Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MLS2012: Montreal Impact

Our final stop in Canada takes us to league newcomers Montreal.  That's right, now when you plan weekend getaways to the Frenchest city in North America to gorge yourself on wonderful, wonderful poutine, you can also catch an MLS game!

Home Stadium: Saputo Stadium Montreal, Quebec

Major Additions:
Donovan Ricketts (GK) - Los Angeles Galaxy
Nelson Rivas (D) - Dnipro
Matteo Ferrari (D) - Besiktas
Justin Mapp (M) - Philadelphia Union
Davy Arnaud (M) - Sporting KC
Andrew Wenger (F) - 1st overall pick in SuperDraft
Justin Braun (F) - Chivas USA
Player To Watch
With over 200 appearances and 40 goals for Kansas City, Arnaud is the most experienced MLS player on the squad and should play a big role in the midfield.  Arnaud isn't extremely flashy but he is a talented player and will be important to the team both on the field and in the locker room.

Expansion teams generally have solid attendance, and the Impact should be no different.  Judging from their time in the second division, support should be good.  Montreal fans were always solid, and existing supporter groups, including Ultras Montreal and the newer 127 Montreal, should receive a boost of interest and numbers now that the Impact will playing in the top flight.

For many expansion teams, not losing every single game by 5-0 could be viewed as a successful season. Although Montreal has a pretty young roster, and depth could be a serious issue, I like what head coach Jesse Marsch and company have done so far in building a team.  Ricketts is a solid MLS keeper, and the Impact have a solid trio of centerbacks in Ferrari, Tyson Wahl, and Tyrone Marshall.  A midfield of Arnaud, Mapp, and Sanna Nyassi is decent, although the fact that Justin Braun is Montreal's most prodigious striker is a cause for concern.  Expansion years offer an opportunity for coaching staff's to learn where some of their players stand, who fits in the league, and what needs to be addressed going forward.  Unless you are the 2011 Vancouver coaching staff, then you just get fired half way through the season.  Montreal doesn't seem equipped to do real damage in its first season, but they should be able to avoid getting seriously embarrassed.

Dave Braneck
ONE GOAL Contributor

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