Impact kicking it to the Playoffs: SuperBlogger Benzaza
The Impact future in MLS starts Saturday Night Live from Seattle on CJAD 800. Listen live to play-by-play against the Sounders at 10PM with Grant Needham, former Impact scoring legend, providing analysis.
CJAD has invited Super Fans and bloggers Gio Sardo from @MtRoyalSoccer and Sofiane Benzaza of @SoccerSansF for their perspective.
Last season the Impact never wanted to say the "e-word"---expansion. Now everyone wants to use the "p-word"---playoffs.
Benzaza: 2013 Montreal Impact Preview
With higher expectations for the 2013, Year 2 in MLS, the Montreal Impact have high hopes. With a playoff thirst to quench, the Impact look up at new head coach Marco Schallibaum, a “rookie” in North America who will have to ward off any warning signs of a team Sophomore Slump.
With the advantage of having an unchanged core of players, Schallibaum will have to change the bad habits of 2012. Between a poor road record and giving up late goals, the margin of error is small. The rest of the league has now been warned of what the Impact can produce in quality on the field. Montreal's Eastern Conference rivals have all improved at different levels.
Schallibaum's mandate is to win and to win now, while implementing his own system and ideas,
The good news is that star players Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Nesta have had a full off-season to rest and get in shape. In what could be their farewell years, both players' performances could make or break Montreal's year.
Starting XI: Perkins, Brovsky , Nesta , Ferrari, Camara, Mapp, Arnaud, Bernier, Pisanu, Felipe, Di Vaio
Key Players: Matteo Ferrari and Marco Di Vaio. Ferrari represents that perfect combination of age, experience and athleticism as a central defender.
Di Vaio does not need the Designated Player tag to put pressure on him, as he is putting enough pressure on himself. Expect more goals from the Serie A veteran who seems to be in excellent shape for a full season with the club.
Players to Watch For: A rested Justin Mapp and Andrea Pisanu. Mapp wants to redeem himself after an up-and-down 2012 in which the left-footed midfielder mixed the good and the average. He can definitively do more and has the talent to do so.
Andrea Pisanu brings some Serie A experience and chemistry with his friend from Bologna, MDV. The versatile offensive midfielder can play different positions and offers
Prediction: 5th in the Eastern Conference but no hiccups allowed.
Sofiane Benzaza: Founder and Managing Editor at http://www.mountroyalsoccer.com part of SBNation, @MtRoyalSoccer, or @sofiane_benzaza , and Soccer Sans Frontières via @SoccerSansF.