4-3 away defeat of Toronto II at opposite ends of the 19-day sequence.

FC Montreal’s record victory was 4-0 over Louisville City on 5 August 2015, and record defeat 0-6 v Penn FC towards the end of that same month.