At the moment most MLS teams are enjoying a gradual build up to the 2015 season. However, the Montreal Impact do not have as much leisure time. In less than a week the Impact will face one of their biggest challenges since joining MLS when they face off against Mexican powerhouse Pachuca. The first leg of the CCL quarterfinal tie will take place on the 24th of February as the Impact head to Mexico before returning to Montreal for the return leg a week later.
To prepare for the CCL quarterfinal home-and-away series the Impact have spent the last few days training in Mexico. On Tuesday the Impact played a friendly, yet very heated, match against Cruz Azul and emerged with a 1-0 victory thanks to a first half goal by newly acquired winger Dominic Oduro. The game reached its climax when Impact striker Jack McInerney and an opponent were both given red cards late in the game after an altercation. During the game head coach Frank Klopas used a combination of reserve and first team members. By all accounts, Nigel Reo-Coker was a stalwart presence in the middle of the field for Montreal as he refused to give Cruz Azul any time with the ball. As the game wore on the Impact grew tired and soon Cruz Azul were dominating the game. Cruz Azul would hit the woodwork three times but could not find the back of the net.
So far the injury bug has been sympathetic and Klopas could have nearly his entire roster to choose from when they at last take to the field against Pachuca. The slight ankle injury that has been hindering defender Hassoun Camara seems to have healed which is a good sign. So far this preseason, the Montreal Impact have improved their discipline and are defending more proficiently as a unit. However, it seems that even with Ignacio Piatti the Impact are having difficulty transitioning to attack. Add-on the painful truth that McInerney is the most dangerous striker on the roster and that management has failed to replace Marco Di Vaio. These two realities mean we have genuine cause for concern when it comes to the final third. If the Impact are to advance to the next round their defense will have to be nothing short of perfect against Pachuca. A timely goal wouldn’t go amiss either.
In other club news it was announced today that Nick De Santis has been promoted to VP of the Montreal Impact.